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Detox

Stress-Free Detoxing

In a perfect world we would all be following perfect diets, live according to an ideal routine, and only make the best lifestyle choices. In reality it’s not so easy, so we just have to do the next best thing, which is doing what we can.

My life is really busy and I have the most awkward schedule imaginable. When spring comes around I always want to detox, but making sure I have the right food prepped before my hunger strikes is often more stressful than advantageous.

So, I created a stress-free detox. Most of it is inspired by my education in Maharishi Ayurveda mixed with my personal experience. One of the principles of Ayurveda, which I probably stretch to its maximum, is to favor desirable choices and to avoid undesirable choices. This means no hard and fast rules, but just doing your best at any given point. Maybe you give up your morning coffee or maybe you have a single shot instead of a double shot. You get the jist.

Get More Sleep

Even if you can only manage to go to bed half an hour earlier, do it.

Hot Lemon Water

Start your day with a glass of room temperature water and then follow that with 16 ounces of boiled water, cooled down, with a squeeze of lemon in it.

Stay Hydrated

Sip boiled water throughout the day. Either plain water or water with lemon, ginger, or fennel seeds in it. Also stock up on bottled water and make sure you have it in your car, at your desk, and around your house.

Eat a Teaspoon of Ginger Pickle Before Meals

Mix grated ginger root, half a lemon, a teaspoon of honey, and a pinch of salt together. Keep it in your refrigerator and have a teaspoon before your meals. Have a teaspoon of the pickle before your meals as often as you can.

Eat Smaller Portions

Cut your portion size by a quarter, if this feels very easy then by a third. You need much less food than you think and this will allow your digestion to get rid of extra, undigested food built up in your body.

Minimize Snacking

Stick to real food snacks and only snack when you are actually hungry. On the days that your snack ends up being a chocolate or a cookie, because life is too short to not enjoy the these pleasures at all, make sure you keep it small.

Take Your Herbs

Here is link to my recommended detox herbs.

Digest Tone before bed, I take two.

Or

Herbal Cleanse

Elimtox/Elimtox-O most of us will have to use Elimtox-O. Let the description help you make a decision.

Cook at Home

Favor wholesome, home-cooked meals whenever possible.

Running

Skip Breakfast

Yes, I said it. Skip breakfast if you aren’t hungry. If you aren’t hungry it means your digestion is not working at that time, wait for it to fire up before eating. If you are the must-have-breakfast-or-i’ll-murder type, by all means have your breakfast.

Exercise

Get some light exercise, go for a walk, go to a yoga class, do what ever is in your routine of doing.

These simple guidelines will support your bodies natural cleansing processes and rid itself of built up toxins. After all, that’s what it’s wired to do.

 

 

Strength Training

You Need Strength Training

STRENGTH TRAINING FOR women has gone mainstream. Soccer moms, grandmas, and even teenage girls are buying into the benefits of being stronger. Strength training is important for men and women alike and for all ages too.

Working out with weights not only radically transforms your body, it also alters your psychology. You feel a deep sense of accomplishment when something that felt hard in the past—like lifting your luggage into an airplane’s overhead compartmen—suddenly becomes effortless.

Strength training also boosts your metabolism, burns fat throughout the day, and prevents osteoporosis.

Strength Training with Injuries

I had a knee injury a few years ago and the knee is still sensitive. Would lifting weights be suitable for me?

It’s important to speak to your doctor or physical therapist before embarking on a new workout regime. You definitely do not want to avoid exercise, since “movement is medicine.” When we become overprotective of an injured body part, we tend to “hold” the area and avoid excessive movement, which actually decreases the mobility of the joint. You might even lose range of motion. It is important that your joints are able to move in all the various ways they were designed to move to maintain flexibility throughout a lifetime.

Start slowly and preferably under the guidance of a qualified personal trainer. You might want to begin with stretches to increase the mobility of the area, then move on to body weight exercises to strengthen it. If you continue to improve, I recommend weight training with multi-joint movements like squats, step-ups, deadlifts, and push-presses. Strengthening the injured area will also stabilize the joint and offer protection.

Do not shy away from strength training—instead, approach it slowly and knowledgeably. Soon your sensitive knee will be sensitive no more.

I’m a Klutz! Is Strength Training for Me?

I lack coordination—in fact, I consider myself very clumsy! I tend to stay in the machine section of the gym to avoid hurting myself. Do you have any advice for me?

