Immune Boosting Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Being a natural nut has turned me into something of a forager. My husband's family has a cabin in a picturesque woodland located in Summit County, Utah, and the Summer always provides an abundance of wild elderberries. During our visits this past year, I carried my baby on my back and a little metal pail which I filled with hundreds of these tiny berry powerhouses. I was introduced to these berries roughly three years ago, by my father in law, and I had yet to learn how amazing they were. I learned a great deal more about them in school, including the fact that they are incredible for the immune system. A few months later, while doing some research for work, I discovered that their powerful antioxidant properties may benefit the macula and lessen the risk of age-related macular degeneration. So if you have access to an abundance of these little berries, you better snatch them up!

My goal was to take a little bit of my harvest every day to strengthen my immune system and gear me up for winter. This syrup is taken just like a cough syrup, but is so much more enjoyable. If you don't have access to fresh elderberries, you can buy them dehydrated from most health food stores and it will have the exact same affect. The foraging is just pure, added fun!

Ingredients:

1/2 C dehydrated elderberries or 1 C fresh elderberries

3 cinnamon sticks

6 cloves

1 tsp fresh grated ginger

1 C raw honey (if you want to give this to kids under 1 year of age, use pure maple syrup)

2 C water

In a medium sauce pan, add elderberries, water, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and ginger, then bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a low boil and cover until the mixture is reduced to half. Once mixture is reduced, strain liquid from the elderberries and pour liquid into a mason jar and mix with raw honey or maple. Store in the fridge and take a tablespoon everyday for 2 weeks.

By taking this syrup everyday for 2 weeks, you will be tastefully boosting your immune system with powerful antioxidants and raw honey that will act as a natural antibacterial with antibiotic properties. Get back to nature and get making this perfect blend of natural, medicinal syrup.


Photos for Foundation c/o Skye Amanda Photography

Kyli is studying to be a holistic practitioner and is a certified wellness coach. her love for health blossomed when she was diagnosed with crohn's disease at age 12 and has really taken off the last 4 years as she's studied food and the relationship it has with our bodies. she is currently a stay at home mom, health blogger, and working toward her phd in natural medicine. visit www.cleaneatingisthenewpink.com to find out more.

The Breath: Pt. 1

Before you continue reading, I want you to take a long, slow, deep breath... Go.

Feel better? 

I’d bet that you do. That is because the majority of humans are living their lives not breathing. When I say you’re not breathing, I mean that you never think about it, and therefore your autonomic system is doing just what it needs to do to keep you alive. “The breath is the only system in our body that can be controlled consciously OR subconsciously.” When we leave the task up to the automatic responses in the body without much thought, the results are shallow breathing, which will produce the minimum amount of oxygen our body requires to survive. It never fully clears the lungs and heart of carbon dioxide and other debris, which can lead to or exasperate a host of health issues (like asthma, anxiety, trouble focusing, chronic fatigue, and more). When we take control of our breathing we increase our oxygen intake, detox our blood, lungs, diaphragm and heart, and as an added bonus we start living more fully in the present. 

Unconscious breathing has been likened unto “Sleepwalking through life”. That is because you are giving your subconscious mind complete control. This results in a loss of control (or agency) of your thought patterns as well. You will notice as you begin to practice conscious breathing exercises, you will be more aware of the thoughts that surface which will give you the power to choose if you’d like to continue thinking those thoughts or if you want to start making changes. 

The breath is the bridge between the physical and spiritual bodies. The two can only work together if there is the breath. When there is no breath, the spiritual body will separate from the physical body. More breath will result in a stronger presence of your spiritual body giving us power over our “natural man” tendencies. 

So now that you know you’d like to start breathing more in your life, you need to know HOW to do it. There are three chambers in the core of your body which the breath can fill. You’re lower stomach, or diaphragm, your chest/lung area, and your upper back between your shoulders. When you take a deep breath it’s important you completely fill each of these chambers. As a good practice it helps to lie down and focus on breathing into each chamber individually for several breaths before moving onto the next one.

Begin with your lower stomach. Place your hands there so you can feel the rise and fall of your abdomen. Breathe into just the lower stomach for about 30 seconds. Next, do the same with your chest- only filling the chest with air, put your hands there so you can feel the rise and fall. Lastly, your upper back. This is the most difficult to breathe into individually, but you can do it!

Once you have discovered all these chambers, you can begin filling them all together with one, long and slow, deep breath. Fill the chambers up in the same order you practiced discovering them: 

* Picture the flow of air filling your lower stomach until it has to continue onto filling your lungs and as you begin to feel like you can’t take any more air in, fill that upper chamber at the top of your back, behind your shoulders. 

