Free Real World Training with North Face

Are you ready for a challenge?!  North Face, maker of the crazy lightweight jacket that somehow keeps you warm in the windy city (magic, we say!),  is putting Chicago’s fittest and finest to the test with their new and FREE Mountain Athletics training program.  We are pumped to get pumped for a few reasons:

1) The invite says “rain or shine”.  This is serious business, people.

2) Workouts are held on Tuesdays by the Lincoln Park Monument and Thursdays at the Jay Pritzker Pavillion, both gorgeous locations in case of “shine!!”

And the most essential one-

3) Your body changes when it’s challenged!  Stop doing the same ol’ treadmill tread and take these 6 weeks to learn how to train your body and excel at outdoor running, climbing or skiing.  You can review all the particulars here and follow along online with sport-specific training programs, a Mountain Athletics App, hard core athlete exercise tutorials, and chances to earn badges for making your goals.

Sign up and come join us next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Lincoln Park.  Don’t be scured, athletes at all levels are welcome!
image

Move your Bolly-licious Body with Doonya

It’s Move It March!  Yeah, March is making us mad so we are reclaiming the month in efforts to leap off our comatose couch-bound status.  Sadly, there is snow AGAIN on the ground and, with the irresponsible nature of Chicago Spring, indoor workouts are a must.  As we all need variety (or vari-itay as one could say), we jumped at a recent invite to sample a unique world dance inspired fitness class, Doonya.  Khushboo Rami, our fearless instructor and 1 of 2 Doonya instructors in the whole Chicago area, warmly welcomed us to the River North Gym for our first Doonya experience.

IMG_2223

Some of you probably have an inkling of what Doonya is all about from some alluring TV commercials.  Seriously, we had our debit card in one hand and the remote in the other debating on whether to buy their streaming online classes.  Doonya has actually been around since 2005 when innovator and super fit co-founders, Priya and Kajal, aspired to develop what they were doing in their Indian dance troupe to a replicable dance fitness method.  Khushboo was the 4th trained instructor in D.C. and carried the brand with her when she moved to the Chi.  So, what can you expect when you lace on your Reeboks and get ready for your flash dance moment?

Khushboo explained that Doonya has some major components that are present in every class, no matter where you attend.  There is always a mix of high and low energy cardio and 4 major dance styles are weaved throughout the class: Indian folk, Bhangra, Classical Indian dance/conditioning, and Bollypop (Indian popular dance sometimes mixed with mainstream Western pop/rap).  The signature moves, like the Bollytap, glute lifts and knee lifts, crunchy standing ab moves and the heel flick, you will be able to catch the rhythm after a few songs.  Once you have a few favorite numbers, you can request your best Bolly-shaking tunes on Facebook or directly to your amicable Doonya instructor.

IMG_2224

So how did our first class go?  Well, although we both work out (yoga, running, dance), our bodies were still challenged by Doonya’s high impact cardio sections.  Khushboo broke down basic moves before beginning routines which made it less intimidating for us newbies.  Near the middle, we found our sweaty spot but weren’t too concerned as the infectious dance music keeps you moving.  We really loved the M.I.A. “Bad Girls” remix and were super surprised by the challenging nature of the classical moves at the end.  Your thighs will shake!

IMG_2226

Ready to throw on a kurti and give it a try?  Khushboo teaches on Thursdays at 5:30 pm and drop in classes are only $15.  You can also sign up for a free 3 day pass for River North Gym and try your first Doonya class for nuthin’.  The gym is hiding on the 10th floor of the Merchandise Mart so take the Brown or Purple line if you don’t wanna mess with parking.  We can’t wait to go back to work on our shoulder shimmies.

Downloads11

Here are a few of our fave Bollywood jams to get you in the bollymood for Doonya.  Do you have a secret Bolly-jam?  Let us know so we can expand our collection!

