Soulstice Spa Blog

Agua, Acqua, H2O... December 21 2013

Any way you say it, water is vitally important to our heath and vitality.  During the winter months, we're often less inclined to drink water... and at the same time we're consuming more caffeinated drinks to stay warm and alcoholic drinks at holiday parties. Most of us are already slightly dehydrated, and then coffee and alcohol make matters worse by further dehydrating the body.  Why is water so important to our health and vitality?  

1.  The human body is made up of over 70% water, and the body relies on adequate water for all its systems (metabolic, detoxification, digestion, elimination and circulation) to function optimally.  The better hydrated you are, the better your entire body will feel!

2. Water = energy.  If you're feeling tired, resist the urge to reach for an espresso or sugary snack... you may be feeling the effects of dehydration.   Just a 5% drop in fluids results in a 20-30% loss of energy in a person, so instead, first try a large glass of purified water.

3. Dehydration exacerbates inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.  If your joints are stiff and achy, reach for a glass of water before the ibuprofen.

4. Water lubricates the joints and allows for fuller range of motion and flexibility.  Better yet, drink water while doing ten minutes of gentle stretching each day - you'll be surprised at how much better you feel with just ten minutes a day of regular practice.

5. The brain is made up of over 75% water... amazing!  Memory, focus, brain function and health is optimized by consuming adequate water.

6. Water is crucial to support our liver in detoxifying our bodies and flushing waste from our systems through perspiration, exhalation and elimination.  Give your body a break and makes its job easier by providing it plenty of H20 support!

Feeling thirsty or having a dry mouth is often the last indictor of dehydration.  More common symptoms are low energy, fatigue, dry skin, back pain, joint stiffness and a general feeling of sluggishness.

How much water should I be drinking, you might ask?  Depending on your activity level and size, the standard "eight glasses a day" might not be enough.  You should consume more water if you're above average in height and/or weight, do a lot of exercise, have a physically strenuous job, or drink quite a bit of caffeinated coffee, tea, sodas or alcohol. 

To make sure you get your water levels back to an optimal level, we recommend initially drinking your body weight in ounces of water daily for one week.  You should notice a big difference in your energy level, skin, and possibly even your hair and nails.  Your digestion should be smoother, and you might find yourself sleeping better as well.  Give it a try!


Fave Foods from the Trendy Vegan! December 12 2013

Moving to a plant-based diet can work wonders for your health and well-being.  And if you think a vegetarian food is dull, think again!  One of our favorite vegans Yonni Wattenmaker shares her imaginative & tasty food faves...

Favorite Cereal: Body Fuel Nutritionals Crunch.  I’m the creator of the recipe for this vegan, no gluten-added cereal.  Nuts, seeds, oats and a little touch of sweetness combine to make a well-balanced breakfast or snack.  I eat it as is or just add a bit of almond milk.  You can learn more about it at www.bodyfuelnutritionals.com (but bear with the website as it’s under construction!)

Favorite Breakfast That Isn’t Cereal: Banana with Nut Butter. I always have some sort of nut butter in my pantry at home and my snack drawer at work.  Peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower – I love them all.  After a workout, I love a tablespoon spread on a banana to go along with my coffee.

Favorite Prepared Food: Whole Foods Vegan Chicken Salad. When I’m running late to work and want to grab a quick lunch, I stop into my local Whole Fods and spend $3 on a little container of this vegan mock-chicken salad with tarragon and a touch of black pepper.  The tiny serving is more filling than you’d think!

Favorite Healthy Fat:  Avocado I eat avocado almost every day.  I’ll be honest, the fat content used to scare me, but I’m over it.  I dice it into salad, add it to a hummus wrap, put it on a bagel with cucumber slices and tomato and, of course, mash it into a fabulous guacamole. 

Favorite Thing To Eat With Avocado: Corn Tortilla Chips.  Again, you can easily find these to be both vegan and gluten-free and there are so many varieties.  They are my go-to snack with some of my famous guacamole, or with a great salsa (or even on their own!)  Just watch the ingredients – some have hidden milk products when they flavor the chips so read the labels carefully.

