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SUNWARRIOR, A HAND’S DOWN, PROTEIN SHAKE WINNER!

A few weeks ago, Sunwarrior sent me a collection of its raw, all natural, vegan protein shakes and ‘boosters*” to try out.  Here’s what I found.


I am a seasoned veteran of protein shakes, smoothies and juicing.  My considerations when putting together the perfect shake in order of importance are: taste, ingredients and performance.  No, scratch that, it’s nutrition, low carb and quick prep time.  Or is it low-carb, quick prep time and high protein?

Equally important is the need for a shake that can fuel a workout, a packed work schedule and a very, very long day.  When I’m crunched for time, protein smoothies are a boon.

I exercise 5 days a week, I’m Vegan, and I’m over scheduled: kids, own a business, and manage a  busy household.  I’m also creeping toward 50 with a slowed-down metabolism and a penchant for insulin resistance.  After some recent blood work, my doctor recommended lower carb meals. Meals with high protein and low-carbs can be tricky for Vegans.

The protein in Sunwarrior’s Warrior Blend is derived from peas, raw cranberry and raw hemp and with a low carb count of 2g’s and 19g’s of protein per serving. Sunwarrior has a system of products that can be used alone or can be added to one another to create your perfect nutritional cocktail*. Their full line of offerings are also gluten free, non GMO and soy free.  Worth noting, raw cranberry is known to reduce cellulite.  Just saying!


I started this morning, post-workout, with a Vanilla Warrior Blend shake with unsweetened almond milk, chia seeds, frozen blackberries and a hit of the Activated Sprouted Bio-Fermented Barley Powder Booster.  I was staring down a 7 hour stretch of back to back clients and knew that lunch may or may not be on the horizon.  I wanted to see if Sunwarrior’s Barley powder was in fact, “The Ultimate Slow Burning Carb.”


 

Happy to say, my energy and mood remained high, and I didn’t feel hungry, even though I wasn’t able to stop for lunch until a good 6 hours later.

I’m giving it a high mark for taste: not chalky but smooth, like an actual milk-shake.  It’s quite yummy AND my 2 girls loved the chocolate shake even though it’s ‘healthy,’ God forbid!

* Sunwarrior’s Boosters include: Liquid Light – Pulvic Acid; Immune Shield; Activated Barley and Vitamin Mineral Rush

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move2(b&w)[2]We all want to look and feel out best, right?  We exercise, primp and polish, but often fall short of the mark.  Are ‘bad habits’ getting our way?  Do we avoid ‘good habits’ because they seem boring or just a pain in the ass to do?  I love this sentiment by Seth Godin:

“Habits are great when they help us get what we want. Bad habits, on the other hand, are bad because the shortcut that satisfies us in the moment gets in the way of our long term goals.”

I’ve given this a lot of thought over the years as I get older.  There are a dozen things I should be doing daily to help me feel and look my best, but bad habits are hard to break and good habits are easily forgotten or set aside. Like Seth says, it’s easy to be bad and seemingly hard to be good.

It’s much easier to tackle a few items at a time, so I thought it a good idea to put forth 4 Good Habits  that  I believe are easy to remember, easy to start doing right away and easy to stick to.

1. Moisturize your skin always, no matter what.  After your morning shower and before bed are the easiest time to perform this ritual.  Legs, arms, face and all over.  There are so many benefits to massaging in a moisturizer suitable for your skin type, body area and season.  For summer I’m using Starflower Essential’s rich and nourishing Rose Chamomile Intensive Moisturizer on my face for day and night coverage.

2. Find an exercise routine you like and stick to it.  Religiously, purposefully, moderately, frequently.  I go to an exercise class, the Lithe Method,  4-5 times a week, yoga once a week and walk my dog 2-3 times a day.  I can’t imagine how lousy I would feel if I didn’t.  For me, I usually look forward to sweating it out, jumping around, and getting outside.  I know I’ll feel better when it’s over.  But, when I’m dreading the thought of getting on that mat, I remember that it’s only an hour or two long, it WILL end, and by then, I’ll feel terrific! Classes with great music, great instructors and friendly people motivate me, not to mention the money spent on monthly memberships.  What motivates you?  Find out and act on your findings.

