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Ayurveda teaches us how to live a longer, healthier, more fulfilled life by living according to the seasons. One of the primary methods for staying in optimal health is to cleanse ourselves on a regular basis so that we may have greater joy and vitality. Using the natural energy available during each changing season is a huge key for how to cleanse properly and regularly.

You may think of a detox as an intense self-depriving protocol, but in actuality, a gentle cleanse that aligns with your body’s innate forces, done at the right time and in the right way, can be just as effective, if not more effective, than a hard-core rigid cleanse that requires you to stop everything and fast for three days. This gentle and natural approach also requires us to be flexible with our definition of what detoxification actually means.

It is important that we routinely cleanse the mind, not just the body. I will share five easy ways to cleanse ourselves from head to toe during these hot and transformative summer months, using simple self-healing principles passed down for thousands of years through the life-giving science of Ayurveda.

Before we get to the good stuff, it’s important to understand a little about the energetic science of Ayurveda and how it works.

According to Ayurveda, one should follow the cyles of nature in order to live healthy lives. By living in accordance with 3 predominant forces of nature (or doshas) that occur naturally in our environment we have the ability to correct energetic imbalances in the body before they turn into disorders. The 3 doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha), are comprised of 5 basic elements that can be found in all of life:
•  Ether
•  Air
•  Fire
•  Water
•  Earth

These 5 elements are found everywhere in varying proportions: our bodies, the foods we eat, our minds, our enviroments, and in the changing seasons. Vata is the energy of movement, which is made of ETHER and AIR. Pitta is the energy of transformation, which is made of FIRE and WATER. Kapha is the energy of structure and strength, which is comrpised of EARTH and WATER.

Understanding the interplay of these 3 doshas is crucial for creating harmony or disharmony. Through Ayurveda, one learns how to prevent dis-ease by bringing the body back into a state of balance by working with the doshas.

Summer is naturally hot and sunny (Fire), and therefore the Pitta energy in everyone increases. Pitta provides an abundance of heat, necessary for metabolism, digestion and making physical and mental changes. But too much heat can cause imbalances in the body. This is why we focus on cooling and soothing activities during the Summer to counteract the intensity of Fire experienced through Pitta.

Here are some ways we can take advantage of this excess fire available everywhere during this time to renew and purify ourselves, plus gentle ways to cool ourselves off to experience greater bliss and harmony throughout the summer:

#1 – Be Outdoors for Vitality & Greater Enthusiasm

Feet in a green grassSummer is the natural time to enjoy the outdoor weather and spend more time outside. When we arephysically surrounded by nature, our body is able to rejuvenate naturally at a much faster rate. Relax under a shady tree, feel the strength of a giant tree, bike to the beach, swim in the ocean or cool off with water activities. You can even walk barefoot on green grass to absorb green energy, good for fertility and prosperity.

Avoid hot Bikram yoga during the summer, especially if you are a natural-born Pitta-type. Plan outdoor exercise in the early morning or evening to avoid direct intense sun.

Your body receives plenty of Vitamin D during this time, and everywhere you look plants and flowers are blossoming. Take your cues from the signs of nature, and get inspired by the world around you. Use this time to make everything in your life shine like the sun, with intense color and vitality.

#2 Wash Your Plate Clean Everyday with Meditation

We must approach each day with a clean slate. Wash your plate daily so that when you wake up in the morning, your plate is clean and you can start anew. An amazing way to purify the mind during the summer is with a cooling breath meditation.

As a breathwork and meditation instructor, I have found Sitale Breath to be completely amazing in many ways. Sitale is cooling, calming and dissipates all anger. It is a tonic for the liver with a dramatic cooling effect, and great for manifesting what you really want in life. During this breath we inhale through the mouth, and exhale through the nose.

Close your eyes to begin.
a) Stick a curled tongue outside your mouth and slowly inhale through the curled tongue (pretend to sip through a straw if you can’t curl your tongue). Count 8 seconds in through one long continuous inhale.
b) Close the mouth and make one long continuous exhale through the nose. Exhale to a count of 8 seconds or more.

Repeat this breath for a minimum of 3 minutes. You can progressively slow down the breath, making each exhalation longer than the one before.