In my opinion, body awareness equals athleticism. I think it’s the single most valuable thing in fitness! There’s something very powerful about understanding where your body is in space and controlling its movements. I’ve often been awestruck watching a gymnast perform on a balance beam or the uneven bars.

It’s a gift to be present in your body— but the good news is that it’s a skill you can develop. You need very little coordination to use gym machines, which means you’re not practicing the skill of body awareness. Get into your body—join a dance class or take up yoga, even if you’re the most uncoordinated one there.

My favorite way to better understand the movement of my limbs is using a barbell. Working on movements like the clean and jerk and the snatch (the two olympic lifts) develops huge amounts of coordination. Even though you need a lot of patience, with time your progress will start to filter into the rest of your life.

Find the best movement medicine for you, but remember, adventure happens outside of your comfort zone.

Smell the Roses

Valentine’s Day – Start a Romance with Your Life

WHILE PEOPLE LIKE to call Valentine’s Day a commercial plot by capitalists, I personally like to indulge fully in the month of love. And by indulging, I don’t mean receiving semi-wilted roses from the supermarket or getting over processed chocolate products. To me, indulging means making time to write notes to my best friends and remind them how much they mean to me, or talking on the phone with my mom for an hour, or even just blocking out time to take myself on a date to the bookstore where I can sit and read while sipping a cappuccino. Some say that every day should be Valentine’s Day, but let’s be realistic—that’s not the nature of our modern lifestyles. I’m all in favor of dedicating one day a year to delight in the people and things that I associate with love. That also means taking better care of myself and letting go of the habits that don’t serve me any longer.

How Can I Stop the Inner Defeatist Talk?

I struggle with negative internal chatter. It keeps me from being active and trying new things. What can I do?

Negative internal talk is extremely destructive. It not only causes depression but also creates an obstacle between you and the life you truly want to live. Seeing a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist can really help you to address your thoughts and change your mental patterns. The good news is that the reality you imagine in your mind is often far worse than the reality of the external world, and once you start making progress you will quickly see improvements in your life. I love the positive affirmation exercise in Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. She offers a set of generic affirmations such as “There is a divine plan of goodness for me.” She recommends writing them in your journal every morning and listening for any negative chatter that pops up. Then turn that around into a positive statement and add it to your list of daily affirmations. This exercise not only helps you to identify and hear your own defeatist jabber, but it also helps you to solidify new positive thinking patterns. It might be helpful to set one small goal for yourself every week. Add one thing outside of your comfort zone to your weekly schedule and make it non-negotiable. Make sure you follow through and do not allow anything—including yourself—to stand in your way.

Okay, I Want to Get Healthy—Where Do I Start?

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to take better care of myself. While this seems simple enough, I struggle to think of practical ways I can do this daily. What do you suggest?

I am so happy that you have vowed to place yourself higher on your priority list this year. Taking care of yourself can take many different forms. I would suggest spending a little time every week to reflect on what this means to you. I like to freewrite in my diary about this subject and just see what comes up. There is a fantastic blog called Marc and Angel Hack Life. I recommend signing up for their newsletter and making time to sit down and read it each week. Even this little act is a step in the right direction. Of course, I highly recommend that you add more fitness into your lifestyle and eat healthier, but it does not necessarily have to be about losing weight. A great goal is to focus on longevity. Address the “blind spots” in your body, as my teacher Jill Miller, creator of Yoga Tune Up, says. Take a look at that creaky joint or the fact that sitting on the floor and getting back up is not that easy anymore. These things don’t just magically go away. Taking care of yourself means answering your body’s calls, and that includes making sure that you are getting enough rest and staying hydrated.

Lastly, make time for the things that you enjoy doing and surround yourself with people that uplift you and want to support your new healthier lifestyle choices.

Send your questions about health, beauty, or fitness to ask@missbarbella.com.

Global Sheer

Add Global Shear to Your Vocabulary

I am a mobility nerd. I love learning new ways to make my body move better and to feel better. I refuse to believe that anybody should live with pain and I still want to be able to stand up from the floor easily when I am ninety.

I am a Yoga Tune Up® teacher. The first day I rolled out my thoracic spine with Jill Miller’s massage therapy balls I was sold on her program for life. I could instantly breathe better and my shoulders and torso felt light and fluffy instead of tacked down and stuck.

