Soulstice Spa Blog

Springtime Health Hacks! --- Guest Post by Brittany Carlson April 26 2017

Join us for our very first Women in Wellness Night!   Network with other women interested in health, wellness, fitness, nutrition and allied fields.  We'll mix and mingle from 6:30pm-7pm, then enjoy an interactive panel of nutrition experts. Special thanks to our partner SkinSpirit, who will gift the first 20 registrants with a complimentary B12 shot - sweet!

Glowing skin?  Radiant health?  Resilient immune system?  Vibrant energy? All of these things and more begin with your liver and digestive health. Explore the importance of detoxification with an amazing panel of three local nutrition experts. 

Brittany Carlson of Wellbeing with Brittany will present How to Improve Digestion and Repair Your Gut.  Digestive discomfort can ruin your entire day. It can be embarrassing, uncomfortable, and exhausting. Brittany will share her top recommendations for improving your digestive health and creating a healthy gut so you can live your life to it's fullest.

Below, Brittany shares some of her favorite Health Hacks --- join us Thursday April 27th to learn more!

Cold Showers to Improve Digestion
Over the past 6 months, I have been ending my hot showers with 1 minute of cold water. Why would I put myself through this? My goal is to tone my vagus nerve, a nerve with many branches running from the brainstem at the back of your head to the base of your neck. The vagus nerve is the main highway in the nervous system, connecting the brain and gut. A healthy vagus nerve is essential for digestion. It stimulates enzyme secretion, increases the flow of bile to break down fat, and triggers peristalsis, which supports the movement of food through your intestines. The vagus nerve is also associated with insulin secretion and a well functioning immune system.

As someone who runs cold, I was hesitant to do this at first since I wanted to be warm getting out of the shower. I quickly realized that I was actually warmer stepping out of a cold shower versus a hot shower as cold water increases blood circulation. The last minute of my shower, I let the cold water hit the back of my neck and then rinse my whole body. It is truly invigorating! I built my way up from 10 seconds to 1 minute over time. I recommend giving yourself at least 10 days of ending on cold water before you give up— it quickly becomes a habit and is now something I don’t go without!

Collagen for Gut Support
Every day, I add 2 teaspoons of collagen to my morning smoothie. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is found in your skin, nails, digestive tract, muscles and bones. In terms of gut support and repair, it is essential. Collagen helps to repair the gut wall, strengthening the cells lining your intestines so you don’t absorb foods that are not completely broken down. It also promotes bile and enzyme secretion to aid in the digestion of fats. In fact, some of my most sensitive IBS clients unable to tolerate digestive enzymes and/or probiotic supplements start with collagen. It is a gentle way to assist your body in digestion, supporting the body’s overall foundation.

Check out my daily smoothie below— while it's basic, it keeps me fueled for several hours and is low glycemic to keep my blood sugar balanced. If you want a thicker smoothie, try adding avocado or banana.
1/2 cup blueberries
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 teaspoons collagen
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Green Tea for Improved Blood Sugar Balance
I gave up my daily morning cup of coffee this year and substituted it with matcha green tea, ground Japanese green tea leaves. I didn’t want to give up caffeine completely but I wanted to reduce my intake. To compare the two, coffee has 100mg of caffeine per cup while matcha has about 25-30mg of caffeine per cup— which for me, is still enough to get me going. I’m not against coffee for everyone but since I gave it up, I experience a more consistent energy throughout the day and no longer have an afternoon slump. Since my lull is gone, so is my daily dose of dark chocolate and overall cravings for sugar. A 2006 Annals of Internal Medicine study found that there is an inverse relationship between diabetes and green tea consumption; people that consume green tea are less likely to develop type II diabetes. In this particular study, green tea reduced fasting glucose levels and A1c markers. 

My morning matcha drink recipe is below, incase you want to give it a try! 

2 teaspoons of matcha (I use Two Hills Organic Matcha)
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1/2 cup of coconut milk (I use Native Forest Simple Coconut Milk)
1 cup of water 
Whisk ingredients together and enjoy! If you like your matcha extra hot, put ingredients into a saucepan to heat.

For more health tips and recipes, visit my website.

Happy, Healthier, More Centered - Learn Vedic Meditation in Marin with James Brown June 22 2016

We're very excited to join James Brown and Vedic Path Meditation for a special group course in Marin County July 5th-July 8th, held at a gorgeous private home in Tiburon, CA.  As a bonus, the first ten people to sign up will receive a complimentary massage at Soulstice Mind + Body Spa in Sausalito - calm your mind, treat your body and nurture your soul!

Spaces are limited to 15 participants... please reserve your spot here:

Here James shares more about the amazing benefits of a daily meditation practice...

"Ongoing scientific research on meditation continues to show remarkable benefits in terms of both health and happiness. If you’re interested we could talk about this stuff for hours. For now, here’s a quick summary of some of the practical, real-world benefits that students report from regular practice of Vedic Meditation. The best part is that most feel some positive effects within just the first couple days of learning, and it just gets better after that.

Stress release

This is the big one for most people. That’s because the single greatest obstruction to our health and well-being is stress. Medical research estimates as much as 90% of all health problems are caused or aggravated by stress. The unique state of rest that is achieved during meditation allows the body to launder years of accumulated stress physiologically. It also allows the body’s natural healing mechanisms to function fully and in doing so promotes a state of balance and health. People who practice the Vedic Meditation technique say they have less stress, more energy, and less tension in their lives. Many find it easier to reduce alcohol use, stop smoking, and let go of unhealthy habits. Research also shows that they have lower medical costs, fewer doctor visits, and less hospitalization. All from closing your eyes for 20 minutes twice a day and silently repeating your mantra. Sounds amazing, but it’s true.

Better sleep and more energy

About half of my students come to the course complaining of poor sleep. And it’s no wonder because when we’re stressed, one of the first things to be compromised is the quality of our sleep. The unfortunate paradox is that sleep is also our first line of defense against the harmful effects stress. Fortunately, very soon after learning to meditate, most people report an improvement in their quality of sleep which means they arise rested, with more energy, ready to get things done. It’s also interesting to note that, after a year or so of meditation, many people report needing about an hour less sleep a night.

More creativity

A recent study showed similar brain-wave patterns in babies, jazz musicians in the middle of improvisation and meditators. What this shows is that meditation allows us to cultivate a way of being that opens us up to all possibilities, without the negative effects of fear and anxiety. Not a bad thing to have in your toolbox when you’re trying to come up with creative and innovative solutions to the challenges of modern life.

Less reactivity to stressful events

One of the most comforting, real-world benefits of learning this technique is that we find it’s harder to knock us off our game. We simply begin to lose the ability to lose it…especially in situations where it’s really not appropriate. Like when we’re behind the wheel. Or dealing with our kids. Or customer service people. And if we do get angry about something we find it easier to let go of that anger and return to an even keel.

Live in the moment

Most of us spend a good part of our lives regretting or rehashing the past and worrying about the future. This non-stop brain chatter is what both prevents us from being in the moment and adds an unhealthy amount of drama to our lives. Vedic Meditation allows us to turn down the volume on that brain chatter so that it’s less distracting, allowing us to focus on what’s happening right here, right now. The most interesting thing is the Vedic Meditation allows you to be more in the moment without asking you to focus on doing that. The benefit arises as a consequence of the practice, not as the goal.

Better mental clarity and focus

Clear thinking is vital for everyone, because it’s the state of our minds that determines the overall quality of our experiences.  During Vedic Meditation the mind gains direct access to the deeper, quieter, more powerful and intuitive levels of thinking. This experience systematically expands consciousness and infuses the mind with creativity and intelligence, bringing improvements in all aspects of mental performance and perception. After meditating, the mind is fresher, quieter, more alert and happier. Awareness shifts and one finds they begin to respond in a completely different way to demands and pressure. Studies show that in the brains of long-time meditators the connective fiber between different areas of the brain, including the corpus callosum, get thicker. Meditation is like a push-up for your brain…and this isn’t just a colorful metaphor, it’s the conclusion of a recent study at UCLA.

Better Decision Making (especially under pressure)

Within just six weeks of learning this technique meditators have shown measurable increases in performance in something called “executive function.” What this means is that their ability to stay calm, while making accurate decisions under pressure improves. This has all sorts of relevant real-world benefits for actual executives, high-performance athletes, and the people who really need it the most – parents.

Freedom from addictive behavior

When we engage in addictive behavior we are trying, in vain, to fill a hole we feel in ourselves. But no matter how much alcohol or drugs or sex or food or video games or gambling or whatever we try to pour into our lives it’s a hole we can never fill. The 11th step of every 12-step program is meditation. Why? Because the only substance with which we can fill the hole we feel in ourselves is with love for ourselves. The practice of Vedic Meditation gives us a direct experience, twice a day, of our essential self. It’s a very healing and nourishing way to better know and love ourselves.

Better relationships

It’s not exactly difficult to understand why when we’re healthier, happier and living more in the moment we’re a lot easier to be around. And that ends up being a good thing for the other people in our lives, and attracts better people to our life.

Better knowledge of self

Twice a day, Vedic Meditation gives you a direct experience of your most essential self; of that unique kernel of awareness that lies at the core of your being. And it gives you this knowledge not through hours of exhaustive talk therapy, but by allowing your mind to settle effortlessly into it’s own depths. What results is that you feel more grounded in the person you truly are, and are more able to both hear and honor the impulses that rise from within."