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Category : Health & Wellbeing

6 Easy Wellness Hacks For Your Mind & Body

mind and body wellness hacks

You can throw out every personal care product that has an ingredient you can’t pronounce, you can reboot your entire kitchen, you can even start a daily meditation practice…all in an effort to achieve wellness. All worthy undertakings to be sure, but some of us may want to (may need to) start with baby steps on the path to wellness. Even if you are ready to throw out every granule of sugar in your house and never look back, learning a few modest tweaks that could provide big returns can’t hurt. Here are six easy-peasy (yet impactful) lifestyle hacks I learned during last month’s W.E.L.L. Summit that even a wellness white belt can commit to successfully.

Switch to an aluminum-free deodorant. Beginning your personal wellness journey can be daunting. Where, exactly, do you start? A good—and easy—place to start is swapping out some of the chemical-laden products in our life for cleaner alternatives. During the Healthy Beauty Panel at the W.E.L.L. Summit, all the speakers (including Green Beauty Team Founder Kristen Arnett, Thoughtfully Magazine E.I.C. Brandie Gilliam, Follian Founder Tara Foley and Silent Spring Research Scientist Kathryn Rodgers) agreed that switching to an aluminum-free deodorant is a wonderful wellness first step. This simple swap will significantly decrease your exposure to this dangerous heavy metal. If you’re worried that switching to a more natural deodorant will leave you smelling a little too natural, fear not. In the past year alone, dozens of aluminum-free deodorants have hit the market. I like the consistency and effectiveness of Soapwalla’s Deodorant Cream, but if you’d like to stick to a stick deodorant, our friends at Ursa Major just created one.

Avoid fragrance. By now we’ve all heard of the perils of parabens, and I can only imagine what something called Methylchloroisothiazolinone could be doing to my body. But one seemingly innocuous ingredient, fragrance, may be more harmful that we realize. Why? Fragrance is often a blanket term that covers a laundry list of potentially harmful chemicals. This is where a company can hide all the “trade secrets” that it is not required to disclose. Avoiding products that have synthetic fragrance listed as an ingredient is an easy-to-remember way to make safer product choices.

Youyes YOU—can create an all-natural DIY home cleaner! Even those home cleaners touted as “natural” can still contain several harmful chemicals. I was therefore excited to learn about truly non-toxic home cleaning options at the breakout session led by Devin Donaldson, Founder of The Optimist Co. Excited or not, I am the least DIY type person you will ever meet, so when Devin said we’d all be making our own home cleaning scrub, I was ready to sneak out for an extra-long bathroom break. At the hotel bar. I convinced myself to stay, though, and I’m here to tell you—creating this cleanser was the simplest process that yielded an incredibly effective scrub! Ready? All you need is a small mason jar, pure Castile soap, baking soda and 1-2 essential oils of your choice. I chose Lemon and Eucalyptus for their disinfecting and deodorizing properties. In the mason jar, mix the soap and baking soda together into a pudding-like consistency/thickness. Then add a few drops of each oil and mix some more. THAT’S IT. DONE. I’ve used this scrub on my porcelain tub and stainless steel sink with great results. And *bonus* it smells amazing!

body and mind wellness life hacksReal soap has curves. Before the W.E.L.L. Summit, superfatting was what I called a trip to Ample Hills Creamery. Then I learned about the art of soapmaking from Meow Meow Tweet Founder, Tara Pelletier. Among many other things, she told us to always look for soap that’s superfatted, as it is easier on the skin—especially in winter. Huh? Superfatting is the process of adding extra fats (oils or butters) when creating soap, so there is more fat in the mixture than the lye can react with during the chemical reaction (called saponification, fyi). This extra oil in superfatted soap is left on the skin, temporarily replacing skin’s natural film that can be stripped during cleansing. Because of this, superfatted soap is more moisturizing and nourishing. Who knew?! Tara told us to ask if a soap is superfatted before we purchase it.

Another reason to eat local. The W.E.L.L. Summit welcome dinner was otherworldly. It was a start to finish (space, decor, table settings, cocktails and, of course, food) creation of full service sustainable event design and caterers, Chive Events. As we enjoyed the exquisite food, the founders of Chive spoke to us about sustainability (they are a 100% zero waste operation!) and eating local, a very buzzy phrase in food these days. I’ve always understood eating local to mean eating food that was grown close by, not flown or trucked in from far and wide. This means the food is fresher, more delicious and that less fuel is used in its transportation. While this is true, there’s another benefit of eating local: As local food grows, it experiences the same seasonal changes and environmental effects that you experience, so it will be naturally fortified to thrive in your specific environment. It is, therefore, inherently more nourishing and nutritious. So eat local. It does the planet—and your body—good.

