Tag: anxiety

How to Get Out of that Winter FUNK

How to Get Out of that Winter FUNK

Those of you who follow me on my Instagram page have likely heard me talk about being in a funk right now as a result of the colder days and darker nights here in good, ole Boston! I wrote a similar post last winter and have decided to bulk that one up with additional tips & tricks to getting out of the winter funk! So here’s what I’ve found…sometimes all you need is one WHOLE day to REBOOT and it can do wonders!

Actually take a FULL self-care day!

Unfortunately our culture has created a fast-pace, high-stressed environment, especially on the east coast. Though this mindset is great and all in theory, “work hard, play harder”…but do we ACTUALLY play? Ever feel like it’s a competition to see who has a busier week or who was more stressed or who stayed later at work? Why should this be praised? It’s just a recipe to fully BURN out in the future. Self-care and taking time to yourself is NOT selfish, it’s quite frankly NECESSARY for good, long-term healthy & longevity. Ignore what your peers think at work and DO YOU. At the end of the day, if you’re more rejuvenated and refreshed, you WILL put out better quality work, more efficiently and effectively than the co-worker sitting next to you.

Alright, so that you see the importance of taking a self-care day…what does that look like? Well, it looks different for everyone! Here’s an inside peek into what my IDEAL self-care day may look like:

7AM – 12PM

  • Sleep in an extra hour.
  • Wake up and make a warm cup of ginger turmeric tea with lemon & fresh ginger. Helps for good digestion in the AM, balances acidity, anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Take my daily supplements (these tend to vary, but I ALWAYS have a probiotic pill, B12 (don’t eat meat & good source of energy), Vitamin D (especially needed in the winter), occasionally a digestive enzyme (if traveling)
  • Turn on my oil diffuser (currently using LAVENDAR oil) & salt lamp. Helps to calm the mood! Also, I wrote a post about tips for calming the mind here.
  • Put on a good, upbeat playlist. Especially into a few of my Spotify playlists right now:
  • Make either a MATCHA or Espresso-Based LATTE
    • Follow the above links for yummy matcha & latte recipes
  • Answer emails, Instagram Comments, DM’s, etc. (I find I’m the most productive in the morning, but since this is SELF-CARE day, limit use)
  • Do a quick 10 minute stretch/flow to wake up the body. Light incense or a sage stick to set the mood. Focus on spinal stretches like cat/cows and twists to loosen up the spine after lying in bed for 8 hours. Here’s a post I did a while back on simple yoga moves to help relieve stress and anxiety!
  • Meditate & write a few things down in your journal that you’re grateful for!
  • Make a healthy, FAB 4 style breakfast. Include fats, fiber, protein, veggies/green, and limit sugars (fruit) to ¼ cup!
  • Sometimes if I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll clean. I know this sounds like “work” BUT hear me out…if I’m in the mood (key word here), sometimes cleaning can be SO therapeutic AND can actually be a cause of feeling unmotivated and overwhelmed in your own place! Think about the saying… “a clear space is a clear mind”. PS – I find I’m especially motivated to clean right after coffee when I’m feeling fueled and energized.
  • In addition to cleaning…how about going through your closet (and anything else in your apt/house) and pulling out items that no longer have a purpose in your life? I always joke that I’m an aspiring minimalist. If you know me, you know I have a closet FULL of endless clothes & shoes. Yes, I admit I’m a bit obsessed with fashion, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get rid of old clothes (and items laying around that are just adding to a more cluttered space). Giving away clothes can be such a RELIEF sometimes and leave you feeling a bit lighter…almost like a weight was lifted off of you. So, though this doesn’t seem like the “cliché” self-care tip that one may hear…I promise you, it HELPED me and I’m almost certain it will help you!
  • Read a book, browse through one of my fave wellness-focused websites like Well & Good or Mind, Body, Green.
  • When fully digested, get a workout in that I LOVE. Don’t make this a punishment but rather make it something you look forward to and know that your body with thank you later! 
  • Start a bath and add Dr. Teals “recovery” bath salts (eucalyptus). While the bath is filling up, stretch & foam roll (so good for the muscles and cheaper option than going for a massage!) Before you hop into the bath, also option to Dry Brush (the skin is your BIGGEST organ and this helps to detoxify and remove dry skin, leaving you feeling more refreshed and energetic).
  • I’ll also put on a face mask of some sort, either a chlorophyll mask from CocoKind Skincare or a coffee exfoliating mask from Frank & Whit. Light a candle, grab a book, and relax for 15-20 minutes before showering off.

