What if we told you there was a magical object, full of nutrients and vitamins, jam packed with immune-boosting and disease-fighting goodness? And that you can eat it, and it tastes good, too?
“Yeah, yeah” you might respond, “What are you going to say next--it grows on trees?”
Behold the power of fruit! Not every fruit grows on a tree, but whether you’re picking them from a vine or a bush or a branch, they’re a vital component of your overall #chronicwellness.
Yoga instructor Brenda Gober explains it this way:
“For smooth functioning of the body, you need a good amount of nutrients that are supplied by fruits in a natural way. When you become ill or develop health disorders, these can be avoided or treated with a healthy diet rich in fruits.”
Brenda notes that fruits are especially important in our modern, fast-paced world. “With a busy lifestyle, our eating habits have become packed with preservatives and processed foods that are not only deficient of essential nutrients but can also cause some harm to the body. Fruits boost your immune system and keep you in better health, she says. “When you eat fruits, your supply of energy increases in no time; this is one of the prime benefits of fruits that we can utilize in our busy schedules. This is the reason why athletes often eat fruit during and after exercising and why diets for pregnant mothers almost always involve fruits of some kind.”
So how exactly does an apple a day keep the doctor away? Massage and myofascial release therapist Lisa Franklin explains that eating fruit can:
Lisa adds that fruit juices can also be good, although it’s important to stay away from preservatives and added sugar: “While whole fruit is your first choice, fruit juice that is made at home without flavoring or preservatives is an alternative way to get fruit in your diet. Juice bars generally provide juices or smoothies that are made only of fruit or they can add veggies for an event bigger boost! Stay away from any fruit juices with sugar or additives.”
What about dried fruit, you may ask? “ Easy, portable and not messy, dried fruits can be another source of fruit intake,” Lisa says. “ Just be careful with any additives. Many fruits have sugar added during the drying process, so read your labels! Or dry the fruits yourself!”
Massage therapist and athletic trainer Stacy Ford addresses a common fear people have about eating fruit.”Many people are hesitant to eat fruit due to the sugar content. Bah!” she says. (Yes, she really said, “Bah!”) “If you have a specific health concern with sugar, consult your dietician, otherwise - Let them eat Fruit!”
Stacy explains that “Fruit has a naturally occuring sugar, fructose. Usually, the more ripe the fruit, the more sugar has been produced, making it taste sweeter to eat. Being a natural sugar and unrefined, your body welcomes it and uses it for fuel. With the added benefit of fiber, it helps to balance the total sugar (carbohydrates) your body uses, not to mention the cleansing effect of fiber in your digestion. Win, win!”
OK, so now you’re convinced that this magical object is tasty and good for you and easy to get… So how do you incorporate them into your diet?
Reflexology and Reiki practitioner and teacher Tracy McGovern calls fruits “nature’s sweets.” Here’s a few of her favorite ways to eat fruit:
This week we invite you to join us in saying yes to yummy, healthy fruit! Stay tuned for tips, fun facts, and inspiration--and don’t forget to share your own stories, ideas, and tips with us by tagging us at #chronicwellness and #cwquakertown.
It’s the #1 resolution people make each New Year.
And…. statistics show that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February.
That may sound gloomy, but fear not! Those stats are the reason we chose movement as our #chronicwellness theme this week. As January draws to a close, we’d like to dive into what it means to ditch the resolutions and join the revolution, starting with movement.
You see it every year: gym memberships spike, only to languish and lapse by week five. Why is that? Well, there are lots of reasons, but one of the main ones is that human beings are resistant to change. Period. But we are especially resistant to change that externally motivated.
What do we mean by that? Consider this picture: It’s late December. Glutted on the extravagances of Thanksgiving and the holidays, we squeeze our bodies into our now restrictive clothing, vowing that when the New Year comes, we will be different.
January 1 is a bit of a wash because, New Year’s Day. But on January 2, we again vow we will be different. Even if there are leftovers.
