10 Days to Optimal Wellness Challenge

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Welcome self-lovers!

If you’re reading this the day I post it, it would be Monday July 17th, 2017 and the beginning of my 10 Days to Optimal Wellness Challenge! First I’d like to thank you for being interested in your own positive growth and happiness by challenging yourself to step out of your comfort zone by inviting in new ideas and lifestyle choices that will ultimately give you more energy, clarity, focus, and significant changes to your body if you keep utilizing what you learn in these ten days. Lucky for you, this is all free and to be used any ten days you have available to direct your full focus on integrating each idea into your life, but I encourage you to begin right now so this amazing opportunity to nourish yourself does not get pushed aside among your long to-do lists.  The brilliance to taking the time to care for yourself is that once you are full of health and vitality, your performance increases sky rocketing your productivity to get those long to-do lists accomplished.

“You can’t help another until you help yourself.”

 

How does the challenge work?

Each day, you will integrate one of this simple ideas into your everyday life so that by the end of the 10 days, you now integrate all 10 things into your daily routine. These 10 simple things will be easy to add in to even a busy schedule, and shouldn’t require you to buy any additional items. After the challenge is completed on July 27, 2017 I’ll be adding the entire 10 day challenge to this blog post for anyone to use at any date!

Don’t forget to direct message me on Instagram @mindysheppard with any positive changes you’ve noticed after completion of this challenge! I would love to answer any questions you may have along the way as well. Don’t be shy.

Day 1:  Day 1 of the 10 Days to Optimal Wellness Challenge is to add in at least one cup of warm lemon water or even just warm water to your day. Steering clear of cold water aids digestion and instantly hydrates the body as it takes away the time the body needs to warm the water to your own body’s temperature.

Day 2: Day 2 of the 10 Days to Optimal Wellness Challenge is to integrate in at least 10 minutes of yoga or stretching to your day. As yoga does include meditation, I won’t separate the two into two different days so, be sure to maintain focused breath work or “pranayama” during your practice. Stretching and meditation in the morning will set a tone for your entire day therefore, try to switch your routinely morning phone check up into a healthier habit that will increase joint mobility, release muscular tension, and add mental clarity to your day. 

Day 3: Day 3 of the 10 Days to Optimal Wellness Challenge is to break the fast with a healthy breakfast. If you’re looking for even more energy, try intermittent fasting by skipping either breakfast or dinner so that your body can digest everything else from the day and still have energy leftover.

Day 4: Day 4 of the 10 Days to Optimal Wellness Challenge is to bike or walk instead of driving to decrease your carbon footprint and increase the amount of endorphins in your brain causing sensations of happiness.

Day 5: Day 5 of the 10 Days to Optimal Wellness Challenge is to stay hydrated and drink your body weight in ounces of water everyday­čĺť Stay away from plastic water bottles that could have BPA inside of them (a harmful chemical known to cause cancer and hormonal imbalances.) Also, a glass water bottle reduces the amount of plastic waste you are producing.

Day 6: Day 6 of the 10 Days to Optimal Wellness Challenge is to integrate in Abhyanga an Ayurvedic form of massage into your day. This can be done to oneself (after showering is best) by warming an organic oil of your choosing such as jojoba, coconut, almond, or another oil. After the oil is warm, massage into the skin by creating a friction up-down movement on all the limbs, and circular movements on your joints. Not only will your skin look more radiant, but your lymphatic system will be detoxified, and circulation will increase. 

Day 7: Day 7 of the 10 Days to Optimal Wellness Challenge is to add in medicinal herbs known for relieving stress called adaptogens to your day. Ashwaganda, Ginseng, Rhodiala, Holy Basil, and Eleuthero are known to calm the body systemically meaning unlike other herbs, these heal the entire body holistically instead of just one organ system. Research into each herb and find out one that fits your needs best, then take a trip to your local apothecary and pick up enough to make your own tinctures, or teas­čŹÁ If it’s easier for you, you can find supplements at health food stores as well for your convenience.

Day 8: Day 8 of the 10 Days to Optimal Wellness Challenge is to upgrade the quality of the air in your house by decorating with house plants. ­čî┐While these plants will naturally create more oxygen they will also enhance the energy of your space by making it more visibly, and spiritually pleasing. Along with this, I’d like you to clear away clutter in your home that decreases functionality, or any objects that hold negative memories. The best way to know whether you should throw away something in your home is to hold the object of debate in your hands, and notice if it gives you feelings of happiness, or stress and negative feelings. Practicing Feng Shui will ensure your home remains a positive environment for you and your family. 

Day 9: Day 9 of the 10 Days to Optimal Wellness Challenge is to reduce the amount of VOCs in your home by implementing the use of an air purifier, more house plants like suggested in day 8, and taking conscious measures not to buy incense, candles, and other air fragrances that can cause histamine reactions in the body. ­čĽ»Research into the products you’re buying; breathing in some incense and candles are just as bad as inhaling cigarette smoke for your body. While in small doses they are highly therapeutic, an overdose of essential oils can be too much for you so everything goes in moderation. 

Day 10: Day 10 of the 10 Days to Optimal Wellness Challenge is to incorporate more plant-based meals into your day. Eating whole, unprocessed foods, especially fruits and veggies, are easy on digestion and packed with micronutrients. ­čŹç­čŹîNot only that, it’s also better for the environment because animal agriculture for food creates tons of methane causing deterioration to our Ozone, and takes up a large amount of land causing deforestation to increase to make room for more industrial farms. 
I hope you finish all 10 challenges and learn to make time and space for these little wellness tips in order to improve the quality of your mind and body. Email me at mindysheppardspa@gmail.com with any questions. 