All fire will immediately be cooled. This breath reduces any reactive tendencies in the mind, and creates a neutral space so that your thoughts and internal chatter quiet down. Sitale allows you to find inner calm and realization. Devote yourself to this practice daily. If you are new to meditation, start off with 3 minutes. Gently work your way up to 22 minutes.

Reflect on the positive changes you wish to attract in your life. Know that whatever you have planted by way of thoughts from the past are being harvested now. If you want to change your outcomes, or the fruits of your labor, change the seeds you are planting in your mind right now.

The root of all physical ailments is mental in cause. This is natural law. A disorder cannot manifest in the phsyical plane without first existing in the mind and emotions. To learn how to eradicate the root of disharmonious thought patterns through advanced meditation techniques, contact Naam Yoga South Florida (naamyogasouthflorida.com) to find an array of sacred self-healing tools.

#3 Eat Summer Foods

Fresh tasty fruit saladOne of Ayurveda’s biggest secrets is to eat according to the seasons.

Summer is the time to avoid all hot and spicy foods, tomatoes, excess cheese, yogurt, alcohol, fermented foods and other fiery or red foods. There is enough heat as it is! Focus on cooling and calming foods. Believe it or not, this will also help calm that laser-sharp Pitta mind to make time for relaxation and sweetness in your life, which is what a balanced summer is all about!

Foods recommended for the summer include sweet fruits like coconut, watermelon, berries, mango, pomegranate and peaches; fresh veggies and seaweed; aloe vera juice; grains and ghee (clarified butter). Drink more water, lemonade and iced tea.

Add mint, fennel, cilantro, dill, coriandor, saffron and other cooling herbs to your food.

#4 Remove Toxins with Dry Skin Brushing

Get beach-ready by removing dead skin cells and kick-start an internal detox.
When you dry skin brush, you engage in the transformative forces of nature to get rid of unwanted debris and toxins, including any bad habits you don’t want anymore.

Dry skin brushing increases circulation, encourages the lymph to keep moving through the body and promotes greater immune system function by helping us get rid of the body’s unnecessary toxins.

Find a natural bristle brush at your closest Whole Foods or natural food store. Ask specifically for a “dry skin brush”.

How to Perform Skin Brushing on Yourself:
(1) Before showering, start with your feet and ankles, and brush upwards in long, brisk motions, from your ankles towards your knees and thighs, always in the direction of the heart. By doing this, you are stimulating the fluids to move in the same direction, towards the heart. This is how fluids are properly drained by the lymphatic system.

(2) Brush each arm, from fingertip to shoulder, always in the direction towards the heart.

(3) Brush the chest and abdomen in circular motions towards the heart.

(4) Step in the shower and wash away all dead skin cells.

The Lympatic System does not have a central automatic pump like the heart, which beats automatically on its own. This is why the lymphatic system requires our own movement to function properly.

What else moves the lymph? Walking, regular exercise and massage are all excellent lymphatic movers. Practice dry skin brushing now in the summer, so that you can make this part of your regular routine during the next seasonal cycle of Winter, a time when the body will most need the extra push to avoid sluggishness, exfoliate dry skin and generate a strong and healthy immune system.

#5 Restorative Bodywork for Pacification

The intensity of Pitta is balanced by the opposite qualities of love, compassion, coolness and calmness. With so much heat, we really need to take the time to calm and soothe our own tense and aggravated bodies. What more enjoyable way to relax the Pitta mind and body than with a stress-relieving massage.

An Ayurvedic massage therapist who understands the doshas and inherent energy of each oil, may choose to use a blend of cooling coconut oil or sweet almond oil during the Summer months, and go easy on the Sesame Oil for an indvidual who already has a strong Pitta body constitution. Sesame Oil is warming to the body and will have the tendency to create more heat in that person.

The addition of sweet and uplifting essential oils made of flower blossoms, like Jasmine, Ylang Ylang and Rose can have amazing effects on cooling down the entire system during a massage, resulting in total summer bliss.

For authentic Ayurvedic therapies, visit Croydon Rose Spa & Apothecary at croydonrose.com

To understand more about each season, and how the doshas are affected, please continue reading.


