yoga

STAYING FIT ON VACATION

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You've heard me say it before and I'll say it again. We're #adult enough to know that it's not healthy or fun to lose sight of our wellness goals when we go away on vacation. Being hungover, exhausted, bloated and being off schedule ain't fun. Why would we put ourselves through feeling like crap during a time meant for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation? In this age of wellness and travel (basically Instagram's M.O.) there are so many tools available to stay on track while we're away from home. I'm sharing a few of my favorites tips and tricks. Check it out.

Let's Begin with the Obvious: Working Out

This is the most straight-forward way to stay fit. Wake up early and take a yoga class at your hotel or local yoga studio. When I was in Aruba I asked my hotel concierge where I could take a yoga class and the next morning you bet my bum was doing down dog on the beach. The next day, I was in the ocean practicing stand up paddle board yoga (SUP yoga). My hotel had a gym but I didn't bring workout sneaks. Thank goodness all you need is your body (and maybe some clothes) for yoga! If there's a gym in your hotel, get at least 20 minutes of working out in before breakfast. You'll feel energized all day and you can eat that gelato after dinner guilt-free. 

Workout apps!

There are so many low-cost and free workout apps in the iOS and Android-sphere. Even the membership-based ones (which tend to be the best) have free week-long trials. Check out Pear, Workout Trainer, Nike +, Jetfit, Daily Burn and more. You don't even need equipment for most of these which is a huge plus.

Arthur got a hold of some sweet teeth at the toy store. Once you see it you can't unsee it..

Arthur got a hold of some sweet teeth at the toy store. Once you see it you can't unsee it..

WALK OR BIKE

Depending on where you travel you can either take the lazy route or the healthy route. If you're going to an island, take a few walks up and down the shore throughout the day instead of being a 100% beach bum. If you're visiting a major city like Paris, Barcelona, or London I recommend taking a Fat Tire Bike Tour (my favorite company) on Day 1 or 2. It's the absolute best way to see a city. Most tours have a guide in the front, middle, and back so you can feel totally safe. Bike tours are great because you can stop for photo ops at any moment - WAY better than a hop on hop off tour. I used to go on those as a kid and would ALWAYS fall asleep on the bus, miss the scenery, and be sleepy once we were hopping off at our destination. My mom still teases me when she tells stories about churches we've visited. She says, "Remember Saint-Étienne-du-Mont in Paris? You know, the church you fell asleep at?". MOM!!!

If biking ain't yo thang there are tons of walking tours in each city. My favorite kind of walking tour is a food/walking tour. Obviously. When Arthur and I were in Barcelona we went on a Tapas, Taverns, and History tour which included food, drinks, history, and walking. The best of both worlds in my opinion. Do your research on TripAdvisor and find something that suits your style. The big plus of staying in a major city is that you can walk everywhere! We hit an average of 15,000-20,000 steps a day (experts recommend 10,000 steps per day) without blinking an eye and still managed to use the taxi system quite a bit. There are trains and buses in a lot of cities but sometimes the whole ticketing system intimidates me out of using it. I save money and I gain a tight butt. It's a win-win.

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Book a Wellness Trip

There are tons of vacation packages/retreats aimed toward wellness these days. Whether its a vegan yoga retreat in Mexico or a canoe and hiking trip in Costa Rica, you can find a vibe that suits your style. Check out Trip Tribe for retreat options. I did a SUP yoga retreat in Tulum 5 years back and it was just what I needed. We stayed in an eco-village and were fed delicious vegetarian food in between our 2-3 yoga sessions/day. I hear Yogascapes is a good resource, too.

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Eat GOOD FOOD

I get it, it's vacation, you want to let go a little and you absolutely should! I've heard so many instances of people tolerating foods on vacation that they normally can't touch at home. It's because you're on vacation and you're allowing yourself to indulge. Let that sink in for a second...

There are also numerous studies about the differences in gluten and dairy in other countries. The US genetically modifies so much of our food it inevitably becomes difficult to digest. I have been gluten free for a decade and found that my body can tolerate small amounts of gluten when I'm in Europe. That's because I'm intolerant not celiac. Celiac's need to stay away from gluten indefinitely. I still take it easy because gluten is still problematic and not healthy for me but it's fun indulging in a real croissant on vacation... even if I can only mentally make it through half.