“No” is a complete sentence. True wellness is more than just choosing the best food to eat or safest products to use. True wellness begins between our ears! How we relate to and treat ourselves is paramount to an overall feeling of being wellMama Glow herself, Latham Thomas, gave the keynote address at the W.E.L.L. Summit welcome dinner, and she addressed this somewhat elusive aspect of wellness. Her talk was phenomenal—just one sound byte after another. Of all the brilliant tidbits she said, one really stuck with me: “‘No’ is a complete sentence”. It’s a phrase I’d heard before, seen posted on Instagram, probably retweeted at some point. But in that sacred space created at the W.E.L.L. Summit, I internalized this declaration on a deeper level that night.

As a mom and entrepreneur, I am so crazy busy all the time. That should make me less likely to say yes to every request brought my way. Unfortunately, the opposite is often true. I get so wrapped up in the Superwoman myth that I feel like I SHOULD BE ABLE to do EVERYTHING, so I often say yes to everything. The side writing project. Cooking and baking for the holiday feast at school. ALL THE BIRTHDAY PARTIES. It all adds up, and the sum is an exhausted Claire who’s short on patience and long on under-eye bags. When I do say no, I feel so guilty, I give a whole litany of reasons why I must decline. But saying no to something you just don’t have the time to do does not need to be accompanied by a reason, justification or apology. A no is a no and that’s all you need to say. Though you may initially feel a twinge of guilt—I still do—you’ll ultimately feel calmer, less stressed, more focused…and a lot more well.

By: Claire McCormack, Twitter & Instagram

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An Interview with W.E.L.L. Summit Founder Gianne Doherty

well summit 2015

Over the years, I’ve attended forums, seminars, conferences, conventions and various and sundry other retreat-type events. They can be enlightening and enjoyable—even profoundly so. I have yet to attend a summit, however, and maybe there’s a reason why. The term summit holds a certain weight; it connotes a gathering of the highest level of experts and leaders in a given field. In short, a summit is serious business. This branding speaks to the intentions with which next month’s W.E.L.L. Summit, “a celebration of living well, making empowered consumer decisions, learning from top professionals—and of course, the luxury of health” was created.

The Who and Why of the W.E.L.L. Summit

Summit or no, these intentions do not include dissuading wellness white belts from attending the W.E.L.L. Summit. Quite the contrary, this is a weekend-long event designed for all wellness-minded people, no matter where they are on their personal wellness journey. W.E.L.L. Summit Founder Gianne Doherty declares “The W.E.L.L. Summit [is] geared towards people who are passionate about wellness—those new to the field and those who are seasoned professionals.”

The W.E.L.L. Summit is designed to be an enlightening event for those seeking wellness in its many forms (clean eating, green beauty, fitness, holistic self-care…) and anyone who is passionate about living well. Whether wellness is your profession or your passion, the W.E.L.L. Summit is designed to be a place of education, exploration and inspiration for you.

This wellness retreat reboot was created by a trio of healthy beauty mavens, Gianne Doherty Co-Founder of Organic Bath Co., Amy Flyntz, Founder of Amy Flyntz Copywriting, LLC and Mia Bell, Founder of MIA BELL Natural Beauty Brokers. After repeatedly being asked wellness-related questions by customers, friends and family that were a bit outside of their respective specialties (“Why do you only use natural deodorants and which do you recommend?”, “Why is an organic mattress important?” and even “Where can I buy essential oils?”), Gianne recognized the need for an opportunity to bring the best of all facets of the wellness community together for a weekend of empowerment and learning—to “connect all the dots”.

The What to Expect From This One of a Kind Event?

True to its summit format, the W.E.L.L. Summit will feature large panel discussions led by leaders in the wellness industry, such as Keynote Speaker, Latham Thomas of Mama Glow. These experts will share their deep knowledge and expertise to inspire attendees to make simple life changes that can improve wellness and allow them to achieve their best standard of health.