Ayurveda vector illustration. Ayurveda doshas. Vata, pitta, kaphSummer is the “Pitta” time of year, spanning from June through September. Pitta (FIRE and WATER) governs all metabolic processes in the body including digestion, assimilation, absorption of nutrients, body temperature, the color of our skin and our mind’s processing center. People who have a Pitta personality tend to be very sharp and process things very quickly. They also anger easily and get more irritated than most. They are decisive and tend to be natural-born leaders. Their face is easily reddened, and a strong Pitta-type may have even been born with red hair.

Pitta’s alchemical fire melts and transforms everything it touches. The Pitta season is a time of transformation, purification, sharpening our tools, and allowing digestion and assimilation of ideas to happen naturally so that new paradigms of thinking can be more easily adopted and accepted.

The cooler Vata Season (ETHER and AIR) follows and naturally pacifies the fire months of Pitta. Vata is the force of movement in nature. It governs our channels of communication in the body, our nerve impulses, the heartbeat, circulation, and all reflexes in the body. Without the space to move, nothing would flow. Through the vast and expansive qualities of the ETHER element, Vata provides the space and environment in which all our bodily processes and communications in the body can occur. It is the channels through which things flow. The subtle and light qualities of AIR provides the force that moves. VATA rules our blood vessels, our lymphatic system, our nerve impulses. Like a hurricane, Vata is a moving force in the body that is necessary to avoid stagnation and toxic build-up.

When there is too much Vata, the body becomes cold and dry from too much space and air. The drying action of Vata removes moisture and lubrication in the body, and eventually the body starts to decompose. In the cycles of nature, we see this start to happen when the air turns cool during the Fall, which sets the stage for Winter. Leaves turn brown and fall from trees, and all green life has been removed and covered by the cold bitter snow.

The arrival of Spring signifies that the forces of Kapha are now dominant. Kapha (EARTH and WATER) brings new life to a decayed and frail winter. Kapha re-energizes and gives new life to the decompising qualities of Vata. Kapha is what provides the foundation for life. Kapha calls upon the energy of all plants and vegetables rooted in the earth, and encourages everything to blossom and grow. Kapha is the energy of newborn babies, and all processes that are giving life and rejuvenation.

Too much Kapha in the body however, and again, stagnation occurs. When the earth hardens and structures become massive, the light and subtle qualities are gone and we have a problem of toxic build-up here as well. Then comes Pitta to melt and dissolve any toxicity with the purifying and transformative qualities of Fire, and so the cycles continue.

As you can see, all three forces are necessary for proper functon of the body and all 3 are necessary to keep the proper flow of energy moving in life. Too much or too little of any of the 3 doshas, and dis-ease starts to set in. Dis-ease is simply a state of energetic disharmony in the body. Bring back the harmony between the 3 doshas, and the body becomes more at ease and balanced again.

Our bodies are continually in a perpetual state of bringing ourselves back to harmony and balance. This is why making a regular practice of cleansing and renewal is so important to maintain overall health.

To learn more about using the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and how to balance your doshas, contact me at: annettefigueredo@gmail.com


SOW bloggers

Annette Figueredo owns and operates a small wellness spa in Miami Beach called Croydon Rose Spa & Apothecary, located on the top floor of the Hotel Croydon on Collins Avenue. Croydon Rose offers rejuvenative Ayurvedic services, yoga, meditation classes and wellness workshops.

Annette is also a Massage Therapist, Harmonyum Energy Healer, Reiki Master and Naam Yoga Instructor specializing in Breath and Chanting Meditation. Annette teaches Prenatal Yoga at Corpo Yoga Studio in Downtown Dadeland, and periodically teaches Preconception Yoga and Post Partum Workshops that focus on the sacred 40-day window following birth. Check with Annette at www.annettefigueredo.com orannettefigueredo@gmail.com for her latest classes and updates.

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Life Well LED Community,

This week I’m so thrilled to feature a guest blog by Speaker, Author and Conversation Catalyst Anne E. Denny.

I had the privilege of meeting Anne at Michael Hyatt’s Platform Conference a few months ago, and I was moved by Anne’s passion and her very important work. It’s personal for me, and perhaps it is for you as well.

You see, when my grandmother, Amelia, fell ill many years ago, I saw my mother’s life change before my eyes. It was a blessing that she didn’t work and was able to manage my grandmother’s care, but I saw it take a toll on her. For 7 months until my grandmother’s unfortunate passing, she had to put her life on hold, figure everything out, and make difficult decisions that she often did not know were right or wrong; good or bad. It was extremely stressful and emotional.