Dilli Wali Girlfriend

High Heels

1, 2, 3, 4 from Chennai Express

YogaWorks Guest Post: 5 Yoga Poses for Jump-starting a Home Practice Sequence yoga

We’ve had this lingering intention…the intention of rising with the sun and doing yoga to get the day started right.  This intention turns into slapping the snooze button for 30 minutes and then grumbling out of bed.  As the sun’s coming out a little more these days, we thought we’d seek some expert advice on a sequence that might give us the structure we need to make daily yoga a habit!  Enter Sarah Ezrin, a Los Angeles based yoga teacher,  Lululemon brand ambassador, purveyor of joy, and our guest yogi!  Sarah also teaches for YogaWorks and the online MyYogaWorks platform which offers over 500 online classes and 24 hour access so you can get that at home yoga guidance.

Sarah offers 5 starter poses to help us and you build your home practice!  Pictures are courtesy of photographer, Julia Heredia, are were taken during Sarah’s Costa Rica retreat (jealous….).

5 Yoga Poses for Jump-starting a Home Practice Sequence by Sarah Ezrin

  1. Child’s Pose – Child’s pose is no child’s play.  A great posture for grounding one’s energy, it creates a conscious shift inward as one is literally folded in upon themselves.  Come to kneeling on the floor big toes together, knees slightly apart and sink the hips back toward the heels, laying your belly over the top thighs.  This pose can be restful with the arms relaxed by your sides or made more active with arms forward reaching energetically.  Elevate the head with a block or even stacked fists is as it will align the spine and create space for the neck and shoulders.  Feel free to repeat throughout the sequence as needed.

IMG_1933

  1. Cat/Cow Breath – Open the heart and awaken the core with this pair of postures.  Practiced dynamically (meaning moving with breath) this set warms up the spine.  Start in a table top position, aligning wrists under and shoulders and knees below hips.  On an inhalation, create a backbend by lifting the chest bone up towards the ceiling and gently taking the gaze up, back of the neck long.  Exhale round the back tremendously by pushing the palms into the floor and hollowing the bellybutton.  Gaze toward the naval.  Repeat five times (with an inhale/exhale counting as a single rep) following the natural flow of breath.

IMG_1941 IMG_1945

  1. Downward Facing Dog – Probably the most notorious of yoga poses, no practice is complete without a down dog!  Lengthen the spine and release the entire back body, which gets stiff from hunching over those iPhones.  Start in a table top position, pressing the hands evenly into the floor.  Tighter shoulders will benefit from having the hands slightly wider than shoulder’s width.  Curl the toes underneath and begin to lift the knees off the floor while extending the hips up and back.  Start with the knees slightly bent and work lengthening the spine.  Straighten the legs and press the heels toward the floor.  You are looking to create an inverted “V” with your body.  If the spine feels rounded, the lower back or hamstrings (muscles at the back of the legs) may be tight, so keep the knees slightly bent to get more length.  Make a long spine priority over straight legs.  Beginners may experience wrist pain.  Be sure the entire hand is pressed into the floor at the knuckles and fingers lengthen forward actively.

IMG_ddog

  1. Reverse Warrior – Feel both beautiful and strong with this expansive standing pose.  Tone the outer hips and lengthen the inner legs, while the added side stretch expands the lateral body improving breath. Start in a wide stance, arms out shoulder’s height and feet as wide as the wrist (about a leg’s distance).  Turn the right leg out from deep within the hip and the back leg and hip facing inward slightly.  Bend the front knee until the thigh is level to the floor, tracking the front knee and ankle.  This is Warrior 2.  On an inhalation, lean back placing the left hand lightly outside the left leg and stretching the top arm overhead.  Hold for eight full breaths or play with the pose dynamically moving in and out from Warrior 2 with breath.

 IMG_reverse

  1. Supta Baddha Konasana – Often, the most potent poses in yoga are the quietest.  Soothe the mind and nervous system, while also releasing the hips.  Start lying on the back with the knees bent and feet flat onto the floor.  Allow the inner knees to fall open like the wings of a butterfly and gently place the soles of the feet together.  Pulling the heels inward toward the groin will create a stronger release of the inner thigh.  Rest one hand on the heart and the second on the belly for more grounding or take the arms overhead and grab elbows to stretch the side body.