*Once you’ve taken this great breath, don’t push it out suddenly and forcefully! Hold it in for just a few seconds, then s l o w l y release the air in the same order you filled up, releasing from your diaphragm, then your chest, and lastly your upper back. 

*Just as you thought you couldn’t take in any more air before you filled your upper back, I want you to force more air out. Push it all out until you feel you need to hunch your shoulders over, then hold it for just another second. 

THAT’S IT! One complete breath. This should have taken you at least 10 seconds. While this seems superfluous at the beginning, the more you add this kind of breathing into your day, the better you will feel! Try making a goal to do deep, controlled breathing while you drive, or while you are sitting at the computer. Just a few minutes a day can make a great impact on your life. 

Refrences: Meditation as Medicine by Dharma Singh Khalsa and Cameron Stauth | Awake! As in Ancient Days by Felice Austin


Photos for Foundation c/o Skye Amanda Photography

Chablis is a military wife, mother of four, and nutrition enthusiast. She is constantly learning ways to better not only her own wellbeing, but that of her family. Chablis is a Step and Zumba instructor and she also practices Kundalini Yoga and daily meditation. Being a military wife has taught her resilience and faith as well as made her an expert cross-country mover.

4 Ways To Look Forward To Your Workouts

We all know the amazing benefits, both mentally and physically, that come from getting exercise. So why not make the experience as enjoyable as possible? There are so many different fitness programs out there, it just takes time to find one that caters to your liking and needs. From a variety of sports, hiking, running, getting outdoors, walking your dog, indoor surfing, workout DVDs, and gym fitness classes, there really is something for everyone! 

Here are some ideas on ways to look forward to your workouts (really)!

1. Learn something new- Put in your headphones and listen to Tedtalks or a podcast that interests you. (An uplifting, free fitness based podcast that I enjoy is called "The Chalene Show".) 

2. Grab a partner or Take advantage of the alone time- Activities may be more enjoyable with a friend plus it helps with accountability. Or make working out YOUR time. If you’re usually around people or your kids all day and need a moment for yourself, make working out a time to step away. Leave your cellphone and focus on what you’re doing for yourself.

3. Download some motivation apps- These are sure to ignite your fire and make your workout fun and engaging:

4. Double Duty Workout- Below are two examples of workouts you can do while playing a game or watching your favorite tv show. You can even do these with kids! 

*Feel free to get creative and make your own version of a workout to your favorite movie, T.V.Show, or board game. 

Whatever you do, just remember that working out is never a punishment to yourself. It is a way of showing love to your body. There is always a way to incorporate movement into your everyday activitie; just get creative. You’re worth it!


Photos for Foundation c/o Lori Romney Photography

Ashley Wright has a passion for health and fitness. She is a Team Beachbody (C) Coach, PiYo instructor, and has helped women of all ages gain the tools needed to live a healthy lifestyle. She believes that a healthy lifestyle will instill confidence as well as provide a solid foundation for you to accomplish your goals. As a former Utah's Distinguished Young Women of Utah, she knows the importance of incorporating health and fitness to be a well rounded woman to better serve those around you. Get Moving - Eat Healthy - Love Yourself. Visit Ashley's Facebook Page to learn more.

Empower Yourself

I would like to direct my words today to anyone that has ever felt the "backwards" way of spelling the word 'desserts' (which would be 'stressed'). Because this life is not meant to be easy all the time, but rather a growing, stretching, and learning opportunity, I think it is safe to say that we have all felt that six letter word creep into our lives. One of the most common effects that stress creates is anxiety. There are many forms of anxiety, some are more severe than others. From work demands to social pressures, anxiety can surface at anytime. I have seen it debilitate the strong and control the determined. However, there are many tools that can help us combat this [sometimes] daily visitor.

You've probably heard of the phrase "runner's high"- the positive and energizing feeling in the body after a workout or run. This is because when you exercise, your body releases endorphins that interact with the receptors in your brain that trigger positive feelings. When you feel stress, your body releases the hormone- cortisol. Evidence has shown that movement is what gets rid of cortisol, bringing it back to regular levels; exercise can be one of the greatest medicines and most powerful antidepressants. While I'm not suggest that therapists, doctors, and medications are not needed (because there is definitely a time and a place for those), I am suggesting that exercise is a powerful tool that can be used daily, to empower yourself and ease any stress level.

