Pilates is such an important part of my practice. Interesting fact is that more than half of my acupuncture patients also do Pilates with me. Why? Right off the bat, Pilates is an integral way to get a patient who is coming for pain due to dysfunction, back to being more functional. Ultimately, It allows me to help strengthen the area of weakness. That’s the obvious example. Then there are the more subtle reasons why Pilates is so beneficial. Very often than not, I’ll hear statements like these at the end of the session: “I feel less anxious, more balanced”, “ I can breathe differently”, “I feel happier”. It is in these subtleties that the magic of Pilates truly exists. Why? I truly believe Joseph Pilates was very much ahead of his time. Yes, he knew that using diaphragmatic breathing, he was able to improve the lung capacity and assist the client into getting out of the “flight or fight” of one’s sympathetic nervous system. And yes, he believed that strengthening the abdominal, core, and smaller intrinsic muscles brought a greater health to the cells of the body and muscle.
What I don’t think he realized (or maybe he did and just never qualified it by name) was that a lot of the movements, coupled with the breath work, works on something called primitive reflexes. When diving into how a Pilates session is able to produce these outcomes, I see so many similarities between movements to integrate primitive reflexes throughout the body and Pilates’s original mat-work of 1934. In Bonnie Brandes’ book, The Symphony of Reflexes, she explains this topic beautifully. Primitive reflexes develop when we are in utero, assist the body during the birth process and are integral to our development. These reflexes are complex signals that go from our nervous system/brain to specific areas of our body to perform a specific movement/processing/behavior. A block in this communication blocks the reflex from integrating thru the body and quite possibly may cause cognitive and learning challenges. When we invite particular movements (flexion, extension, rotation, unilateral, oppositional) into our body, those physical and emotional symptoms of imbalance improve. Anxiety, lack of focus/poor mental acuity, and obsessive compulsive type behaviors to name a few decrease with regular movement therapy. There are even some examples of how reflex movement therapy is useful for Parkinson's patients.
There is an old adage that you don't have to reinvent the wheel when developing a concept or business plan and I definitely adhered to such an adage. While I may put a modern approach to my Pilates instruction, it is still very much based on classical theories and science. Over the years, I have witnessed why the many benefits of Pilates is so important to my practice. It is so much more than getting washboard abs (although that is nice too). Pilates is healing, restorative and an integral part of brain health. I feel extremely committed and humbled that I get to be a vessel in this special discipline. A very heartfelt thank you to Mr. Joseph Pilates!
I love the holiday season, but I love the start to a new year even more.
These are my Top 9 to welcome in 2019:
Wishing you a Happy and Healthy 2019!
Here are my top 8 for 2018.. Green is Good!!
The first two, are my favorite additions to my multi vitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D regime:
1. Spirulina... packed with calcium, niacin, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, and selenium. This is the holy grail of superfoods and bonus it contains protein!!
2. Echinacea Premium by Standard Process...not all echinacea supplements are created equal. To get a little science-y on you, this product contains a total of 4.1 mg of alkylamides per tablet. This is the active component that provides the immune stimulating benefit. This product is also beneficial for upper respiratory and throat health.
3. Aesop hand soap and lotion …nothing beats a good ‘ol hand washing to wash away the germs. If you wash your hands as much as I do, you need a gentle and beautifully smelling scent. This product doesn’t disappoint- Luxurious and wonderfully crafted... A treat for your skin and senses!
4. Uriah Urban Farm lettuce... I am a foodie- a healthy one, that is, and I shout from the rafters that “green is good!”
This weekly service of fresh hydroponically grown, vitamin packed lettuces and herbs is truly genius if you either
A) don’t have a green thumb or
B) don’t have the space or time to have a garden.
My favorites are Arugula, Bibb, Red Gem, Basil, and Mint.
5. A great cook book: Eat smart, what to eat in a day-every day
I have cooked my way through a good portion of this book and love it!!
6. Matcha green powder... Contains L-theanine the amino acid which provides mental clarity and increased focus without feeling jittery, and is full of the antioxidant EGCG. This daily ritual of mine brings out my inner samurai warrior.
7. 5 Minute Journal- I started this habit a few years back and honestly am so thankful I did.
8. A question a day for children This is a daily, after dinner ritual in my household. The boys really look forward to it, and remind me everyday... It’s like a little archive of all the precious things that they say.
Hands down my husband is a gem. Anyone that has had any interaction with him would agree. He's intelligent, humorous, Captain Safety, looks great in a pair of glasses and knows a lot about food! He is truly the Yang to my Yin when it comes to cooking... the marriage (literally) of healthful (me) and flavorful (him). And now, true to the symbol, my cooking has evolved to be a tad tastier and a little more "fancy" and he is a whole lot healthier. Ok on to the fat part, specifically Duck fat! A little in moderation can change up the flavor profile! Its tasty, makes roasted potatoes sing, and did a little something wonderful for these petite Brussels sprouts pictured below. What’s more, it has less saturated fat and more unsaturated fat (the good fat) than butter. Duck fat is minimally processed, really just melted off the duck skin. It is not refined, deodorized, or bleached like some other oils. Its’ smoke point is 375 degrees F and the big bonus for me; it brings a big smile to my French husband and his beloved French family heritage.
Now in the hierarchy of oils, here’s the scoop… Olive oil is still your best bet in terms of health. It has lower saturated fat, higher unsaturated fat, and no cholesterol. When roasting, use Virgin Olive oil because it has a higher smoke point. The smoke point is pretty important, if you exceed that point when cooking with oil, it denatures and releases free radicals, which is no Bueno for your body. Finish with Extra Virgin Olive oil and use in salads. I am also a fan of the health benefits of Coconut oil and use this in baking quite often. Finally… I beg you, do not under any circumstances eat Canola oil! It is dangerous to your health. Do the research and you will be astonished and horrified. Read your labels. It can even exist in "healthy" bread. More on this nasty oil in another blog post!
So without further adieu, on to the recipe:
2 bags of small sized Brussels Sprouts
Himalayan Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Duck fat.. of course I use Rougie Duck fat
Wash and Cut Brussels Sprouts into half or quarters depending on size, peel away outer skins if they are brown
Toss with a tsp (or less) of salt and a Tbsp (or less) of the Duck fat
Place on parchment paper
Roast in oven at 375 degree F for 25 ish minutes or until soft and slightly browned.
You may need to toss mid cooking so as to cook evenly.
I gotta say its been a minute since our last blog post and boy am I sorry. The past holiday season was lovely, and then our healthy little home bubble bursted, compliments of our sweet preschooler.
This nasty guest made its first appearance in December and pretty much stayed with our family as a resident until a week ago.
Chinese herbs, homeopathy, probiotics and acupuncture has helped us manage the strength of the cold virus stopping it at just upper respiratory symptoms. Thank goodness!
Always boosting our immune system is my primary goal, and doing so in the form of food therapy is my primary method. The classical way to take Chinese herbs is boiling raw herbs in water and drinking the tea. At times with life's fast past speed this preparation method is not very feasible, so when I can find a product that eases this burden, and tastes good, I'm all for it!
Enter Pukka teas- organic, herbal, healing, and the big plus- tastes great!
My current daily obsession is the Cleanse variation. It has organic nettle which is super useful for clearing and protecting the upper respiratory system of bacteria and viruses. Dandelion root assists the liver in filtering toxins while Fennel aids the stomach in digestion. Peppermint lends itself to a nice taste and also helps clear excess heat. Also a great flavor enhancer is Licorice Root, but please note that it is not indicated for individuals with high blood pressure.
Cheers to afternoon tea!
Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcake
3 cups gluten free baking flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cups coconut milk
6 tsp coconut oil
1 1/2 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Here are some of my favorite cookbooks that I’m currently cooking through- whole foods and easy for a home cook! Some recipes I make as is but some I use for inspiration. I’m the queen of substitution! Not as bad as Sally from ‘When Harry met Sally’… but close!
Raw Food Real World
Crazy Sexy Kitchen
The Vibrant Table
Against the Grain
How do you find the time to...?
Prior to motherhood I enjoyed hour long workouts... Long gone are those days with running a wellness practice, raising and FEEDING two hungry boys ( three if you count my husband for the feeding not the raising, hehe). Now multi tasking has taken on a new meaning and my cardio workouts have gotten really interesting!
Im asked on a regular basis what I do for my personal workout and some tips I may have!
So, here they are:
1. Invest in a Heart rate monitor and use it to track your intensity during a workout.
2. Interval train- alternate between 65%-85% of your max heart rate for 30 sec- 1 min each
3. If you have children, purchase a jogging stroller or a double one in my case and take the workout outside.
4. For music lovers: make a track of 5 of your favorite songs and split the song up to interval training. For example: jog for verses and sprint for the chorus.
5. Please listen yo your body.. If you are tired, don't push it. Maybe a walk is needed instead of a sweat it out session!
6. Breathe deeply and intently ALWAYS!
Salmon Salad with Roasted Veg
For the Vinaigrette:
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Splash of apple cider Vinegar
¾ tsp Himalayan pink salad
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
For the Salad:
Roasted wild salmon cut into 6 oz pieces
2 big bunches of lettuce of your choice, washed and spun dry
-I use two heads of lettuce from my Uriah urban farms delivery
Bunch of fresh cut parsley or basil
1 ripe Hass Avocado
For the Roasted Veg: cut into 1-2 inch cubes
1 butternut squash
3 golden or red beets medium size
5 large carrots
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
Gratitude (n.) a feeling of appreciation or thanks
My heart is so very full of humility and gratitude these days as of late. So much effort has been put forth by so many individuals during the " beautifcation" of Palm Wellness and I couldn't be more proud of the results.
For a decade now ( wow! I cant believe I just typed that word) I have felt not only privileged but so unbelievably inspired by caring for such kind, interesting, and above all, genuine individuals. I have learned so very much and am trilled to continue on this journey of healing, self discovery, and of course healthful and mindful eating(now you didn't honestly think I wasn't going to reference food did you?!)
Cheers to the next 10!!!
Blog postings by Natalie Maddox Rougie, DOM, AP owner of Palm Wellness in Tampa, FL.