IMG_6954

Just for the record, #5 is a Chi Organic Girls go-to pose for relaxation.  Check out this sequence to find your zen (and maybe find a reason to get out of bed earlier) or share your favorite yoga sequence with us.

Cooked: Your Best Veggie Pre-Cooked Meal Delivery Service

We have ambitions of getting in touch with our inner culinary geniuses every week when we head to the grocery store…and then we end up passed out on the couch with a half eaten Morning Star Burger falling out of our hands after work.  Like it or not (who really likes it), American culture is one of the most overworked cultures in the world.  We need a break!  Don’t you often muse about have your own personal chef?  Chicagoans, rejoice!  There is a pretty fantastic option for you to get your personal chef wishes fulfilled, even without a genie!

16574848279_313f28715d_o

We were so excited when Erin Winston Silva, the co-founder of Cooked, reached out to us to sample their pre-cooked meal delivery options.  Cooked promises “Nourishing Meals for Busy Folks” and we are 2 very busy ladies so we jumped on the opportunity.  We were particularly intrigued as Cooked seemed to have more veggie options than many delivery services that we’ve seen.  We also love the values of the organization.  Chef Jona Silva’s own health journey inspired him to create local and nutritionally rich (not calorie rich) foods to promote wellness in others.  One can tell from menu offers, which change weekly, as well as Silva’s transparency in where ingredients come from.  The focus is local partnerships and he is also sensitive to food allergies like gluten or dietary preferences like vegan, vegetarian and T-Rexian. Ok, enough blabbing, we know you wanna know what you get to eat!

For $76 (tax and delivery included) dollars, we got ALL the foods below!!  Delivery was timely and Erin was available throughout to deal with a multitude of blogger questions like: “What about Monica’s chickpea allergy” and “Can you change our delivery date?  We forgot, we won’t be home!”.

Freshly Pressed Juice: Pineapple Cooler

Loved it!  It was refreshing and green-licious with kale, romaine, spinach, coconut water and a sweet touch of pineapple.

Lunch Bowl #2: Organic POWER grains with black beans and salsa ranchera

We split this, yet there was enough for a full lunch for both of us.  This puppy is only $5 and is rich in superfoods like quinoa, amaranth and other ancient grains with mysterious origins.  The salsa added a nice kick to the mix.

16138675454_1ffd03a56c_o

Lunch: Kale, Wild Rice and Cranberry Salad

Again, the portion was plentiful.  We enjoyed the sweet touch of cranberry and the kale and rice mix was tender and garlicky with a rich balsamic dressing.

16141045103_cbcc32f07d_o

Dinners:

Soup: Kabocha Squash and Apple Soup

Admittedly, we had to google what the heck a kabocha was.  Turns out it’s an Asian winter squash!  Last week’s weather was considerably still miserable so this warm rich soup hit the spot.  It reminded us of a sweet potato bisque with light creamy touches of spices and cinnamon.

Sesame Crusted Tofu

The 2 tofu cutlets came with zuccini noodles and vibrant red and yellow peppers, dressed with a light a soy sauce.

16141048603_bb182b5062_o

Cauliflower Tacos with Roasted Poblano Salsa

Cauliflower is a vegetarian delight as it has a chunky texture.  The taco mix also included cilantro, quinoa, and pumpkin seeds with a side of fresh salsa.

16760978205_e0fd705eeb_o

Walnut loaf with Roasted Squash and Broccolini

The squash and broccolini looked ultra fresh and colorful with bright orange and green hues and they were both cooked to perfection.  The walnut loaf was a gray meat like color and was hearty for those of you who are familiar with the texture of meatloaf.  We really liked the dressing that was provided and it seemed like it had a tahini base.

16760980825_74470dde45_o

The meals are supposed to stay fresh for 3 days but we stretched them out until Thursday and basically had enough deliciousness to stave off any grocery shopping for 2 people for the work week.  It was like a cooking vacay!  We highly recommend Cooked.  Meals change weekly to provide variety.  This week features a tantalizing coconut dal (aka lentils) and chickpea zuccini fritters.  Ready to order?  All Chi Organic Girl readers can get 10% off their first order with the promo code: chiorganicgirls so skip the shopping this week and eat cooked!