Now, when experiencing anxiety and stress, working out is usually the last thing you want to be doing. It is much more tempting to dish out the ice cream and call it a night. But having a plan in place will help you be successful. Exercise is never a punishment to the body, but rather a gift. Maybe you like group fitness classes or solo yoga time. Whether it's swimming, running, dancing in your kitchen to music, playing soccer with your kids, or taking a walk around your neighborhood; find something that you enjoy doing that can be your go-to stress reliever. A 10 minute walk can be just as effective as a 60 minute workout. One key thing to remember is consistency. Science suggests it is better for our brain and body to move every day for 30 minutes than to move for 3 hours just one or two days per week. Consistency is important. No matter what situation you're in, make exercise a part of your therapy; whether you struggle with occasional or diagnosable anxiety, exercise is a [free] tool to help.

***

Here is a quick stretching routine you can do anywhere to let go of anxiety. Stretching before bed each night helps us sleep better. We naturally will start to breathe a little deeper when stretching which brings our heart rate to a normal pace and gets oxygen flowing throughout the body.

Keep your belly button tucked in as you bend from your hips to one side. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides. Stretch the triceps simultaneously as you lightly press on the elbows, extending out from your body.

Extend triangle pose- bend from your hip, not the waist. Hold for 30 seconds and do the reverse side.

Make this an active stretch by driving both legs in opposite directions. Lengthen the tailbone to the floor and keep your shoulders down and away from the ears. Have front leg remain at a 90 degree angle. Never have the knee reach past the toes.

Legs wide- squat low without leaning forward- center yourself with heels firmly planted on the ground- palms pressed together- inhale gratitude and exhale doubt. End in child's pose, breathing deeply, and reaching your fingertips away from your head.

References: Exercise for Mood and Anxiety, Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being, by Michael W. Otto, PhD, and Jasper A.J. Smits, PhD (Oxford University Press, 2011)


Photos for Foundation c/o Lori Romney Photography

Ashley Wright has a passion for health and fitness. She is a Team Beachbody (C) Coach, PiYo instructor, and has helped women of all ages gain the tools needed to live a healthy lifestyle. She believes that a healthy lifestyle will instill confidence as well as provide a solid foundation for you to accomplish your goals. As a former Utah's Distinguished Young Women of Utah, she knows the importance of incorporating health and fitness to be a well rounded woman to better serve those around you. Get Moving - Eat Healthy - Love Yourself. Visit Ashley's Facebook Page to learn more.

Be Mindful Of Your Heart

Several years ago I had a stretch of months where I was having a really hard time. I had been feeling sick for a while and through a process of tests and doctor appointments I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I was struggling with the idea of RA being a part of my life forever while at the same time attempting to be a mother to three (now four) young children and constantly feeling like I had the flu. 

I went to bed one night feeling very sorry for myself. All the “why me” questions were stirring in my head and I was feeling angry at God for “giving” me this “burden”. As I laid in my bed I suddenly became acutely aware of my heart beat. This distracted me from my problems and for a few minutes I tried to be still in my mind and focus on the beating of my heart.  This was a not a normal activity for me. I was suddenly filled with an immense sense of gratitude toward my heart. This little muscle, the size of my fist, was continuously squeezing, releasing, pumping, oxygenating, and it had been working perfectly and diligently for 28 years.

I had never given my heart much attention. But suddenly there I was, feeling such gratitude for the way it had supported and served me. I took a minute to tell my heart, and then God, thank you. God, of course, is the ultimate director of our beating hearts, but I have grown to believe that by thanking your body for doing the job it was divinely designed to do can have a huge impact on how it performs, resulting in how we feel . There are all sorts of studies these days that show how the words we speak not only to others, but to ourselves, have a direct and impactful effect on our bodies. 

I still struggle with daily negative feelings toward my overweight, tired, and sickly body. But when I make an effort to fill myself with gratitude for the things my body does get right, I am able to move past my sadness and press forward full of love and joy! 

Take a minute today to be mindful of your heart.  Tell it thank you and it might just reply with a few extra years of work. 


Photos for Foundation c/o Lauren Werkheiser Photography

Chablis is a military wife, mother of four, and nutrition enthusiast. She is constantly learning ways to better not only her own wellbeing, but that of her family. Chablis is a Step and Zumba instructor and she also practices Kundalini Yoga and daily meditation. Being a military wife has taught her resilience and faith as well as made her an expert cross-country mover. 

Coconut Oil Body Scrub

I am about to share something that changed my life. My mom used to have this expensive body scrub in her shower and when I lived at home I used to steal it. Right when I found out I was pregnant I saw it at Costco for half the price, I was so excited and stocked up on a bunch.  As I was using my last dollop I turned the container around and read the ingredients. What I read shocked me; it was literally just coconut oil, sugar, and fragrance. I had been duped.

I was forking out so much money for stuff that I had right in my pantry. I got out of the shower, stormed downstairs, and whipped out my kitchen aid. Minutes later I had my very own body scrub. This stuff is AMAZING. It is so moisturizing, smoothes out skin, and it helps prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Need I say more? Just make it, try it, and you will understand. 