The bulk of the two days will be comprised of interactive and educational breakout sessions, also led by an impressive roster of wellness experts. Attendees will have intimate access to these wellness industry pioneers through these exclusive breakout sessions. Are you intrigued by the myriad benefits of bone broth? Want to make soap with Meow Meow Tweet founder Tara Pelletier? Wondering how to make more ethical & conscious clothing choices? You can explore these subjects and more during the Summit’s breakout sessions.

“Instead of hundreds of people, these breakout sessions will be capped at 30 people. They will be as interactive as possible, with no selling from speakers and plenty of time for questions and answers.” says Gianne. Imagine: Hearing about the latest wellness trends from the trendsetters themselves. Asking all those health & wellness questions you’ve always wanted to ask. Collecting all the insider tips you need to make the very best beauty, food and fitness choices. But wait, there’s more! The Summit includes all meals—from the welcome lunch on Friday to the farewell brunch on Sunday. There will be a morning movement classes, a Recharge Lounge featuring healthy snacks and Numi Teas and, of course, a gift bag filled with wellness and healthy beauty favorites from Jacq’s Organics, 21 Drops, Lotus Wei, Splurge Skincare and more.

What I’m Excited About

Offsite Fitness Breakout Session with Xtend Barre: I love finding new, interesting workouts. Infrared Yoga…Tracey Anderson Method…kickboxing…I’ve enjoyed them all. One of the Summit’s breakout sessions will include a visit to the nearby Xtend Barre studio for a 45 minute class. Xtend Barre combines elements of dance, ballet and Pilates to create an adrenaline-fueled workout that strengthens, lengthens and chisels the body. Attendees will learn an elegant, yet energetic, combination of movements that enhance flexibility, improve balance, and challenge the core. Count me in!

L.I.V.E. W.E.L.L.: Last Night. Interactive. Vendor. Extravaganza. Wellness. Education. Learning. Luxury. After a weekend of being empowered to make informed consumer decisions, I’ll be excited to exercise my newfound wisdom at the W.E.L.L. Summit’s finale, a celebration of health, wellness and knowledge…which will include SHOPPING. This extravaganza will feature vendors hand-picked by the W.E.L.L. Summit team, giving Summit attendees the opportunity to discover and shop like-minded health, wellness and beauty brands that share the W.E.L.L. Summit vision and ethos. I’ll be happy to spend my money supporting companies and individuals that care passionately about how they live, and help me live my healthiest life as well.

Sound like your cup of (organic, fair trade) tea? Better hop to it! Due to the customization of the W.E.L.L. Summit, ticket sales will close two weeks before the event, on Friday, October 23rd. Learn more at the W.E.L.L. Summit website.

By: Claire McCormack, Twitter & Instagram: @clairemcmack

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Floatation Therapy at Lift / Next Level Floats

floatation therapy reviews next level floats

Now that you’ve read Lift / Next Level Floats owner, Gina Antioco’s journey with floating, I’ll share my own. I was very excited to try floatation therapy for a number of reasons: My life is incessantly stressful, busy and loud; I love meditation when I do it but never take the time to and I’m an introvert who craves solitude but never gets any.

Gina was kind enough to host me at Lift / Next Level Floats, her pristine floatation therapy center in Brooklyn – the largest on the East Coast. I’m not sure what I was expecting, certainly not something so spacious, but Lift / Next Level Floats exceeded my every expectation. It was immaculate. This was much appreciated in a place where I’d be taking an hour-long bath. Usually, the lounge area of a spa is where you wait before your appointment. Here, the lounge, complete with green tea, lots of natural light and a copy of Buddha and His Teachings, is where you hang post-treatment, as a kind of buffer between post-float you and the hectic city. So after a few quick instructions, Gina led me to one of the center’s five floating suites.

Choose a Floating Suite, Any Suite

You have a choice of floating suite: You can choose from their three Evolution Float Pods, which resemble giant eggs with clamshell lids or one of the center’s two Ocean Float Rooms, accessed by a side door. Kind of like a walk-in closet. I chose the latter because the confined space of the pods gave me visions of Uma Thurman in Kill Bill 2…and I doubt I could afford to Pei Mei my way out of one of these expensive-looking pods. These Ocean Float Rooms also feature 7-foot high ceilings adorned with a starlight effect, which appealed to me on a *cosmic* level. It was pretty and roomy enough for me to fully relax.

