“Chronic headaches, brain fog, fatigue, weight gain, insomnia, gut pain, autoimmune conditions… We may think these and other all-too-common modern maladies are due to gluten intake or too much sugar or too little exercise. But there is another missing piece to the health puzzle: Proper hydration,” explains Dr. Dana Cohen, author of the book “Quench.”
Join us Monday, June 25th at 7:15pm at our Midtown studio as Dr. Cohen tells us more with an informative and inspiring lecture on hydration strategies. The lecture will be followed by an open Q & A.
https://bodenyc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Untitled-design-1.png408528Brittney Reaganhttps://bodenyc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/bo2.pngBrittney Reagan2018-06-14 08:52:422018-06-14 08:53:40Free Lecture on Hydration Strategies by Dr. Dana Cohen
We could all use smoother mornings, right? The chaotic morning routine in my house has me barking orders like a drill sergeant to the tune of “brush your teeth, get your socks on, put your backpack on!” I am also making breakfast like a short order cook and furiously packing lunches, which really should have been prepared the night before.
Before I discovered smoothies, the rare day I had breakfast, it would either be oatmeal or toast with almond butter, which didn’t really keep me satiated until lunch or provided super nutrition.
Enter the smoothie…My (morning) life changed when I got the Vitamix. Yes, yes, I know everyone is raving about it but I truly have to tell you that it’s awesome. I use it EVERY SINGLE DAY to blend smoothies, soups and make snacks. It has the ability to break down even the toughest vegetable fibers into velvety concoctions so your green smoothie doesn’t taste like sh**, err I mean grit. I no longer worry what I will have for breakfast as long as I have some frozen berries and a handful of greens to work with.
This post has been made possible by Ania Dunlop from Food for Zen. Learn more at foodforzen.com
Since I needed to boost my protein intake (doctor’s orders), I put a tablespoon of organic pumpkin protein powder (yes, who knew?) which is full of goodness with 20% of daily value of iron, which I definitely need since I am not a meat lover. If you opt for whey, please make sure it comes from clean, grass fed cows, otherwise you can use hemp or chia seeds, which are good protein sources.
With the smoothie, you will get several servings of fruits and veggies before you even get dressed! You will feel fuller until lunch compared to even the most tricked out oatmeal and who knows, you may even drop a couple of pounds since you stop loading up on carbs. Best of all, you will start your day on a good note with a weird feeling of control over your life.
Ready? Here are some general guidelines which will give you endless options for your new and improved “breakfast”:
1. PICK YOU BASE
Coconut water – my favorite
2. PICK YOUR VEGGIES
Cilantro (it’s really strong so adjust your taste buds with other greens first)
3. PICK YOUR FRUIT
* Use frozen for greater convenience, otherwise use a bit of ice
4. PICK YOUR SUPERFOOD EXTRAS
Protein powder (important if you want to last till lunch)
Raw cacao powder (who doesn’t like chocolate?)
Almond butter (extra protein and yummy taste)
Chia seeds (protein, calcium and omega 3’s)
Hemp Seeds (protein and omega 3’s)
Goji berries (loads of Vitamin A – great for skin)
Camu powder (loads of Vitamin C – great for keeping you beautiful and boosting immune system)
Blend your base, veggies and fruit with a bit of ice, if not using frozen fruit, until smooth. Add protein powder and superfoods at the very end, protein powder should not be over-mixed. Ok now, go get your own smoothie!
Our health and wellbeing are, to a great extent, the result of our lifestyle choices. As we become responsible adults, it’s easy to loose oneself in the sea of responsibilities, childcare and work obligations. There comes a time when we become exhausted, unable to focus and it’s impossible to know how to feel better, clearer and hopeful again. I have outlined 5 steps to revitalize your health and life. You will notice that all 5 strategies are intertwined and one affects the other. These steps also build on each other, so start with the first and proceed to the next when you are ready. The best part is you can take your health into your own hands, become an “empowered participant” in your healing and start feeling better by making informed choices based on modern medicine and ancient healing techniques.