So I carry a big bag of Yoga Tune Up® balls around with me, and everybody I share them with instantly fall in love. I have come to believe that they contain a little bit of magic.

I also have a big box of Coregeous® balls. They don’t get nearly as much action as their mini counterparts. If you are a baller and your Coregeous® ball is gathering dust in the corner, I am here to wake you up to your most neglected mobility tool.

Why I Love It

CoregeousThe Coregoues® ball is super grippy and squishy. Designed to be soft enough to roll your abdomen on it. If you have ever had a massage therapist dig in to the inside of your hipbones, you know just how delicate your abdomen is. This ball allows you to mobilize your core muscles, stimulate lymph drainage and release your diaphragm.  But we all knew these things already.

The question is have you ever used your ball for global shear?

Under your skin you have a layer of connective tissue. You also have connective tissue around your muscles, and even around muscle fibers, it’s everywhere. When you pin the Coregeous® ball in one place directly on your skin, and then spin your body slowly winding up the skin (and all the connective tissue attached to your skin and muscles) your fascia gets the opportunity to stretch, move, and untack itself from other surfaces. It’s like scratching an itch you didn’t even know you had.

This technique of “pin, spin and mobilize” instantly floods fresh blood into the area allowing the tissues to be hydrated and nourished. It instantly provides more freedom of movement and a feeling of “oh, yes please.”

I “pin and spin” my lats, my abdomen, and my pecs with the Coregeous® ball. I specially love it straight after an intense CrossFit workout when my muscles aren’t quite ready for a deep tissue massage with my small Yoga Tune Up® balls, but I need something to relieve me from the post workout muscles tightness.

This technique will boost your recovery time and refresh you after a tough workout.

Coregeous BallFor more information and mobility techniques I highly recommend Jill’s book The Roll Model. It has four hundred and thirty two pages of the best mobility information to nerd on. In the meantime enjoy this video with CrossFit Mobility king, Kelly Starrett along with Yoga Tune Up® queen, Jill Miller on how to liberate your thoracic spine.

Peanut Butter Cups

Raw Chocolate Treats for Beginners

I am a sugar fiend. As a little girl my mom allowed me to eat cake for breakfast and snicker bars when I got hungry during shopping outings.

As a model I fought my chocolate urges, but when I finally gave up modeling full-time I vowed to never restrict myself again.

That being said, every now and again I need a break from my sugary habit. Homemade sugar-free chocolate treats are my go to remedy in these times.

You can’t really go wrong and you don’t need a lot of ingredients. Sunfood raw cacao butter, raw organic cacoa powder, and honey or maple syrup forms the foundation for raw, sugar-free chocolate treats.

You can experiment with adding shredded coconut flakes, almond meal, dates, raisons, nuts, and whatever else you can dream of.

The Earth Diet has the most amazing Peanut Butter Cup recipe if you prefer exact measurements.

I start by melting the cacao butter. I place it in a cup, which I then place in a bowl of boiled water. It takes a little time to melt, so be patient. If you shred the cacao butter it will melt faster. An inch, by an inch, by a four-inch cacao butter block is a good rough measurement to start with.

Then add Organic Raw Cacao powder, roughly 4-6 tablespoons, and mix with a fork or whisk.

Add raw honey to taste, I shoot for a tablespoon. Aim for three tablespoons if you are using maple syrup. Maple syrup is surprisingly much less sweet than honey and you would need a lot less honey to achieve the same sweetness.

You want your mixture to be quite runny. Spoon the mixture into small cupcake cups and swirl around the edges. Add a dollop of pure peanut butter or almond butter and top with more chocolate mixture.

It is that easy.

You can forgo the peanut butter and simply mix almond meal, nuts or dried fruit into your chocolate mixture and roll into balls. You can also add cacao powder until the chocolate mixture has a firmer texture.

Some people prefer coconut oil instead of cacao butter. I believe they are missing out, since nothing smells as amazing at cacao butter. Cacao butter also sets better and won’t require your treats to stay in the freezer like most sugar-free treats do.

The only challenge is to not get chocolate over your entire kitchen, or maybe that is part of the fun.

CrossFit Girl

CrossFit Curiosity

A FEW MONTHS AGO, while browsing the magazine stand in Walmart, I noticed a headline on Vogue magazine that read “The Shape Issue—Plus the Fittest Woman on Earth.” I smirked, since the titles of Fittest Woman and Fittest Man on Earth are awarded at the yearly CrossFit Games. I thought there was no way that Vogue, known for its willowy models, would feature a strong and muscular CrossFit athlete.