And we throw ourselves into our new exercise and diet routine. Until we stop throwing.
Why did we stop? Because the focus was on imposing a routine we dislike because of a condition we dislike.
But how different would the outcome be if we switched focus to doing small, steady things we did like, not because we are afraid of chronic illness or unhappy with ourselves, but because we embrace chronic wellness, and choose to honor ourselves?
That's the difference between resolution and revolution.
And that’s why we decided to start one. A revolution, that is. We started with the basics: drinking water, breathing, eating veggies. Now we’re ready to focus all that love on to the #1 resolution, which ends up being the #1 source of guilt when broken: movement.
So what does movement look like in the revolution? It’s natural. It honors the body. It arises organically from your day. It’s practical. Most of all, it’s free from association with guilt.
What’s the pay off? According to licensed massage therapist Lisa Franklin,
“The benefits of movement are numerous. Regular movement can:
When our body is able to move as it should, this is called functional movement. Many people, explains athletic trainer and massage therapist Stacy Ford, experience some kind of dysfunctional movement--a limitation or pain associated with the normal range of motion. This can result from an injury, or even as the byproduct of a sedentary lifestyle.
“If someone has back pain or shoulder limitations or any body pain or limitation, functional movement is looking at the whole person - hips, shoulders, posture, any muscle weaknesses, etc,. to find the why. Why is there pain in the back? Why does the shoulder not move completely? And what corrections can be made to fix it. The dysfunction must be addressed before any strengthening can take place. Otherwise, we would be exacerbating the issue by training the dysfunctional motion with additional weight.”
The bottom line is to move our bodies, to move them often and in the right way, and if we experience some pain or limitation, to seek help in correcting it so that our body can return to reaping the benefits of regular, healthy movement.
And the benefits abound. Besides the ones listed above, Reiki and reflexology practitioner and teacher Tracy McGovern describes it this way:
“It is always true.
It also never ceases to amaze me.
If I am feeling icky or grumpy or overwhelmed or blue.
And if I have the presence of mind, or even if I am coerced by a friend….or more likely my dog.
Just taking a walk or a yoga class (this is usually the friend and not the dog) I feel so much better.
Dramatically better. Sounds almost....revolutionary.
This week we invite you to join the revolution. Stay tuned for tips on movement, fun facts, and inspiration--and don’t forget to share your own stories, ideas, and tips with us by tagging us at #chronicwellness and #cwquakertown.
JourneyDance and Warrior Goddess Facilitator Kelly Stanley Thomke describes being in a class where the participants were told, “Don’t forget to breathe!”
Eat your vegetables!
It’s an admonition many of us heard growing up, and its implication is clear: eating vegetables is a healthy but often unpleasant task--one which, in our childhood, may have involved threats (You can’t leave the table until you eat that broccoli!”) or bribery (“I will literally pay you money to eat that broccoli.”)
So why does something so good for us often have such a bad rep? Maybe it’s because a lot of us can identify with athletic trainer and massage therapist Stacy Ford: “For me, when I was a kid, the veggies were often boiled to mush with little color or flavor.”
It’s pretty hard to win people over with boiled, colorless, flavorless mush.
But here’s the good news:
It doesn’t have to be that way! Your cauliflower’s fate is not sealed. Your broccoli and carrots are not doomed to lose their color, texture, and taste. As Stacy found out, there are endless ways to prepare veggies that do not involve prolonged boiling: “Now that I cook for myself, I have learned to look and listen for better recipes. They don’t have to be complicated. Many times it is the cooking process. Or adding an herb to season.”
One her favorite ways to eat veggies now is to roast kale “with a tad of olive oil and sprinkle of salt and YUM! Has the crunch and mild salty flavor of potato chips with less carbohydrates and higher iron.”
OK, so now that we’ve dispelled the myth that veggies can’t be absolutely delicious, let’s get to the benefits. Just what do they do for us?