Recipe-

2 parts Organic Coconut Oil

1 part Raw Organic Sugar

NOTE- you can buy both of these products in bulk at Costco for a great price

Whip on high with an electric hand mixer or Kitchenaid until fluffy.  

You are more than welcome to add whatever essential oils you love. I just keep it simple so it doesn’t fight with the smell of my perfume. Plus, it smells like sweet coconut anyways. Then store in a glass mason jar.

Shower instructions-

Rinse body with soap and water

Apply scrub anywhere and everywhere you please

Rinse with water

Towel dry

Note- When I was pregnant I also applied extra lotion to my belly, but other than that I didn’t need to apply lotion after showering with the scrub. 


Photos for Foundation c/o Lori Romney Photography

Alexis graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelors of Science in Health Promotion and Education. While attending the U of U, she followed her passion in the beauty industry by obtaining her Cosmetology license from Paul Mitchell the school and is is currently a freelance hair and makeup artist. Alexis is excited to share her love and knowledge of everything health and beauty. You can follow her on Instagram @alexisrayrogers or see her work at www.alexisrogershair.com

Get Strong

I have two words for you- strength training. One common fitness myth is that lifting weights and strength training will bulk you up. In particular, this myth is strongly believed by most women. I want you to throw this myth out, today! I'm here to tell you about a secret weapon to put into your body to burn more calories, and that is muscle! Muscle is beautiful. It is like the fountain of youth, allowing our bodies to naturally generate a human growth hormone. Muscle helps us move and gives us shape.

When working out in the gym with hand weights, it is a good idea to choose a weight that you will fail. Meaning, after 8-15 reps, you can't do it anymore. Women can't bulk up because they don't have the muscle building hormone (testosterone) at the level that men do. If you look at average testosterone levels in men and women- men have 16 times the amount of testosterone that women do (men have about 700 and women have about 42).

A study conducted at Penn State involved dividing a group of people into three groups- no exercise, aerobic exercise only, and aerobic exercise with weight training. All the participants lost about 21 pounds, but the people that did weight training shed 6 more pounds of fat than those who didn't pump iron. Those that lifted lost almost pure fat while the others lost fat and muscle. The bottom line? Strength training is the most effective way to lose fat. Plus, after strength training, your body will continue to take in additional oxygen the rest of the day, which is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. When your body uses more oxygen, it promotes more expenditure of calories and will increase your metabolic rate.

Here are three more reasons to add more strength training to your routines.

1. It will improve the quality of your sleep. International SportMed Journal suggested that morning resistance training positively affects your ability to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and longer!

2. You will have an increase of energy. So when the afternoon slump hits and you're tempted to grab some caffeine, grab a barbell instead!

3. It will decrease your risk of osteoporosis as well as heart disease.

As I have incorporated strength training into my fitness routine, I have definitely felt more confident. We all want to feel stronger, healthier, and leaner, so what are you waiting for? A new kind of strong begins today.

I encourage you to take 5 minutes, right now, and try these strength building moves using your own body weight!

Start in a raised side plank, stretching your top arm as high as it will go. Keep feet one on top of another or notice the modification with keeping one leg bent. Align your body into one diagonal line from heels to crown of head.

Take that top arm and bring it under the chest, keeping the core engaged and bottom arm strong. Do this 10 times each side.

Get back into side plank, straighten the arm by firming the tricep muscle and press the base of the index finger firmly on the floor.

Tap your foot in front of your body twice...

...and behind your body twice. Repeat 7 times with controlled movement. Then repeat on the other side.

And for a bonus, I always incorporate the core muscles! When these muscles feel strong, you will always feel better.

Tighten your core with this bicycle move. Laying flat on the ground, with hands supporting your head, bring your elbow to the opposite knee and hold for an exhale breath, then switch and bring your other elbow to the opposite knee. 

Lay on your back with legs and arms stretching out from your body. Push in your belly button to the ground and use your core to bring your knees into the chest. Do this 7 times.

Finish with the upward-facing dog post. Inhale and press hands firmly into the floor and keep your knees off the floor.

References: 1 | 2 | 3


Photos for Foundation c/o Lori Romney Photography

Ashley Wright has a passion for health and fitness. She is a Team Beachbody (C) Coach, PiYo instructor, and has helped women of all ages gain the tools needed to live a healthy lifestyle. She believes that a healthy lifestyle will instill confidence as well as provide a solid foundation for you to accomplish your goals. As a former Utah's Distinguished Young Women of Utah, she knows the importance of incorporating health and fitness to be a well rounded woman to better serve those around you. Get Moving - Eat Healthy - Love Yourself. Visit Ashley's Facebook Page to learn more.