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Posts from the ‘WELLNESS’ Category

Daily Meditation for Stress Relief

“A calm mind brings inner strength and self confidence, so that’s very important for good health.” – Dalai Lama

Although I was raised in the Jewish culture I have always been drawn to eastern philosophy, and the practice of meditation. Scientific studies have shown meditation to have so many benefits for your mental and emotional health. Especially these days with the nonstop bombardment of news, texts and tweets.. it’s so important take a minute to clear your head and get some peace of mind.

Here is a simple meditation exercise that I love and really helps with anxiety and stress. Find a quiet place, set a timer for 2 mins (or longer). Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Relax your body and take a few deep breaths. Think of a person or a place that you love, and smile.. Repeat daily!

For more simple meditation exercises check out Pocket Mindfulness

The Ancient Healing Art of Thai Massage

I experienced my first Thai Massage on a trip to Thailand in the summer of 2001 and absolutely loved it. One session not only cured my jet lag, but I felt immediate relief from a headache and low back soreness. In 2006, I went back to Thailand to study and become certified in Thai Massage and Thai Foot Reflexology.

Traditional Thai Massage or “Thai Yoga Massage” is an ancient healing practice that dates back over 2500 years. Combining acupressure, ayurveda, and assisted yoga postures, Thai Massage offers a holistic approach to treating muscle and joint pain.

The practice also promotes positive energy circulation, joint mobility and stress relief. Traditional Thai Massage is a great alternative to those who do not enjoy table massage as it is performed on the floor, no lotions or oils are applied and you remain fully clothed. Contact me for pricing or more info!

Simple Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Footprint

pexels-photo-802221The devastating effects of our plastic addiction on the environment is overwhelming. If you start to pay attention and track your single use plastic trash daily, weekly and even monthly you will be astonished by the amount of waste.

According to Nat Geo and many other researchers, only 10% of plastic trash is actually recycled. Around 8 million metric tons of plastic trash enters the ocean each year, the equivalent of emptying a garbage truck filled with plastic into the ocean every minute. Then, it tends to collect in the world’s five large gyers, which are large systems of spiraling currents and degrades into fragments that fall into deeper water, where currents carry it to remote parts of the globe.

One of the five gyers, The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (located half way between California and Hawaii) is said to be more than two times the size of Texas. Research shows that the patch has approximately six times more plastic than it does plankton, which serves as the primary food source for many different types of fish and marine life. Can you imagine all of the potentially hazardous chemicals we are consuming in our food chain as a result of this plastic nightmare? Especially for us pescatarians and sushi lovers! 

If we can wean ourselves from single use plastics and turn to better biodegradable options, we may be able to put a stop to further plastic pollution and the detriment it causes to our bodies and our environment. Luckily, there are simple steps you can take that will dramatically decrease the amount of plastic waste you generate.

Stop buying water. Say no to plastic straws, lids and drink stirs. Instead travel with your own reusable water bottles, stainless steel utensils and straws. Bring your own garment bag to the dry cleaners and your own produce bags to the grocery. Use etee or other beeswax wraps to keep food fresh at home or on the go. Use reusable coffee k-cup pods and bring your own mug to Starbucks. Dump the Q-tips and try these alternative methods for removing ear wax.

Avoid products that contain micro beads or micro fiber. Buy in bulk, select the bigger containers instead of buying several smaller ones over time. Participate in beach clean ups. Recycle. Buy from sustainable companies and make your voice heard if you believe a company could be smarter about its packaging!

Finally, support these non-profit organizations working to tackle the problem of ocean plastic pollution in a variety of different ways, including Oceanic Society, Plastic Pollution Coalition, 5 Gyres, Algalita, Plastic Soup Foundation, and others.

Not So Fresh and Clean ~ How to avoid hidden toxins in your home!

More and more people are starting to educate themselves on what they perceive to be healthy. With information being easier to come by, consumers of all types are no longer letting companies tell them what they should or shouldn’t do. As many of us know, we can find toxins and nasty chemicals in almost everything, but are we really paying attention to the many hidden toxins used everyday in our homes that are having lasting negative and sometimes deadly effects on our health over time. Some of  the main sources of hidden toxins in your home and how to avoid them are :

Cleaning Products – According to the US EPA, levels from pollutants indoors can be two to more than 100 times higher than outdoors, and the number one culprit for indoor pollution are our very own cleaning products. Some of the top-selling daily products are the most dirty and toxic: Lysol Antibacterial Spray, which ads encourage parents to spray wherever children play, contains denatured ethanol (which can cause central nervous system depression) and alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride, a known pesticide.

Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to avoid chemical-laden cleaners. Shop for cleaning products carefully –  Avoid any product labeled antibacterial. On safe cleaning products, they are usually listed. Most of the ingredients should be recognizable names — citrus or coconut extracts, for example — not what appear to be answers to a chemistry quiz. Or better yet, make your own! Good old unscented soap and water has worked for centuries, and there’s no reason to change now. Add baking soda; borax; essential oils, such as lavender; lemon and other citrus extracts; distilled white vinegar; vegetable soaps or dyes; and linseed oi. For more info about non toxic products to buy or how to make your own click HERE

Fabric Softeners/Dryer Sheets – Fabric softeners are made to stay in your clothing for long periods of time. As such, chemicals are slowly released either into the air for you to inhale or onto your skin for you to absorb. Dryer sheets are particularly noxious because they are heated in the dryer and the chemicals are released through dryer vents and out into the environment.

Vinegar (among all the other amazing things it can do) is a natural fabric softener. It also removes soap residue, neutralizes tough odors and reduces dryer static. You can add vinegar directly to laundry during the rinse cycle or pour vinegar into the fabric softener dispenser (or fabric softener ball if your machine is dispenserless) of your washing machine.

In the dryer, grab and old, cotton washcloth that is ready for retirement. Add 3-5 drops of essential oil of your choice (Whole Food’s 365 eucalyptus oil is my favorite – and very affordable!) to your cloth and throw it in the dryer with a load. Replenish cloth with 3-5 drops between each dryer load. Also, wool dryer balls are a great alternative for softness and will shorten the duration of drying time. To buy or to find out more click HERE.

Furniture / Mattresses – Flame retardants are chemicals added to furniture to reduce the risk of fire. Unfortunately, many of these chemicals which settle into household dust, get on our hands and enter our bodies when we eat—are also associated with endocrine disruption, reproductive disorders, and possibly even cancer. Before buying, always check to make sure it is free of flame retardants.

Local Escapes to Restore, Renew and Reflect!

This time of year we’re drawn to go inwards, to create new beginnings and transform old habits. Fall is a great time to make a shift – For health reasons or to boost immunity, to focus the mind how to accomplish new goals for the coming year, and uplift our spirits to reset our attitudes. Here are my favorite local escapes to amazing retreat centers that are guaranteed to nurture your body, mind and soul!

Esalen Institute – Big Sur, Ca

If you have never been to Esalen, prepare to be blown away! Situated on 27 acres of spectacular Big Sur coastline, The Esalen Institute was founded in 1962 as an alternative educational center devoted to the exploration of what Aldous Huxley called the “human potential”- the world of unrealized human capacities that lies beyond the imagination. Esalen soon became known for its blend of East/ West philosophies, its experiential/ didactic workshops, the steady influx of philosophers, psychologists, artists, and religious thinkers, and its breathtaking grounds and natural hot springs. Offering 500 workshops each year in a wide range of topics. For more info click HERE

Optimum Health Institute – San Diego, Ca

The Optimum Health Institute offers an amazing holistic approach to the treatment of cancer, heart disease and other terminal illnesses. Many friends and clients have gone or taken relatives for a week or month and return transformed – physically, mentally and spiritually. OHI provides a holistic healing program where participants cleanse and nourish the body with diet, fasting and exercise; quiet and focus the mind with journaling and meditation; and renew and awaken the spirit with study, prayer and celebration. For more info click HERE

The Blue Pearl – Laguna Beach, Ca

Created by two world-renowned yogis, Geo and Katresha, The Blue Pearl Laguna not only offers a calming and gorgeous escape, it also provides proven results. Nestled amongst the trees in Laguna Canyon, this twelve-bedroom, twelve-bath luxurious ashram offers single week and multi-week programs, designed to harness the transformative powers of yoga and nature. Enjoy pure organic food, daily yoga, hiking, massage and meditation. For more info click HERE

Why Organic Matters

As a health food advocate, vegetarian and environmental activist I always seem to get into heated discussions about why organic matters. There is either a lack of information out there, or plenty of false, biased information coming from the major food industries that want the monopoly of our food supply. Eating organic food and supporting organic farming is simply healthier for our bodies, the animals, the soil and the  planet! Here are my Top 5 reasons why organic matters.