Licensed massage therapist Lisa Franklin explains:
"Vegetables are powerful sources of nutrition. Different vegetables have different benefits, but all of them:
• are cholesterol free
• provide fiber
• boost the immune system
• help prevent diseases and infections
• help with maintaining the digestive functions of the body
• benefit and support the skin
• reduce stress and protect your bones”
The nutritional impact of vegetables is something reflexology and Reiki practitioner and teacher Tracy McGovern discovered in a powerful way as she learned to use them to help restore her health.
“In the spring of 2012,” she said, “I noticed a lot of hair on the bathroom floor. Time went by and it got worse and by the fall of 2012 I was wearing a wig. This is an incredibly alarming thing, as I am sure you can imagine.
I learned a lot after that. I learned the body will keep giving you hints until it find something that gets your attention. And I learned that food is absolutely magical in returning your body to health.”
For Tracy, vegetables were instrumental in reclaiming her wellness.
“I fixed my health issues with food,” she said. “And vegetables played the biggest role in that. Vegetables helped me regain sleep, energy, feeling good, and my hair! I learned the best plate of food to have is mostly vegetables. That was not always the way I ate. So I learned to be creative. I learned about vegetables I had never heard of before!”
What was a necessity at first became an adventure as Tracy experimented with new veggies and new recipes, “mixing colors and textures and cooking methods and spices...this became fun and an outlet for creativity.”
Wildly nutritious. Magical at restoring health. An outlet for creativity. Worthy of the word “YUM” in all caps. What’s not to love?
So, as you can see, we’re pretty excited about veggies. We’re so excited, in fact, that not only do we want you to share your ideas and tips by tagging us at #chronicwellness and #cwquakertown, but we want you to share your recipes with us, because…….drumroll, please….we’re compiling a cookbook of awesomely healthy, uber delicious recipes! So send us your best veggie recipe--it’s a great way to share the love and, who knows, maybe even get featured in the Complete Wellness Cookbook!
What is this miracle substance, you may ask?
Water. Humble, basic, life giving water.
We chose water as our first #chronicwellness theme because it’s so essential not just to well-being, but to life. Re-read that first paragraph, and imagine where the lack of water would leave you: Overheated, full of toxins, nutrient deprived and stiff, a sort of constipated Tin Man. Not a pretty picture!
On the other hand, when you make water the cornerstone of your #chronicwellness, here’s just a few of the benefits you’ll reap:
• Water Decreases arthritic and joint pain
• Slows down the aging process and makes the skin smoother
• Is essential for the body to sweat and release toxins
• Helps move toxic waste in your body and carries it to the liver and kidneys for removal
• Lessens addictive urges, including caffeine, alcohol and certain drugs
• Allows for efficient body repair
• Helps red blood cells to carry oxygen and results in better muscle function and mental acuity
• Can prevent headaches or lessen the pain
• Prevents cramps and sprains Increases energy and relieves fatigue
OK, so it’s pretty darn important. Now the question is, how much should you drink?
“Current practice is a minimum of 64 ounces of water each day for an average person and up to ½ ounce per pound of body weight for smaller or larger people,” says licensed massage therapist Lisa Franklin. “Keep in mind, this is pure water, not the ice in your rum and coke, or the water you assume is in your tea or coffee. Those drinks are actually dehydrating you even more! Plain, clean water is your best friend in your health.”
Sixty-four ounces, give or take, may sound like a daunting amount of water, but there are lots of tips and tricks for making sure you get your daily dose of H2O. Certified reflexologist Tracy McGovern likes to fill two 32-ounce mason jars with filtered water every morning and pour from them throughout the day to be sure she stays hydrated. For folks who don’t like water, she suggests adding some fruit for flavoring.
How do you incorporate water into your #chronicwellness? Share your stories, tips, and tricks with us on Facebook and Instagram. Be sure to tag us at #chronicwellness and #cwquakertown!