12PM – 4PM

  • Go for a walk & listen to an informative podcast before lunch. Some of my fave podcasts include:
    • The Skinny Confidential: Him & Her
    • The Balanced Blonde
    • That’s so Maven
    • Rich Roll Podcast
    • Raw Talk with Sheena
    • Bulletproof Radio
    • Let it Out with Katie Dalebout
    • The Lively Show
    • That so Retrograde  
  • Make a delicious & filling Buddha bowl with all the best roasted veggies OR meet a friend of lunch at a healthy joint! We take face-to-face interaction for granted. It can be so refreshing to catch up with a friend, especially if it’s someone who has similar interests to you and can geek out over health & wellness! Whenever I meet a friend for coffee, lunch, or a workout, I always feel so happy after! Way more beneficial than just jumping on the phone!
  • If you have the time (and money) here are some other great options to add into your schedule:
    • Go to a float-tank and CHILL for 60 minutes. Check out my blog post here from my first experience!
    • Cryotherapy: great for muscle & joint recovery, collagen regrowth, naturally energy boost, inflammation, and better sleep.
    • Acupuncture
    • Body Work, Massage, Aromatherapy
    • Reiki or Kundalini yoga
    • Facial
    • Mani and/or pedi

4PM – Bedtime

  • Relax and and watch your favorite show! It’s OK to watch TV guys
  • Start meal prepping your favorite dish & maybe even whip up a healthy vegan dessert to indulge in after if you have the time! TIP: CACAO is a natural mood booster so I highly recommend any dessert to include cacao!
  • Light candles & enjoy your dinner!
  • End the night with a meditation. Pick up a book. Watch a movie or put on your favorite Netflix show.
  • End with a soothing cup of tea, put your legs up the wall for 10 minutes before you go to bed (great simple inversion that feels so good & is great to do at the end of the day after working out/walking/running etc. // helps to drain the lactic acid)
  • Get in bed early (before 10pm if you can!)

As you can see, there’s nothing crazy here (and pretty much everything here is doable on a budget)! These are little things that make me happy and give me time to truly be present and appreciate these little self-care tips. Yours may look different than mine and that’s totally fine! At the end of the day…DO YOU. Like I said, sometimes all you need is just one day to get right back on track ☺ Hope this helps!

A Long-Winded Note on –  Ending Anxiety around the Holidays, My Relationship with Food & Fitness, and Finding Acceptance

A Long-Winded Note on – Ending Anxiety around the Holidays, My Relationship with Food & Fitness, and Finding Acceptance

I don’t know about you, but family holidays always seem to spark my anxiety around food, which if you think about it, this seems counterintuitive to the point of Thanksgiving in the first place.  I can’t pinpoint exactly when and where this anxiety around food during the holidays started, but if I had to guess, I’d say back in high school during my, where we were just beginning to be introduced to social media and the “diet culture”.  Leading up to and following the holidays, you’d see “shedding for the holidays”, or “stay skinny this thanksgiving”, or “how to shed 10 pounds before and after the holidays”. It’s everywhere and nearly impossible to avoid. It’s no wonder high-schoolers’ (and probably even middle schoolers’) get roped into this mindset so early. They’re still young, impressionable, and heavily influenced by social media. I’m sure I’m not alone here, regardless of whether you’ve had an on and off relationship with food. This frame of thinking is basically engraved into everyone at one point or another.

Each year, I make it an effort to enjoy the time with my family and be PRESENT rather than feeling overwhelmed by thoughts around food, working out, looking good in my holiday outfit, and so on. Some years are successful and some years I find myself still consumed by these thoughts. The difference between past years and now is that I’m in a much better place mentally. Being a food blogger, it’s easy to feel consumed by food all the time. Constantly thinking about your next meal whether it’s for lunch that day or what you’ll be eating for breakfast on the weekend. Finding that balance between feeling controlled by food vs. just cooking and photographing out of pure joy/passion can be difficult, but it IS possible. I think the biggest challenge for me was eating to feel satiated. As I’ve discussed in the past, I’ve tried so many different diet and health-food trends, hoping that one would be the right fit for me. Unfortunately, none of them left me feeling satisfied and only had me craving more since I wasn’t getting the RIGHT food and nourishment for what my body needed.

I’d try to mimic the pretty food I saw on Instagram, which sometimes meant giant smoothie bowls loaded with fruit, almond butter, and granola. Sure, this tasted REALLY good and it was super filling at the time (I still think it should be enjoyed every now and then, the difference being that I’m now AWARE of how these ingredients will affect my cravings. I can still make a smoothie bowl, but the ingredients I choose to use may be different than what I would throw in, in the past). But was it really giving me the proper nutrition that I needed? Even after starting my morning with giant smoothie bowls, I couldn’t stop eating at night. None of it made sense to me. It wasn’t until recently where I started to really think about each plate at every meal. Was I getting proper protein, healthy fats, veggies, superfoods, fiber, etc? How much FRUIT (and additional sugar) was I consuming throughout the day? Was I eating enough calories? Did I need to adjust based on my workouts?

What I found was that a) I was running A LOT. Being a runner my whole life, I was used to logging a lot of miles and I “used” to be able to eat a lot of food to replenish. However, just like anything else that you do day in and day out, it can get mundane and your body starts to adapt. And b) though I was running anywhere from 5-8 miles about 4-5 times a week, I wasn’t burning as many calories as I used to. Yet I came home STARVING all the time and would likely overeat because that’s what I thought my hunger signs were telling me.