The Ocean Float Suite

Is a room within a room. The outer room is a pristine private shower, like those bathrooms where the entire room is the shower stall. (I’ve always loved those.) Before I entered the actual floating suite, I was instructed to shower with shampoo and soap, but no conditioner or body cream pre-float. Gina left me to it, telling me to completely dry off my face before entering the tank, as that is the one part of my body that would be out of the water (you know…breathing).

Shower: Done

I stepped into the float room, naked. You float naked. It’s completely private, so I wasn’t at all uncomfortable, but I mention it because everyone asked whether you float naked. You do. The first thing I noticed when I entered the tank was the water temperature. Since I had just taken a shower, I was aware of how much hotter my shower (which was my normal shower temperature) was than the water in the tank. I take very good care of the skin all over my body, and I was forced to wonder how much of my careful exfoliating and moisturizing I negate by taking scalding (and therefore skin-drying) showers every morning! Lesson learned. The water in the tanks is strategically set to skin temperature, which really allows you to lose yourself while floating; where your body ends and the water begins starts to blur.

And We All Float On Ok

The water contains 1,000 lbs. of Epsom salt, which makes you extremely buoyant. There are neck pillows available for head support. Now perhaps it’s because I have a huge noggin, but I was not really comfortable until I put on the neck pillow. Once I did, though, voila! I was comfortable and totally afloat. If you’re worried that an hour-long bath will cause you to go through the rest of your post-float day looking like a raisin, fear not. An Epsom salt solution is actually moisturizing and hydrating and does not cause the same skin pruning most long dips do.

I Relaxed Immediately

Gina advised me to situate my body in the middle of the tank so I would be centered once the water went still. You do shift around slightly as you’re floating (like a boat on tranquil water) and you don’t want your arms or legs to hit the sides of the tank. You really do lose sense of your extremities, so if they were to all of the sudden touch the side of the tank it would bring an awareness back to them that’s counter-productive to the meditative aspect of floating.

How Was It?

Blissful. Not for one minute did I wonder when it would be over. The room had a magical glow to it – nothing too bright, though. Like a purplish twilight. I looked up at the “starry” roof of the tank at first, but soon closed my eyes. In the egg shaped pods, you can also play music, if you’re so inclined. That seems antithetical to sensory deprivation to me, but to each his own.

A Few Minutes Into The Float

I started to remember, in vivid detail, my dream from the night before. Soon after that, though, conscious thought ceased, and I entered a dreamy state. Not asleep, not awake…just zoned out. In a great way. I didn’t put pressure on myself to have some deep revelation during my float, and I didn’t try to meditate (which usually leads to zero actual meditation). I just chilled. In my dreamy state, I actually experienced what Gina told me were hypnagogic jerks, those tiny spasms your body has on the edge of sleep. These were annoying because every time one happened, I stirred the tranquil water and made sound in the otherwise silent tank. Since your ears are under the water even the slightest splash seems super loud. Luckily, I zoned back out quickly after every jerk.

Your Float Is Now Complete

Then you can shower again, at your own pace. There’s no rushing you out of the room or the center. You can get dressed and then hang in the lounge with a cup of green tea until you’re ready to rejoin civilization.

Third Float’s the Charm

Gina told me the results really kick in after about three floats, when your body knows what to do immediately upon entering the tank, allowing you to get the full hour of therapeutic floating. Still, immediately after just one float, I got in a car with my husband and kids for an hour drive. If anything were to test my zen, this was it! I was much less reactive than usual – the bickering and the traffic didn’t get under my skin like they usually do. I even sang along with the Taylor Swift songs my daughter demanded we listen to, instead of scowling in the front seat for three minutes. Not a drop of Bad Blood was spilled…now that’s a transformation!

By: Claire McCormack, Twitter & Instagram: @clairemcmack

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Floatation Therapy at Lift / Next Level Floats

flotation therapy next level floats

Much like Lift / Next Level Floats owner, Gina Antioco, I too had to try floatation therapy as soon as I heard about it. As an entrepreneur with two children, the absence of stimulation seemed just about the best thing I could think of, and when I heard it could also help with chronic pain, well, I couldn’t get in that tank fast enough.

Gina was kind enough to host me at Lift / Next Level Floats, her gorgeous new floatation therapy center in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. In my blissful, post-float state, I also had the chance to sit down with Gina and talk about floating, starting her own business and Theta waves…among other things.