Wishing you wellness along your journey,

Mindy Sheppard

 

 

 

Diet and Disease: An Ayurvedic Prescription for Health


Looking back into your family health history might display to you a shocking amount of disease including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, I.B.S., thyroid dysfunction, infertility, Alzheimer, and the list goes on…

You might see that your maternal grandmother, and your mother both ended up with breast cancer and assume you as well will experience this later on in life because your family must be prone to this dysfunction. The truth is, these diseases are not contracted genetically, but rather through a similar environmental upbringing where unhealthy norms are pasted along through the generations of your family creating similar unfortunate outcomes once these culturally accepted bad habits catch up to you later in life.

Ayurveda has shed light on how to steer clear of disease for at least 5,000 years by introducing mindfulness into your diet. Ayurveda is a scripture within the Hindu Vedas revealing wisdom on how to maintain vitality and health throughout your life. Ayurveda is also a practice and lifestyle that can be integrated into the modern western lifestyle easily and accessibly with a few basic facets of understanding within the philosophy.

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Ayurveda suggests that you quite literally are what you eat/consume. If you consume adopted negative behaviors of your parents you are spreading disease in a mental way, just as if you eat processed meats you are creating disease in a very physical way. The two are obviously closely linked together as mental illness and depression lead to overeating, Bulumia, Anorexia, and don’t forget Orthorexia which is less commonly criticized, but still very obsessive and unhealthy. As you consume foods, the nutritional value of that food is absorbed by your cells through digestion and ultimately become the cells of the tissues in your body such as skin, and organ systems. The rest is excreted, but what if the nutritional intake is so low that your body begins absorbing subpar food material, and creating subpar cells, to become subpar tissues, and overall function at a very unhealthy level? Disease.

Fortunately, Ayurveda dives deeper into diet by demonstrating that each individual is made up with a different constitution or body type that requires a diet and lifestyle specialized for them to promote wellness in turn, repelling disease.

There are three basic body constitutions in Ayurveda, which are called Doshas each relating to the five elements that show up in our body chemistry. Everyone contains each of these five elements, but some are more prone to excess of one or of the others. The Doshas are Kapha (Water/Earth), Vata (Infinity/Air), and Pitta (Fire). Each Dosha responds differently to a certain diet, and therefore knowing your own body is key to balancing the elements and creating harmony among your organ systems.

Kapha

Kapha is the manifestation of cool grounding earth energy, and the sea. Kapha body constitutions tend to have trouble loosing weight, and experience instantaneous weight gain when they stray away from healthy eating habits. They also tend to run cool in body temperature, experience oily skin, constipation, and lower energy. If you are Kapha, you would benefit from a warm diet filled with spices to kick start your digestion. Drink warm lemon water with meals to aid in digestion and stray from cold water at all costs.

Vata

Vata is the conglomeration of the expansive infinity, and the dry, light air qualities within nature. Vatas tends to run at a cooler body temperature, have trouble gaining weight, and excess air also causes constipation. Adding in heavy, warm foods like beans, and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes will weigh down Vatas. Including healthy fats will promote healthy cognitive function, and drinking warm lemon water with meals will increase digestion. Avoid cold water.

Pitta

Pitta is the essence of transformation, as the digestive fire is working at it’s strongest potential. If you are a Pitta, you certainly do not see constipation, you may experience inflammation in your gut, have sensitive skin, and a tendency towards being warm-bodied. Eating cooler foods such as alkaline fruits and dark green veggies will benefit Pitta well. Cool greek yogurt filled with Lactobacillus  bacteria (the good bacteria for your gut) will also help you to simmer down a bit. Even considering a vegan or raw vegan diet as a Pitta would be highly beneficial as meats tend to cause more inflammation when digesting. Steer clear of red meat and spicy foods.

Slowly beginning to integrate more and more of these guidelines for your body type into your diet you will begin to see a drastic positive change in your energy levels, cognitive function, mood, and body. Staying connected and learning more about Ayurveda, it will become easier for you to pick and choose food options perfect for you and lifestyle choices that will serve your highest good as well.

Wishing you wellness,

Mindy Sheppard

 

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So, to those of you local to the city beautiful, Orlando Florida, I’ve conjured up a list of the most sweet& savory spots to grab a plant-based bite after your practice is complete. Read More

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Mindfulness is a crucial part of sustaining your wellness throughout the midst of a busy day stuck in traffic, running errands, dealing with computer telephone operators, juggling a social life, career, and family. It takes a lot of awareness into your body, and your emotions to maintain a balance when trying to complete all of these things. This awareness helps you to know when your body is being overworked, so you can slow down. It also helps you to remain calm in stressful situations so you can handle them as eloquently as possible, and not create more problems for yourself by having a sudden mental breakdown. This mindful awareness does not include overthinking.

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Beginner Yoga Poses for Sciatica

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One of the most common pain sites for my massage client’s is certainly that associated with Sciatica. Sciatica is a symptom of compression around the sciatic nerve, resulting in pain that stems from the lower back or hip then shooting into the outer side of the leg. There are various causes of this pain: herniated vertebral disks, tightness in the muscles surrounding the nerve, spinal stenosis, degenerative disks, and so on. Read More