Four Sigmatic Review + Sale!

I’ve talked about this brand a few times but I am a huge fan of Four Sigmatic! A company that started in Finland, which focuses on providing plants and mushrooms through drink form. So you don’t have to go to the forest to consume exotic mushrooms for the health benefits! 

I learned of this brand like I learn about many, through a referral from a friend which is why I wanted to share about them and my favorite items in a post. It’s also perfect timing because they are having one of their (very few) huge sales right now with up to 50% off on some items. 

Here is an explanation of Four Sigmatic in their words: 

“Four Sigmatic foods are the 100 most nutrient dense, most studied foods on the planet. And now they’re easy to add to your daily routines. We’re making these foods as easy as possible to eat and use and talk about. Because the world is asking more of you. Of everyone. We’d all feel a lot better doing that work if we got off the hamster wheel of coffee jitters and hangovers and sugar highs.”

My favorite items:

  • Cacao Mix with Reishi: By far my all-time fav four sig products. Reishi mushroom is meant to relax so it is a perfect before-bed sipper. 
  • Chai Latte Mix w/ Turkey Tail & Reishi: Another great drink for bedtime is the chai latte with reishi and turkey tail, which is a stress-reliever mushroom. If you’re a chai latte fan, it is definitely not as sweet as you’re used to. I like to mix this one with almond or coconut milk. 
  • Mushroom Elixir Mix with Lion’s Mane: Lion’s Mane mushroom will help with focus on the days where your brain just wants to be all over the place. I love this option for a mid-morning pick-me-up before lunchtime hits. 
  • Mushroom Elixir Mix with Chaga: Who doesn’t love a good extra defense for your immune system? The Chaga mushroom helps with overall wellness which makes it a great option for when those sneaky colds start to come up. 
  • Mushroom Elixir Mix with Cordyceps: This mushroom gives a nice little boost for performance without the jitter effects of coffee. Perfect for the afternoon slump at 3PM!

Others I’m ordering: 

If you haven’t tried Four Sigmatic before or are a passionate customer like myself, you definitely need to take advantage of the Summer Sale going on this week only!

P.S. You’ll also receive $15 off through my referral link 😉

Quarantine Pick-Me-Ups.

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As best as we’re trying, we might be feeling down quite often during this “stay-at-home” time. You might not be as productive as you would like or feel you’re getting as much accomplished as you wish. Maybe that workout routine has fallen to the waist side or there are a few too many snack times in the afternoon. And guess what, it might be hard to hear and accept, but it’s actually all alright!

We are going to feel down at points, that is how the body processes situations and emotions and we should learn to embrace them as they come and learn from them. But what’s not alright is wallowing in these down thoughts. They will happen, we’re not meant to be happy all the time and this is a very difficult situation that we’re going through (uncharted waters for literally all of us). It’s great to set goals while we have the free time but if we don’t meet these goals or feel we’ve done our best, life. will. go. on. 

So today I wanted to address some of my practices I embrace if I’m having a hard day or a really emotional week. Like I said before, we shouldn’t shy away from these emotions and attempt to avoid them because that has potential to cause more damage but there are certain healthy things we can do to process through these emotions.

  • Meditation: I recently shared a post for how to create your own meditation practice which is really helpful if you are new to it. This might be scary to attempt to sit with our feelings and emotions when it feels like the last thing we want to do. But addressing these feelings and approaching them with a positive attitude can completeing repaint the way we are handling them. [Stay tuned for an upcoming post about how to work with mantras during meditation]
  • Journaling: Put those thoughts down on paper and let them all out. A journaling practice can feel odd and different if you’re new to it but once you find a stride with writing you can really notice the benefits it provides. Don’t place expectations with your writing either, like ‘you always need to write a full page’ or ‘you always need to write about once certain topic – like what you did that day’. Allow yourself the freedom to just write whatever thoughts are flowing through you at that moment.
  • Setting Routines: You don’t need to map out your enitre day but putting in place a simple daily routine provides your mental health structure – similar to what it is use to when “life is normal”. I just shared a morning routine for a healthy gut and this is a good example of simple daily tasks you can do to provide your life some structure. It can also be as simple as taking a walk outside each day at 3PM or maybe it’s not even daily but every other day you take a really nice bath with all the bells and whistles. Don’t only set a routine of mundane items you need to get done but also things you look forward to do and feel a bit like pampering.
  • Movement: I prefer yoga, barre, and running and I really rotate through these depending on my mood. Find a form of excercise that makes your body feel good that is accessible and you enjoy doing (for the most part because working out isn’t as enjoyable as other things – like eating brownies 😉 I shared my favorite at-home workouts last month so if you’re looking for ideas, check out that post! (Bonus: I also shared my favorite at-home workout equipment and all of it can be found on Amazon)
  • Get Outside: If you have the access and the weather is nice, try to get outside at least once a day. This provides you with a different scenery than inside your home or apartment and gets you body some Vitamin D. I can’t tell you how many times in the last couple weeks I’ve been feeling mentally heavy and how a simple short walk around the block with my dog can completely change my perspective.