3. Meditate and Journal. I’m lumping these together because I’ve found that their practice and benefits are so similar. And no, as I promised earlier that I would put forth ‘easy’ habits to start, these 2 may seem to be hard habits to form.  Every person I know who tells me they meditate and/or journal regularly, is adamant that the changes brought by these practices are overwhelmingly positive.  First, get some props together: a beautiful journaling notebook, a comfy meditation cushion, a guided meditation CD, a space you create with flowers and pictures of inspiring persons or places, then get on it.  Carve out a regular time in your day to perform this ritual and get to know yourself.  Try Louise Hays’ Meditations for Loving Yourself to Good Health.

4. Eat, buy and use organic.  Surround yourself with nurturing and non-toxic foods, cleaning products, bath and body goods and you’ll notice a change.  It’s good medicine, it’s preventative, it’s good for the Earth, it’s interesting, it’s tastier, it’s expanding, and it brings forth a more beautiful and sensitive you!

 

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One of our favorite guests proves that feeling good and looking good go hand in hand:

“Born a brunette, I had gone all gray.  Coloring my hair for years was the norm, until I became dangerously allergic to hair dye. [Terri is allergic to the PPDs found in most professional and over the counter hair dyes.]  My head, feet and hands would swell up after my salon visits.  My dermatologist put me on steroids.  It was frightening.  No more hair dye for me, so I thought.

Then I found juju salon & organics and stylist/owner Julie Featherman.  I was confident that if there was a solution to my problem, she’d find it.  And she did!  She was able to find a non-toxic hair dye that did not cause a single reaction! I  look and feel better than ever before.

p.s.  She gives a great haircut too!”

Thank you Terri for sharing your happy experience at juju.

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3 Best Practices For A Mid-Winter Detox

1. Get Organic Coconut Oil Buy, use, repeat. Best winter related uses include hair care and skin care – just slather it on liberally for instant, super-charged moisturizing;  boosted immune system – its lauric acid fights viruses and bacterias;  proper digestion and regulated metabolism – Holidays, VDay, Fat Tuesday, enough said. A teaspoon or two a day taken orally is an overall health booster.

2. Eat Maitake Mushrooms In short winter days, less sun exposure equals less vitamin D.  Though a vitamin D supplement helps, a tastier way to get your D is by eating some ‘hen of the woods’ or Maitake mushrooms.  1 cup of raw maitake mushrooms contains 786 international units of vitamin D, which is more than the daily intake recommendation for healthy adult men and women. Fyi, mushrooms are the only vegetable that contains Vitamin D. Bonus Points for sauteing in Coconut Oil!

3. Meditate Considering a Meditation Practice? Now’s the time to start.  The benefits of a regular meditation practice can include lessened anxiety, better sleep, mental clarity, more energy and yes, it can beat back those Winter Blues. Check out our First Spring Wellness Workshop on Mindfulness Meditation on March 2nd to learn more about starting or strengthening your personal Practice.  Space is limited, call 215-238-6080 to register.

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noanimaltestingNovember 1st is World Vegan Day.  I celebrated by presenting a talk about Animal Testing and how difficult it is to avoid, in my opinion, this cruel and unnecessary practice.

Many people who are vegan or become vegan do so because they’ve made the connection between eating animals and factory farm cruelty, but often, we vegans forget about or overlook, or don’t want to know about things we do, things we wear and things we NEED that exist because of animal suffering of some sort.

Snuggling under that down blanket, a new pair of Jimmie Choo’s and yes, your new bottle of volumizing shampoo. Here’s where it gets tricky. In the beauty biz, the problem is animal testing.

Animal testing, and its relation to the cosmetics, personal products and household cleaning products is hardly “OBVIOUS’.

Everyone agrees – animal testing “BAD”  Cruelty free Companies and Products “GOOD”  but it isn’t that simple.  How hard could it be to stock my shelves at juju in a cruelty-free way? Let’s keep in mind that I have an organic and natural salon and that I need to supply products that actually deliver salon-worthy results!  Sticks, mud and a few herbs and plants are not enough!

My friend Sevi Kay, founder of Eco-Sevi body and Hair products, a vegan and animal activist, creates honest,  cruelty free products.  And she says about her products or any beauty and personal care products “we are aware that these very ingredients all have been tested by other companies — we cannot change the past, but hope that we can all unite to find alternatives to animal testing in the future.”