Favorite Salad Ingredients: Sundried Tomato and Beans. Take any lettuce – I prefer romaine and kale – throw in some sun-dried tomato (I choose the ones without oil) and some beans – garbanzo, black, cannelini – add some vinegar or dijon mustard, and your favorite oil and you have a perfect, well-rounded meal.  Sweet, savory, low fat and packed with nutrients.

Favorite Protein: Lentils. Enjoy these cold or hot, in scrambled tofu at breakfast over a salad for lunch, in a soup for dinner.  They boast protein and fiber and play well with others, like onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms and more!

Favorite Veggie: Brussel Sprouts.  I know – they might be the most hated of the vegetables, but they are so misunderstood!  Steam them and shred them and mix them with carmelized shallots and slivered toasted almonds, or roast them with a little extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt and a drizzle of maple syrup.  It’s like candy – leafy candy, but it’s true!

Favorite Cracker: Kame Sesame Crackers.  Gluten-free, low fat, low calorie and super crunchy.  Eat them alone, with some spreadable cheese or hummus or babaganoush. Seriously – I think there are 16 crackers to a pretty guilt-free serving!

Favorite Cheese to Go On That Cracker:  Daiya.  It’s hard to find a good vegan cheese but I think Daiya does pretty well.  I love their shredded cheddar in my mac ‘n cheese or atop my bean chili, and their sliced provolone isn’t too shabby on rosemary & olive oil crackers.

For more on Yonni, we invite you to visit The Trendy Vegan online and follow her on Twitter...


Kicking the Sugar Habit November 30 2013

 

Have a sweet tooth?  You're not alone!  Tis the season for temptation and sweet treats are all around in the form of chocolate, pies, cookies and cocktails...   The holiday season is a time to celebrate & enjoy, and that means a little bit of indulging!   But don't let dietary indulgences wreck your health and immune system - enjoy in moderation, control your sugar intake, and sail through the season healthy and feeling great.

Why is sugar  - in particular - so hard on the body??   Read on!

1/ Sugar suppresses the immune system, making us less able to fight off cold and flu bugs

2/ Sugar stresses the adrenals, making us feel tired and lethargic

3/ Sugar can trigger headaches

4/ Sugar can worsen the symptoms of PMS, anxiety and depression

5/ Sugar contributes to mood swings and blood sugar & energetic instability

6/ Sugar exacerbates auto-immune conditions like arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue

During the holidays - a time of heightened stress for many - don't stress your body even more by overloading it with sugar...  Here's a short list of either/ors to help you limit the most-damaging sweet stuff and replace it with the healthier choices.

- Choose a glass of bubbly or red wine over sugar-laden cocktails

- Choose mixed nuts over chocolates, candies and cookies at holiday events and parties

- Craving something warm & sweet while out shopping?  Skip the whipped cream-syrupy mocha-frappe-whatevers at Starbucks and choose herbal tea.  Need a caffeine kick with a bit of sweetness?  Try chai or earl grey tea with a teaspoon of stevia, a plant-based natural sugar substitute

- Choose a dense fruit such as apples or pears drizzled with a bit of honey over frosted cake or cupcakes

- Start the day off right and stabilize blood sugar with a breakfast of figs, raisins or dried apricots with granola, oatmeal or yogurt instead of packaged cereal products, pastries or sweet rolls.  Sate your sweet tooth with fresh-squeezed orange juice or half a grapefruit.

- Need a midday pick-me-up?  Trade the sugar-laden coffee drink or candy bar for some lean protein and healthy fat... a hard-boiled egg, half an avocado on a slice of toast, or almond butter on apple slices.

It's natural to indulge a bit more around the holidays, and a little bit won't derail your health or well-being.  Just practice moderation and balance your diet whenever you can.  If you're craving that pie for dessert, then skip the bread basket with dinner.  Indulge in an oven-fresh cinnamon roll for breakfast?  Enjoy a big leafy green salad with plenty of veggies for lunch....   Balance is the key to happy - and healthy! - holidays.