*We were not compensated for our opinions but were provided with a gift card to try Cooked meals.

Eat Local: Burger Point Restaurant Review

Do you ever wonder where your McDonald’s cheeseburger meat came from?  Unless you’re subjected to some kind of food coma induced nightmare, you probably have avoided being “in the know” on fast food meat origins.  “But burgers are so delicious”, you say.  Yeah we get you, (well the dabbling meat eater one of us, aka Kate, does and the veggie burger fiend one of us, aka Monica, may have an inkling too).  Burgers, in all their glorious forms, are special sammiches.  But as we are grown people, we like grown and sexy sammiches with ingredients we can name…and we LOVE food that’s locally sourced and not only tastes fresh but is fresh.

IMG_2141

Recently, we visited the South Loop to try a locally owned burger slinging business, Burger Point (with no creepy clowns, bonus!).  Owners, co-founders and couple, Asha Mathew and David Esterline, pride themselves in providing consumers with grass fed beef as well as organic chicken, turkey and veggie burgers.  Asha and David started Burger Point about 3 years ago and used to gaze at the space across from their condo and dream of opening their own business.  They often craved a juicy organic burger a ala North side DMK burger so they snatched up the corner spot on State and Archer and started their own burger revolution.  Local sourcing is their priority and many produce items come from David’s produce shop.  95% of the menu is house made.  Meat is ground, formed into fresh patties in the restaurant and meals are made to order (take that, Burger King!)

The menu hosts 17 specialty burgers, wangs (or wings as some might call them) with house made sassy sauces, and side options like house cut sweet potato fries.  We started our culinary experience with hearty samples of the vegetarian chili.  A toasty bowl of chili is definitely the thing for a Chicago arctic winter.  It had a healthy amount of cooked “just right” beans, a perfectly thick consistency and a nice kick of spice.  We liked the bits of tofu floating around in the mix as it added to the filling nature of the chili.  This dish could make your meal and Burger Point gives you free toppings like cheese, sour cream, olives and onions to boost it’s fill factor.

IMG_2137

For the main event, Kate got a little meaty and tried the #7 hamburger, called the Dirty South, with aged cheddar cheese, double smoked crisp bacon and BBQ sauce on a homemade pretzel roll.  The flavor of the bacon and burger was juicy, not greasy, and Kate noticed a markedly higher meat quality than chain restaurants.  Kate’s fave part was the PRETZEL BUN!! “I know me and gluten are iffy but this was a homemade pretzel bun”

IMG_2147

Monica tried the #14 with the moniker the Best Damn Veggie Burger Ever, which sports a homemade veggie patty with chipotle aioli, havarti cheese and avocado on a sesame seed bun.  She liked the balance of beans and rice, simplicity combined, but needed more kick from the chipotle aioli to counterbalance.

IMG_2154

Becoming a Burger Point Superfan can have perks.  Customers can use the delivery ease of Grubhub or Ordersnap to ensure no leaving of one’s bed is necessary, crumbs be damned.  If you do choose to wear pants and leave the house, Burger Point is located on the quiet corner of Archer and State.  Frequent Feeders can join a rewards endeavor called the 5 Star Program.  Every $5 spent gives the user a point which can eventually lead to free point earned foods.  One customer even racked up so many points that there is a burger named after him, the #17 Saigon Johnny, featuring fresh ground chicken, sliced cucumber, jalapeno and cilantro with sriracha aioli and soy sauce.  The couple and their manager, Ryan, like to let their minds run wild with new monthly recipes.  Their salmon burger is very popular for the Lenten season and now they are working on the aptly named Heart Attack consist of 5 different types of bacons. We are guessing it features pork, beef, turkey, chicken and tempeh bacon (haha we actually have no idea.  Is there such a thing as chicken bacon?  Chicky bake for short?)

IMG_2136

The South Loop neighborhood is close to popular Chicago locales like Soldier Field, the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium in addition to public transportation making it an accessible choice for tourists and locals alike.  If you want a relatively quick and tasty meal that doesn’t challenge your moral meat values, leave those golden arches behind and taste Burger Point!