Fast forward to January 2017, post 200hr yoga teacher training. After 17 intensive days of pure yoga and little to no running, my body changed, but in a good way. I hadn’t seen results like this in SO LONG. I LOVED yoga and sadly, running became something I started to resent because it usually meant me hammering miles (and breaking down my body) to make up for all of the food I would consume. It became a vicious cycle and this small realization opened up a new way of looking at fitness. At the end of the day, I think that running is still a great way of getting some cardio in, but I’m not as tied to it as I used to be. Honestly, I probably run 1x a week now, if that. I’ve finally found a workout routine that makes me feel amazing, challenges my body (and mind), and the best part, I actually LOOK FORWARD to it! I share this bit because I feel for me, my relationship to fitness and food go hand-in-hand. The second I started to embrace working out as something that made me feel good, instead of looking at it as a way to punish my body, more positive thoughts around food started to fall in place.

I started craving foods that would truly nourish my body. I started understanding the science behind food & fitness. I became interested in the research. I invested time into listening to podcasts and reading; anything from body positivity, to spirituality, to nutritionists that covered everything from paleo, to plant-based, to keto, to grain-free / gluten-free, and everything in between. I started looking at everything with an open mind, ditched the “food labels”, and began to understand how different lifestyles worked for different people. I found it significantly helpful to understand the science & research behind all of these “health trends” so that I could pull bits of each to find what works well for me. It’s funny too because I’ve always been into following different health trends out there, but what happened, was that I would get too consumed by that particular one and closed off to the idea that maybe that lifestyle wasn’t the best for ME, even though it appeared that so and so on Instagram seemed to be incredibly happy following that lifestyle. 

My point to all of this is that this whole “wellness” thing is a journey. It’s trial and error. It’s accepting that we’re ALL different and have different needs. It means being open minded and accepting that health trends come and go for a reason. At the end of the day, it always seems to come back to eating wholesome, unprocessed food and finding a healthy, balanced workout routine that makes you feel good from the inside, out. Though I’ve found a more “balanced” way of living, this doesn’t mean that I’m throwing all concepts of healthy eating out the door when it comes to the holidays. If I REALLY want that dessert full of butter, I’ll eat it. BUT, I know that after I go for that, my body feels like shit. And I truly hate feeling like SHIT. This is the same reason why I choose to rarely drink alcohol. It makes me feel awful and for me, it’s not worth getting drunk to feel like crap the entire next day. Personally, it comes down to this: do I REALLY want that dessert or is it knowing that I’m allowing myself the option to grab it, that makes me deny it all together?

Here’s the other thing. I feel JUST as satisfied making my own dessert that I know tastes just as good, if not better, and is full of real ingredients and no refined sugars. Sometimes I get asked the question, “do you REALLY think that healthy dessert of yours tastes just as good as this store-bought cheesecake?” and my answer is always yes. This type of question used to drive me crazy. Why can’t others just accept that I actually enjoy healthy food? At the end of the day, you’re not going to please everyone. You need to do what makes you feel good. I still have balance and a healthy relationship with food, even if I still choose to go for my healthier dessert option. The difference in all of this is where my head and mental state is at. I can honestly say I’m truly in a better place. Not every day is perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot better than where it used to be. It’s all about progress, not perfection!

I hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving!

I’m absolutely so grateful for all of you!

5 Essential Tips to a Calmer Mind

5 Essential Tips to a Calmer Mind

Happy HUMP day y’all!

For this weeks post I wanted to share with you tips I’ve been using to help calm my ever-so-racing mind! Being an adult is hard AF. The number one thing that’s been giving me a bit of anxiety lately has been around finances. Who else can relate? It’s unfortunate that money tends to be the number one culprit behind anxiety and stress for the average person. As you all know, I left my steady paycheck to pursue starting my own business. Luckily, I have no family, kids, college tuition, etc. to pay for…but that doesn’t mean I’m not covering rent, internet, gas/electric, car insurance, car payments, groceries, boston city parking tickets and tow fees (LOL) and oh just trying to have a social life as a 25-year old living in a thriving city. Yep, costs certainly add up and unfortunately, they’ve been leaving me with quite a bit of stress these days. I know I’m not alone and knew I had to share with you my personal tips that help me to calm my crazy mind. I wish I could say these would help to solve all financial issues (haha wishful thinking) BUT they certainly help to get into a right headspace, to then be able to better tackle solving those financial burdens.

1) Take a walk and listen to your favorite podcast.

I know this sounds obvious, but I promise you it’s an INSTANT mood-booster and gets your mind off of things. Find a podcast (or two) that you’re super into and commit to listening to them on walks. My podcast list is growing which leaves me with more motivation to get out the door and kill a podcast or two each day. Plus, the added vitamin D is SO crucial and hello, walking = happy endorphins!

PS – here’s a quick list of some of my fave podcasts at the moment. They’re all available on itunes and are FREE!

  • The Chasing Joy Podcast (positivity, wellness, self-love)
  • The Skinny Confidential: Him & Her Podcast (wellness, blogging/business tips, marketing your brand)
  • Actually Adultish (wellness, “adult” things for people in their 20’s and 30’s)
  • Rich Roll Podcast (wellness, entrepreneurship, spirituality, veganism, endurance training)
  • BulletProof Radio (wellness topics)
  • The Lively Show (high vibe living, law of attraction)
  • Let it Out with Katie Dalebout (wellness, positivity, self-love, entrepreneurship)
  • The Balanced Blonde: Soul on Fire (Spirituality, health & wellness)

2) Essential Oils, Diffusers, Candles, and Incense

This has been a big part of my practice lately, whether during yoga, meditation, or just hanging out at night before bed. Lavender oil can be rubbed on the back of your neck, your third eye, on the inside of your wrists, or pillow before going to sleep. The aroma of the “lavender helps to remove nervous exhaustion and restlessness, while increasing mental activity.” I love adding it to my diffuser before going to bed.