At some point in our lives (and many of you have been there, or are there now), we may have to care for a loved one. Anne helps us to be proactive, make those difficult conversations easier, and mostly, prepare us for all the potential experiences that can drain us of our time, energy, and resources if we are not prepared.

I know you’ll appreciate Anne’s work as much as I do.

It’s your life. Lead it well.
Monique


January is a “can-do” month. Fueled by our New Year’s resolutions , we feel empowered to achieve numerous goals. While some may be noble and virtuous, such as volunteering for a good cause, many are self-improvement focused: weight loss, increased exercise, financial success, and more.

Are any of your goals this year focused on your family’s peace and emotional future? Specifically, have you ever considered the potential impact on your family if you have any major unexpected changes to your health?

Recently, a dear friend and business colleague called to ask for my assistance. Dave’s wife had just been diagnosed with melanoma. An appointment at the Mayo Clinic was days away. Both his wife and he wanted to make sure her preferences for care were clearly defined. In the event a treatment decision was required—and she was unable to communicate her wishes—Dave wanted to be sure he was honoring her choices.

Dave’s family Summer 2014

Today I received an email from another friend telling me she was being discharged from the hospital after a radical hysterectomy. The words “stage IV” cancer took my breath away. This is her second journey with cancer.

None of us knows what might befall us. Life happens—but denial is not an effective strategy. Proactive preparation for future healthcare decisions can protect your family’s peace, sparing those you love from arguing over your care.

Answering three key questions will open the door to important end-of-life conversations with your loved ones.


Who will speak for you if you can’t speak for yourself?

If you are unable to make or communicate your treatment and care preferences, who will make the decisions on your behalf? Choose your healthcare agents wisely. Your agents are the people you select to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot communicate your wishes.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 11.29.08 AM

All too often, healthcare agents are chosen by tradition. A husband assumes his wife will be prepared to make the healthcare decisions that honor his wishes. A widower assumes his eldest son will lead his siblings to consensus regarding the best treatment option for his care.

But what if a spouse is unwilling to let go of her beloved husband of 60 years, disregarding clear evidence that death is imminent? Or, what if the passive character of the chosen healthcare agent is overrun by the emotional dynamics between siblings, spiraling the family into bitter disputes?

 

Tip #1: Choose your healthcare agents wisely.

By understanding the responsibilities of your healthcare agent and the critical traits of an effective healthcare agent, you can choose your decision-maker(s) wisely.


How will your loved ones know what choices to make?

Assuming your loved ones will know what to do is a common, and often disastrous, mistake many people make. Even if your spouse or adult child knows you well, imagine the emotional stress they might experience if a doctor asked them to quickly make a life-or-death decision regarding your healthcare treatment. In a crisis, we are not clear thinkers. Emotions are amplified. Family dynamics are on steroids.

Tip #2: Write a healthcare directive to put your treatment preferences in writing.

A variety of tools and resources are available to help you write an effective healthcare directive that includes:

  • Clear treatment guidelines for your care,
  • Statements of values and beliefs that will support decision-makers, and
  • Expressed needs for emotional and spiritual care.

Will your loved ones be prepared to honor your wishes?

The emergency room is the worst possible place for your family to consider for the first time what your wishes are for end-of-life healthcare. In the absence of your written, clearly stated treatment preferences, disagreement over your care is not only possible—it is highly probably. Sibling battles can rage as each individual argues for what he or she believes is the best choice for Mom or Dad.

Family conflict is one of the primary reasons patients languish in Intensive Care for weeks. Loved ones who are unwilling to let go advocate for more and more treatment—hoping for a miracle—in spite of clinical evidence that the patient is actively dying.

Tip #3: Have a family meeting to share your wishes.

Openly discussing your end-of-life preferences with all of the impacted loved ones is incredibly helpful. Everyone can hear the same message. Questions can be answered. The chosen healthcare agent(s) can be identified so everyone knows who will be the ultimate decision-maker(s). Having the support and guidance of a trained facilitator, such as a social worker, therapist, or nurse, is worthy of consideration.

Together, you and your family can prepare for a future medical emergency. Choose your healthcare agents wisely. Clearly document your wishes. Have a family meeting to communicate your wishes. You—and those you love—can have peace of mind.