Easy Peasy Omega 3ies! The Healthy Fat for your Brain

We’re sure many of you have heard about the benefits of fatty acids.  Yahhh fat isn’t all bad!!  But you have to choose the healthy fats to keep your body happy (so back away from those processed cupcakes and chips).  Some fats, such as Omega-3 fats, can combat heart disease, dementia, depression, ease the pain of arthritis and more.  Omega-3s are your brain’s super friend!

SO…where do you find them?  Your body doesn’t produce Omega-3s so you can only get them through food or supplements.  Fish contains two forms of Omega-3, DHA and EPA, which seem to have the best benefits.  But what if you don’t like fish or you’re concerned about mercury ingestion?  We certainly aren’t seafood peeps due to personal preferences.  Luckily, a vegetarian form of fatty acids, ALA, can be found in flax seed, spinach, walnuts and vegetable oils.  Although supplements are not ideal, sometimes they work better for a busy lifestyle (especially if they are tasty and in gummy form).  We aren’t big fans of chalky pills or burping up fishy oil flavor (eww) so we recently added Be Bright to our regimen.

IMG_20150216_154802592

Be Bright, a Coromega product, is a non-GMO superfood oil blend with coconut, avocado, chia seed, hemp seed and black cumin.  Even with it’s rich coconut flavor and pudding like texture, it is still plant based, dairy free, vegan AND gluten free, all tucked into a squeezable eco friendly package.  Be Bright can be integrated in your morning smoothie, stirred into your oatmeal for a sweet touch or just eaten off the spoon as we like to do for a quick fix in the morning rush.

IMG_20150216_155020662

Coromega sells other Omega-3 products such as gummies for the candy chewy type of person as well as tropical, mango or orange flavors for the sunny citrus types.  You can find these Omega-3 goodies online or at GNCs and Vitamin Shoppes throughout the Chicagoland area.  Free one week samples available on Coromega‘s website.  Happy Squeezin’ for Brain Pleazin’! (yeahhhh we did that :P).

*We were not compensated for our opinions but were provided with a free sample of Coromega’s Be Bright Superfood Oil Blend.

Help Bring the Herb-N-Juice Truck to life in Chicago!

One of the highlights of living in our great city is the bevy of food trucks we have.  What we don’t have, however, is an eco-friendly juice and smoothie truck!  Imagine your summer yoga sesh in Millennium Park and walking out to find a delicious organic juice blend waiting for you in the Chicago heat.  Herb-N-Juice is a startup company created by Joe Wehrli.  Wehrli, originally a Midwesterner, moved to California for a bit and was inspired by the holistic juicing culture.  His focus is on organic, local produce, and homemade vegan protein blends, delivered in a green juice truck (a cool tech-ed up golf cart).  Wehrli intends to expand to a store front eventually and will include healthy bowls, cold pressed juice and smoothies.

IMG_20150207_210632750_TOP

We had the pleasure of trying the goods this past Saturday at a Chicago Food Bloggers Tasting Party alongside Wehrli’s amiable family and friends.  We were treated to 4 different juices, 2 smoothies and 1 bowl.  Here’s all the juicy details!

Juice 1:

Orange, apple, carrot, celery, ginger

The color was a vibrant tangerine with a sweet carrot smell.  Wehrli intends this to be his morning blend to give you a quick jump in the morning as a substitute for your morning caffeine fix.  The taste was a good balance with no overpowering fruit or veggie flavors.  It has a clean finish with a sweet aftertaste.

Juice 2:

Beet, Apple, Pomegranate, Lemon, Cucumber, Carrot

This is the detox heavy hitter of the bunch.  Kate’s not a huge fan of beets and found the juice to be palatable and less earthy (thankfully) compared to other beet blends.  Monica loved the bright rosey color (contributed by the pomegranate) and loved the light texture.

IMG_20150207_200650393

Juice 3:

Granny smith apple, celery, kale, cucumber, lemon, pineapple, pomegranate

This green blend is surprising with it’s limey color and balanced flavor.  It is neither too tangy nor too sugary.

