I hope by now you know that stress is bad for your immune system. Science has shown that increased, prolonged chronic stress wreaks havoc on hormones and our immune system, making us more susceptible to colds and illness.
Did you know that the inverse is also true? A study showed that keeping a gratitude journal was shown to improve cardiovascular health.
And you know what else helps improve your health? Hugs! A 20 second hug releases dopamine and oxytocin which decrease stress and flood your body with "feel good" hormones. But even more so, a recent study has shown that people who hugged more got sick less.
Click below to hear more about the immunology of joy and gratitude and "molecules of emotion" on Dr. Hyman's Farmacy Podcast.
It's estimated more than 4 out of 10 Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. The absolute #1 place to get Vitamin D is from sun 🌞 and so it feels like a good time to loop back on what exactly Vitamin D does.
What does Vitamin D do for the body?
The most well known - and critical use of vitamin D in the body is to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. But what else does Vitamin D do? Think the "3 Ds":
What affects Vitamin D absorption?
Vitamin D is produced in the body when UVB rays are absorbed by the skin. Here are the main things that can impact absorption.
How to get more Vitamin D
And finally, here's a great blog post from my favorite doctor, Mark Hyman with some more info on specific levels. Now I'd love to hear from you. Have you gotten your vitamin D levels checked? Let us know what's worked for you!
Love and health,
When I stopped working full time as a PR executive to stay home with my family, I had a bit of an identity crisis. Who was I without my crazy schedule and insane deadlines? It was during that time that I read A New Earth by Ekhart Tolle and it rocked my world. I began to realize that I am simply who I am at any given time and I started to journey into wellness. It lead me here - as a wellness entrepreneur, family carpool karaoke aficionado, and amateur meditator. I'm the happiest and most fulfilled I've ever been and so I want to take a moment to dig deeper into meditation, go through some of the objections people have, and give you some simple ways to get started. So let's dig in.
This video from Oprah's Super Soul series is one of my favorite explanations.
A teacher of mine once said simply, "There's a part of each one of us that is always meditating. A place inside us that is quiet, mindful and at peace. When we practice meditating, we are creating space to allow that part to come forward."
Meditation is NOT about clearing your mind.
Meditation is simply about sitting and acknowledging thoughts and emotions with some detachment. And the first part of this is mindfulness.
1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
2. a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
So why meditate?
The science is firmly behind us on this one. Here's a great article from Psychology Today on some of the key benefits, including:
Meditation also unearths and gets rid of stress from the past. This is what my guru Emily Fletcher of Ziva meditation calls "unstressing" and is a powerful tool. Since you've likely been hanging on to that stuff for a while, I'd way it's an excellent time to get that stuff up and out.
Now that we've explained why you should meditate, let's move on to objections:
I suck at meditating.
To quote Emily Fletcher, "We meditate to get good at life, not to get good at meditation." So getting good at it should not be your goal. Getting good a committing to do it should be the goal.
I don't have time.
I get it. Meditating is an extra activity in your day. But the options that I'm going to give you below start at a 3 minute meditation up to a 2x/day 20-minute meditation. You just need to decide that you want to do it. I wake up 20 minutes earlier in the morning and immediately meditate. I set my second meditation in my calendar. Sometimes it's on the subway or a bus. Sometimes it's only 10 minutes. But I'm committed.
I can't meditate.
You can't sit still for 5 minutes? As we discussed above, the only goal of meditation is to sit an acknowledge thoughts and emotions with some detachment. So...I bet you can.
There are many meditation programs and apps to use and I'd love to hear from you which ones have worked. I started with guided meditations/mindfulness exercises and loved them, but decided about six months ago to take off the training wheels and took an advanced program and now I meditate all by myself 2x/day. So there's a full range of options and here are some popular favorites:
- Headspace. Guided meditations starting a 3 minutes. The meditations are guided by creator Andy who has a fabulous British accent, making the whole experience really enjoyable.
- Calm. Guided by the lovely Tamara Levitt, Calm has all types of meditation including some bedtime stories for both kids and adults.
- Ziva Meditation. Emily Fletcher has developed a meditation training that is specifically designed for busy people. She blends mindfulness, meditation and manifestation to really target all areas of your brain. I stated with her online training program and then went and spent a few days with her here in NYC to deepen my practice. I love her.
- Go to a meditation class. Many yoga studios have them and in NYC we have a fabulous meditation space called MNDFL with locations throughout the city.
Other popular options that I haven't personally tried include 10 Percent Happier with Dan Harris and Trascendental Meditation (TM).
And now I'd like to hear from you! Tell me what's worked, what else you'd like to share!
As I write this, we are heading into Memorial Day weekend, the official kickoff of summer and Friday traffic! My friend Sarah messaged me this morning for my top podcast picks since I'm often posting my favorites on social media, and it inspired me to pull together some of my favorites for all of you.
Podcasts are not just for big road trips. I listen to them on my runs and just walking in the city. You can listen to them in bits and pieces on the way to and from work, expand your mind and learn some new things. Here's my top few and I'd love to hear from you so please send me your favorites. Happy listening!
Health - Personal Growth - Mind/Body
The Doctor's Farmacy by Dr. Mark Hyman. Mark Hyman is this best. He's smart, funny, vulnerable and curious. He brings on amazing guests and discusses the most important health topics of our day. One of my most recent favorites features Tim Ryan - and this is not a political podcast so don't get worked up about the title, "Why we need a president who cares about food."