About the author:

UntitledSpeaker, author and blogger Anne Elizabeth Denny educates, inspires and equips families to share meaningful conversations about end-of-life healthcare choices. Anne graduated from the University of Notre Dame. She has served as a business consultant in the healthcare industry since 1995. Anne’s professional and personal experiences inspired her to write her book My Voice, My Choice: A Practical Guide to Writing a Meaningful Healthcare Directive, create her blog, and develop healthcare directive software for healthcare delivery systems. Most of all, Anne loves to share motivational presentations to make end-of-life healthcare planning approachable for everyone.

 

I consider myself a lucky girl to have received the new Fitbit Charge for Christmas. I see so many people wearing one or a similar device, and of course I was intrigued! And as a personal leadership and wellbeing coach I have to admit I was experiencing a some FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)!

So how has this magical device helped me, and how can it help you? Here’s what I’ve learned and loved so far:

1. Say goodbye to being sedentary! Did you know that the majority of Americans are considered sedentary? One of my favorite wellness books, Eat. Move. Sleep. by Tom Rath details this very clearly for us. Pay attention folks! People who walk fewer than 5,500 steps are considered sedentary, and the average American falls below this sedentary line!!! Being sedentary brings on a host of health issues which we won’t get into today, but 10,000 steps are considered a good target for overall activity and equates to about 5 miles. With Fitbit you can set a daily steps goal, and the minimum recommended to get us above and beyond that sedentary line is 10,000. In comparison to Americans, Australians average 9,695 steps per day. Their obesity rate is just 16% compared to our 34%! I don’t know about you, but I want to beat those Aussie’s!!

2. Say hello to accountability! The online Fitbit Dashboard and App gives you a multitude of ways to hold yourself accountable. First, you can find friends who also own one and challenge yourself to take more steps than they do daily! With the Fitbit you also can set alarms to remind you to get up and move. Also according to Tom Rath, and as I have learned as well, you can easily achieve 3,000 steps by just taking a daily lunch break and walking/climbing steps. Since I work on a beautiful campus, this allows me to not only walk, but achieve my mindful goal, which I love to do via walking and sensing the world around me. Oh, and, I just love that Fitbit sends me all these badges when I’ve achieved something super cool! (I love recognition!!)5 ways the Fitbit has rocked my world!

 

3. Here comes motivation! Let me be really clear. Achieving 10,000 steps daily is no easy feat. You have to want to do it, and you have to strategize how you’re going to do it. If you spend a lot of time in your office and on the computer, it’s almost impossible to achieve! Without a tool like Fitbit to be an ever-present reminder you’d need to create another source of accountability. As you begin to use it and visit your dashboard daily, you begin to understand the best way to achieve 10,000 steps or more each day. For me, if I’m not able to get out for lunch, I know that I need to get across campus for some reason, like visiting a colleague. Or, perhaps I will need to fit in an evening walk around my neighborhood, or a Zumba class. I also know that I have to take a break from sitting every hour, even if it means just getting up for a stretch, glass of water, or a short walk across the hall. Anything to not sit for so long. Bottom line, once you understand how you can reach 10,000 each day, and how very critical it is for your health, your motivation skyrockets!

Screenshot 2015-01-12 10.48.28

4. Wellness as a whole increases! We know that there are other strategies that we can use to help keep us healthy, like logging what we eat, our daily exercise, and how much water we drink. You also can do this on Fitbit’s dashboard. It’s a one stop shop! As the saying goes, what you focus on becomes a reality! Entering and looking at this data daily definitely helps you achieve a sense of wellbeing in a variety of areas.Screenshot 2015-01-12 10.48.11

5. Bring on the Zzzzs! One of the main reasons why I was interested in the Fitbit was it’s ability to track my sleeping patterns. As some of you know, over the summer I blogged about Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive. In the book she identifies sleep as one of the metrics for success and wellbeing. In it she states that just 30 more minutes of sleep will immediately improve your health, creativity, productivity and sense of well-being. (I agree!!) She recommends to either go to bed earlier, get up later, or take 2 short naps a day. In the book, Bill Clinton admitted, “Every important mistake I’ve made in my life, I’ve made because I was too tired.”