15 - 2

Smoothie 1:

Chocolate almond milk, organic peanut butter, banana, homemade vegan protein powder, greek yogurt

We both loved the smoothie which is surprising as Monica detests all things banana.  The protein powder (Wehrli’s own mix of hemp seeds, chia seeds, lucuma, maca and a few other vegan high protein sources from a natural provider, Nuts.com) is mild and doesn’t detract from the flavor of the chocolate and peanut butter.

15 - 1

Smoothie 2:

Coconut-almond milk, acai puree, banana, mango, strawberry

This tropical blend is delicate and bright.  Both of us enjoyed the frozen purple milk-shakey texture and the coconut touch.

IMG_20150207_204443112

IMG_20150207_210356478

Wehrli also served up a diabetic friendly juice with green apple, mint, parsley and other greens.  Although it is not as fruit filled, it is pleasant and maybe even preferable for veggie lovers with it’s alkaline nature.

By now, we’re sure you’re begging to find out where the truck is waiting to grab some easy nutrients.  Well, that’s where help is needed.  Wehrli’s truck is still in process as it is electric, has solar panels AND, unlike most food trucks, the juices and smoothies are made on site.  Many food trucks make their product at a stationary location and then bring it out, pre-cooked, into the world.  This emission free concept has run into some financial snags as Wehrli is attempting to be green with every aspect of his business.  Wehrli will also utilize plant made cups that are fully compostable.  So what are you waiting for?!  If you can, help get Herb-N-Juice on the road by donating to their kickstarter campaign.  Depending on your donation, you may get a rad Herb-N-Juice Tshirt or every hipster’s fave (including our own), a mason jar with the cute Herb-N-Juice logo.

 photo (15)

Juice up!  Winter will be over soon and your swimmy suit is waiting in the wings. :)

5 Easy Tips for Mental Wellness

Ok, so does anyone feel like they just took off their NYE party hats and watched January fly by? February is coming up in a few days and one of the themes of the month is heart health (Ya know, Valentine’s day and all that).  Apart from the physical care of your heart through healthy foods and exercise, another lesser thought of factor is caring for your emotions (stress, loneliness, depression and the like).  We so often focus on the physical and often ignore our mental health needs!  Our friends at the Rooted Center are guest posting this week to share ways we can minimize stress, check in with our emotions and improve our mental well being to make this February full of self care.

15638044807_548d1d8a61_o

Guest Contributors
Shruti Sekhri of Rooted Center
Dr. Katie Ray, DC
Heather Fraelick, LMT
Heidi Shimko, LAc MSTOM, NCCAOM BOARD CERTIFIED, ACUPUNCTURIST, REIKI MASTER

When it comes to all over well being it seems as if a lot of us are focused on working out or improving our diet.  When we gain weight or get sick, we turn to medicine or again to focus on our physical health.  What if taking the time to nurture our mental health and well being could help prevent weight gain and other health issues?  Mental wellness is just as important as exercise and nutrition, because when we are stressed, our cortisol levels spike which causes a slew of health issues.  When we are stressed, we may not get enough sleep, we turn to emotional eating, and we simply don’t feel well.  Here is how we can help lower stress and improve our allover well being with mental wellness tips!

1) What is the importance of mental wellness?

Mental wellness is pervasive and impacts our physical health, intellectual capacity and our relationships.  When our emotional life is out of balance, it can manifest into physical ailments (we’ve all heard about stress caused illnesses), it can drive us to make reactive decisions that are driven from hidden emotions rather than clarity, and it can cause us to have unhealthy relationship interactions.  By practicing mental self-care, we can reverse these undesired results and instead gain self-confidence, self-worth, and greatly improve our quality of life.

2) How can we become more aware of how we feel?

The first thing that we have to do is set the intention to become more aware.  Once we have that, then we have to give ourselves permission to allow any feeling to be OK – in other words, we have to let ourselves know that we don’t have to judge if we are good or bad for feeling the way that we do.  This creates the safe space for us to start feeling what we feel.