TB: Tell us about floating. What inspired you to make it your life’s work?

GA: I am the type of person who seeks out new experiences to such a degree that you might call it a hobby, so when a friend introduced me to floatation therapy, I booked my first session immediately. I did some research before booking the appointment, and afterwards I was completely terrified because what I learned implied that I should prepare to undergo the most intense psychology session of my life. No distraction, only true introspection. I went anyway, ready to face myself in the mirror while floating in the dark. After that first session, I’ll never forget the overwhelming feeling of calm I experienced stepping out onto the crazy, overstimulated streets of Manhattan. My head was clear and I felt light. It sounds silly, but I swear the sun seemed brighter. Dealing with anxiety had always been the norm for me and I was no stranger to insomnia, so when I walked out of the session feeling euphoric, and then had one of the best night’s sleep that evening, I recognized what floating could do.

Come On In, The Water is Fine

GA: At that time in my life, I really disliked my work. As a banquet manager, I watched people spend $70K + on their “special day” and it began to feel terribly superficial. I knew there had to be a way I could apply my skills to create something more altruistic. I am a risk taker by nature and had a bit of nest egg set aside so I decided to open the float center. All of my business books instructed me to find a niche, so I did. I believe it was always the challenge that drove me.

TB: How did you get started? What were some of the challenges you faced?

GA: I knew that experience would be key in order to run a successful center. I began researching, and quickly realized I wouldn’t be able to gain that experience in New York, as the industry simply did not exist here, so I moved to the west coast where floating was already quite prevalent. That’s when my journey really began, about two years ago. It was challenging and incredibly exhausting. I worked at a hostel so that I had somewhere rent free to sleep, and volunteered at a start-up float center who couldn’t yet afford staff. This is how I learned the ins and outs. I worked seven days a week and my only income was unemployment. I ate at a “community dinner” and received assistance at a food kitchen. There was no easy shortcut and I was determined not to dip into my savings. It made me stronger and I learned many of the skills that would help me run a business.

When You Know, You Know

While out west, I tried to secure additional financial backing. After a lengthy conversation with an Irish bar/restaurant owner, I thought that I had…until he tried to kiss me! It’s difficult being a female entrepreneur, trying to get people to take you seriously, especially when you have to convince them to believe in a service that most have never heard of. When I met my now business partner — a New Yorker who had started floating in the 80s— at a float conference in Portland, we were a perfect match. We decided to join forces after only two and a half days of knowing each other, a fact that still surprises me. I am impulsive, but not that impulsive! I thank our mutual love of Burning Man for helping us to quickly experience a level of trust that only attendees of the festival would understand.

After meeting Dave, my business partner, we briefly explored the option of franchising the location I was working at out west. After a meeting with their silent partner, a misogynistic tanning salon magnate who did not acknowledge me at the meeting except when he pointed out to Dave that all I would be is “Dave’s best employee”, rather than a partner, the decision to go in our own direction was easy.

We’re Very Lucky

I moved back to New York and took a temporary job at a spa franchise to continued learning the business while our space was under construction. Now, two years later, after many hiccups along the way, we have a warm and inviting five-tank center — making us the largest on the east coast — and many happy customers. From conception to fruition, it’s been an amazing partnership. Since the business is so new, we’ve yet to take days off, but we love what we do. Witnessing the overwhelmingly positive responses of our guests is all I need to keep going.

TB: How are the effects of floating distinctly different from the effects of meditation or yoga?

Travel-Beauty-Flotation-therapyGA: For many, beginning a practice in meditation can be frustrating. A person is asked to do nothing and suddenly his or her brain is doing everything. Floating is different because without any sensory input the brain chatter naturally slows down. The body is so relaxed that it just happens, almost effortlessly. While on the west coast I was able to observe the effects of floatation therapy. Our clients were often candid and shared the benefits they were experiencing, such as eliminating anti-anxiety medications, anti­depressants and painkillers from their daily routines. Others used it to deepen their meditation practice, lower stress and beat insomnia. I dealt with people working through traumas, PTSD and others recovering from surgeries. It was extremely rewarding.

Floating Is One Of Those Things That Is Difficult To Put Into Words

The sensation is best described as waves, beginning at your center and emanating outwards; the moments when you let go, and feel your breath make its way through your system, while at the same time your body drifts away. It’s trance-like and feels as if you’re peeling off layers, breaking things down to a manageable level, forgetting your worries, transforming as you go. Suddenly everything that was stressing you out is now, somehow okay. It’s quite remarkable and when you think about how simple it is, you wonder why you haven’t been doing this your entire life.