If you are truly struggling during these times, no matter what mentally you are battling, I am also here to chat and listen. Feel free to always reach out to me at ashraeeiningyoga@gmail.com. We will get through this together!

 

Setting a Morning Routine for a Happy Gut.

A happy gut equals a more enjoyable life & starting out your routine right away in the morning to make sure you have that happy gut sets everything in the right order. I recently shared all about what the gut is and why it’s important in a recent post so if you’re unfamiliar about it, check out that post now & then head back here for your morning routine.

For this post, we’re diving into more specifics of how you can give your gut biome a start on the right direct early on in your day. That being said, if you’ve had a few days of junk food or a few too many glasses of wine the night before (no judgement!) – this routine won’t completely reset your gut. We all know life is about blanace but making sure our body feel healthy is a continual process of flushing out toxins, feeding ourselves with healthy, nutrious foods and getting plenty of water to hydrate ourselves.

The morning is a perfect time to set up a consistent routine of steps you implement into your lifestyle. Keep noted, you’ll want to find what works for you and make you feel your best so take and leave any suggestion below.

  • Set a time to wake up consistently
    • Getting your body on a routine provides it an opportunity to fully rest when it needs to and be energized when it’s being ask to because it’s on a schedule. Set a timeframe that works throughout your week. For myself, I like setting an alarm for 6:30AM during the week and 7:30AM for weekends. I provide my body a little more rest time on the weekend but I’m not totally throwing off my routine by sleeping into noon. Even though that sounds really nice, my body is so use to this routine that it physically can’t do that.
  • Hydrate
    • We all know the importance of water and it highly needed to rehydrate your body after a night of deep sleep. Try getting in 8-10oz right after waking up.
  • Meditate
    • It doesn’t have to look like the picture-perfect meditation set up. You can simply just sit up on the edge of your bed and provide yourself with 3-5 minutes to simply focus on your breath. I wrote about starting a meditation practice in a recent post that can provide more tips.
  • Journal
    • I prefer to journal at night but a morning practice is also very popular for many people. Journaling allows an opportunity for you to expel your thoughts onto paper and express your emotions in a way you might not have an outlet for in your daily life. The gut has a connection to our brains – we may notice this connection when we are nervous or excited and our stomach begins to feel funny. This is how journaling can have an effect on our gut by providing that outlet. Stay tuned for posts on the Gut + Brain connection and the power of gratitude journaling coming soon. 
  • Move your Body
    • A little exercise in the morning can do wonders for our body by jump starting our digestive system and getting oxygen following to the blood and organs. Keep it simple with walking, yoga, or light strength training if you’re not use to morning exercise.
  • Shower or Clean Up
    • Freshen up and feel good! Cleaning yourself up by showering or simply washing off your face and then getting dress is a mode booster and provides positive vibrations.
  • Probiotic + Vitamin
    • Speak with your doctor and research your options for a good daily probiotic and vitamin.
  • Set a Meal Plan
    • Decide what works best for your body for when your first meal will be. I prefer to have something very light around 10AM, such as a piece of fruit or lara bar. If you are more active in the morning, your schedule might look more like a heavy full meal in the early hours. Experiment and explore the different options to find the right fit.

The most important part of this is finding your routine. When you’re not only being healthy but you also allow your body an opportunity to get into a flow state, that is when it really starts to feel good.

If you try out these tips or like to implement other helpful routine items, feel free to share!

Healthy Road Trip Guide.

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Oh, the open road.

It’s a great escape during this time but it can also be a daunting one if we’re trying to stick to our health goals. Gas stations and rest area vending machines aren’t necessarily the best options when it comes to fueling our body with nutrition-dense food. Top 40 and talk radio also might not be the best option to feed our brains for a long drive either. Which is why today I’m sharing my tips on how I prepare for a long drive, because we know I’m on the road plenty! (Stay tuned for a Healthy Flying Guide soon)

I’ve been on my fair share of long drives and to be honest I’m not always super excited about them. There has been many mornings before hitting the road that I dreamed of a time traveling machine that would just zap me right to my desired location. But on days that I plan ahead, I can actually be excited for the time in my car. 

Working a desk job for 40 hours a week and running a blog on the site, it can be a much needed change of pace to get away from screens. And I know I’m not the only one that needs this change every once in awhile. So might as well use the time I’m already spending in the car to focus on hobbies I wouldn’t necessarily have time to invest in. 