Can we call that an “Ethical Statute of Limitations?”
Because, really, we need a starting point, and something to stand on if we want to truly look at and work toward a future of total cruelty free living.

I am NOT an expert in Animal Testing and Experimenting.  I’m a hair stylist with a Philosophy degree, please keep this in mind.  There is so much information out there.  In researching for this presentation, I became overwhelmed with the amount of history, data, research, organizations, movements, theories, regulations, arguments, international edicts, rules and ethics out there that encompass this nebulous issue.  Again, as a non-expert, trying to put all of this together into a succinct, informative and moving presentation seemed impossible!  BUT…..here are some of some thoughts and findings as they pertain to me, the Vegan, the Animal Lover and the Sustainable Business Owner.

Many of the chemical concoctions tested for industrial, medicinal and pharmaceutical reasons, once approved, find themselves useful in personal care products, cleaning products and some such.  It’s the little, tiny, individual ingredients that are tested on animals, NOT the finished product.

These chemical concoctions, known as Intermediary Ingredients, are developed continually, because Industry demands newer, more efficient and cheaper chemical “things” to use in their products.  So these things are concocted, tested and let out on the Market.

Wondering if your mascara was tested on animals? Who the hell knows for sure, probably!

For example.  I’m L’Oreal and some company comes to me and says we have this new binding chemical substance…and it can do all these things that no other thing can do: it can bind, waterproof, congeal, stabilize etc.   This new product has probably been developed for the Paints and Pigments Departments at Dow chemical, but….I could use it for our mascara lines and save $$$!

So, it’s on the INGREDIENT LEVEL that the testing occurs.  An estimated 100,000 chemicals are marketed globally, with hundreds more new chemicals being introduced each year. Most are plastics and related polymers, while a smaller proportion include cleansers, paints, adhesives, lubricants, industrial solvents and a variety of short-lived by-products or “intermediates.” while others may be marketed in high volumes and/or used as ingredients in products to which human beings and the environment may be exposed – like cosmetics and household cleaning products, plastic packaging, and gasoline. Recently implemented laws in Europe, China and elsewhere are requiring companies to produce large quantities of test data, which could mean suffering and death for tens of millions of animals.

Big name cosmetic conglomerates like Estee Lauder, Revlon, L’Oreal and Procter & Gamble are trying to convince us that their mission is “committed to the elimination of animal testing,” BUT in able to sell to one of the biggest consumer markets in the world, China, they are required by the Chinese government to be tested – on animals – in China – before being sold in that huge country.  Domestic Chinese countries are exempt from this ‘law’ but, let’s face facts, are any of the big companies incorporated in China!!

Beware:
of hidden Parent Companies.  Often, smaller companies and manufacturers that insist that they are cruelty free and have received Leaping Bunny verification, can be owned by larger Corporations that do not support the Leaping Bunny, i.e. Urban Decay Cosmetics who are owned by L’Oreal and Burt’s Bees, acquired recently by Clorox. To maintain their Leaping Bunny status, these companies must operate as ‘independent subsidiaries.’ We consumers know the connection and have to make the decision whether or not to spend out dollars here.

In the end, remember this: The FDA does not regulate product labeling for cosmetic and personal care products in the US.  A company can literally put just about anything on its label.  “Vegan Friendly” and “Cruelty-free” may or may not be the whole store.  To be sure, look for CCIC’s Leaping Bunny and a PETA rated: V, CF (Companies that don’t test).

Delve deeper, Google your favorite brands or even call the company!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve typed “Is such and such a product Cruelty-free?” in my search bar.

Empower yourself with awareness and a little effort in order to buy cruelty free.  Spread the word!

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Hand Made in Philly!
Hand Made in Philly!

Yes, right here in my row home in the heart of Philadelphia, I have the sweetest backyard garden.  Not too big, not too small, just green and lush, with flora and fauna changing with every season.

My hardy Boxwoods and Evergreens are making way for the Tulips and budding Japanese Wisteria.  The bulbs and bushes are always there, but never dominate.  They are nonetheless, an irreplaceable part of mon jardin beau!

juju is my work garden so to speak.  It dawned on me that the products I stock for the salon and the way I procure them reminds me a lot of my sweet home garden.  Oh, and both gardens smell terrific!

