5 Tips for a Healthy Inspiring Workspace

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Healthy Inspiring Workspace

Since I launched my own business several years ago, I went through several iterations of what it looked like to work from home.  In our little Brooklyn apartment, we didn’t have space for a proper desk, so I typically worked on the couch (not recommended), or at the dining room table (only slightly better). When we moved to our lovely new home in Santa Monica, I finally had a little corner dedicated entirely to my work, and I set about creating the workspace I had been wishing for.  What I found astounded me — a dedicated, healthy, and mindfully created workspace made me more productive, happier, and less stressed out during my work day! I actually looked forward to my work and settling down at my little desk.  The difference was mind-boggling.

So whether you work from home like me, have a traditional out-of-home office, or hunker down at a shared co-working space, there are definitely some important steps to take to make your work, in whatever form it takes, a more enjoyable experience.  After much trial and error and, of course, those failed attempts in Brooklyn, I’ve narrowed down these 5 key elements to creating a healthy, inspiring workspace aligned with how you want to feel throughout your day.

 

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Pep Talk: 4 Points in Praise of Peppers

Are you a hot pepper obsessive or avoider? Peppers high in spice factor are something of a superfood, so you might want to consider keeping it hot, hot, hot!

The other day, my friends and I were discussing something called the Scoville Scale (pretty much a ranking of various peppers according to their ‘temperature’). Granted, the big hitters are not recommended for raw consumption, but those who can stand other contenders are often well aware of their health benefits. A boost from this type of natural expectorant can become almost ritualistic, actually. Various post-pepper coping methods went on to include pacing, milk guzzling, and changed breathing patterns (your body actually ups its oxygen flow after eating peppers!) It sounds extreme, but it’s probably not all that misguided! Here’s the real scoop on why your body stands to benefit:

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Raise Your Baby in Royal Style

By Callie McBride

Newsflash! Princess Kate had her baby! We know, we know, how have you not heard about it before?

We kid. The media is having quite the field day following just about every second in the brand new life of His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge. From the entire history of his name to his luxurious nursery in the works, this little guy has already made it big. What we are most anticipating, though, is how Princess Kate plans on raising her firstborn. She is known to be health-conscious and focuses on healthy eating and exercise in order to maintain the, ahem, proper lifestyle. Can the same be said for little prince George? We think yes. The same can be said for you and your expanding family as well, with some help from companies like The Honest Company and Earth’s Best!

The Honest Company

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Actress and organic beauty Jessica Alba, along with co-founder Christopher Gavigan, have succeeded in their goal to redefine the “family brand” and turn it into one that focuses on safety, style, convenience, and even the environment with their Honest products. Geared toward babies and a healthy and happy home, the full range of products offered include eco-friendly diapers, non-toxic personal care, organic home cleaning products, and health and wellness goodies.

Alba and Gavigan have put their heads together and thought of everything that they have always struggled to find on the market-wholesome, eco-friendly, sustainable, stylish, affordable-and have wrapped it up with a bow to give to you. For instance, the Baby Arrival Collection features all natural shampoo and body wash, healing balm, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, and a jumbo pack of diapers. It gets better: the Diaper Cakes Collection, perfect for a baby shower gift, actually could not come any cuter.

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For the home, Honest offers everyday essentials such as laundry detergent, bug spray and sunscreen, aromatic soy candles, toilet and floor cleaners, as well as surface cleaners and dish soap-all of which are 100% non-toxic and biodegradable.

If you’re not quite convinced, you have the option of signing up for a free trial of supplies to test out yourself (paying just $5.95 shipping and handling). Um, thanks Jessica!

Earth’s Best

eb_logoSo your little one is decked out in adorable diapers and being pampered with organic goods; now for food! Earth’s Best is an all organic brand of baby food that focuses on one-ingredient products for the ultimate nutrients and ease for your child.

The cute jars of food are completely GMO-free and hormone-free. Their line of foods start with “1st Foods”, such as “1st Apples”, “1st Bananas”, and “1st Carrots” to introduce babies to single ingredient foods. 2nd Food jars combine foods for more flavor, and then 3rd Foods include texture and more ingredients. This the most basic and natural you can get, making the task of raising your child in a holistic way ridiculously easy!

As we wait with bated breath for each move that little Prince George makes over in England, add these brands to your list of holistic goods for children, and be prepared to fall in love with their message.

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No-Cost Holistic Living

By: Callie McBride

If a fear of costliness is preventing you from delving into the wonders of a holistic lifestyle, you are not alone. But, you may also be confused. Its no secret that organic meals and bi-weekly yoga classes can burn through your pocket quite quickly, but there are ways around those bright green dollar signs that offer you the same incredible benefits of living naturally and healthfully. The trick is to simply open your eyes! Scour the web, check out coffeehouse postings, and chat with your fellow yogis to learn about free deals; you will be amazed with what you will find.