I was wrong. There on the page stood Annie Thorisdottir, two-time champion of the women’s CrossFit Games, holding a massive boulder above her head, muscles bulging. My jaw dropped. In that moment I realized that the slogan “Strong is the new skinny” was really being accepted by women everywhere, even the fashionistas at Vogue.
Annie ThorisdottirIt would be hard to say that CrossFit, a workout program that combines heavy weightlifting with short, high-intensity conditioning pieces, didn’t have a strong hand (pun intended) in popularizing this new mindset.
I have seen the lives of many transformed by building the mental and physical strength to do things that they might not have thought possible. For this reason, I want to dedicate this month’s column to questions I get about CrossFit. I hope to inspire others to try this program that has created a revolution in fitness.

What Is It Like?

What can I expect from a CrossFit session?
Expect the unexpected. CrossFit’s methodology is based on general preparedness. What this means is that CrossFit doesn’t specialize in one area of fitness (such as long-distance running, weightlifting, or gymnastics), but combines them to create a well-rounded athlete who might not be the best at one particular thing but is pretty good at everything. This translates  well to day-to-day activity where one needs a balance of endurance and functional strength.
During a regular session, a coach will take you through a warm-up and then talk through the workout of the day (WOD), which varies. Your coach will demonstrate proper technique for each movement and possibly modify movements for you. This way, each person can do the workout to his or her own ability.

Why Is It So Popular?

From what I have read, CrossFit is very intense, and to be honest, people seem to obsess about it. Why does it have this effect and would you consider it to be healthy?
It is true that people who do CrossFit tend to be very passionate about it. I believe that it is because CrossFit really can change your life. The strength you build in the gym not only makes you physically strong, but also mentally fit. When you realize that you can do things that you didn’t think were possible, it’s extremely empowering.
Annie ThorisdottirWorking out as a group every day also builds a fun and supportive community that turns into your fitness family. Exercise produces a lot of endorphins, so regularly incorporating it into your schedule will give you a renewed zest for life.

What If You’re Older?

I am older and worried about injuring myself. Is CrossFit suited for all ages and fitness groups?
Yes! CrossFit aims to develop all ten fundamentals of fitness: cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, flexibility, strength, stamina, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. It is important for any person to be skilled in all these areas if they wish to live a full life. CrossFit engages your mind and develops great mind and body coordination.
It is not only about being strong, but being a functional and capable human being. To feel independent in old age, we must have the basic strength to take care of ourselves. That’s why it’s especially important to incorporate fitness as we get older.
Any good CrossFit coach can modify movements to your ability and will have a strong focus on proper technique. When movements are performed properly, they not only prevent us from getting hurt, but they also strengthen and heal the body from previous injuries. CrossFit considers fitness synonymous with health. As you get fitter, all standard measures of health (bone density, standing heart rate, blood pressure, etc.) should improve.

If you have any questions about health, fitness, or CrossFit, email ask@missbarbella.com.

 

Beauty Finds

My Beauty Secrets

THE WORD “BEAUTY” is loaded  with positive  and negative connotations. And it’s so easy to get swept up in the changeable emotions of feeling beautiful one moment and ugly the next. The only way to feel confident in our media-driven society is to create your own definition of beauty. What this means for me is that I accept myself and I also accept the unique beauty of others.

Beauty is not only what we see with our eyes, but also what we feel with our hearts. Many times I have been blown away by the beauty of somebody’s presence, the way that they speak, or the lust for life in their eyes. Our world would be just a little sweeter if we were more will- ing to see our own beauty and to uplift the beauty in others. Read More

Rolling with it

Why You Should be a “Roll Model”

Do you have a cranky back, or a sore shoulder? Ever feel the frustration of not knowing why it feels that way or how you can fix it?

I have had that feeling many times, which has led me to research and study my own body as deeply as I can. I think it’s ridiculous to be ignorant of the very body that defines me physically. How can I not know why my back hurts? It’s my back!

This passion for knowledge has led me to find Jill Miller, the creator of Yoga Tune Up. With not much knowledge about her program except that it was based in Yoga, included mobility exercises, and the use Yoga Tune Up therapy balls, I went off to Los Angeles to take her teacher training.

Read More