1. Chemical Toxins – Conventionally grown crops are sprayed with significant amounts of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides, and chemical fertilizers. Recent cancer rates are as high as one out of every two people and chemical toxins are a leading cause. To learn more click HERE

2. More Nutrients – Scientific evidence shows organic food to have far greater nutrient levels than conventionally farmed food. Although organic food is more expensive, you can’t put a price tag on good health. For more info click HERE

3. Healthier Livestock– Buying certified organic animal products ensures that the animals they came from were raised humanely and were not fed any chemicals, drugs, or hormones. Today, hundreds or thousands of factory farm animals are crammed into indoor warehouses, unable to move, forced to live in their own fecal matter, and never see natural sunlight. To learn more click HERE

4. Carbon Footprint – Research has found organic agriculture to be up to a 60% smaller carbon footprint than conventional. Soil is the foundation of the food chain and the primary focus of organic farming is to use practices that build healthy soils. In response to the rapid pace of global climate change caused by human activity, the Marin Carbon Project seeks to enhance carbon sequestration in range land, agricultural, and forest soils through applied research, demonstration and implementation. Click HERE to find out more.

5. On & Off Farm Pollution – Giant livestock farms, which can house hundreds of thousands of pigs, chickens, or cows, produce vast amounts of waste, often generating the waste equivalent of a small city. Industrial agriculture doesn’t singularly pollute farmland and farm workers; it also wreaks havoc on the environment downstream. Pesticide drift affects non-farm communities with odorless and invisible poisons. The elimination of polluting chemicals and nitrogen leaching, done in combination with soil building, protects and conserves water resources. Click HERE for more.

10 Daily Habits for Optimal Health & Happiness

After researching many top 10 lists from other journalists, doctors and researchers, here are my 10 daily habits for optimal health and happiness. (Not in any particular order)

1) Drink lots of water, 8 glasses per day.

2) Eat 3 to 5 clean, light, organic (whenever possible) and balanced meals. Consume fresh juices and foods rich in antioxidants.

3) Breathe fresh air. Take some time to enjoy the outdoors, the sun, the breeze or a great view.

4) Practice good oral hygiene, brush your teeth for 2 mins, twice daily and floss.

5) Be active, make physical activity part of your daily routine. Exercise 20 – 30 mins. Try to include some yoga, cardio or strength training.

6) Practice your passion or hobby, spend 30 -60 mins on what you love to do.

7) Practice mindfulness: For 1-10 mins be present, (think positive thoughts) breathe deeply and smile.

8) Spend quality time with your family and friends.

9) Find joy, purpose and meaning in your work even on tougher days.

10) Be productive. Get something done for yourself and do something for others.

What are your favorite daily habits that bring you happiness? I would be interested in learning some from you!

Eat Smarter

The newest release from one of my favorite nutrition authors, Michael Pollan. ‘Food Rules’ an eater’s manual, is a brilliant unconventional diet book for those of us who want to have healthier eating habits, but find it hard to navigate the confusing science of nutrition or tried many different diets that don’t last.  This book offers a welcome simplicity to our daily decisions about food and how we eat.

The health care crisis is in large part a crisis of the American diet of  processed food, refined grains and sugars, too much meat and lack of vegetables, whole grains and fruit.  Roughly three quarters of the two-trillion plus we spend on health care in this country goes to treat chronic diseases, most of which can be prevented by a change in lifestyle, especially diet.  Michael’s “Rules” are not framed in the vocabulary of science but rather culture and a source of wisdom about eating that turns out to have as much, if not more, to teach us than nutritional science does. Here are his top five and my favorites!

1. Eat food
2. Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food
3. Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry
4. Avoid food products that contain high-fructose corn syrup
5. Avoid food products that have some form of sugar (or sweetener listed among) the top three

Click HERE for more info on the author and to buy!

The Massage Express Takes You On A Journey ~

Step aboard and be transported! The Massage Express Co. offers an Orient Express-style mobile spa service with hand picked amenities designed to transport you to another time and place.

Imagine having the sights, sounds and scents of an exotic destination at your home or event location, such as someone playing the Sitar while guests receive spa treatments in a luxe safari tent pitched in your yard or even in your living room.  Hollywood royalty has already hailed us as the real deal.  We have set up spa at private events for James Cameron, Jillian Michaels, Sugar Ray Leonard, Don Henley, Bill Maher, Kara Dioguardi and Beau Bridges among others. We have a cult following because of our unique backgrounds and holistic mastery of organic spa treatments and body- work.

Our luxe safari tents serve as a portable spa retreat inspired by Amani-Khas’ luxury out door living which I discovered on a trip to India. A big inspiration! I play the sitar at events when the magical quality of live music adds to the experience.  No one else does this kind of immersion around the global spa concept.

Our resumes have a combined wellness and indie -boho chic prestige that is international in scope and down to earth in delivery, beyond some of the offerings you may find at a Four Seasons spa or Golden Door.  Our skill surpasses some of the best spas in the world and our clientele has noticed. Our staff and philosophy is a magical & harmonious moving wellness sanctuary.

For more info click here!