Use Yelp, Foursquare and/or TripAdvisor to find restaurants that comply with your diet. I like to search "organic food", "plant based food", "gluten free food", "juice bar", "smoothies", "vegan food", and "vegetarian food". In my experience using these terms in the aforementioned apps directs me to healthy farm-to-table restaurants that have gluten free and veggie heavy options. Bookmark your findings and refer back often. I like to find my lunch spot during breakfast and my dinner spot during lunch. Call me crazy but knowing that I don't have to stress about getting a healthy or compliant meal eases my mind and let's me relax into vacation mode even more. Also, if you eat something that's unhealthy DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT beat yourself up. You're a human being, you will not ruin your entire diet or lifestyle if you have non-vegan non-gluten free pizza or cake. Live a little, within reason. Most of all follow your intuition! 

I'll pack a bag of chia seeds then stop at the local market to pick up dairy-free mylk, nuts and fruit. Mix 2 TBSP chia with 1/2 cup mylk, stir and stir again after 5 minutes. Refrigerate overnight and you've got chia pudding ready for breakfast!

I'll pack a bag of chia seeds then stop at the local market to pick up dairy-free mylk, nuts and fruit. Mix 2 TBSP chia with 1/2 cup mylk, stir and stir again after 5 minutes. Refrigerate overnight and you've got chia pudding ready for breakfast!

Pack the Essentials

Think about everything you do at home to keep yourself healthy and bring it with you! If you have a matcha ritual, bring the ingredients with you. Take advantage of tiny canisters, jars, or storage containers. If you take supplements, bring them with you. This is not the time to quit on vitamins. Take it from the girl who got super sick from traveling to Aruba, then directly to Colorado in a 3-week period. I thought I'd make it easy on myself and give my supplements a break (which is important to do every few months, just not while traveling) and I failed miserably. Your body is more susceptible to catching diseases while traveling. Think planes, bathrooms, restaurants, museums, subways, yada, yada. Yuck.

I've been doing quite a bit of traveling lately and these are the best tips I've picked up. If you have any questions or want more ideas leave me a comment below! I've linked all my favorite products for you. They're products I actually use and believe in so you can feel safe buying them. Safe travels. :)

Need a little more one-on-one coaching to keep you on track? Schedule a complimentary consultation with me here. Can't wait to chat with you!! XO

WHY YOU SHOULDN'T BUY THAT FANCY CAR

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Did I get your attention? Good. What are you investing in right now? A home? Good. You'll need that. Expensive clothes? A fancy car? A gym membership you never use? Not good. These investments will not pay off. Let me tell you about an investment that WILL pay off.

YOU. YOUR HEALTH. YOUR ETERNAL HAPPINESS. This is the best investment you can possibly make! I bet once you invest in yourself and become truly happy from the inside out, you're not going to need clothes or a fancy care to make you happy. These shiny objects are directed towards us to cover up the fact that was are deeply unhappy. I'm not saying you're deeply unhappy but I do want you to take a look at yourself and where you spend your money. I bet you 10 high fives you spend most of your money on random crap on Amazon... amiright? So how much do you REALLY invest in your spirituality? Your happiness? Your health? Your-SELF?

There are a myriad of excuses I hear from people about why they can’t (or decide not to) adopt a healthy lifestyle. Examples of excuses I hear for not living a healthy lifestyle:

  • “I don’t have time to cook / grocery shop / work out.”

  • “I don’t know how to cook.”

  • “I don’t know what foods are healthy for me with all the conflicting information and social media.”  

  • “My friends/family aren’t good influences and aren’t into being healthy”

Sound familiar? I’m going to educate you in this article, so you no longer can use these excuses and why it will pay off in so many ways to invest in yourself and your health today.

You might think you are initially spending a little more time, money, energy, and resources to invest in your health now, however, by truly giving yourself the self-care you need, it will greatly pay off in soooo many ways down the road.

Investing in yourself will affect your productivity and quality of living. You will have:

  • More energy

  • More strength

  • Greater ability to concentrate

  • Greatly reduce the risk for health problems - Arthritis, osteoporosis, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc.

  • If you invest in yourself now, you will take the burden off of your friends, family, loved ones. When we get sick, so do our loved ones.

Let's break down the top excuses on why you might not be investing in yourself. I'll give you actionable solutions so you can become the happiest, healthiest version of yourself.
 

#1... “I don’t have time to cook.”

  • Food prep every 3 days - cook in bulk. After 72 hours leftover food has very little prana or energy so try to schedule in 2 cooking days per week.