I believe that each of us intuitively knows what those health levers are for us. Over the years I have realized that for me, sleep is critical. It is also one of the areas most challenging for me to improve. The Fitbit tracks the number of times I am restless or awakened while I sleep, therefore giving me a true picture of the total number of hours I am actually at rest. Well, it’s kind of scary! With this information, I’m able to better understand my sleep patterns and continue to make adjustments to help me figure out the very best way for me to get a minimum of 7 hours of true sleep each night.

And just to throw in one extra PLUS… for those of you who have been trying not to sleep with your phone next to you, but have to because your alarm is your phone, well the Fitbit takes care of that! I no longer rely on my phone to wake me. My Fitbit gently buzzes me when it’s time to wake, and it also notifies me when I receive a call. So, I’m no longer a hostage to my cell! BONUS!!!

I don’t sell Fitbits and I don’t make a commission off of them! I simply love sharing products or resources for busy people who want to make their wellbeing a priority.

How has Fitbit or another tool help you achieve your wellbeing goals? I’d love to hear from you.

It’s your life. Lead it well.

Monique

 

SUMMER OF WELL-BEING WEEK 11

Welcome to Week 11 of Summer of Well-Being! Our guest blogger this week is Ellenit Serrano. Read her blog below to learn about the transformation effects of focused breathing, and don’t forget to share your thoughts!


“We must live fully before we die.  We must generate sufficient energy to realize

ourfull potential. The journey to our core is arduous; 

only pranic energy can take us there.”   —B.K.S. Iyengar

 

Before you begin reading this blog, I want you to breathe.

REALLY BREATHE…..

Take a deep, slow inhale through the nose and envision breath and energy filling your body.

Feel the expansion in your chest and oxygen filling the lungs as you deepen the inhale.

Retain that breath for as long as you can then just as slowly – exhale and feel the release.

Notice how your belly hollows out and empties in the process.

Repeat this a few times before you continue reading.

 

How do how you feel?  Do you notice a change from just a few moments ago?  Were you able to calm SOMETHING down?  Maybe you were able to calm your thoughts, your nerves, your physical pain or your stress just for a moment after taking a few short conscious breaths.  The good news is that you have the ability to become conscious of your breath (as opposed to involuntarily just breathing) and control it during any and all activities of your life.

We often take it for granted when someone says “just breathe”   but when you really think about it, your breath, in each moment, defines the span of your life.  Once it’s gone your life on this earthly plane ceases.  In yoga we speak about “prana”, the energy that permeates the universe at all levels many times referred to as our “Life Force”, or the “Breath of Life”.

Your next breath is the most powerful opportunity for transformation that exists.

In fact, in this moment your next breath is the beginning of the rest of your life!

97941985-yogic-breathing_0

At the beginning of my yoga classes I often tell my students that if they do nothing else but focus on their breath, with awareness, for the duration of the class they are getting the full benefit of the practice.

Of course it’s OK to just breathe unconsciously after all it means we are still alive!  But magic happens when we slow down, become conscious and influence the flow of our breath.  As we inhale, we breathe in fresh oxygen and energy into the body converting and merging it with our physical form.  In essence, we breathe spirit into the flesh; we are in union (yoga) with the divine energy of the universe.

As we retain the breath we allow that energy to nourish every cell in our body allowing healing to occur.  We use the exhale to get rid of toxins and to consciously let go of thoughts and energies that no longer serve us. We create space for the new.

For me, breath work started as part of my yoga practice years ago.  I learned to become aware of my breathing; allowing it to keep me centered and to empty my mind.  With practice this has become almost second nature.  It’s easier to pick up on certain signs such as shortness of breath, lack of focus, or anxiety building up that reminds me I need to take a moment and come back to the breath.  Sometimes that’s all it takes right before a big presentation, in preparing for a response to a child, or to get perspective on wandering thoughts.

There was a time in my life when I had to put a huge reminder on my office white-board to “BREATHE”.  Now it’s just a technique I more often than not, use in my personal and professional life.  When I do it has direct, positive outcomes and always makes a huge difference in the way I feel.

With practice we are able to calm the body and mind at will.  We learn to create space in between our thoughts to allow new ideas and new opportunities to emerge. We learn to listen to our inner voice, turn the outside world on mute and be led by our Truth.  What materializes is transformation and growth in ways unimagined.