1. Become a food detective
Undiagnosed food sensitivities can have an effect on everything from your digestive system, joint health to emotional wellbeing. It can sap your energy, lower your immune function and leave you with dull skin and hair or acne. We learn to tolerate our annoying aches and pains and develop tolerance for feeling sub-optimally, but that’s not a way to live. If you suffer from an autoimmune disease (from skin conditions such as psoriasis to thyroid disorders), chronic fatigue, acne, headaches, anxiety, consider doing an elimination diet to find out what’s been bugging you. While the accuracy of testing for food sensitivities has improved recently, the only way you will know for sure if you are sensitive to a specific food is to eliminate it completely. Try eliminating the top allergens for 21 days: gluten, dairy, corn and soy (also nightshade vegetables if you have any join pain problem like rheumatoid arthritis). After 3 weeks, reintroduce these foods one by one over a period of 3 days and watch for symptoms. Eliminating offending foods is the easiest and most effective way to transform your health quickly. Plus it’s free!
2. Heal your gut
If you have food sensitivities, eat a processed diet or have chronic stress in your life chances are your gastrointestinal system has been compromised. Many people today suffer from a “leaky gut”, where the intestinal barrier has become porous, allowing undigested food particles to enter the bloodstream. The body perceives the tiny food molecules as invaders and launches an immune response, which unfortunately results in chronic inflammation inside your body. While inflammation is a good thing when you cut yourself and your amazing body rushes to heal the site of the injury resulting in an inflamed red swelling swoop, chronic internal inflammation has been reported in current research as the source of most modern ailments such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Healing your gut involves removing foods you are sensitive to (see step 1), eating a clean, whole foods diet with lots of green vegetables and fermented foods, taking a good probiotic and supplementing with fish oil (Omega 3’s have been reported to significantly lower inflammation). You may also consider taking digestive enzymes to help you break down food and glutamine to repair your intestinal barrier.
3. Restore your adrenal health
The adrenals are tiny glands that sit on top of your kidneys and play a major function in helping your body cope with everyday stresses. The adrenal glands produce cortisol, among other hormones, which helps your body deal with stress. However, chronic stress, be it work related or a prolonged unresolved emotional situation, coupled with a nutrient poor diet, will exhaust your adrenals, which will in turn produce abnormal levels of cortisol and other adrenal hormones such as DHEA. Over time, your adrenal glands will have a hard time meeting the high cortisol demand. Without enough cortisol, you may experience poor immunity, fatigue, changes in blood sugar, depression, inability to cope with everyday life, insomnia, brain fog and food cravings. In a nutshell, you are exhausted, unable to make a simple decision and your health concerns keep piling on.
A discussion on adrenals would not be complete without touching on the thyroid since the two are directly linked. As adrenals become exhausted, thyroid function declines which may result in hypothyroidism, a condition where the body is not producing enough thyroid hormones. The symptoms are weight gain, fatigue, depression, hair loss, among others.
Restoring adrenal imbalances takes time and patience. It involves reflecting on your lifestyle and eliminating behaviors that might drain your energy. This might include reexamining your work, life’s purpose and your relationships. Sleeping 8 hours a night is a must. So is eating a nutrient rich diet with enough protein and minimal sugar, making time for meals sitting down, unrushed, chewing slowly. Finally, prioritizing self-care and de-stressing activities such as meditation are critical to healing.
4. Balance your sex hormones
I am talking about testosterone, progesterone, estrogen here…balancing these hormones as you get older is the nirvana to rocking your health since it affects your moods, sleep, libido, skin and hair. Many women in North America are affected by estrogen dominance, a hormonal imbalance that leads to PMS, ovarian cysts, cystic breasts, acne and heavy periods. According to Dr. Northrop, estrogen dominance can also affect the thyroid, blocking the action of the thyroid hormone and possibly leading to mid life hypothyroidism (thyroid pops up again! I told you everything is intertwined). While diet and lifestyle play a role in estrogen dominance, so do environmental estrogens (plastics, cosmetics, pesticides), which are man made chemicals which mimic estrogen in the body and upset its delicate hormonal balance.
Since I want you to be an empowered rockstar, consider reading “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” by Dr. Christine Northrop and “The Hormone Cure” by Dr. Sarah Gottfried, both are fantastic reference books. Find an integrative practitioner to test your blood levels. Unfortunately, the conventional medical community rarely focuses on hormone balancing that does not involve drugs. The basis of healthy hormones is a diet full of green and cruciferous vegetables and sufficient protein from wild, free range animal sources (avoid commercially raised dairy and meat, which use synthetic hormones). Finally, a good supplementation program can put you back on track.
5. Detoxify your life and save your liver
Our modern lifestyle exposes us to processed foods, chemicals in our cosmetics, heavy metals, toxins and candida from “living la vida loca”. The liver is the key organ for detoxification, including excess hormones, it breaks down estrogen and other hormones. However, a bad diet full of fat, sugar, alcohol and caffeine can compromise the liver’s ability to maintain a healthy hormonal balance.