  • Schedule time in your schedule to go grocery shopping, cook, etc and stick to it! 

  • Make a grocery list.

  • Use the same staple foods for multiple meals For example, brown rice: day 1 breakfast can be brown rice porridge, day 2 lunch can be steamed veggies over brown rice, day 3 dinner throw the leftover veggies and rice in a satay pan and make fried rice. This way you're using your main ingredient in many ways but not eating it for every meal every day. I also love roasting a ton of veggies and swapping out dressings each day to spruce up my grain bowls or salads. I usually buy fish fresh the day of of day before I cook it on my way home from work and add that in as my protein.

  • Keep cooking simple. Complicated doesn't necessarily meal taster. Lately I've been making a tahini and lemon dressing for my arugula and topping it with broiled salmon. It takes 10 minutes to make... and even less to eat :X

  • Make smoothies and juices for breakfast - very time efficient and you can take them on the go. You can prepack your smoothie cup with all the ingredients and store it in the freezer/fridge. In the AM throw it in your blender, add liquid and boom - you've got breakfast.

  • Find an accountability partner to make sure you invest the time in yourself - a friend, family member, or health coach. Even health coaches have accountability partners!

  • Invest in a cooking class, meal plan, kitchen overhaul or one-on-one coaching session with me by clicking here.
     

#2... “I don’t know how to cook.”

  • Try one of my many recipes here. They're all really simple and delicious!

  • I can create a custom meal plan for you and your family and/or come teach you how to cook. Book a complimentary session here to find out which path is right for you.

  • Some of my favorite recipe developers to follow are RachLMansfield, Minimalist Baker and Love and Lemons. Check out their blogs and Instagram profiles for daily inspiration.

  • My meal plan/recipe book is in the works! Stay tuned ;)

#3... “I don’t know what foods are healthy for me with all the conflicting information and social media.”

  • Follow me on Instagram to stay up to date with the latest health news and get inspiration from what I cook for myself. I've gone down the food trend/dieting ways and have sifted through the crap to give you direct, legit information on healthy living.

  • If you are in need of a kitchen makeover or a private grocery shopping lesson you can book a complimentary call with me to find which is right for you here.
     

#4... “My friends/family aren’t good influences and aren’t into being healthy”

  • It's extremely important to surround yourself with good company. Did you know you become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with? My lifestyle has dramatically changed since my past days of partying and staying out late. I found that befriending people at my yoga studio and meeting friends for tea, juice, and lunch has helped me with the transition.

  • Sometimes you have to make new friends to support you, your health, and your goals.

  • Go to events focused on a healthy activity (yoga class, workshops, meditation class, run group, fitness event, intramural sports league) and meet new like-minded people who will better support you.

  • Check out my upcoming events here!
     

Hopefully you can now understand why it's so important to invest in yourself and some easy, actionable ways to do so. If you have any questions/comments/concerns please leave a comment below or email me! XO

Having serious troubles with your finances? Hit up my good friend and money pro Dimitry at www.90daymoneypro.com. He helped me get my finances down pat and is a fricken gem.

Resources:
 
https://hackingyourbudget.com/invest-in-your-health/https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/4-health-investments-that-wont-break-the-bank
https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-21484/7-secrets-to-eating-healthy-when-youre-short-on-time-money.html
https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14257/how-to-live-the-good-life-on-a-shoestring-budget.htm
https://foodbabe.com/how-to-eat-organic-on-a-budget/

SYNC UP TO THE AYURVEDIC CLOCK

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"Early to bed, early to rise makes a man happy, healthy, and wise." We're all pretty well-versed on importance of ample sleep. But how exactly does this habit keep us happy and healthy? I always considered myself a morning person; waking up before the rest of the world to read, check emails, or just enjoy my coffee on the patio in silence. Until I learned about Ayurveda, did I realize that my morning routine didn't quite measure up to the natural circadian cycles of nature. If you suddenly lost me at Ayurveda and circadian cycles, fear not and read on. But, first—note to self—waking up early to sit down and sip caffeine, as it turns out, is not very wise. 

Ayurveda originated in ancient India over 5,000 years ago as holistic system of natural medicine, striving to create natural harmony between body, mind, and spirit, through diet, herbs, exercise, meditation, yoga, and massage/bodywork. As it made its way to the West, Ayurveda continued to have a strong presence in the world of alternative medicine. Serving as an integrated practice of self-care, Ayurveda is used to achieve optimal health by reconnecting our bodies to the natural circadian rhythms: morning, midday, and evening routines of self-care, or dinacharya.