I’m also obsessed with lighting candles and incense. Incense are so cheap to purchase, you can buy various scents (including lavender if you wanted to keep up with that calming trend), they smell amazing, and instantly have a calming effect on me. I think personally, incense remind me of a yoga studio, which tends to be a calm, peaceful place that I can mindfully take myself to in the comfort of my own home.

3) Get upside down AND practice light, restorative yoga.

When in doubt, I always get upside down! Whether it’s headstand, forearmstand, handstand or just a simple, legs up the wall, inversions have been proven to have a calming effect on the mind and get the blood circulating which is KEY. If you can’t do a headstand, DON’T YOU WORRY! It’s just as effective to put your legs up the wall! Find any way to get your legs comfortably vertical. Also, peep my blog post on simple yoga moves to help relive stress and anxiety!

4) Whip up a calming beverage before bed or in the morning. It also never hurts to have a side of Cacao Vegan Chocolate 😉

There are a number of go-to concoctions I’ll whip up if I’m feeling super stressed or anxious. Most importantly, you certainly want to AVOID caffeine if you’re already feeling very uneasy. My go-to beverages include:

  • a calming tea: chamomile tea, peppermint tea, lemon balm tea, passion flower tea, rose tea
  • OR you can boil warm water, add fresh squeezed lemon, fresh ginger, and a drizzle of honey
  • CALM VITALITY – all natural anxiety relief powder that you add to warm water. Promotes healthy magnesium levels and calcium intake. You can learn more about the product here.
  • Make a healing “golden milk”. Golden milk is a medicinal drink that has been used for years in eastern medicine. Simply add 1 tsp of turmeric, a splash of cinnamon, ginger (optional), cardamon (optional), a pinch of black pepper, 1 tsp coconut butter (optional) a sweetener of your choice (maple syrup, honey, or organic vanilla extract) with 1 cup of warm coconut milk and mix well. Occasionally I’ll throw it in my nutribullet, but if I’m lazy, I just use a mini whisk! I love having this before bed. It makes me feel SO good and you get so many anti-inflammatory benefits!

And for my favorite go-to vegan chocolates?

5) MEDITATE.

I know, I know you probably hear this ALL the TIME. But, I promise you, it does help and can instantly put you in euphoria. I had been playing around with different methods of meditation, which I’ve shared below.

  • Guided meditation. There are SO many free ones on youtube. Just search “5 or 10 minute guided meditation” and find one you like.
  • Candle light mediation. Best done in the dark (Either early morning or at night). Sit upright on the floor. Stair into the candle without trying to blink as much as possible. After 5 minutes or so, close your eyes and focus internally on your third eye. You should see a colorful image of the flame still burning. Use that as your focus point. If you lose it, you can open your eyes again and refocus on the flame for another minute or so before shutting the eyes again.
  • Silent, seated meditation. This has been working the best for me lately, however, I advise you play around with timing of the day. I used to try and practice in the morning but found this just did not suit me well. I started mediating between the hours of 4-6pm which seem to work MUCH better for me. Usually at this time of day, my to-do list is out of my head and I’m actually read to just sit and be mindful. I’ll usually set my timer for 10 minutes, while sitting up right on the floor with a block under my butt (helps with comfort).

Though these work well for me, everyone is different! Play around and see what works for you. Also, if you have any ideas/or tips that aren’t posted about, please comment and share below! I love hearing what everyone else does to relieve stress and anxiety.

15 tips that have helped me: GET OUT OF A RUT

15 tips that have helped me: GET OUT OF A RUT

Hi all!

I’ll start by saying that I love instagram HOWEVER it definitely paints a “perfect” picture when in some cases, that’s not always accurate. The reason why I bring this up is because like most people, us “health and wellness” bloggers get caught up in a rut from time to time as well. No one is perfect. Recently, a few weeks ago, I was feeling stuck in a rut – lazy, a bit unmotivated, tired, lacking my usual “bubbliness” and of course on top of that, feelings of personal doubt and helplessness began to takeover my mind. I personally believe I do suffer from seasonal depression and when you’re stuck inside for a few days straight due to the harsh winds, snow, and below freezing temps, it can certainly take a tole on your emotions, some people (like myself) may be even more affected by this. When these types of emotions begin to pile one on top of another, I fall into a somewhat unhealthy behavior. These emotions in turn trigger my stress and anxiety therefore even worsening my sleep deprivation. I will be the first to tell you that the second I can feel my body lacking the sleep and rest it needs, it automatically goes into a fight or flight mode which leads to stress and emotional eating.

