EVOLVE: A Restorative Career Workshop for Health and Wellness Professionals

Before I met with Ashley Solomon, I read her “My Story” page on her website. I should have filmed it because my little brunette head was nodding quicker than my husband’s ugly Ohio State bobblehead. Female empowerment. System-level change. Personal ownership over that change. Freeing women from the negative cycle of body shaming and disordered eating. Helping teenage girls build resiliency. The importance of connection. And the belief statement, “life is too short for fat-free ice cream.” Yes, yes, yes, yes. All of the bobblehead nodding. 

 

 

So, I wasn’t surprised when our meeting turned into a two-hour conversation that could have lasted much, much longer. Ashley is about pretty much everything I’m about, and she’s killing it. She’s changing the world in SO many ways. Ashley is a licensed clinical psychologist who provides both individual psychotherapy, coaching, and group workshops. She founded the Ohio branch of a national organization called the Eating Recovery Center here in Cincinnati, and she oversaw national clinical operations of ERC outside of Ohio. In the private practice which she runs today, Galia Collaborative, she still helps female identified individuals with disordered eating or eating disorders, and she also uses her vast knowledge of the corporate setting to help coach women to success. We’ve all got barriers, roadblocks, fears that hold us back. Ashley helps her clients identify those barriers and break them down. On top of this Ashley also councils individuals with anxiety, depression, and/or fertility concerns. 

 

I know a lot about therapy from both a personal and professional perspective. For that reason, a lot of individuals in my life come to me and ask for referrals when they need to see someone. After meeting Ashley, she’s moved to the top of my referral list. She just gets it. She’s warm, welcoming, non-judgmental, and she understands so many things from both a scientific perspective and from lived experience. And, her office is super stylish. 

 

 

 

During our conversation, Ashley and I talked a lot about how important it is as someone in the health and wellness industry to take care of yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually.  It sounds trite, but it’s only constantly repeated because it’s true—if you don’t care of yourself you can’t take care of anyone else. I agree 100% and I’m always looking for ways to enhance my own wellbeing. For that reason, I’m bummed that I’m going to be out of town for Ashley’s next workshop. 

 

The workshop is titled EVOLVE: A Restorative Career Workshop for Health and Wellness Professionals. In Ashley’s words, “Professionals in helping fields are in a unique position of using ourselves as our most vital tool. But, too often we expend so much of our energy in service to others that we fail to step back and examine where our resources and career are going. The result is burnout, misalignment, and our impact staying smaller than it should.”

 

 

 

The full-day workshop is designed to help individuals in the helping and healing professions align or realign with what they really want personally and professionally. 

 

As Ashley says, this workshop is ideal for professionals who: 

 

• Have excelled in the past, but now feel stalled

• Have big visions of what the future can hold, but unsure how to manifest them

• Feel unclear on what the next step looks like

• Know you can have a bigger impact but are stuck in getting there

• Are burnt out, uncertain, or spinning your wheels

• Need an opportunity for reconnection and nourishment with folks who get it

 

The workshop is on May 10th, and I highly recommend it. I also recommend checking out Ashley’s other offerings at her website here. We’re going to tap into Ashley’s expertise to focus on a few other mental health topics in the future so stay tuned! 

It’s Time To Get (Farrell) Fit!

Tough love, according to Urban Dictionary, is a version of “being cruel to be kind.” It goes on to say that tough love will save an individual from heartache in the future, but may cause a small amount of upset for the receiver immediately after the tough love has been dispensed.

 

Earlier this month, Molly and I attended class at Farrell Fit … and boy, did we get a dose of tough love. (…and we loved every second of it!)

 

 

 

Think high intensity interval training circuits comprised of burpees, toe-taps, push-ups… those sort of things. The class made for one of the best workouts I had experienced in a long time, but going through it was tough – just the way it was meant to be!

 

Farrell Fit is a fitness studio offering a variety of strength training classes. If you enjoy HIIT classes (high intensity interval training,) this is the studio for you! Molly and I took the Mid-Day Meltdown class which consisted of strength training, body weight exercises, and short bouts of cardio… it was our daily dose of tough love dispensed from Chris Farrell himself.

 

A suspension trainer, kettlebells, hand weights, medicine balls, and mats line the walls. There is a television screen that displays the heart rates of anyone who has chosen to purchase and utilize MyZone technology … which is pretty cool. MyZone is a wearable, heart-rate based system that uses wireless and cloud technology to monitor physical activity in the form of heart rate, calories, and time exercising. This combination of information ensures that MyZone technology focuses on rewarding effort instead of fitness level, and the principles of Farrell Fit echo this refreshing notion.