Imagine your body's internal clock moving with the rising and setting of the sun. Sounds a bit surreal, right? Yet, modern research has been proving the importance of our bodies living in sync with the natural circadian cycles-- and the benefits it has to enhance our health and vitality. 

You may be thinking such a concept sounds bizarrely impossible, considering most of us are on-the-go all day long; rushing to and from work, eating ­in the car, running errand in between, and squeezing in a half-ass workout before getting home to--ugh--make dinner from scratch because we were too tired to prepare the night before. And the viscous cycle continues.

However, there is nothing natural about this routine; rushing, forcing, and eating our way into exhaustion. And, unfortunately, the chaos of everyday life feeds into this pattern. Luckily, there is a way to beat the system—with a new system. An Ayurvedic daily routine—living in sync with nature's cycles—gives us the energy we need to both start and end our day with the same amount of stamina and motivation (think: swimming downstream instead of upstream).

In nature, there are two 12-hour cycles (6AM-6PM and 6PM-6AM) that are each separated into three sub-cycles. Each of these 4-hour cycles is linked to certain functions of the body controlled by the following three elements:

Vata (air), which governs the nervous system

Pitta (fire), which maintains digestion and metabolism

Kapha (earth and water), which controls immunity and physical strength. 

The practice of Ayurveda beings by understanding how to connect to a daily routine that is in tune with these cycles. Again, imagine moving with the rising and setting of the sun. Check out the following flow to get a better idea:

FIRST 12 HOURS OF THE DAY: 6AM-6PM

Sub-cycles:

6AM-10AM: Kapha increases

  • This is the best time for exercise and other forms of physical activity

  • The sun is at its peak heat

  • Kapha is heavy and supports greater muscular strength

10AM-2PM: Pitta increases

  • This is the best time of the day to eat your largest meal

  • Pitta (aka digestive fire) is the strongest in the middle of the day

2PM-6PM: Vata increases

  • This is the best time for mental and creative energy

  • The nervous system is more active

  • We often crave highly-processed snacks at this time, indicating exhaustion, blood sugar fluctuations, or poor digestion

 

SECOND 12 HOURS OF THE DAY: 6PM-6AM

Sub-cycles:

6PM-10PM:  Kapha increases

  • This is the best time to begin settling down for sleep.

  • Kapha is heavy, causing cortisol levels to drop during this time

  • This explains why you begin to feel tired around this time-frame

10PM-2AM: Pitta increases

  • This is the best time to be sleeping

  • The liver (pitta) starts to detox your body

  • If you are consistently awake or toss and turn during this time, the detox can be disturbed

2AM-6AM:  Vata increases

  • The nervous system starts to activate during this time

  • This is the best time to sleep deeply and naturally wake up before sunrise

While our personal agendas may not always run on time, the earth's schedule is constantly on the same wavelength with how it functions. By creating a daily routine in tandem with the natural circadian cycles, we can use our minds and bodies, collectively, to live a more balanced and productive life; physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Our lives really can be less stressful and more enjoyable when we move with the current, not against it.

Think about your day from start to finish. How did you practice self-care? What would you like to improve about your daily routine?

To learn how to kick-start your morning by incorporating an Ayurveda routine, stay tuned for next week’s post. You can also schedule a FREE 30 minute consultation with me. Just head to www.natashawellness.com/appointment and pick a time!

EQUINOX DETOX WORKSHOP RECAP + HERBAL TEA MENU

Happy Spring Equinox....9 days ago! Okay I'm a little late. But so is the weather. Last weekend Maren and I (as Kindred Spirits Collective) hosted our second workshop at Acorn Yoga in Brighton. We're starting to really get in the groove of this space and are loving seeing so many familiar AND new faces show up to our events. I'm very eager to share the herbal teas and photos from our event with you all. You should also know that Kindred Spirits has committed to at least 2 more workshops in this space so keep an eye out for updates and leave a comment below if you have future workshop ideas! We want to cater to you and your interests so don't be shy. 

Here are 10 herbs we got to play with and taste at our workshop. Mix and match to make your perfect blend! Our resident herbalist Maren did a kickass job explaining the tea blending process and explaining which herbs are most beneficial to us as we enter into Spring. 