Once we have the safe space, we can have some tools to dig in: 1) put an alarm on your phone twice a day and ask yourself – how am I feeling?  Where do I feel it in my body?  How is my breathing 2) do some stream of conscious journaling – that means just write anything that comes to mind even if it makes no sense 3) Try to just grab a set of pastels and start doodling on some paper and see where it leads you.

15204035374_7e776bb573_o

3) What are some ways to cope and deal with stress?

Stress is pervasive and it can actually even be stressful to try not be stressed.  The first thing to do when you’re feeling stressed is to stop what you’re doing and take a deep breath.  Then, see if you can go for a 10 minute walk.  If that’s not an option, start doodling or journaling to find what is creating your stress.  A lot of times, when we know what is creating stress and anxiety for us, the knowledge itself starts to release us from it.

4) What holistic health practices also help maintain a mind body balance that can help with mental wellness?

Some key practices that help our mind and body stay connected and drive towards mental wellness include acupuncture, reiki, chiropractic care, massage therapy, aroma and essential oil therapy, yoga, nutritional balancing, and certainly talk-, equine-, or art- therapy.

5) What are 5 things we can do daily to maintain a healthy mental state?

1)    Schedule time for ourselves – even if it’s 10 minutes (you don’t have to stress about how much or if it’s enough)

2)   Set alarms on your phone to check in with how you are feeling

3)   Notice how you are breathing and see if you can extend your breath once in a while

4)   Spend time talking to someone who gives you empathy rather than advice. Advice is good, but to feel understood is paramount.  In fact, see if you can find an accountability buddy and just text each other one thing that you did for yourself that day

5)   Take a moment to find something you’re grateful for every day

Oh and treat yourself sometimes!  Rooted Center is hosting “Be Your Own Valentine”  on February 7th from 4-7 pm to give you a chance to Love Yo’ Self with mini spa treatments, expressive art sessions and more.  The $25 dollar suggested donation goes to NoStigmas.org.  NoStigmas is a global non-profit movement utilizing Peer-2-Peer connections to promote mental wellness and prevent suicide.  Their individual approach provides education, support systems and access to mental health resources at no cost. 

Lbeyourownvalentine

Your Fittest Week Ever

Don’t give up on those resolutions yet!  Chicago land is popping this week with low cost and free fitness workshops, health and nutrition seminars and fun events.  Oh and it’s nice-ish outside so you could attempt to brave the outdoors…so, take that winter!

Wednesday Jan 21

Speaking of running, isn’t it more fun with a pack?  Join other lady runners at Fleet Feet Lincoln Square for Chick’s Night.  Runners and walkers are welcome and routes range between 3 and 6 miles.  Can’t do a Wednesday?  Run clubs are also available on other weeknights through Fleet Feet.

Thursday Jan 22

“Shake and pop. Shake and pop.”  Do you ever imagine you’re dancing at a club during your cardio classes?  Your dream is now a reality!  Join Flirty Girl Fitness, live DJs, 3 different dance instructors, back up dancers, lights, sound, and fellow cardio heads at the first ever Club Cardio Concert at Sound Bar.  Tickets are only $15*, cheaper than the usual drop in, and drinks are available for purchase.  This is for the grown and sexy so 21+ only allowed.

Are you trying to explore food allergies or gluten free living?  Bountiful Eatery is hosting a gluten free meetup from 7-9 pm on Thursday.  Holistic Health Coach, Joy Duginske, and Gluten Free Mom, Tiffany Hinton, will share tips and thoughts on gluten free lifestyles.  Attendance is free!  RSVP here.

Friday Jan 23

Do you ever tip toe around your living room pretending to be the Black Swan?  Ok, maybe that’s just us.  Aspiring adult ballerinas and hip hop heads can take free classes at the Joffrey Ballet (GASP! So exciting) at Free First Friday.

Free First Friday

Joffrey Ballet, 10 East Randolph

12:00-1:00 pm Keep Fit Ballet with Kim Sagami
1:15-2:15 pm Pilates with Zineb Chraibi
6:30-8:00 pm Intermediate Ballet with Lynne Alberding
6:30-7:30 pm BeMoved with Jennifer Edgcomb
7:00-8:00 pm Hip Hop with Dantriell Houston

Saturday Jan 24

Whew!  You made it to the weekend.  Now chill and enjoy the fine art of meditation at 9 am with Hamsa Ayurveda and Yoga founder, Monica Yearwood.  No need to register!  Just show up and experience the brain changing power of meditation.