 

Just Breathe…


jdiaz-medium

Ellenit Serrano
SBL LAC Strategy, Analytics and Integration
Global Products and Solutions of MasterCard Worldwide

Ellenit is a certified Hatha/Vinyasa Yoga instructor and Reiki level 1 and 2 Healer. Becoming an instructor was an unexpected part of her personal evolution given that she has a full-time career with MasterCard. As such, she  uniquely integrates the yin and yang of her corporate and yoga roles into her teaching and practice. In her classes she seeks to inspire her students through music, affirmations, aromatherapy and lighting, creating a full sensory experience.
Facebook: facebook.com/ellenit.serrano
Email: Namastelle7@gmail.com

 

SUMMER OF WELL-BEING WEEK 8

Welcome to Week 8 of Summer of Well-Being! This week our emphasis is on the well-being dimension of eating, and making sure we eat healthier. As we get older we tend to start eating better. Slowly, the days of quick Pop Tart breakfasts and Ramen dinners disappear and are replaced by early morning green smoothies and late-night buckwheat Soba noodles.

Today, in honor of the Summer of Well-Being, we have Leoncio Alvarez from Munch This!  who has revamped three of his recipes to make them more health-conscious. Try them out and let us know how they work for you!


Vegetable Spring Rolls

Fried empanadas are swapped out for baked vegetable spring rolls that you can make with whatever veggies on hand. I had some sweet potatoes and corn and added some black beans. If you have zucchini, or carrots that would work. Just because a recipe says you have to use something doesn’t mean you have to. You’re in charge of your kitchen!

Ingredients:Spring_Rolls2

  • 15 spring roll wrappers (can be found at your nearest Oriental market)
  • ½ yellow onion (peeled, diced, finely chopped)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (minced, chopped)
  • 2 sweet potatoes (peeled, diced, chopped)
  • 1 can of whole kernel corn (drained)
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • ½ Tablespoon olive oil

Step 1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and sweet potato and cook for 12-15 minutes or until sweet potato is soft but not mashed. Reduce heat if needed.

Step 2. After cooking veggies for 5 minutes add curry powder, turmeric and coriander powder.

Step 3. After 10 minutes add corn and black beans and combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 4. Crack egg into a small bowl and add a 1 Tablespoon of water. Whisk and set aside.

Step 5. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place 1 spring roll wrapper on a cutting board. Add 1 Tablespoon of veggie mixture to top edge. Create spring rolls using this video as guidance. Repeat with remaining spring roll wrappers. Any leftover vegetables could be stored and used as a side for another meal.

Step 6. Place prepared spring rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crispy.


Chicken Meatballs

Cuban-style ground beef can get tiring in Miami. Chicken meatballs are 98 percent fat free and taste just as great. The addition of steel-cut oats adds fiber and makes these meatballs plump up in the oven. When buying oats make sure you get steel-cut compared to rolled oats. Steel-cut should have no added sugar and are less in calories. Serve meatballs with a drizzle of soy and honey.

Chicken_Meatballs2Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of ground chicken
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1 small onion (peeled, finely chopped)
  • ½ red pepper (finely chopped)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (minced, chopped)
  • 1 egg
  • 3-4 Tablespoons of nonfat milk
  • 2 Tablespoons of chopped basil
  • 2 Tablespoons of chopped sage
  • 3 Tablespoons of tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon of kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper

Step 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add all ingredients in order in a large bowl and combine.

Step 2. Use an ice cream scooper to make meatballs and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until meatballs are no longer pink in the center. You can test by taking a meatball and cutting through it with a knife to see how it is in the center.

Try these out with ground turkey too! You can serve with your favorite sauce.


Brown Rice Coconut Pudding

Grandma’s rice pudding is decadently creamy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t add some healthy ingredients to make it even better. Coconut palm sugar is being recognized more and more as a substitute for white sugar.  The effects of carbohydrates on your blood sugar are measured by the glycemic index. Regular table sugar  ranks between 60 and 75, while coconut palm sugar is just 35 on the glycemic index. Your blood sugar level could spike depending on how high the glycemic index is for the food you’re intaking.

This pudding is not as sweet as grandma’s, but cranberries and toasted coconut and pumpkin seeds add a delightful sweet-and-salty crunch.