Spring is a great time to incorporate a detox program and jump start your energy. While I am not advocating you live on juice for weeks at a time, consider giving up coffee, alcohol, sugar, gluten and dairy for a few weeks and upping your green vegetable intake. Drink warm water with half a lemon when you first wake up and sip dandelion tea a couple of times a day. You will notice that you will have a boost of energy and a greater sense of wellbeing. Post cleanse, incorporate a daily green juice ritual to get proper nutrition, get rid of toxic cosmetics and even more dangerous home cleaning products to avoid build up of toxins over time.
When I’m sick of making smoothies for breakfast, I go really wild and make… a smoothie bowl! Smoothie bowls are all the rage for many good reasons: they are easy to make, delicious, loaded with antioxidants (hello acai berries) and you can top it with fun nutrient dense superfoods (think bee pollen, hemp seeds, chia!). Eating it with a spoon is another plus because it forces you to sit and slow down (and hopefully eat mindfully), all of which aids digestion. It’s all too easy for me to down a large smoothie in 15 seconds and get an unpleasant brain freeze.
Eating low sugar fruits such as berries every day is a great way to ensure you are getting a healthy dose of anti-aging antioxidants, which help neutralize some of our toxic lifestyle (poor diet, pollution etc). I often do a simple experiment with my clients to demonstrate the power of vitamin C. I cut two slices out of an apple and sprinkle one with lemon juice but not the other. After a while, the slice without the lemon juice starts to brown and wrinkle, while the slice with the lemon remains unblemished and fresh. Guess what? The exact same thing happens to our skin and internal organs.
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When they are nourished with a steady supply of daily antioxidants from fresh food your body is able to combat aging, inflammation and chronic diseases. Why daily? Because Vitamin C is water soluble, which means that your body doesn’t store it for future use; any excess leaves the body through urine. Bottom line is we need to ensure a constant supply of Vitamin C rich foods (think beyond berries and include leafy greens, parsley, kiwi, citrus fruit, red bell pepper, broccoli).
Ok, let’s get to the good stuff, what is a smoothie bowl? A smoothie bowl is just fruit (and sometimes greens!) blended to a frozen yogurt consistency with a splash of yogurt or almond milk and garnished with your favorite toppings. So it’s essentially your standard milk and cereal of the nutritionally conscious crowd. I like to use frozen fruit and very little or no liquid so my smoothie bowls often resemble ice cream. A strong blender, like the Vitamix or equivalent, is essential to making a smooth final product, you really don’t want chunks of frozen fruit turning off your peops (or your taste buds). And finally, a frozen banana is always a great addition to add sweetness and creamy texture.
Here are some of my favorite smoothie bowl combinations:
frozen raspberries/cherries, banana plus almond butter, cacao powder and spinach
orange, frozen mango and coconut milk
frozen raspberries, banana, peaches and organic greek yogurt
Combine all ingredients in a strong blender, like the Vitamix and blend on High until creamy and smooth for about 30 seconds. You would need to use the tamper that comes with the Vitamix to make sure the blades can grab the frozen fruit and blend it properly. Add a splash of liquid if it’s too thick. You are aiming for a frozen yogurt consistency.
Top with fresh berries, granola, nuts and seeds. Serve immediately.
Overview from the Doctors: Cortisol reactivity to stress is associated with affective eating, an important behavioral risk factor for obesity and related metabolic diseases. Yoga practice is related to decreases in stress and cortisol levels, thus emerging as a potential targeted complementary intervention for affective eating. This randomized controlled trial examined the efficacy of a heated, hatha yoga intervention for reducing cortisol reactivity to stress and affective eating.
Overview from the Doctors:: Further studies are required to determine which aspect(s) of Bikram Yoga can be most important for impacting sleep physiology. For example, physiological changes could be attributed to changes in hydration, to performance of vigorous exercise in general, or to indirect effects (such as being more mindful about avoiding other disruptors of sleep). We did not detect any significant differences in terms of the portion of days in which subjects reported alcohol, caffeine, naps, or other exercise when comparing Bikram versus non-Bikram days (data not shown). Future studies should compare Bikram to other forms of exercise as well as forms of relaxation, to determine which aspect of Bikram was most relevant to effects on sleep. Specifically, Bikram Yoga was associated with significantly faster return to sleep after nocturnal awakenings
3) Long term practitioners have larger grey matter volume in areas of the brain associated with attention & self control
Overview from the Doctors:: These areas have been shown to be associated with sustained attention/cognitive control, emotion control, interoceptive perception and feelings of compassion, suggesting that long-term SYM practice may potentially enhance the functions mediated by these regions and consequently lead to neuroplastic enlargements.