TB: In addition to floating, what other health & wellness practices are most important to you?

GA: I’ve recently been turned on to somatic therapy, which is the study of the mind/body interface, and the relationship between our physical matter and energy. It implements the practice of “checking in” with yourself, which is of particular interest to me as this technique can also be used to train yourself to lucid dream, something I hope to relearn to do. I’ve also found hypnagogic light therapy to be rather effective in aiding in relaxation and overall wellness. This experience involves sitting under halogen and LED bulbs that pulsate at different frequencies and intensities. It offers the benefits of a deep meditation through an expanded state of consciousness as the light stimulates brain waves patterns that help the user access theta activity. Theta is the brain wave state that practitioners of yoga as well as many “floaters” are ideally working to achieve.

In Short, I Look For Balance

This extends far beyond any diet or exercise routine, although I can say I am a clean eater and a runner. Sometimes balance means treating myself to a pedicure because I’ve been working like crazy and my feet hurt or spending a night out with friends. I keep looking for balance in its many forms and try to stay true to myself.

To learn more about floating, visit Lift / Next Level Floats online or call 718-701-0808.

All photos by Frank Rocco.

As told to Claire McCormack. Twitter & Instagram: @clairemcmack

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Treating Adrenal Fatigue

treating adrenal fatigue

I’ve been wanting to write a blog post about supplements (a beauty from the inside out type of thing) for a long time. My initial idea was to write the post as a “let’s take a peek inside women’s medicine cabinets”. I had already had these conversations with friends — discussing which supplements we all take on a regular basis and why. I always found it fascinating to hear which vitamins/supplements/herbs etc. have helped other women feel their best, and I have often gotten great suggestions this way, to boot.

When I started to write this piece in earnest, I asked the ladies in my life to write down all the supplements they take regularly and what they take them for. Rather quickly, a theme emerged: adrenal fatigue. I can’t say I was surprised that these very busy — and very knowledgeable — women were taking an active role in supporting their adrenal glands; most of the supplements I take regularly are also directly or indirectly for adrenal health/support. Turns out my friends and I all had similar journeys that set us on this specific path to wellness.

Personally, I hit a physical, mental and emotional low about two years ago (more details below). My quest to get better led to the discovery that years of constant, intense stress had completely tapped out my adrenal glands. This, in turn, left me feeling completely tapped out. With guidance from a holistic health practitioner and other wellness professionals, I started taking supplements to support my adrenal glands — specifically to help my body better handle stress and to restore the essential minerals and nutrients that were depleted from years of self-care insufficient for my hectic lifestyle. Almost immediately, these supplements made an enormous difference in how I felt, day in and day out.

Never Heard of Adrenal Fatigue?

If you’ve never heard of adrenal fatigue, don’t worry. Go to a traditional doctor complaining about adrenal fatigue and she’ll likely tell you there is no such thing. Visit a holistic health practitioner or naturopath, however, and she will tell you adrenal fatigue is one of the most underdiagnosed conditions of the 21st century. Ask anyone you know who regularly sees a naturopath, and you may discover that s/he is already taking supplements to treat adrenal fatigue. The struggle, as they say, is real. And it is especially real for women.

In fact, it seems that adrenal fatigue is the bane of the modern woman’s existence. All the women I spoke to are busy working women and/or working mothers; the epitome of “I don’t know how she does it” females. If you are struggling to manage a career, family, self-care, etc., and often feel that the struggle is winning, this post may be especially valuable (and applicable) to you, too.

What Does Adrenal Fatigue Look Like? Feel Like?

Well, crappy. Like you can’t get out of bed in the morning. No, not like it’s hard to get out of bed…like it’s impossible. If you’ve ever been pregnant, it feels like first trimester exhaustion, but EVERY SINGLE DAY. Also, your patience is super-low and your stress level super-high. Constantly. You literally feel at your wit’s end, exasperated, all day long. Everyone and everything gets under your skin. Nothing brings excitement or joy. You can’t remember the last time you felt “energetic”. Then there’s the ennui. Nothing sounds like a good or fun idea. You literally don’t want to do anything.