This spring, I’ve ‘planted’ some Locally Made in Philly Products from 2 great companies in my work garden: Stinky Girl Beauty Co. and gracefullyNoted.   In common: these small businesses make beautiful home-made goodies.  Yes, hand crafted, natural deodorants and hand-cut greeting cards need to live side by side!

Locally made, means I get to know the artists and artisans who make their goods.  Meghan H.  designs, cuts, and assembles her stationery, prints and other paper products in Olde City.  She is as sweet as her designs that spread love and joy.

Carly D., from Stinky Girl discovered that she could make a deodorant that was safe, natural and the clincher……actually works!  Yes, it does.  period.  Oh, and her Sauerkraut rocks too!  West Philly, be proud of this little gem of a company.

Come see my work garden, and pick some locally made ‘flowers.’ There’s so many good reasons to support our local artists, businesses and garden!

Hand Made in Philly!

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my Sunday kitchen stretch
Sunday stretch selfies

Finding time for a good stretch seems impossible when you’re over-stretched. The benefits of daily stretching exercises are not only proven, they’re a given.  Michael Jordan credits  stretching, as part of his overall fitness routine,  for promoting his long and successful NBA career.

Though I know I need a daily stretching routine, I often back-burner this activity in the pursuit of more pressing concerns: cleaning the kitchen, sorting through laundry, answering email, etc.  There’s only so much time, right?

Presently, I’m in the throws of a plantar fasciitis flare-up coupled with an inflammed piriformis.  All the result of my regular workouts and LACK of stretching.  Surely, a few stretches after my exercise class should suffice?  As I literally hobble out of the studio, I can’t deny that things are out of control.

Stretches, my PT insists, are my only hope.  Three PT sessions and a half a dozen carefully chosen stretches were my Rx.  Stretching, when done at home, on a regular basis, will be the only thing to heal me short of surgery.

I am challenging myself to stretch two times a day, every day, for the next week.  I will hold each stretch for 20 seconds, no more no less, as per the sage advice of my PT.   Of course, you’re all committed to some stretching routine already that honors each ligament and muscle.  But if you’re not, you’re probably like me and think that …

Creating this habit, seems like a stretch…..

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John masters at juju salonAs the beauty industry becomes inundated with organic and all natural products, what is the best way to financially navigate through all of the choices presented?  How do you know what the best value is out there?  There are $8 bottles and $28 bottles of shampoo on the proverbial shelf, what’s the difference?

Much of the price differential is Products Marketing 101: are the products recognizable because of an extensive and expensive marketing campaign?  Often, organic beauty product lines that grace the opening, full-page spots in Organic Spa magazine are probably the priciest.  I mean, what does your gut tell you about Origins’ Dr. Weil organic product line?  Origin stores are firmly planted on the priciest retail real estate available…could that influence the price of their products?

That’s not to say that smaller, less known brands, are necessarily less expensive. Confusing!

In other words, “who knows?!”  I know.  And here’s how you can know too.  Read the label.  It’s that easy.  If a company selling organic beauty products fails to list ALL of the ingredients on its label, don’t even consider buying it.  Here’s some tips for understanding the ingredients and consequently, what the true value of the product may be.

What’s the ordering of the ingredients?  Having “water” as the first ingredient listed may explain why it’s price tag isn’t too high. And if it is high, ask yourself why.  How much of the total product is derived from organically, bio-dynamically and/or wild harvested plants and herbs? If there’s a long list of “chemically” sounding ingredients following “water” and preceding rose hips, don’t bother tossing it in your shopping cart.  It needs to be clearly indicated that the plant/herbal ingredient is organic, bio-dynamically grown and/or wild harvested plants.

USDA Certified Organic, Oregon Tilth – Certified Organic, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics are all important monikers for your product to wear. But know that getting a product “Certified Organic” is an expensive and lengthy process.  Some smaller companies haven’t secured the seal and can’t place it on their labels, even though the ingredients are as organically white as the driven snow.  Again, look to the label and make your decision from there.

Making a change in your beauty regime is as important to making a change from synthetic to organic beauty products.  Read labels, use less, use wisely and if on a budget, buy only what you truly need to use on a daily basis.

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