Though my usual go-to, stress eating meal sounds “healthy” in some regards (it’s certainly not a sleeve of oreos or a pint of ice cream), it’s still a form of over-eating for me as it’s not typically part of my “normal” intuitive routine. This meal may (and usually does) resemble something along the lines of a huge bowl of coconut yogurt, piled high with granola, almond butter, a crumbled up macrobar, and allllll the other goods. By the time I’ve finished this “parfait” (if you could even call it that…) I’m stuffed beyond the point of getting off the couch and I just feel my anxiety levels increase even more even though this was my form of so called, “curing that stress”. So, this unfortunately becomes a somewhat ebb and flow cycle depending on how long I’m stuck in this rut.

However, luckily, if I can find the motivation and determination within myself (which I usually do after a few days of this) I am able to slowly get out of this slump. Not going to lie, it takes a LOT of self-motivation and will-power, but MAN does it feel good when you finally wake up that morning knowing it’s going to be a GOOD day. Below are some quick tips, take it or leave it!

1.) Get Journaling!

I think I’ve listened to enough of Katie Dalebout’s podcasts to see the benefits behind jotting a few things down! I’ve taken some of her tips and now wake up every morning and ensure the FIRST thing I do within that hour of waking up is writing down THREE things that I’m grateful for. It’s seriously THAT easy. Takes less than 1 minute and overtime, you truly do feel the positive benefits of sharing your gratification.

2.) Meditating

I’d by lying if I told you I was consistent with meditating everyday. Trust me, it’s been a struggle for me. I’ve downloaded and tried a number of apps, but some mornings I just wake up with too many thoughts and can’t even bare the thought of sitting still for 10 minutes. HOWEVER, I can totally tell the difference between my days where I start with meditation verses those where I miss it completely. A good 10-minute guided meditation is a really nice way to check in with yourself and start getting out of that slump.

3.) Play Music

I’m absolutely a LOVER of music. Music is good for the mood, the soul, the bod – literally everything and can instantly bring your mood from 0 – 10 just like that. Since mornings are where you really need to take control of your day and start it on the right note, I find a few different styles help to get me back on track.

4.) Inversions, Yoga, or Just a good Sweat Sesh

Being upside down circulates the blood flow, helps to relieve anxiety, stress, etc. Or partake in some backbends and hip-openers to release those tied up emotions.

5.) As soon as the suns out, force yourself to walk for an hour & listen to a positive podcast.

Unfortunately living in Boston has it’s downfalls in the winter. There may be 5 days straight where its cold and cloudy. But, the second that sun peeps out, I force myself to get out, walk, and tune into a good podcast. Here are some of my fave ones:

6.) Feed your body with ALL the good mood superfoods.

Maca powder, raw organic Cacao Powder, coconut, spirulina, goji berries, hemp seeds, etc.

7.) Self-Care

Give yourself a face mask, treat yourself to a massage or a mani/pedi.

8.) Plan a trip or event to look forward to.

We just booked a trip to Colorado in the fall and I CAN NOT WAIT. Nature, Red Rocks Amphitheater, GOOD FOOD, quality time with the boyfraaan.

9.) Organize and Clean.

A lot of times when I’m in a funk, I blast music and get into a crazy cleaning mode. I can’t tell you how many times Justin has come home and I have a bag full of random things in the apartment that I’m either throwing away or donating. Sometimes purging items can be so beneficial to your own health. Plus a clean, organized space definitely plays a part in an organized life.

10.) Get rid of old clothes you don’t wear.

^ same concept as above.

11.) Help out a local charity.

Nothing helps more than giving back. It’s so fulfilling to help others out and you’d be surprised what karma you get in return.

12.) Cuddle with dogs (or bae).

I mean, does this even need an explanation?

13.) Get rid of the food (for now) that is your go-to when you’re stress/emotional eating.

Putting the emphasis on “for now” because I don’t believe these should be cut out indefinitely. I just sometimes need a week or 2 without them to set myself back to normality.

14.) GET SLEEP!!!!

I can’t stress this enough. Sleep deprivation is always the main culprit for putting me into these “ruts” in the first place. So even if this means staying in all weekend and rescheduling plans with friends – do it. You need that time to unwind and reset.

15.) Make to-do lists and get yourself back in a routine.

Hopefully a few (or all) of these tips can help you out if you’re ever feeling like you’re stuck in a rut. PS – you’re not alone. So many of us fall into this, so don’t beat yourself up over it. That will only make things worst (trust me, I’ve been there, done that)!

** LAST last bit of advice – FIND SOMETHING THAT INSPIRES YOU **

Here’s the WHY and HOW behind stepping up your morning coffee routine

Here’s the WHY and HOW behind stepping up your morning coffee routine

If you’re like me and find yourself scrolling through instagram daily, you’ve probably stumbled upon some new, jazzy “buzzwords” for coffee. Gone are the days when freshly ground and brewed coffee was just enough. The coffee standards have been seriously heightened thanks to the introduction of research and knowledge behind superfoods, ghee, MCT oil, collagen, and so on. I’m no expert or dietician, but I’ve certainly done enough research in this area to understand the benefits behind adding these ingredients to your coffee. Sure, there’s the “coolness” factor added in when you make at-home coffee look as frothy and instagram-worthy as your loyal, neighborhood barista. But, believe it or not, there’s more to this coffee-game then meets the eye!

To make this as easy as possible, I’m going to breakdown my superfood coffee for ya!