There are physical manifestations as well. I notice most dramatically under my eyes. They become a particular blue bruise-tone that can only mean my body is trying to send me an urgent message. Even scarier was the hair loss that I’ve shared about before.

Working Out Rigorously?

If you work out rigorously, adrenal fatigue is something you may want to investigate further as well. We are told ad nauseum how beneficial exercise is for us — and it is! It has myriad physical benefits, and is a great way to manage stress. There is a catch-22, though. If you’re not taking proper care to replace all the minerals and nutrients that is expelled during all that physical exertion, you may soon find yourself with less energy rather than more, and/or start feeling like each workout is taking every last ounce of energy you have. If that’s been your post-workout experience lately, read on.

Below are lists of the supplements I and two of my friends take on a regular basis. For the sake of brevity, I did not include a supplement list for everyone I spoke to, but you’ll see the similarities between my, Shamara and Kim’s lists. Between the three of us, the supplements we take are a very good representation of all the women I spoke to. Now, none of us are doctors. This is in no way medical advice. This is women who have taken the time to educate themselves, sharing what has helped them feel their very best. If, after reading this, you feel you may also suffer from adrenal fatigue, I do urge you to find a naturopath with whom you can discuss adrenal fatigue, and who can help you construct an action plan to feel better asap.

My Regimen

Between meeting with holistic health counselor Carol Patti (who was introduced to me by Kim Knittel, see below), muscle testing with Diane Paxton and reading The Mood Cure by Julia Ross, MD, I’ve come up with a “program” that really works and helps me feels my best. I must add that eating a protein-rich breakfast, exercising and getting colonics have also improved my overall sense of wellbeing.

The results of following this program have been increased energy, patience, an infinitely easier time getting out of bed in the morning and a dramatic decrease in the amount of caffeine I need throughout the day.

Standard Process Prosynbiotic

I take one pill, three times a day, as per muscle testing. Diane Paxton used muscle testing to determine which probiotics my body best responded to, and once we found my body’s “favorite” probiotic strain (Bifidobacterium was the winner), we used muscle testing to determine optimal dosage. Muscle testing is a fairly simple practice often used by naturopaths, but it’s quite fascinating! Diane had me hold different types of probiotic pills in my hand, each type of probiotic by itself. Then, while I was holding each type, she pushed down on my arm as I tried to resist or push back. The more my arm was able to resist the pressure of her push, the better; i.e., that was the probiotic that would be best for my body, as it made my body stronger, not weaker.

Trader Joe’s Fish Oil EPA/DHA

If you end up purchasing any high-quality supplements, you’ll see they ain’t cheap. It was so nice, then, to find a high-quality, inexpensive supplement like this one. The fish oil in these supplements are micro distilled, as recommended in The Mood Cure. Molecular distillation reduces the toxins in fish oil to safe levels. This formula also has the right amount of EPA and DHA, and in the proper ratio.  Fish oil has so many benefits! It is not only great for hair, skin and joints, but also very beneficial for the brain, mood and gut…all things I’m interested in optimizing.

Designs for Health CraveArrest

I take CraveArrest for adrenal support; one in the morning on an empty stomach and one before lunch. I happened upon CraveArrest as a fluke — Designs for Health was highly recommended by Carol Patti, and when I looked at all their different formulas, Crave Arrest had a number of vitamins, minerals and herbs I was looking for, all in one supplement. In addition to negatively impacting my mood and energy level, adrenal fatigue also causes cravings in many people. I don’t get crazy cravings regularly, but my body very positively responds to the unique combination of ingredients in CraveArrest. It helps support my overall mood, energy, stress level, etc. CraveArrest is designed to promote an optimal balance of serotonin and dopamine in the body. Since the adrenal glands oversee the the regulation of serotonin and dopamine, compromised adrenal glands don’t do a great job at regulating these two important neurotransmitters. This imbalance leads to all sorts of unsavory effects: sleeplessness, anxiousness and, as the name implies, cravings. CraveArrest contains tyrosine and 5-HTP for anti-craving effects, as well as taurine and the adaptogenic herb Rhodiola to promote a healthy stress response.