Detoxifying Herbs for Spring

Calendula: Best herb for nourishing and cleansing the lymphatic system. Delicious and beautiful in salads! Provides heart health; relieves congestion in lymphatic system and reduces swollen lymph glands; digestive distress and soothing inflammatory conditions in stomach lining and bowels; improves circulation and detoxifies body; eases menstrual and menopausal difficulties; antibacterial properties (heals wounds); antifungal properties (especially for pelvic and bowel infections); antiviral.

Dandelion leaf: Think twice before spraying this beauty with weed killer. Dandelion can be used for medicine and food. It flushes the system, good for kidneys; iron (good for anemia), vitamin C; mild laxative (relieves constipation and bloating); bitter (good for optimal digestion); safe, healthy diuretic (contains potassium - most diuretics deplete potassium); great for cleansing after winter!

Hibiscus Flower: Contains high levels of antioxidants. Great for flavoring teas! Contains vitamin C and is calming. Good for high cholesterol and high blood sugar, heart health, coughing; has antibacterial and antifungal properties; helps with digestion. Good for depression.

Hyssop: Great for respiratory system; treats colds, cough, heavy congestions, indigestion; reduces inflammation in mucous membranes (good for asthma and allergies; antiviral; remedy for rheumatism and other aches and pains in muscles and joints.

Lavender Flower: An essential herb to have on hand. Good for relieving anxiety, depression, tension; headaches; mood swings; dizziness, fainting; reduces fevers; detoxifies; induces sweating; antiseptic; eases vomiting and diarrhea.

Lemon Balm: The “official” herb of apothecaries. Good for allergies and asthma (“nature’s antihistamine”); antiviral, antibacterial; antidepressant/anxiety; cleansing kidneys and urinary tract; good for digestive distress. Remedy for heart disease (and heartache). Lemon Balm is said to promote a long life

Nettle: Nettle can be used to remedy gout, rheumatism, anemia, exhaustion, menstrual difficulties, skin problems, and hay fever, to mention just a few. Nettle can be cooked, eaten, brewed into beer, infused as a tea, tincture, and more. Useful for “growing pains” in young children and for older folks with creaky joints. Excellent tonic for reproductive system of both men and women. Blood tonic, circulatory stimulant; aches and pains; energy (high in chlorophyll; vitamins A, C, D, K; minerals); great for liver, gallbladder, and kidneys; PMS, fertility issues, prostate issues; antiseptic; respiratory health.

Oatstraw: This plant is highly valued for its ability to restore balance and a sense of calm in weak and stressed out individuals. Full body tonic (strengthens immunity, builds energy); regulates blood sugar, reduces cholesterol, stabilizes thyroid function; great for nervous system health; antibiotic; antidepressant; fatigue; anxiety/depression; insomnia; skin health

Red Clover: Considered nature’s best vitamin supplement. Rich bounty of nutrients that support entire body. High in beta-carotene, calcium, Vitamin B, C, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, selenium. Respiratory health; menopause; blood and lymphatic cleanser; eczema and psoriasis; bone density. Blossoms taste like honey cups! Add them to salads, blender drinks, garden-fresh soups, and tea.

Spearmint: The eldest of the mint family. Cooling, refreshing, and uplifting. Soothes and strengthens nervous system; clear sinuses; digestion; urinary tract; stimulating blood flow it cleanses and tones spleen; mild stimulant; . Lovely as an apertif or digestif (make a strong tea and mix it with sparkling water, maybe adding a handful of fresh berries) and great for flavoring other, less tasty herbs. Combine with ginger to cure a restless stomach. Chew on fresh leaves instead of gum!

This workshop was part 2 of our 2-part series leading up to our May 19th-21st Spring Awakening Retreat in the lake region of Maine. This all-inclusive retreat is based at a lovely lakeside cottage and includes yoga, meditation, pranayama, Journey Dance, Qi Gong, holistic/cooking workshops, nature hikes, kayaking/lakeside activities, campfires, and more! And guys, it's SO affordable. For $350 you get a bed (or tent, if you'd like!), Organic home cooked food by your retreat chefs, and all the aforementioned activities. This would be the perfect Mother's Day gift by the way! Grab your mom, daughter, sister, friend, whoever! and awaken your heart through movement, nourishment, and laughter. I can promise you laughter, for sure. We have limited space so click that Register button and commit yourself to TREATING YO'SELF. I'll see you lakeside!

Thanks again to all who attended! We had so much fun with you. For more information on Kindred Spirits Collective you can follow us on Facebook.