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Often times yoga and pilates studios, as well as fitness centers, will offer complimentary classes to new customers. Core Power Yoga , Lulu Lemon retail stores, and YoGoer all offer free trials, just to name a few. Let Google be your friend and check out what studios in your areas do the same. Take advantage of those introductory classes to both try out different locations around your city and possibly discover a new favorite spot. I recently browsed the Internet for a martial arts class in Manhattan, and in about ten minutes I was registered for a free one-on-one lesson for the following week, that easy!

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There are also studios that generously run classes by donation; if $5 is all you’ve got, they will gladly take it. Both Yoga To The People and Brooklyn Yoga School in New York boast this deal.

During the summer, outdoor yoga skyrockets and prices dip lower than ever. In fact, they disappear. Well and Good NYC puts together an annual Summer Fitness Guide for New Yorkers filled with free yoga, pilates, and bootcamps around all 5 boroughs. Classes include Bryant Park Yoga, Sixth Street Pilates, Washington Square Park Yoga, and much more.

Let’s not forget the wonderful online world of Youtube, home to plenty of fantastic fitness instructors that post free videos to do at home-my favorites are Tara Stiles and Cassey Ho of Pop Pilates. These women are consistent with uploading new videos and have mastered the art of training through the camera.

Meditation

Another important aspect of a holistic lifestyle is meditation, which can always be free. This summer, grab a blanket and pick a park to visit during your free time. Of course, chanting is optional, but ultimate relaxation and peace of mind is garaunteed. My NYC picks are Central Park, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, and Riverside Park on the Upper West Side. With no shortage of parks wherever you live, meditation can be a quick and effective way to check in with your body and maintain a focus on your goals of healthy living.  If you need some guidance on how to start meditating, keep your eye out for guided meditation challenges from Deepak Chopra and other wellness experts!  There are also tons of free guided meditation apps available for your phone or iPad.

Organic Produce

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Organic and healthy foods generally aren’t free–though if you know of a place, shout it out. That doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the bounty of organic food made available to us. For those of you who like to stock up on organic fruits and veggies, consider shopping wholesale. In New York, the Wholesale Greenmarket is your best bet. The vendors there grow their own produce, and “straight from the farm each morning, their products travel a very short distance ensuring premium quality, and greater food safety and traceability”. (grownyc.org/wholesale) By purchasing your fresh produce in bulk, or least in larger quantities, you’ll save both money and daily trips to the grocery store. The San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market is another example that looks great and includes a huge list of merchants who deliver fresh produce each morning (www.sfproduce.org).  A local CSA can also be a super affordable option to eat organic.  NextDoorganics is an amazing CSA delivery that sends a huge bag of local organic produce and other goodies to your door for as little as $35 a week!

To sum up, cheap healthy living is entirely possible with a little determination and research. Once you find your collection of free and/or cheap spots, spread the word and get others in on the wonders of holistic living on a budget. Enjoy your mission to locate deals and steals throughout your city, and share what you find in the comments below!

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Healthy, Vegan Avocado Chocolate Pudding!

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

I don’t know what it is about this time of year, but suddenly, everyone seems to be craving pudding.  There is definitely something comforting about the rich, creamy consistency of this favorite dessert… and you know what?  Sometimes it’s ok to have pudding!  BUT, it is never ok to eat the crappy, supermarket stuff that is full of sugar (or carcinogenic fake sugar), artificial flavors and colors, and low quality dairy.  Your amazing body deserves better than that!

How about a chocolate pudding that is actually healthy?  “Whaaaaaat????” you say… Well it exists.  Avocados are a super amazing, healthy food that are full of delicious, vital nutrients, and their creamy consistency make them the perfect base for yummy desserts!  This recipe uses avocados to achieve that pudding consistency, and a select few other, healthy, natural ingredients that honestly taste pretty close to that crappy store-bought kind you know you shouldn’t let within a 10 foot radius of your body.

Vegan Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Serves 3 (please keep this in mind, and don’t eat the whole batch in one sitting!  Sa-a-a-a-avor the experience!)

1 avocado pitted and removed from the shell
1/3 cup raw, organic agave
3 tbsp organic cocoa powder (preferably raw)
1/2 cup water (soy or coconut milk work here too, but if you’re watching the waistline, stick with water!)
2 tsp vanilla

In a blender, mix all ingredients until smooth and the consistency of pudding. Refrigerate and enjoy!

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