Designs for Health CatecholaCalm

This is also for adrenal support. I take one or two at bedtime. Sometimes I’ll take one in the morning if I feel I need it, but if I take it within an hour of drinking coffee the caffeine will cancel out its effects, so it’s often hard for me to get the timing just right in the craziness that is my morning. (as mentioned earlier, these supplements are pricey so I won’t take one at a sub-optimal time.) CatecholaCalm is designed to support healthy catecholamine levels with adaptogenic herbs and nutrients that help mood and promote calmness and relaxation. CatecholaCalm addresses adrenal gland health; I find it helps me handle stress more effectively and to slow down my brain when I feel on overdrive. CatecholaCalm was specifically designed for “burned-out”, anxious people like me, suffering from a combination of low cortisol and elevated catecholamines. Catecholamines are also regulated by the adrenal glands…you don’t need to know what they are, but know that when they are out of whack, it’s not good. CathecolaCalm has given me more restful sleep, and I find it is especially beneficial when I’m PMSing.

Phylia de M. Fulphyl

I add Fulphyl to my smoothies for immune support and overall wellbeing — as needed and especially at change of seasons. This stuff is quite expensive, but totally worth it…as are all Phylia de M. products. Because it is so pricey, I am stingier with it than I probably should be. But I digress. So what the heck is Fulphyl and what does it do? Fulphyl is a humic-free fulvic acid supplement in liquid form. It has more benefits than I can list here, but it basically does it all. I’m sure you’ve noticed all the buzz of late over the benefits of fermented foods. Fulphyl contains fulvic acid produced from the fermentation of organic fruits and vegetables. Fulphyl not only detoxifies the body, but also optimizes your body’s ability to use the nutrients you consume. Fulvic acid removes harmful toxins and free radicals and encourages cell health and regeneration. This is a true “beauty from the inside out” superstar that everyone can benefit from using.

Lidtke Endorphigen

I take this for back/shoulder pain, as needed. I hate the idea of taking Aleve on a regular basis, but my long-term, chronic back pain can flair up for a stretch of time. Endorphigen truly helps with my back pain – it’s remarkable! I take it in the morning on an empty stomach and then again at night.

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Shamara Bondaroff - Facialist, SB Skin Holistic Skin Care

I’ve known Shamara since junior high school. She was raised in a holistic, health-conscious household, and she and her whole family frequented the late, great Dr. Martin Feldman. Dr. Feldman provided her with a supplement program that was suited for her needs and gave her the tools to maintain a healthy lifestyle, avoiding pharmaceuticals.
She knows what it takes to feel – and look! – your very best, which is what makes her an amazing facialist and skin care expert.

E3 LIVE Blue-green algae superfood for focus and a dose of nutrients; taken first thing in the AM with probiotic (below).

Pure Encapsulations Probiotic 50B Probiotic taken first thing in AM.

Pure Encapsulations Women’s Pure Pack Essential nutrients tailored for women, taken after breakfast.

Twin Lab Hair Factors Add-on vitamins for skin & hair.

Flora Vegetal Silica  Also for skin and hair.

Thorne Research Phytisone Taken for adrenal support.

E3 Live Enzymes Supreme Digestive enzymes (when I remember) before each meal.

Kim Knittel

Kim is an old and very dear friend. I respect – and cherish – her deeply. She’s a mom first and foremost; an older mom of young kids, with a strong interest in nutrition and food as medicine. She consulted with a nutritionist named Trudy Scott for most of the supplements she takes, and a naturopath named Shaina Orfus, for others, especially after she was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. Trudy’s website – a great resource – is www.everywomanover29.com. Here is Kim’s very well-researched list of supplements:

Selenocysteine (selenium) – 200 mcg for thyroid health.

L Tyrosine – 2.4g twice a day for energy and focus.

L-Glutamine – Twice a day to curb sugar cravings and to heal the gut.

D-Phenylalanine – 1000 mg twice a day, for elevation of mood and to combat stress.

Ashwaganda – 350 mg twice a day, for thyroid health.

Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) – 500 mg per day, for premature greying, a sign of B5 deficiency.

Vitamin D3 – (1) 10,000 iu pill every few days, for immune function, thyroid health and many other body functions.

Opti-Zinc 30 – 30 mg per day, for immune function and thyroid health.

Methyl Guard Plus or Active B Complex – 100 mg B6 and 2 mg B12 among others 2 – 4 times daily.

Ascorbyl Palmitate – Fat Soluble Vitamin C 450mg per day.

What supplements do you take every day? For what? Share in the comments, below!

By: Claire McCormack, Twitter & Instagram: @clairemcmack

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