Category Archives: wellness

The Water Protectors: The Dakota Access Pipeline

Is climate change something you believe in?  Are environmental issues a cause for concern?  Would you care if you no longer had access to clean water?

These questions are becoming a harsh reality for a Native American tribe called the Standing Rock Sioux.  The reality of the Dakota Access pipeline project directly endangering the tribe’s way of life.

The Dakota Access pipeline project aims to build a 1,172 mile long pipeline that would connect North Dakota to Illinois, in which to transport crude oil to refineries on the Gulf Coast or East Coast.  Supporters of this project see the potential to increase the region’s surrounding economy, while decreasing the need for imported oil.  However, members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe see things differently.


The pipeline would cross directly cross under the Missouri River at a place called Lake Oahe, which is only half a mile away from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.  This lake is used as the primary drink water for the reservation and is an integral part of their economy.

Although builders of the pipeline insist they’ve taken all necessary measures to protect against disasters, history shows leaks are almost inevitable.  The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has reported more than 3,300 incidents of leaks and ruptures at oil and gas pipelines since 2010.  The smallest crack will have detrimental impacts to the surrounding water supply.   Even with all these risks for contamination, the Energy Transfer company was able to find loopholes to pull the proper permits for construction.

Additionally environmentalists argue the pipeline would only fuel man-made climate changes by increasing the country’s oil infrastructure.  For these reasons we are seeing a vast majority of protestors on site at Standing Rock, physically halting the pipeline’s construction.


Various groups of people from all different backgrounds have come together to stand alongside the Sioux Tribe (including a huge social media presence).  Even after controversial reports of brutal treatment (guard dogs, rubber bullets, sound devices) from police authorities, activists are still standing their ground.  Camps filled with tents and tipis will continue to occupy the space throughout the winter.  All united together to enforce the one message of “Water is Life”.


How do you perceive this situation?  Do you believe nature should be protected at all costs?  Does water actually equal life?

If you believe in this cause you can sign the petition to stop this construction.


Are You Eating Healthy?

Are the foods you eat considered healthy?  Do you think these foods consist of valuable nutrition to your body?  A recent survey conducted by the New York Times talks about the perception of food by Americans.

This survey asked Americans if they think certain foods are healthy for you.  The same questions were then asked to nutritionists.  The results showed that 75% of Americans think they eat healthy, while a majority of the nutritionists disagreed.  

Foods like “granola bar” showed a 71% healthy rating from surveyors, while only 28% of nutritionists agreed.  These results show the lack of education about food and healthy dieting, as well as mass marketing campaigns around food.  It is also a problem of portion control, as many people are unaware of the correct ratios for food servings.

Supermarkets and fast food chains have greatly diluted the perceived portions that we need to be using.  What you think is normal, should actually be cut in half for most cases.  The average female needs about 1500 calories per day and the average male about 2500.  To give an example of how easy it is to exceed this limit; a large fry is 1000 calories, add a cheeseburger and a large soda to that and you get over 2000 calories worth of food in one meal.  That is your whole day’s worth of calories in one sitting.

Now if we cope this excessive attitude towards eating with the general lack of awareness on healthy foods, we result in a society plagued with obesity (36% of U.S).  It is important to learn the proper information in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

This Infographic shows the correct portion sizes to be used for meals.


Click here to check out tips on the proper types of foods to eat.

Dieting To Balance A Vata Dosha


When dieting to balance out a Vata Dosha, it is crucial to stick to a routine and take things slow.  This will clean out bad habits by creating a process that will keep Vata’s grounded.  There are a few basic principles to abide by that revolve around what you eat and when you eat.

Vata’s should be eating 3 or 4 meals a day, leaving 2 hours between each meals.  So eating a snack is very important to stick to this timeframe.  You want to consume your last meals 2 or 3 hours before you go to sleep.  With lunch being the biggest meal, Vata’s can consume only poultry and fish during this time.  Red meat and raw foods are hard to digest for a Vata, as you have a delicate digestive system.  The key hear is to keep foods warm, cooked and moist.

As a Vata think one pot meals.  Things like crock-pot meals, rice mixes and lots of grains should be your recipes.  The most nutrition you will get comes from whole grains like barleys, rice and quinoa.  When it comes to vegetables, always cook them as they can aggravate a Vata.

Other items to eat are beans that will cook in under 30 minutes.  Using easy to digest beans, split peas and lentils will avoid upsetting the cold nature of Vata.  Nuts, seeds, honey, oils and spices are all things to be incorporated into the diet.

Vata personalities are the most addictive.  When it comes to addictive substances like caffeine and alcohol, moderation is essential.  You should cut back on your caffeine intake to once a day.  While alcohol should be limited to 2 or 3 servings a week, with those servings spread out from each other.  Avoid iced beverages and processed foods completely.  Know when your falling into bad habits and keep yourself in check with a schedule.

Using Yoga to Equalize Your Vata Dosha

In a previous blog post, I spoke about the three Doshas that define the energies in your body.  It is important to know which of these Doshas you align with and act accordingly to them.  The video above gives advice to Vata Dosha’s who are imbalanced.

Vata is known to be cold, mobile, light and expansive.  To combat any imbalances, you want to encourage the opposite qualities.  In this case it will be warmth, stability, grounding and focus.  You want to be focused on the present moment to bring health and well being.

While performing these exercises, you want to increase your inhalation, which warms and builds your body.  Extending the length of your inhale, while increasing the depth of your breath will promote grounding.

Stability is another element to work on by grounding your feet and hands.  In standing positions use your ball mounds on your feet to help balance yourself.  If in the downward dog position, use your thumb and index finger to root your hands.

Make sure to keep your gaze level low to below the horizon.  Your eyes should be facing slightly downwards towards the earth, focusing on one fixed spot.