So what is my plan you ask? Here is how I prepare before my road trips to make the time more enjoyable: 

  • Clean my car, vacuum the floors, and insert a new Air Freshener (I use the car fragrances from Bath & Body Works)
    • It feels so good to spend time in a fresh space!
    • You’ll also need space for your suitcase and anything else you’ve packed so remove unnecessary items you’ve had store in your backseat and trunk.
  • Prep Podcasts and Music Playlists
    • I go back and forth between the two when I find my mind drifting off. Sometimes podcasts are nice to dive into for new inspiring information and at other times, you just need to have a little car karaoke session. 
    • Here is my current playlist I’ve been jamming out to in the car. 
    • Favorite recent Podcasts:
      • Den Talks Podcast
      • Teaching Yoga Podcast
      • Goal Digger Podcast by Jenna Kutcher
      • Mile High Podcast
  • Pack snacks – this is a very important one!
    • Favorite road snacks:
      • Pretzel sticks
      • Apples
      • Bananas
      • Grapes
      • Lara Bars
      • Built Bars
    • I pretty much like anything that is light (in the sense I won’t feel heavy or tired after eating too much) and that won’t be distracting to eat. 
  • A good pair of Sunglasses 
    • Because it’s always more fun to be fashionable – but we also need to protect our eyes.
    • If you wear contacts, have your glasses ready incase your eyes get dry and you need to switch out. 
  • Sunscreen
    • You might be thinking, “we’re not outside”. But you are still being exposed to sun rays so not only should we look out for our eyes but our skin as well. 
  • Stop & enjoy the view when possible.
    • A really smart person once said “It’s not just about the destination, it’s about the journey” (It was Ralph Waldo Emerson if you were wondering). Give your mind and eyes a break from staring at the road & take in some open air. 
  • Simply enjoy your time!

 

Gut Health: What is it & why it matters.

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The human gut microbiome is complex and powerful in impacting our overall health – in a good or bad way depending on how we treat it. A healthy gut contributes to a strong immune system, as well as heart & brain health, boosted mood, healthy sleeping patterns, and an effective digestive tract.

The term gut microbiome refers specifically to the microorganisms living in your intestines. A person has about 300 to 500 different species of bacteria in their digestive tract. While some microorganisms are harmful to our health, many are incredibly beneficial and even necessary to a healthy body.

Signs your gut might be out of whack:

  • Digestive Issues
    • Gas and/or bloating
    • Constipation
    • Irregular bowel movements
  • Mental Issues
    • Like depression, anxiety, and brain fog
  • Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies
  • Unintential Weight Gains
    • Or struggles managing a healthy weight
  • Chronic Unmanaged Stress
  • Skin Problems
  • Trouble Falling into a Deep Sleep

Ways to improve your gut health: 

  • Improve Eating habits (see below section)
    • Monitor consumption of prebiotics and probiotics
      • If it is a struggle to get enough in your normal diet, consider taking a supplement (address this with your doctor to make sure it is a healthy option for you)
    • Consider food intolerances that upset your gut
  • Stay Hydrated
    • Attempt to get in a recommended amount of water for your body weight
  • Implement a Consistent Sleep Pattern
    • Going to bed and waking up at the same times will help your body & digestive system fall into a flow
  • Reduce Stress
    • This is easy said than done but consider areas of your life that are more stress inducing and consider how you can change this.

A happy gut means a healthy feeling body. A diet rich in immune-supporting probiotic & prebiotic foods will fuel your gut with what it needs for your microbiome to thrive. Probioctic foods contain “good” bacteria or live cultures that are found naturally in your gut. Prebiotic foods nourish the probiotic foods in your digestive tract.

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Probioctic Foods:

  • Greek Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Fermented Foods
    • Kimchi
    • Kombucha
    • Olives
    • Pickled Beets
    • Pickles
    • Sauerkraut
    • Soybeans
  • Grains
    • Sourdough Bread

Prebiotic Foods: 

  • Fruit
    • Berries
    • Bananas
    • Tomatoes
  • Veggies
  • Grains
    • Barley
    • Flaxseeds
    • Oatmeal
    • Wheat
  • Legumes
    • Beans
    • Chickpeas
    • Lentils

Beginning a journey to improve your gut might take a bit, so be patient. Implementing a healthy diet and reducing your stress won’t heal a gut in a day but will begin to detox the gut microbiome of toxins.

But please keep in mind this isn’t an overhaul either! Like I always like to say, life is a balance of healthy habits and periodic indulgences. We want to incorporate healthy habits in our lives so that WE. FEEL. GOOD. but what also feels good…. a fudgy brownie with vanilla ice cream. So definitely implement new healthy habits into your life but don’t deprive yourself!

Stayed tuned for a Morning Routine for a Happy Gut later this week!

Sugar-Free Shopping List.

