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...


Vibrant Health! - Detox & Cleanse November 01 2013

 

With leftover Halloween treats upon us and the holidays coming up, many of us over-indulge in tasty sweets, warm baked goods and seasonal cocktails (eggnog, anyone?)   We all look forward to Thanksgiving pie... Christmas cookies... and holiday cocktail parties.  Unfortunately indulging over the next couple months can lead to unwanted weight gain, a compromised immune system and a feeling of lethargy and sluggishness.  It's very possible to enjoy the holiday spirit - as well as seasonal yumminess! - and stay healthy & vibrant.  Moderation and mindfulness is the key!

The beginning of November and the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are a wonderful time to detox and cleanse the body through diet and massage.  Heading into the holidays feeling great will help keep you motivated to reach for the fruit plate and skip the pecan pie! 

You may opt for a Whole Food Cleanse or a Juice Cleanse.  If you're new to cleansing, we recommend a Whole Food Cleanse that incorporates fresh juice.  A pure juice-only cleanse is best for those who have done cleanses before...  And a pure juice cleanse is often easier for the body to adapt to in the warmer months of spring or summer.  Now, in the cooler months of autumn, a whole food cleanse will detoxify your body while sustaining your energy and metabolism.

Set aside ten days for your cleanse, during which time you will eliminate all of the following foods from your diet:

1/ Bread and wheat products

2/ Sugar, and foods containing any sugar

3/ Alcohol

4/ Coffee (if you can function without it! - if not try to limit yourself to one small cup in the morning)

5/ Processed foods - anything in a box or a can

6/ Dairy products, cheese, yogurt

7/ Frozen foods

8/ Fast food

9/ Fried food

10/ Cookies, candy and other sweets - if you have a major sweet tooth, try fruit instead!

Ok, so what does this leave for me to eat, you might ask? :)    ....Lots!

1/ Fruits - especially apples, figs, dates, raisins, pears and fruits that are in season

2/ Vegetables - unlimited, preferably raw or steamed

3/ Lean protein and seafood, preferably steamed

4/ Nuts, especially walnuts and almonds and nut butters

5/ Beans and lentils

6/ Brown rice

7/ Wild salmon

8/ Salads - have a big, leafy-green salad at least once every day of your cleanse

9/ Veggie and fruit juice - especially green juice, carrots, ginger and beets

Begin each day of your cleanse with a large glass of pure, filtered room-temperature water with fresh-squeezed lemon.  In the course of each day, drink your weight in ounces of plain or lemon-infused water.  (Yes, this is a lot of water!, but remember that the goal of the cleanse is to detoxify the body and water will help flush toxins.)  If you get hungry or cranky - common in the first couple days but will usually subside by the third day - snack on an apple, raisins or some nuts. 

If you have trouble falling asleep during the first couple nights of your cleanse, have some sliced apple with almond butter or some raw cashews to sate your appetite.  By the third night you should fall asleep peacefully and be amazed by how deeply you sleep without alcohol, sugar and caffeine in your system.  After ten days you will feel amazing, your skin will be glowing and your eyes will be bright and shining.  Feeling great, you'll head into the holidays strong and vital and better able to make healthy food & lifestyle choices.  Give a cleanse a try - your body will thank you!