1) C O F F E E

— Obviously, you need to start with a fresh, fair-trade, 100% organic coffee. I’m a bit of a coffee snob and buy the coffee beans from Whole Foods. I have a coffee bean grinder (thanks Dad for the hand me down!) that does wonders — highly recommend if you’re into coffee and want to one-up your game. I’m a sucker for the OG (original) or Hazelnut.

2) M A C A P O W D E R

— Why Maca? WOMEN listen up here – this superfood powder has amazing benefits for both men and women, however, ladies definitely see an added plus to their well-being. The most widely-known benefit of maca is it’s ability to aid in balancing hormones, therefor reducing menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, depression, etc. Additionally, here’s another fun one, Maca can increase a woman’s sex drive and function – oh HEEEYYY NOW. Enhancing ones mood and energy levels, aiding in fertility, and increasing bone density are among the remaining benefits of incorporating maca powder into your diet. You can read more on the reason behind these benefits via the Global Healing site.

3) C A C A O P O W D E R

— Why Cacao? Well for one, if you’re an intense, dark-chocolate lover like myself, why would you NOT add this chocolatey goodness to your coffee?! There are so many deliciously scrumptious benefits to cacao – some of the main ones being it’s insanely high in antioxidants per serving. Similarly to maca, it also has the ability to enhance ones mood, energy levels, sex-drive, balance hormonal levels, combat heart disease, resets your metabolism, improved digestion and SO many more facts that can be found on Daily Superfood Love.

4) A S H W A G A N D H A

— Why ashwagandha? If you haven’t noticed a pattern her ladies, this superfood powder is quite similar to cacao and maca in how it can help women in so many unique areas of wellness. As I’m sure many can relate, stress in this day and age, pops up regularly. Our mind, body, and of course our sympathetic nervous system, have a natural reaction to go into “fight or flight” mode which is where the root of our anxiety and stress come from. This special superfood powder has the ability to lower these natural cortisol levels, which in turn, can have such a powerful & beneficial affect on our overall wellbeing. As you know, high levels of constant stress can be so damaging on the body and can lead to a quicker aging process. Like maca and cacao, this root powder can aid in sex drive, mood, menopausal support, fertility, and interestingly, memory support. Again, more can be found on the Global Healing site around this superfood.

5) B U L L E T P R O O F B R A I N O C T A N E

— Why add bullet proof brain octane to your diet? Some of the benefits here include, supporting cognitive function, can aid in that morning “brain fog”, is a reliable and quick source of energy production, and can help your body metabolize and burn fat. Bullet proof brain octane is a energy source that can be found in coconut oil. However, this product is unique in that the brain octane is made with only C8 MCTs, which metabolize more efficiently into ketone energy than more common oils with C10 and C12 MCTs. All of these facts and benefits can be found on their site, Bullet Proof.

6) C O L L A G E N

— Why add collagen powder to your coffee? Well for one, it gives it that glorious froth we all love in our cup of joe! But, more importantly, collagen can help increase all aspects of beauty, health, and fitness in your life! In short, collagen peptides supply amino acids which are essential in helping to build new collagen in your body. The new collagen being rebuilt in your body help to maintain healthy connective tissues (which for athletes is essential) and can decrease injury towards muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Additionally, collagen can help in increasing bone mass density, restore and enhance your nails, hair, and skin by improving the elasticity and moisture. I love the Vital Proteins marine collagen and their Beauty Collagen greens, both of which I use daily. More on the benefits of collagen can be found on their site at Vital Proteins.

7) C I N N A M O N + A L M O N D M I L K

— Last but not least, I ALWAYS add a sprinkle of cinnamon (for taste and it’s ability to lower blood sugar levels) and a splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk to my coffee blend.

Now that you know all of the ingredients and the benefits behind my superfood, bullet-proof, collagen coffee, all you need now is a blender of some sort. Add your usual serving size of coffee, plus add a serving size of each of the above ingredients (usually about 1 tsp or so – but the labels will direct you). Blend for about 30 seconds – 1 minute. You’ll notice the froth level went from a 0 to a 10 REAL fast. Pour and enjoy!!

go FLOAT

go FLOAT

Weird title, right…?

No, I’m not referring to the kind where you grab yourself a donut floatie and chill poolside. I’m referring to a float tank or what can also be referred to as a deprivation or isolation tank. My boyfriend and I first heard about these so called “deprivation tanks” via the Joe Rogan podcast. Joe Rogan is a regular when it comes to floating and certainly swears by it’s benefits. This “deprivation tank” may also ring a bell if you’ve binge watched the series “Stranger Things” on Netflix (I’ll get to this later in my post)! Anyway, if this is your first time hearing of such thing, let me try and do my best to give you the low down on what it is and it’s benefits.

Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is a FLOAT TANK?

Well, it’s essentially an isolated pod or tank that is filled with water (it’s pretty shallow – I’d say shin height) almost entirely saturated with 850-1,000 pounds of epsom salt. The water temperature is kept around 95 degrees to match your body temp, which thankfully feels like you’re jumping into a nice warm bath, but after just a few minutes, you realize that the feeling becomes almost imperceptible. The idea here is that it’s replicating the dead sea – as soon as you make your way into the tank and lay on your back, you automatically float weightlessly and effortlessly. As if you couldn’t pile on any more sensations to the mix, now take away all light and sound. You are now floating in a dark, quiet tank for 60 minutes. WOAH. And when I mean quiet, you literally can’t hear anything but your own breath (PS – they provide you with earplugs so that you can comfortably float in the water without any distractions like getting salt water in your ears).