 

 

 

 

Upon walking into one of Chris’s classes, it is obvious why he has had so much success over the years. He personally greets each and every client, making sure that everyone is comfortable and ready to conquer the workout. Even before committing to a class, Chris will make sure that his studio is the right fit for you, and he works hard to make sure that Farrell Fit is meeting each individual client’s needs.

 

One of the most unique things about Farrell Fit is that Chris schedules consultations with prospective clients, and uses a color-coded system to ensure that each client is training at an appropriate, individualized level. For example, if you’re just coming back from an injury, your level of activity is going to be quite different from others’. Safety and personalization are top priority at Farrell Fit.

 

Besides gaining strength and confidence through joining this studio, clients gain a support system. Chris holds clients accountable to ensure that they reach their fitness goals, and to ensure that they feel well taken care of. Miss a class? You can expect a text message. Chris isn’t here to criticize or to guilt-trip anyone, but he genuinely cares about each of his client’s well-being.

 

 

 

 

Clients also have the support of their classmates – during the class that Molly and I took, we even worked in teams to complete an exercise circuit while rotating through different stations. Words of encouragement, pats on the back, and energized smiles were exchanged throughout the duration of the class.The comradery amongst clients made the 45 minutes of class fly by … except when we were counting down the seconds until we finished our burpees; any amount of time spent doing burpees does not fly by!

 

You can find the list of classes offered here. While Molly and I took a HIIT class, there are class options that slow things down a bit. No matter what class you choose to attend, you can rest assured that you will feel fully welcomed, and your body and mind will thank you for the incredible workout.

 

If you are also looking for more ways to connect with new people and places of fitness, please consider becoming a Cincy State of Being insider: www.cincystateofbeing.com Your guide to all things health and wellness in Cincinnati!

 

CBD 101 with Queen City Hemp

If you ask me what the first thing that pops into my head when I hear the word “hemp”, it would be choker necklaces that we used to buy with our pet hermit crabs at those cheesy beach shops on vacation.  The second thing that comes to mind is weed. Embarrassingly, I really didn’t know the difference between hemp and weed, and had very little understanding of the differences between CBD and THC, until Mer and I sat down with Nick and Lyndsey of Queen City Hemp.

 

Right off the bat I did it. I called hemp “weed”. It was then that Nick and Lyndsey realized they were going to have to start at the top: Hemp Education 101.

 

At the core, the biggest difference between Hemp and Marjuana is the tetrahydrocannabinol level. Tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC, is a crystalline compound that is the main active ingredient of cannabis (the plant where “weed” is derived). Hemp crosses into marjuana once the THC levels in the plant hit 0.3. So, in order to keep things legal in most states, farmers must pull and harvest their cannabis prior to it hitting the 0.3 level.

 

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis. Unlike THC, CBD does not cause feelings of intoxication (aka, there are no psychoactive ingredients that make you “high”) because they act in different ways on different receptors in the brain and body.

 

So, let’s talk benefits. CBD is rich in omega-3s, fatty acids and essential vitamins. Health and wellness enthusiasts and preventative health practitioners have found it useful to add CBD to their diet to better their general health and alleviate undesirable moods.I started taking CBD oil as needed about 6 months ago, and have found it almost immediately alleviates feelings of anxiety and stress, and helps tremendously with my focus level. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that have helped people treat chronic pain, seizures, and anxiety. 

 

Two local Cincinnatians were ahead of the curve (take that, Mark Twain) creating the FIRST CBD seltzer in the entire country. Meet Queen City Hemp.

 

Nick Balzer is the founder and CEO of Queen City Infusion, the company responsible for creating Queen City Hemp seltzers, tinctures, and salves. Nick jumped into the CBD game back in 2015, and has been quick to grow.

 

Just like there are different species of roses, there are different species of cannabis; they have different compositions, characteristics, and ratios.  Why does this matter? Because with the Farm Bill of 2018, which removed cannabis from the controlled substance list, the federal government put it in the hands of state to legalize weed. Thus, hundreds (thousands?) of brilliant entrepreneurs like Nick jumped at the opportunity to capitalize, and CBD tinctures, seltzers, candies and treats started popping up across the country.

 

But just because they come from the cannabis plant doesn’t mean that all CBD products should be treated the same. There are grades and scales of quality hemp, with the most significant differentiator being between therapeutic hemp and industrial hemp. Industrial hemp is the low grade hemp that has been cross pollinated, fertilized, contains a lot of seeds, and ultimately has a lower quality extract. Therapeutic aka “Full Spectrum” hemp, is what Queen City Hemp utilizes. It’s been cloned from the mother, is grown indoors in a very controlled environment to prevent cross pollination and fertilization, and is pulled and harvested at the perfect time. In our interview, Nick spoke a lot about how he sources his hemp, all from regional farmers who take pride and care in every detail of their product and ultimately allowing Queen City Hemp to deliver the highest grade of CBD.