4) Bikram Yoga lowers distress tolerance and emotional eating
Overview from the Doctors:: This study offers preliminary evidence for the benefits of yoga interventions for problems characterized by elevated stress and poor affect regulation. First, our findings underscore the promise of hatha yoga practice for increasing DT and reducing emotional eating tendencies. Second, our mediation analyses revealed a particular component of the cognitive processing of distress – Absorption – mediated the effects of yoga on disordered eating. Interventions that aid in affect modulation and enhanced coping are crucial for reducing the public health burden of an array of psychological disorders, and this study provides support for further development of specialized, mind-body interventions for those low in DT.
These studies provide proof that a regular yoga practice can provide real world mental health benefits. Dr. Hunter, arguably the world’s leading authority on medical science as it relates to yoga, is hosting a research conference in Texas this summer dedicated to this topic. For more information click below.
Dr. Stacy Hunter received her Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2008 where she studied racial differences in anaerobic performance. In 2011, she received her Ph.D. in Clinical Exercise Physiology from the University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Kinesiology and Health Education working in the Cardiovascular Aging Research Laboratory where the focus of her dissertation was on the effects of yoga on arterial stiffness and vascular endothelial function. She has published several studies on the effects of yoga on indices of vascular and metabolic health. As a pioneer in this widely unexplored field, she performed the first yoga studies of their kind and continues her efforts in bridging the gap between the anecdotal and empirical evidence of the health claims associated with hatha yoga as the research director for PURE Action.
Sausage filled stuffing, buttery mashed potatoes, pecan pie, oh my! The holidays are a time for family, celebration and comfort food, but sadly for many also a source of anxiety about overeating and, consequently, weight gain. While attending family gatherings, work parties and social events is fun, those extra glasses of wine interfere with our appetite control and suddenly every high calorie food around us starts to look extremely appetizing. After all, we don’t want to be rude to our hosts… But when a one day celebration (Thanksgiving is not a four day feast!) turns into a month long libation, it’s time to set some rules that will keep you slim and healthy without feeling deprived.
Here are some things that you can do to counteract the dreaded holiday weight gain:
1. Change your mindset.
Healthy living is a lifelong adventure rather than an inconvenient diet. There is nothing sinful about having a big Thanksgiving meal. So put on your finest and tightest outfit (overeating will be seriously unappealing in a skin tight dress or pants), leave your anxieties at the door and enjoy food and drink for this one day. The point is not to overindulge and use the holidays as an excuse to have cheesecake every day in December. If you do overeat, make Friday a detox day, complete with a green juice, lots of veggies and lean protein. This mini detox will rebalance your palate and stabilize your sugar cravings. Being able to self-regulate is the secret to a lifetime of steady weight.
2. Eat (lightly) before parties.
Don’t “save” your calories! Keep your appetite in check and blood sugar steady by eating light meals and protein-rich snacks to avoid arriving at a party starving and devouring everything in sight. I find that eating a healthy breakfast is key to making good choices later in the day. A protein shake or a veggie egg scramble in the morning is all you need to keep you energized before the festivities.
3. Eat mindfully.
Many of us eat in a rush, absentminded, distracted by our thoughts or conversation. Choose only the foods you actually like to eat. Don’t load your plate with aunt Mary’s stuffing only out of politeness. Next time you sit down to a meal, smell your food, chew it slowly and savor the texture and flavor. Put down your fork in between bites to ensure your brain has enough time to receive a signal of satiety (this takes about 20 minutes). If you have a sweet tooth, it helps to have a 3 bite rule when it comes to desserts. You will get to taste your favorite treat without the risk of overeating and regret later.
4. Keep up you fitness routine.
Just because your in laws are visiting doesn’t mean you should skip your yoga class. Sure, the holidays are a busy time, so planning your exercise a week in advance is essential. When traveling, pack your runners, take advantage of hotel gyms or just head outside for a run. Thirty minutes of moderate jogging will burn off those two glasses of wine that you had last night. Plan ahead and make your commitment to exercise non-negotiable.