Ingredients:
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  • 1 ½ teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • ¼ cup of coconut palm sugar
  • 1 13 ½ oz can of lite coconut milk
  • 2 cups of almond milk or skim milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup of toasted coconut
  • ¼ cup of toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon zest
  • ¼ cup of cranberries

Step 1. In a large pot over medium heat add lite coconut milk, 1 cup of almond or skim milk and brown rice. Heat until boiling. Bring down heat and stir every two minutes to make sure rice never sticks to the bottom.

Step 2. Add cinnamon, ginger, coconut palm sugar and vanilla. Keep stirring every two minutes for about an hour.

Step 3. Add remaining milk, lemon zest and cranberries and continue stirring rice. Cook for another hour never forgetting to stir, until rice is soft and pudding is creamy. If rice pudding gets too thick, add a few spoonfuls of milk. Top with toasted coconuts and pumpkin seeds Enjoy!

 

Try out these and more recipes from Munch This!


Mary P
 Leoncio Alvarez
Founder/Chief Editor of Munch This!
Leoncio Alvarez is a Miami native who loves to share his passion for food and cooking with others. He has been munching out on Munch This! since 2010, developing and starring in his own Youtube cooking show in 2013. He is a graduate of Florida International University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Website: MunchThis.net

 
 
 

SUMMER OF WELL-BEING WEEK 2

Our expert this week is Davis Mitchell. In this video Davis shares with us her insight into the importance of hydration, and she also gives us some expert tips! Watch the video below to find out:

• The three things you need to know to take care of your cells.
• The symptoms and side effects of dehydration.
• The damaging effects of alcohol and caffeine.
• Her formula to determine how much water you should be drinking for your body weight.



Davis Mitchell
Davis Mitchell
Inspiring confidence and self-worth in young women through clean vegan eating and a healthy lifestyle, Davis Mitchell is the expert in the realm of women’s health and vibrancy, leading with compassion and heart. Her methods deliver results when you decide, commit and resolve to take your health to the next level. Join her as she lives by choice, not by chance!
Instagram: @davisjaclyngreenlife

 
 
 

SUMMER OF WELL-BEING WEEK 1

Today, Mary P. Trontz helps us focus on the well-being dimension of Moving, and how we can better lead our bodies and our lives from our Core in just a few seconds everyday.


Along with a sound diet, the key to obtaining a lean, toned torso is building a strong core. To build a strong core you need to exercise a variety of muscles from your hips to your shoulders.

When these muscles contract, they stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle and create a solid base of support. When this happens, we are able to generate powerful movements of the extremities.

A strong core distributes the stresses of weight-bearing and protects the back:
• Reduces Back Pain
• Reduces the Risk for Lower Back Injury
• Improves Posture
• Improves Athletic Performance

Planking is an exercise that engages several muscles and strengthens your core.

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Try to plank at least 30 seconds every day.

There are several plank exercises. Here are just a few to get you started:

Regular or Side Plank — begin with a 30 second hold & increase gradually
Plank Jacks — adds leg workout & cardio
Hip Twists — tap hip side to side to workout your obliques/love handles
Suicide Planksas you advance add shoulders/arm workout (start with 5 per side & increase to 10 gradually)

If you’re holding a standard plank, here is some expert advice, so you get the best results:

• Keep your shoulders square above your wrists
• Tuck your hips under by contracting your abs
• Keep your neck long and relaxed
• Focus on something directly underneath you to keep your spine and neck neutral
• Keep your back flat (your body should be in a straight line)
• Stay up on your toes and keep your heels down, low, or flexed
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Mary P
Mary P. Trontz
Certified Fitness Trainer & Independent Team Beachbody Diamond Coach
Mary P. Trontz is a Certified Fitness Trainer and an Independent Team Beachbody Diamond Coach. She obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of North Florida. Currently, she spends her time as a bootcamp instructor, personal trainer, fitness coach and nutrition consultant.
Website: www.Beachbodycoach.com/MaryTrontz
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MaryFitnessCoach
Email: maryfitnesscoach@yahoo.com

 

 

Thank you, Mary, for sharing this strength-building exercise for our core, in just a few minutes a day! If you’d like to use this platform to help stay accountable to new ways you can improve your well-being, list your SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) goal below in the comments!