Movement should be slow, fluid, gentle and easy.  Use a steady pace to assist with inner movement.  With this slow pace, synchronize your movement and breath to transition from one posture to the next.  It is important to pause at each posture and hold.  The results should leave you feeling warm, stable, grounded and present.  Feelings of nurture, support and strength means you are back in balance.




A Healthy Diet to Combat Lead Exposure

Doctors in Flint, Michigan are pushing residents to consume a health diet in order to counteract lead exposure.  With the recent devastation that has occurred to Flint’s tap water, lead exposure can be very high in some residents. 

This is why doctors recommend consuming foods high in iron, calcium or vitamin C to mitigate the effects of lead exposure.  This healthy diet will help limit the exposure of lead in your body, as well as promote its excretion.

By consuming vitamin C, you enhance your body’s ability to absorb iron.  When you combine citrus juices, or other foods rich in vitamin C, at the same time as high-iron foods, your body will efficiently absorb the iron. 

Here are some examples of the foods you should be sticking to:


Vitamin C: bell peppers, dark leafy greens, kiwi fruit, broccoli, berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peas, and papayas.


Calcium: dark leafy greens, cheese, low fat milk and yogurt, bok choy, fortified tofu, okra, broccoli, green beans, almonds, and fish canned with their bones.

Iron-rich foods, including eggs, spinach, peas, beans, red meat,
Iron-rich foods, including eggs, spinach, peas, beans, red meat, liver, and raisins. Isolated on white.

Iron: red meat, pork, poultry, seafood, beans, dark green leafy vegetables (spinach), dried fruit (raisins and apricots), iron-fortified cereals, breads, pastas, peas.

 These foods still have many benefits to your body,even if you don’t have a high exposure to lead.  Vitamin C is essential for developing and maintaining scar tissues, blood vessels and cartilage.  Calcium is required in order to grow and strong bones, teeth, nerve signaling, muscle contraction and secretion of certain hormones and enzymes.  While iron is a necessary mineral for the body and often time leads to anemia if deficient.

5 Minute of Stretches to Start Your Morning

(Stretching starts at 1:24)

Stretching is a great way to improve your mobility and flexibility.  This will strengthen your body as a whole and allow for stronger exercises all around.  These five exercises take only five minutes and is a nice alternative from the morning coffee grind.

When doing these stretches, it is important to concentrate on your breathing.

Butt Lifts-

Screen shot 2016-02-23 at 11.27.12 AM

  • These are good for your hip flexors.
  • You want to focus on tightening the glutes, with a straight line from the shoulders to knees.


Cat Cow

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  • Start with aligning your knees and hands on the ground.
  • Then hale and arch the back and head.  This is the ‘Cat’ Pose
  • Next exhale and curl your body up. This is the ‘Cow’ Pose
  • Do this for about 10-20 seconds.

Hindu squats

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  • Lower  your body down slowly in a circular motion, while raising your arms up.
  • Make sure to keep your knees arched over the toes.
  • Continue this motion for 10-20 seconds

Ballet stretch

Screen shot 2016-02-23 at 11.30.31 AM

  • Start off by keeping your back straight.
  • Then turn towards the right foot with your arms in a perpendicular position.
  • While keeping your arms in this position, move down towards the legs.
  • You want to try and stretch your chin or chest to your shin.
  • Move the arms to the center, then left, then up in a circle movement.
  • Reverse the motions and repeat.
  • arms out and go down. Want chin or stretch rest down towards chin

Reach to the Sky

Screen shot 2016-02-23 at 11.31.53 AM

  • Start by keeping the back straight,
  • Then take your arms, palms facing down and stretch down to your toes.
  • Then raise them up, flipping the hands so they are palms facing up, till you reach the sky.
  • This is a good hamstring and shoulder stretch.


Bonus: Kung fu stretch

Screen shot 2016-02-23 at 11.32.57 AM

  • Begin with your finger tips facing each other.
  • You want your hands by the hip, with a slight turn to the upper body.
  • Take your right arm and make a circular clock motion.
  • Then simultaneous take your left arm and follow the right.
  • Once your reach the center flip your palms, reach down and repeat.



Foods For A Happy Heart

February is National Heart Health Month.  This month brings awareness to the troubles that can be caused from an unbalanced lifestyle.  Specifically with an unbalanced diet, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and high fat intake are all primary factors that can lead to heart disease.

When you ingest a lot of sodium, the fluid you hold in your body forces your heart to pump harder, which increases your blood pressure.  Plaque builds up in your blood vessels as a result from consuming foods high in unhealthy fats and cholesterol.  Overtime this causes your heart to overwork itself, as it has to push harder through the blocked blood vessels.  These are all reasons why its important to eat a balanced diet that consists of the right foods.

Here are some of the foods you should be consuming to prevent heart disease.

  • Fruits and Vegetables High In Antioxidants:  These help your heart function properly as they are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  • Whole Grains: The raw, unrefined grains are a good source of protein and rich fiber that helps clean out your body.
  • Limit Sodium: Aim for 1500mg- 2300mg of sodium a day, which equals to a teaspoon or less.
  • Low Fat: Cut out trans fat completely.  Look for heart healthy oils like olive, canola or nut oils.  You want two percent fat content or less.
  • Lean Meats: Always choose lean cuts of meat, poultry and fish.  Fish is also a great source of Omega 3, which is a healthy fat.
  • Eat More Nuts and Legumes: Nuts and Legumes like almonds, pecans, cashews and walnuts are a great source for health fats.
  • Limit Fried Food and Added Sugar:  Soft Drinks like sodas can be a source of empty calories.  Stick to drinks like green or black tea.

Check out this link for some heart healthy recipes.