The Broken Brain Series was an outgrowth of the original docu-series by the same name co-hosted by Mark Hyman (above) and Dr. Dhru Purohit, another extraordinary human being. Spoiler alert - our brains aren't "broken" but there's a lot of stuff we can do to get them running better. My mind was simply blown by "How to redesign the subconscious mind" with Peter Crone.
The Marie Forleo Podcast is one of my favorite podcasts. Marie is an amazing human being with a singular goal of helping us all become the people we were meant to be. She's funny, shares my love for 90s Rap and R&B, and her podcasts never fail to educate and inspire. Learn about the "Latte Effect" in this episode, "Want more money?"
Oprah's Super Soul Series
Need I say more? Listen to anything - honestly. they are amazing. But you can start with Oprah talking to fellow queen Brene Brown.
True Stories - Can't make this stuff up...
I love podcasts that dig into stories I wouldn't otherwise know about OR go back and relook at historical events through a new lens. These are a few of my favorites.
Dirty John. If you haven't already watched the show on Netflix, definitely listen to this first with discussions with the actual victims. Crazy.
Bag Man by Rachel Maddow. Spiro Agnew. I had NO idea. And if you haven't listened to this there's a 99% chance that you have no idea what really went down either.
Slow Burn by Leon Neyfakh. I think it's important to revisit history with the benefit of perspective and that's what Slow Burn does so well. I flew through the first two seasons of this podcast during my runs. The first deals with Watergate and the second the Clinton scandal.
Serial Season 1 by Sarah Koenig. My friend Sam turned me onto this podcast years ago when we were both training for some races. I haven't gotten into the later seasons but this first one was phenomenal and this story has been turned into a 4 part docu-series on HBO entitled The Case Against Adnan Syed. Again, I'd listen to how this all went down first here.
What is small, red and whispers?
...A hoarse radish
Did you know that radishes are a great natural remedy for jaundice? Jaundice, when your skin or the whites of your eyes become yellowed, happens when there’s too much bilirubin (a yellow pigment) in the blood. We know that babies get it commonly but it’s also happens in adults.
Radishes are high in Vitamin C, a master antioxidant that cannot be produced by the body so you need to get it from fruits and vegetables. I know I keep touting the benefits of Vitamin C - and I’m going to keep doing it - because it also helps improve iron absorption, helps white blood cells function, protects your brain and more.
I love using radishes as a low carb chip…and don’t throw out the radish leaves because they are edible, and contain more vitamin C, protein, and calcium than the the radish itself! Radishes are coming into season so grab them and make this delicious salad from bestrecipebox.com
For the salad:
Figs the doorbell, it's broken!
Figs are one of the richest plant sources of a variety of vitamins and minerals, including:
* vitamin A
* vitamin C
* vitamin K
* B vitamins
I love fresh figs in a salad with walnut oil and some balsamic vinegar 😋and my favorite is putting them in my chocolate smoothie. “Complete” Heaven. (JP humor for the win!)
Because he couldn’t find a date!
The beauty of the date, aka “nature’s candy”, is it has naturally occurring sugars combined with a lot of fiber and a bunch of important nutrients, like magnesium, copper and vitamins B6, A, and K. (V-K doesn’t get a lot of air time and it’s critical for clotting blood and transporting calcium around the body).
Fun fact - dates have been around for about 50 million years! Which means…dates DATE way back! There are actually several varieties of dates but the most popular, delicious and nutritious is the Medjool. Dates:
I love using as a natural sweetener and as a bonding ingredient in protein balls. And of course I love my chocolate compete so here’s a recipe using that.
Chocolate Protein Balls
2 scoops Juice Plus+ Chocolate Complete
7oz dates pitted
2 oz walnuts
¼ cup hemp seeds
Pinch of cinnamon
Dash of sea salt
¼ cup almond butter
1. Place dates in mixer, blend until a ball forms. Set aside.
2. blend the walnuts until you get a flour-like consistency.
3. Add Complete Chocolate powder, hemp seeds, sea salt and cinnamon. Transfer to a bowl, add almond butter.
5. Put dates back into mixer and mix until you have a smooth dough. (add a little cacao powder or milk to get right consistency. Refrigerate and roll into balls.
Hi everyone! Every month, our wellness community locks arms for a Shred10 - 10 days of shredding habits and foods that don't serve us, and flooding our bodies with the food and habits that move us forward. One of our guidelines is to try to finish our last meal by 6 pm. I want to dig into this suggestion and a little bit more because it's not about just what we eat, but when we eat it. Here's a few things to chew on:
I know what many of you are thinking...
"I don't even get out of work until 6 pm!"
"I have dinner with my spouse and I wait for her/him to get home!"
"I'm hungry at night!"
Constraints can get in the way, and habits and desires can be barriers. So I'll just ask you to think about how you could shift. Could you have a small salad or your smoothie with your spouse at dinner instead of a full meal? Can you shut down the kitchen for the night after, say, 7 pm? Can you push breakfast off in the morning and focus on rehydrating before refueling? This is all about small shifts, that lead to changes, that lead to lasting changes.
We are planning our next Shred10 as I write this so let me know if you want to jump in, give me a holler!
Love you all!
Is getting your body moving more one of your health goals? I hope so because our bodies are meant to move.
So what kind of exercise should you do? My short answer? Start with doing what you WILL DO, what you enjoy, build a habit and grow from there.
Need some motivation? Here are my 5 top reasons to move your body: