Alfalfa Sprouts

I feel like a kid in a candy store lately. All the foods I have re-discovered while cleansing have made me eager to experiment in the kitchen. Basic recipes have so much flare and flavor (not to mention appeal) it’s been a joy.

Take this one simple plant, for example, that I hadn’t had since childhood at my cousin Chickie’s house. Alfalfa sprouts. They are exceptionally delicious. I find myself going to the fridge just to grab a handful of the things. Alfalfa sprouts are highly nutritional boasting protein, calcium and other minerals, and vitamins B, C, D, E and K!

sprouts as a garnish

One of my top clean eating dishes is Oven Roasted Chicken with Wild Rice and Alfalfa Sprouts. It’s completely satisfying, low-fat and energy packed. Let me know if you would like my adaptation of the Clean recipe.

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Clean Program

It’s official – I’ve fallen off the health and wellness wagon. Easy access to the kitchen cabinets from my home office has posed a major threat to my waistline. Not only that, but as a boutique marketing business owner I am constantly on-the-go whilst away from my Mac. Whether attending meetings with clients or business conferences on Saturday afternoons, my health-style has faltered.

cleangut

That said, I am changing things today! I ordered a book from Amazon.com called Clean Gut by Alejandro Junger, MD. He is popular in his own right, but he is also adored by Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore, Mariska Hargitay and more. A few years ago, the hubs and I completed our first successful cleanse through Dr. Junger’s original book, and I am excited to say we’re starting at it again.

This week is elimination time, which consists of removing the packaged and processed foods from the recesses of the adored and well-visited cookery. I can already see the whole milk disappearing down the drain. (Sad face.)

The hardest thing for me to eliminate is definitely my night time snack (gosh, I just love that olive oil popcorn from Trader Joe’s.) But it comes at a beautiful price of reintroducing health and wellness to my routine, so it’s important to maintain that perspective.

What packaged food would be your top challenge to remove?

Fusion Therapy Salt Room Experience

Looking for date-night ideas? Tired of the mall?

Until invited to experience one, I had never even heard of a “salt room.” An after-work invitation to visit a new business in town with 10 close colleagues seemed mysterious, intriguing and I was instantly curious.

I had been stuck on the couch for a few days leading up to the scheduled gathering, dealing with an offensive head cold and ear/throat infection. After reneging on the invitation, I was convinced by the host to attend last minute.

With my last ounce of oomph, I pulled it together, dawdled getting dressed, and negotiated my way to Fusion Therapy. It is set back in an aging, shadowy office plaza, appropriately called Pine Park Centre. One step inside the building, however, and there was a shift in the atmosphere.

Waiting Area at Sarasota Salt Room

Welcome to the purely elegant and fresh, airy lobby at Fusion Therapy. I was instantly transported to a page in a favorite home design magazine! Greeted by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff, I began to feel better already. Husband and wife team Terry and Gena Schibler are the brains behind this business, and, let me tell you, at this point I had tons of questions (some arguably more urgent than others).

  • Am I going to get everyone sick?
  • Do you wear shoes?
  • What does this salt room look like?
  • What do you do in there?

To my wonderment, natural dead sea salt actually creates a sterilized, negative ion environment, three times cleaner than a sterile surgery area in a hospital. Guess I wouldn’t be spreading any germs. It is also known to help in the healing of those suffering from ear, nose and throat illnesses, asthma, bronchitis, cold, flu and more. That’s not all. It is known to assist children, yes you read me right, with skin and respiratory conditions. How do you like them apples?

Skin Care Specialist at Fusion Therapy

Shoes off, I was invited to find a restful seat amid the dead sea salt, which was light in color, encasing the entire room (walls included) and felt, under my feet, like stepping onto a pebbly beach. (There are slippers to wear over shoes for those feeling less adventurous.) The room was closed off, the speakers streamed Fun, Fun, Fun by The Beach Boys and the Halotherapy treatment began. Few of us knew what to expect at that moment. I think we were all waiting for the room to explode or the walls to start moving or something else bizarre to happen.

There were lots of nervous giggles and wide eyes, although the single male in the group was one of the most laid back there.

Sarasota's Premier Salt Room

We were all pleasantly surprised when, from a tube in the wall, a steady mist of aerosolized salt, or, micronized medical grade salt flowed. Once I felt a sense of comfort, I stretched my legs out on my NASA-inspired, no-gravity reclining chair, and deliberately focused on my breathing. Anuloma Viloma (or Alternate Nostril Breathing) as modeled by Gena, was encouraged as a way to restore imbalances in the brain and calm emotions. So I began in through the right, out through the left and vice versa.

A primary colored beach ball made its way around the room and some of us even wore sunglasses. I smiled, wondering whether Terry and Gena have clients that go in clad in bikinis and swim trunks. Maybe even a Speedo?

It was quiet, other than the music and light laughter weaving through conversation, and when I closed my eyes, the muffled sounds reminded me of standing in a field of paper white falling snow. I imagined this was what heaven could feel like; light buzzing and humming, blissful alignment with the universe. The sweet, deep edge you balance over before falling asleep.

Upon completion of the 45-minute Dry Saline Therapy session, I experienced a considerable lift in mood, a slight improvement in energy and a gentle cleansing of my nasal passages (which was just what the doctor ordered). Bring on the tissues; let’s kick this sick!

Salt Room Experience

Post treatment, we were all thirsty, so decided to hit up a local spot for some fluid replenishment. There were mixed reviews about instant results among the group, but the overall consensus was that we would go back in a heartbeat. We all appreciated the opportunity to decompress and alleviate the stressors of the week in such a unique and fabulous place.

Inspired by European salt caves, the Suncoast’s premiere dead sea salt treatment center will certainly satisfy your curiosity in new and innovative health and wellness practices. For details on therapeutic and restorative sessions in the salt rooms, visit Fusion Therapy’s website.

If you’re interested in reading more, check out these commonly asked questions – the answers might surprise you. Fusion also offers a number of additional services including massage, infrared therapy, and skincare. Ahem…can I sign up now?!

Full Spectrum Infrared Therapy Sauna

This is the infrared therapy station.

Fusion Therapy Skin Care

Here’s a peek at the skin care treatment room, where Gena does a lot of her work.

Mindful Minerals

Had to share the mini shopping cart with you…

Get Babied

Have you ever been to a salt room? Is it something you might like to try?!

Important Holiday Check List

Through all the holiday “hustle and bustle” (which may include a few unfortunate shattered ornaments) I always make sure to do a few things.

Here is my Stay Sane Holiday Check List:

☐ Put on your slipper socks – the ones with the sticky bottoms

☐ Watch Love Actually

☐ Check doorstep for holiday shipment from Crate and Barrel

☐ Smell the pine (unless you opted for a fake tree*)

☐ Indulge in a handful of fancy dark chocolate covered almonds, like Amie’s of The Healthy Apple (or, a flute of bubbly and light Prosecco**)

☐ Connect with your spirituality, wherever you find it

☐ Make a wish/say a prayer for someone special

☐ Dress up (break out the bow ties and Carrie Bradshaw red lips)

☐ Order the After-Dinner Coffee Cocktail

☐ Toss three ugly ornaments (hey, you can use that extra storage space)

☐ Reminisce about past holiday blunders and successes

☐ Pamper yourself (you only get the excuse for spa treatments so often; guys – I am talking to you, too)

☐ Cook a colorful meal, like pizza with red sauce, spinach greens and fresh mozzarella (you could always order it in, too – wink)

☐ Listen to at least one Alvin and The Chipmunks holiday song

☐ Burn a batch of cookies (there is plenty more dough)

☐ Get at least 8 hours of sleep

☐ And don’t forget to shower (the dishes can wait)

☐ Do all things with a loving touch

☐ Give as much as you can to the local food pantry

☐ Discover wire ribbon. Trust us. (Family tip.)

☐ Call your grandparents, if you are fortunate enough to have them

☐ Arrive on time with a semi-full stomach and a hostess gift (you never know what the party food is going to be like)

☐ Kiss under the mistletoe. A lot. If you don’t have anyone to kiss, give yourself a hug. You deserve it.

☐ Pay the bills (you are still responsible for your rent, even though you’ve spent it all already)

☐ Find new places in your downtown community where you can celebrate and shop (I buy #MadeInUSA whenever possible)

☐ Visit with friends and family, whether nearby or by Skype

☐ Forgive someone, even if it’s just in your head

☐ Did I mention, watch Love Actually?

*Long story short, Kevin and I decided not to brave the Christmas tree bugs this year. We will never again take scented candles for granted.

**La Marca is one of our favorite, which is also completely affordable. (Note: Bottle is best when shared.)

What is your #1 Holiday Stay Sane Tip?

Yoga For Beginners

Cate at Rosemary Court Yoga Studio

I am a perfectionist. For those of you who don’t know me, I really like things to be in order— the house, the food, the car, the clothes, or the workout. I am not saying I’m perfect, because for those of you that do know me, we all know it isn’t so!

I am simply saying that sometimes the desire for things to be perfect can get in the way.

For years, and let me emphasize years – through college at a great place, Saint Rose, where I met some of my best friends; through meeting the love of my life and relocating from a small town to another small town (this time in the mountains); through learning how to run (which was not easy, but that’s a story for another day) and donating blood for the first time, I avoided yoga like the plague.

The perfectionist had overtaken all systems. I couldn’t try yoga, although I knew it would be perfect for me, because of the excuses that were in the way: I wasn’t in shape. I felt nervous about being in a class where people would be looking at me and judging my clumsiness. I was not in a comfortable place with my mind and body. I felt unattractive and disconnected.

I used to be a dancer in another life, but that discipline and means of expression still held great appeal, like a life force replete with what I was supposed to be doing.

I bit the bullet. It had been long enough. I was sick of making excuses. It was time. It was finally time to discover what yoga was all about.

Enter Rosemary Court. It popped up on a Google search and it was close by. When I pulled in for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised. Here I was, downtown. Nearby: a school, a few furniture stores and abandoned buildings, yet this little courtyard made me feel like I was in another world. A blink and I was back at Saint Rose in the sunny, tulip-filled spring, where I met my girlfriends. Another look and I was in the Berkshires on a dandelion-seed-floating afternoon on the blanketed grass with Kevin. Then I was back in Florida, with all the things that had kept me from trying yoga…and all the things that had brought me to the courtyard that day.

What I found, over just a few months, was that everything that had been keeping me from trying yoga was the polar opposite of what it was all about. Yoga is healing. It is all about what your body needs, what your mind needs and what your spirit needs. Yoga is welcoming. You don’t need to be in shape to practice. Yoga is non-judgmental; other practitioners are mostly self-aware. In fact, focused stretching and meditating are great ways to reach a low-stress state of mind and focus on what’s important to you in that present moment. It’s beautiful, really – reconnecting to your inner self with purpose.

Now I am a die-hard yoga lover. I would go every day if I could. What can I say? I am not letting myself get in the way anymore.