So, what’s the benefit of floating in this type of environment?

Well for one, it is SO relaxing and if you can, even for just a few minutes, find yourself in a deep meditative state, the outcome is SO incredibly rewarding. As I was reading through the FLOAT Boston’s FAQ page, I stumbled across this term known as “Flotation REST (Reduced Environmental Stimulation Therapy) (which) triggers your physiological relaxation response directly, so you don’t need to meditate or focus or manage your thoughts in any way.” Pretty crazy!!

So in addition to the float tank being well, insanely relaxing, there are also a number of other beneficial outcomes. As you likely saw from my post last week on yoga moves to help with stress and anxiety – these feelings and emotions seem to be a highly talked about topic lately, which is unfortunate. It seems as though it’s almost become OK to be stressed, like if you’re not stressed, then maybe you’re not working or trying hard enough. With all of these added social pressures around us, we haven’t taken enough time to think about ourselves. Luckily, I’m starting to see a change here, especially in the blogger community where people are truly beginning to put themselves first. Self-care, self-love — all are BIG words and resolutions of 2017, which is AMAZING! Anyway, I know I’m a little off topic, but that’s an area I’ve felt really passionate about lately.

As I was saying above, taking 60 minutes of your day to literally just float in a dark tank seems crazy, right? Especially for those who have busy, non-stop schedules? Yes, I realize 60 minutes is a lot, but this is a great way to cut out any and ALL distractions and truly disconnect from everyone and everything. Also, I found out that a regular visit can help improve sleep as well!

Now that you’ve gotten the down low, I’ll briefly share with you my experience…

As you know, I’m living in the Boston area. There aren’t too many options, but I did stumble upon the amazing FLOAT Boston – located in Somerville, MA. Justin and I booked our float tanks for the same time, each for 60 minutes. They advise you not to drink any coffee before hand, nor to eat a heavy meal, as you want to be as relaxed as possible. As soon as we walked in, we were overwhelmed by a pleasing, spa-like calmness. We had to remove our shoes and replace them with terry-cloth slippers. We then took a seat in the small common area, where we were offered water. They were super friendly and informative upon our arrival, especially knowing we were new to this. Though we booked our tank for the same time, each person is directed into their own float room.

Once we entered our individual rooms, we were advised to shower off, strip down (so FREEEEING!), and put our ear plugs in. You then open the dark tank and make your way into silence. I found myself a bit tense at first and it took me a few minutes to totally let myself go. You truly do float weightlessly with your head just comfortably above the water. After probably 5 minutes or so of feeling my way around, playing with moving my arms and legs back and forth, I finally got over the “discovery” stage and began to try and free my mind and really embrace the full 60-minute experience.

I’m obviously not going to walk you through all 60-minutes of my thoughts but here are some ideas that I experienced.

Circa 2003 when Finding Nemo came out and there’s that scene deep, deep in the ocean where it’s literally dead silent and completely dark. Dory and Nemo see a light and Dory goes “hey conscience, am I dead?” Yep, that’s how I felt at one point.

Another thought that came up was, I wonder if this is what it feels like to be floating in space…like no destination, no idea where you’ll end up, you’re literally just floating there. Hard to describe, but the thought of space 100% came up.

Another thought was, Oh crap, am I going to fall into another dimension? Yes, this is where watching Stranger Things before hand was a bad idea. I don’t want to give anything away, but if you plan on watching it, do the float tank BEFORE hand 🙂

Besides my thoughts that came in and out, I definitely know for sure that I fell into a meditative state a few times during the span of the 60 minutes. It’s hard to say how long for, but I really tried my best to get there. I find it helps me concentrate by focusing on my third eye. I’m definitely new to meditation, so for beginners, you may find this as a helpful tip!

Towards the end, not going to lie, I think I slowly fell into a bit of a sleep which is not exactly where you want to be, but luckily I think it only lasted for a few minutes! They bring you back to awareness with some light classical music when your 60 minutes finished up. This was also a strange feeling as I couldn’t tell if I was beginning to make noises and music up in my head OR if this truly was the cue to get out haha.

Overall, I REALLY loved this experience. I came out feeling SO incredibly relaxed and definitely high on happy endorphins. If the price wasn’t so high, I’d be back weekly for sure. Unfortunately, given my tight budget, I’ll likely only be going every few months. Regardless, I definitely recommend the experience at least ONCE! Let me know if you have any further questions or comments 🙂

Happy Floating!!

*Featured Image taken from: http://superiorfloattanks.com/experience/

5 Yoga Moves to Help Relieve Anxiety and Stress

5 Yoga Moves to Help Relieve Anxiety and Stress

Hello everyone!