5. Consider intermittent fasting.
If the holidays left you with a few extra pounds and raging sugar cravings, rebalance with a gentle cleanse (think no wheat, dairy, sugar or alcohol for 5 days) coupled with intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting doesn’t mean severe calorie restriction; it’s simply eating within a specific time window of the day. For example, you may choose to eat between 10am and 7pm, essentially fasting for 15 hours. Alternatively, you may decide to restrict your calories to 500 per day for a couple of days a week and eat normally the rest of the week. This mimics the eating patterns of our ancestors, who did not have access to 24 hour grocery stores. The great news is that intermittent fasting can help you lose weight, eliminate sugar cravings and normalize ghrelin, your hunger hormone. This may be the easiest path to wellness you’ve been looking for.
By Ania Dunlop, Health Coach at Food for Zen, for Bikram Yoga NYC
Despite the abundance of diet books, countless wellness websites and TV shows, many people are still confused about what to eat. Why is nutrition so difficult these days? Well, the answer to that lies in your local neighborhood supermarket. Take a look around and you will see food-like products that our ancestors would not recognize. These products have been made with unpronounceable chemicals, additives and fillers turning our food into a science experiment. We are focused on eating more or less carbs, fat or protein but rarely think about the nutrient content of each food.
The Devil is in the Labels
If we want to escape the processed food trap here is some advice from nutrition author Michael Pollan worth its weight in gold: “Eat (whole) food. Not too much, mostly plants.” After reading his book “In Defense of Food”, I figured out the recipe for eating without writing a whole book: Eat food that spoils quickly, doesn’t have an ingredient label and makes no health claims. What does that mean? Au natural. I firmly believe that when we eat clean foods, our bodies self-regulate and heal, while overeating, cravings and weight gain disappear.
Eating Clean, Whole Food
So what’s a clean, whole food? “Whole” food is a single ingredient food, such as apple, rice, or beans, while “clean” refers to food that has been grown naturally, on a plant, not made in a plant, without pesticides, antibiotics and other nasty stuff. So let’s get back to basics! Choose real food that your great-grandmother would actually recognize and cook like your life depends on it, because it does.
While a lost art for some people, cooking real food at home solves our nutritional dilemma. Yes, it’s less convenient than grabbing takeout on the way home, but good nutrition not only affects how we feel today but influences our health and the health of our children in the future. If we truly want to transform our health, the first place to start is with changing our eating habits, eliminating processed food and replacing it with clean whole foods.
Ok, so what exactly should we eat?
We are about to geek out on some nutrition fundamentals. If you get bored with too many rules here is all you need to know: the key to optimal health and weight is a plant based diet. That does not mean you have to become a vegan, it simply involves making earth friendly plants a big portion of your diet with staples such as veggies, berries, avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut oil and whole grains as the cornerstone of your meal plan. If you eat meat, making it a side dish rather than the main event, may help you extend your good health.
And if you are the type of person who can only follow one rule? Simply don’t eat anything with more than 5 ingredients on the label. Trust me, you will not be eating many processed foods if you stick to it.
Fueling your body before class with nutrient rich foods, coupled with optimizing you hydration levels, is important to give you the energy needed for 90 minutes in the hot room. Some would argue refueling your body after class is even more important. Whatever the case, at Bikram Yoga NYC we support and endorse healthy living, not only though yoga, but by making it a lifestyle choice that touches on everything we consume.
Enter Just Salad.
Just Salad provides quality, healthy food in a responsible and affordable way. They offer a rotating list of local, in-season ingredients, with a lot of quality protein options including grass fed free-range beef, antibiotic-free chicken, sustainable seafood, and organic tofu. In addition to their quality product and drive to see a healthier planet, we found another bond between our companies: Each of our locations has a Just Salad outpost less than 2 blocks away!
So, we’ve teamed up for a promotion that gives Bikram Yoga NYC students 50% off their first online order using promo code BIKRAM50. Offer ends 10/9/15. Also, starting this Thursday you can find vouchers at all Bikram Yoga NYC locations that entitles you to a free reusable bowl. Bring this bowl to ANY Just Salad location and get 2 FREE essentials, 1 FREE cheese or 1 premium topping. Offer ends 11/30/2015.
Bikram Yoga NYC & Just Salad… Hot Yoga and Cool Salads.
Fine Print Offer ends 10/10/15 at 11:59 PM EST. Only valid for first-time customers on orderjustsalad.com. Cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion. Limit one per person. Must use Coupon Code: BIKRAM50. Minimum order: $8.99 before tax and tip. Orders cannot exceed $20 before discount.