The biggest concern for me the first time I started an added-sugar-free detox was “What the heck am I going to buy at the store?” I was intimidated by the lack of knowledge I had and almost embarrassed to be one of those shoppers looking at the ingredient list on the back of items. But why? Nobody actually is noticing me and if I need to take a little bit longer to pick out my items NO. BIG. DEAL.

Once I started shopping I was relieved by how simple it became and how empowered I felt taking control of what I knew I was putting into my body to fuel it. Over time I’ve came back to my staple items that I know I’ll use up between meals and snacks.

So today I’m sharing that staple shopping list with all of you! I will more than likely be updating this list as I’m exploring new meal ideas in the coming weeks. Feel free to share your additional items with me as well or ask what I use specific items for!

Sugar Free Shopping List

Printable .pdf file available on request: ashraeeiningyoga@gmail.com

No Sugar May.

Do you struggle with bloating, inflammation, or trouble sleeping? Or maybe you wake up most mornings to stare in the mirror with a puffy face and dry eyes? Or maybe you are victim to the afternoon slump most days?

If none of these things resonates with you then congratulations! But this is the definition of my life when my diet contains too much added sugar. Which is why I attempt* a monthly detox a few times a year. 

*Attempt is the key word because our lives still need indulgences. 

Added sugar is a variety of caloric sweeteners or sugar carbohydrates added to food and beverages during their production. This type of sugar is chemically indistinguishable from naturally occurring sugar that we would find in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Added sugars have no nutritional value and are “empty calories”. 

These sugars can cause the body to become inflamed, gain weight, higher blood pressure and can even increase risk for heart attack and stroke. These little punk ingredients aren’t only bad for us but are just as addictive as alcohol, caffeine, gambling, etc. Our bodies become dependent on the need for sugar that we are consistently craving to fill the desire to consume more sugar. This desire than results in withdraw when we detox our body from them. Symptoms of withdrawal are headaches, increased cravings, and mood swings that can result in feelings of anxiety and sadness. The good thing is most withdraw symptoms only occur for a few days or a week. 

You might be thinking, why would I give up added-sugar then? Well, the rewards extremely outweigh the work. All those questions at the beginning of this post… ya, let’s get rid of those!

Cutting out (or for the most part) added sugar from your diet will likely decrease inflammation, boost your energy levels, and improve your ability to focus. You might even lose weight or see more definition around muscles. A low sugar diet also has been known to help with diabetes, heart disease, brain health, mood levels, and even improve the health of skin, hair, and nails. 

An informed diet does take work though. The food industry has a long history of sneaking in these ingredients in ways that do not have to be stated in the nutrition chart as actually added sugar. That means even if you see 0g added sugar, you still need to review the list of ingredients to actually be sure. For example: 

  • Agave Nectar
  • Barley Malt
  • Beet sugar
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Brown sugar
  • Brown Rice syrup
  • Buttered syrup
  • Cane Juice crystals
  • Cane Sugar
  • Caramel
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Corn Syrup
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Diastatic Malt
  • Ethyl Maltol
  • Fruit Juice
  • Fruit Juice Concentrate
  • Glucose
  • Golden Sugar
  • Grape Sugar
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Honey
  • Icing Sugar
  • Invert Sugar
  • Lactose
  • Malt Syrup
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Maple Syrup
  • Molasses
  • Muscovado Sugar
  • Panela Sugar
  • Raw Sugar
  • Refiner’s Syrup
  • Rice Syrup
  • Sorghum Syrup
  • Sucanat
  • Sucrose
  • Treacle Sugar
  • Turbinado Sugar
  • Yellow Sugar

The sad part is this isn’t even close to all of the sneaky ingredients the food industry shoves into food. The most effective way to reduce your sugar intake is to eat mostly whole and unprocessed foods. You might be thinking that is way too hard – I thought the same thing the first time I did an added sugar detox. But once you get into a routine of what to eat that is good for you, not too mention how good you’ll be feeling, it becomes a lifestyle that you don’t want to quit. 

If you would like to join me for the month of May, I’ll be sharing tips for shopping, meal planning, and yummy dish ideas here as well as on my Insta account (@ashraeeining). Having a tribe to go through this together, ask questions, and share ideas makes it WAYYYY more enjoyable (yes, it can be enjoyable!)

Like I said earlier, indulgences are still part of life – so have that donut or 3 scoops of ice cream. I know I sure do! Enjoy that margarita on a nice day and the cheesy enchiladas at your favorite Mexican restaurant. But making sure we are monitoring these indulgences so they don’t become a habit is when we start to take control over our health so we can feel all the benefits I stated above. 

So if you would like to join me on this journey for the month of May (or at least attempt* it) then stick around and follow me over on Instagram as well. I like to share some esthetically pleasing, highly edited photos of meals, snacks, and drinks (you can even follow just to creep the photos).  

Let’s get to feeling & living a healthier life!