Free Meditation Group
Saturdays, 9 am (open and ongoing). Hamsa Center, 3807 N. Lincoln Avenue.

And then hype yourself back up with free and intense cardio from CrossTown Fitness at the South Loop Lululemon store.  Join Kailee Martin at 3 pm at the Roosevelt Collection.  You must register online to attend.

Photo courtesy of Cross Town Fitness

Sunday Jan 25

2015 is a year for dancing!  Learn some Latin moves for free and heat up your winter at the South Shore Cultural Center with Chicago’s Winter Dance.

Winter Dance, South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr.

  • 2-3pm – Lisa “La Boriqua” Latin Street Dancing (salsa lesson)
  • 3-5pm – Viva! Marc Anthony Tribute Project (live salsa band performing two 50-minute sets)

3 Natural Immune Boosting Ideas

“Hooray Cold and Flu Season!” said no one ever (sorry we had to jump on the meme bandwagon).  Yessir, we here in the shivering Midwest are under an alien invasion.  Just kidding, it’s a germ invasion but we think that’s just as scary.  So what are some ways to boost your protective body shield, aka your immune system?

You often read about superstars like ginger, lemon, and honey but their are some lesser known herbs and spices that people throughout ancient history have used to improve their health.  Recently, we were given 3 different immune boosting products to try, all hailing from India: Tulsi Tea, Chyawanprash Organic Herbal Jam, and Turmeric Supplements from Organic India.

15557301038_c8e9a40e41_o (1)

Organic India is a pretty amazing company too.  Organic India was formed in the 1990’s by a group of visionaries who according to their mission “establish a sustainable business model to support the livelihood of thousands of impoverished farmers in India by providing training and education, enabling self-sufficiency and skills that could be passed on to future generations.”  Couldn’t have said it better ourselves!  All of their farmers are taught about and practice organic and biodynamic farming and all of their products are certified organic.  In addition to the samples we were offered, they also sell organic ghee, organic whole husk psyllium and organic sugarcane syrups.

image

Tulsi, also known as “Holy Basil” was said to be discovered in India almost 5000 years ago.  Of course, the Tulsi in our tea wasn’t that old…we hope.  Various research studies have suggested that Tulsi can help with respiratory issues, fevers, diabetes and digestive problems as well as everybody’s enemy, stress.  Tulsi may also reduce coughs and cold and could act as a replacement for your daily ‘tussin intake.  Organic India‘s Tulsi tea is quite the stress reliever.  It has an earthy herb flavor that seems decadent, like a nice hot bath with candles and bubbles.  Tulsi tea can easily become part of one’s morning routine or afternoon unwinding time after work.  For more info about Tulsi tea, check out this article.

photo (14)

Betcha didn’t know turmeric was ginger’s cousin.  What a small rooty world right?  Turmeric has a powerhouse component called curcumin that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  Turmeric has been linked to the following positive health benefits: improved brain function, lowering risk of cancer and heart disease, reduced joint pain, and improved digestion.  Turmeric powder can be easily integrated into cooking delicious dishes, making quick detox drinks, or even just mixing the powder with honey and eating it. If you don’t feel like getting creative in the kitchen, you can get a daily turmeric fix with Organic India‘s turmeric supplements.

And now for something new, Chyanwanprash.  Now, Monica grew up with this little herb dandy but this was Kate’s first time trying it.  Chyanwanprash an ayurvedic herbal tonic made in a jam like mixture with over 35 herbs in it. Wowsa!  It’s been linked to improving respiratory function and getting that digestive system working properly by reducing flatulence (commonly known as the toots) and other maladies like diarrhea.  It is also believed to promote anti aging so we are looking forward to immortality (mwahahaha).

Organic India’s products, their history and mission, as well as some informative and nifty blogs about health are available on here. What are some favorite herbal remedies you use to boost your health?  We need all the health we can get!