For this weeks blog post I wanted to share with you some fairly simple yoga moves to help reduce anxiety, stress, worrisome, and so on! Trust me, you’re not alone. We all likely go through periods in our lives whether it’s personal or work related, where we’re feeling overwhelmed, helpless, unsure of ourselves, and so forth. There are so many natural remedies out there we can look to in order to help reduce the anxiety and stress we may experience from time to time. I myself have a strong type-A personality which leads me to put un-necessary added pressure on myself, which ultimately surfaces feelings of doubt, uncertainty and of course, can be the leading causes of my anxiety or stress I may experience.

As soon as I’m feeling any of these emotions bottled up, I now find myself naturally on the yoga mat – even if it’s for 10-15 minutes, to bring myself to the present moment, BREATHE, close my eyes, and truly feel myself and the stress go away as I flow through these poses. You only need just 10 minutes a day to incorporate these poses, whether it be first thing in the morning, mid-day, or just before going to bed. The last thing I want to call out is that no pose is PERFECT. We’re all at different levels, we all have various strengths and flexibility throughout the yoga practice. It’s important to not put to much pressure on whether your legs are straight or your back is perfectly curved – what’s important is to truly FEEL the stretch. Close your eyes and let your mind and body naturally connect. This feeling you will find is where yoga happens.

1) Dandasana – Staff Pose / Janu Sirsasana – Head to Knee pose

How to get into pose 1: Sit on the mat comfortably with your legs stretched out in front, flex the toes and try to keep your legs together. Place your hands by the sides of your hips and ensure your mounds of your hands are firmly grounded next to you. As you firmly press into the mat, you should automatically feel your spine elongate.

*This is a great post to begin with before moving into Janu Sirsasana (the next pose below).

How to move into pose 2: Firmly ground one leg long into the mat. From staff pose, bend one knee in and place your foot on the inner thigh of your opposite leg that is lengthened and grounded into the mat. It also helps to soften your belly, engage you butt, and then inhale up and lengthen your arms above your head. As you exhale, fall forward, placing your body over your lengthened leg. It’s OK to have a bend in your knees as you really want to feel this stretch lengthen your spine and stretch your lower back. It’s also helpful to use a strap as a variation!

Additional benefits: helps with digestion, relieves menstrual pain, calms the mind

2) Baddha Konasana – Bound Angle Pose

How to get into this pose: You can feel free to begin from staff pose (as explained above). From here, ensure your butt is firmly grounded and you bring your heels to meet. This will help to ensure you’re externally rotating your hips and this activation will help to intensify the stretch. Continue to lengthen through the tailbone through to your spine and grip your hands around the feet. Feel free to bend forward for a variation of this stretch.

Additional benefits: improved circulation, alleviates menstrual pain, hip-opener

3) Uttana Shishosana – Extended Puppy Pose

How to get into this pose: This will feel like a mix between child’s pose and downward dog! Begin in table top by coming onto all fours. You’ll want to be sure your shoulders are directly above your wrists and that your hips are inline with your knees. From here, you can begin to walk your hands out in front of you, keeping them lengthened. As you exhale further into the pose, you can begin to shift your hips back towards your heels. You should feel a nice stretch in your spine as you maintain a bit of a curve. Feel free to rest your head on a block or to the floor in front of you.

Additional Benefits: stretches spine and shoulders

4) Ustrasana – Camel Pose

How to get into this pose: **Before moving right into this pose, ensure you’ve properly stretched out your back with possible variations of baby cobra, upward facing dog, locust pose, or spinx!! This is important as the camel pose is a intense backbend stretch. To start, you’ll want to begin in a kneeling position, hip-width distance apart. Next place your hands on the inside part of your hips and push your chest open, while your shoulder blades then press towards one another (further expanding your chest open). From here, you can begin to gently lean your head backwards, but be careful of your neck, especially if you’ve had any injuries here! At this point, you can choose to move into a couple of variations as seen below. It tends to be easier with the blocks by your side or by curling your toes up to add extra length if you’re unable to move as deeply into the pose. Be careful not to hold this pose too long. Come up slowly and beware of dizziness and high blood pressure. You may choose to start with an easier variation and then move into a more challenging one on your second round.


Additional benefits: relives menstrual pain, eliminates constipation, increased stretch around neck, hips, butt, etc.!

5) Viparita Karani – Legs up the wall Pose (aka one of my FAVORITES)

How to get into this pose: First of all, this is easily my favorite pose to do. I love doing this while in bed right before I go to sleep. It’s such a calming pose and you can really feel the tingly benefits from it as it drains your lactic acid and circulates your blood. Before moving against the wall, you’ll want to think about your height/distance from the wall, your flexibility, and whether you’ll need any added support under your lower back for comfort. You don’t need to worry about being at a perfect 90 degree angle, just ensure you’re feeling comfortable with where your lower back and sit bones fall. This should NOT be a straining pose. You should be able to hold this pose between 5-10 minutes to soak up all of the amazing benefits. Try playing around with variations/different support using a blanket or a block, etc. Enjoy!

Additional benefits: insomnia, mild depression, headaches/migraines, digestive problems

Hopefully these moves help to reduce any of that stress and anxiety if practiced daily. Feel free to leave any comments, follow/message me on my instagram page @eatrunandallinbetween or email me at: pappascalli@gmail.com with any questions 🙂


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