 

Queen City Hemp has a number of products, from tinctures (oils), to salve, and of course their famous seltzers. Their seltzers contain zero calories or sugar and come in yummy flavors such as Blood Orange, Passion Fruit, Guava and Lemon Lavender.  Each can contains 5mg CBD per serving.

 

A frequently asked question that they get is about dosage– how much do you need to take in order to feel the affects? Queen City Hemp always suggests starting with the seltzers, which has a lower dose of CBD in them than their oils and tinctures. They also recommend microdosing, so taking a bit a time to see how you feel and find the optimal dosage for you to get the best results.

 

Although the selzer has been pulled off the shelves at some local Ohio retailers due to some government crackdowns (the laws on CBD and hemp products are still very hazy here in the great state of Ohio) but you can still purchase their tinctures and salves at natural food stores around town or shop online for their seltzers. Queen City Hemp is currently selling their products in 26 states, and shipping nationwide. They are also expecting this Ohio crack down to be temporary, and hope to be back on shelves at their favorite retailers like Clifton Natural Foods and Findlay Market in the near future.

 

What Number Are You? The Enneagram

I’ve taken a lot of personality tests. I’m outgoing. I like people. I like big ideas, not details. I’m a blue not an orange or green. And so on and so on. All of these tests have been helpful, but nothing especially life-changing. Certainly, nothing I continued to talk about weeks and months later. Then, Molly and I took the Enneagram.

 

According to Wikipedia (bible, right?), the enneagram is, “a model of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types.” It looks like this. 

 

 

 

 

According to the Enneagram Institute, “The Enneagram is a powerful tool for personal and collective transformation. Stemming from the Greek words ennea (nine) and grammos (a written symbol), the nine-pointed Enneagram symbol represents nine distinct strategies for relating to the self, others and the world. Each Enneagram type has a different pattern of thinking, feeling and acting that arises from a deeper inner motivation or worldview.” You can also have subtypes, and although you have a primary type when you’re stressed or thriving you may fall into another type. It’s kind of a lot but stay with me. 

 

There are tests online that you can take that will take a guess as to what number you are on the Enneagram scale, but the most effective way to learn your type is to do a typing interview with a trained Enneagram professional like Leslie Hershberger. I was introduced to Leslie by a former board member from my past 9-5. Jeff, who owns a very successful local company, uses Leslie with his entire corporate team and said I NEEDED to meet with her to get typed.  

 

Molly and I went together for our typing interviews with Leslie. Typically, it is a one-hour session and then you come back for three more coaching sessions (or more) with Leslie to explore your type and how to create change in your life with this knowledge. Leslie also does corporate, group typing sessions. During the typing interview, Leslie asked us a number of questions about different scenarios or situations and how we would react. I was apparently very easy to type as a 7. 

 

In Leslie’s words, a 7 is, “The Epicure is an optimistic, fun-loving and positive visioning personality with a strong belief that frustration and pain can be avoided by attending to positive options. Epicures habitually focus their attention on positive possibilities in all things. They are driven by a gluttony for interesting ideas and pleasurable experiences, now and in the future. Challenges for this fast-thinking type include being scattered, impulsive and self-referencing. A positive vision takes work and attention to less exciting practical details which can be avoided or backgrounded by the Seven.” Yep. Yep. Yep. Check. 

 

Molly is a 2. In Leslie’s words again, “If you are a Two, you’re a helpful, caring, relationship-oriented personality with a strong belief that love and survival depend on giving to get connection and approval from people and groups who matter to you. You habitually focus your attention on others’ needs and seeing what is possible in them and flattering them with your positive attention and words. It’s a feeling that ‘If I take care of you, you will love and appreciate me.’ You usually don’t realize when you are caught in this habitual loop or that you are repressing and squishing down your own needs.” 

 

Apparently, you can be a healthy 7 or an unhealthy 7, or a healthy 2 or an unhealthy 2. Aka there are beautiful and amazing traits that accompany each type, but if you’re mentally and spiritually unhealthy the ugly traits of each type will show. For example, if I was a super unhealthy 7 I may start 100 projects and never finish any, or experience great loss and use busyness as a way to avoid feeling pain. If Molly was a super unhealthy 2 she might never take care of herself and always just give to others and their needs. 

 

The coolest part of the session was that with this information Leslie helped Molly and I understand how we could communicate with each other more effectively. It was eye-opening. And still now we’ll be at business meetings or having various interactions and Molly will say something and I’ll respond, “Oh, sure because you’re a 2.” Or, I’ll be spewing off ideas for new endeavors and Molly will nod stating, “you’re a 7.” 

 

I don’t know really how to explain the impact of the Enneagram.  It has helped me understand my own motivations further, and it’s shone a light on personal growth opportunities.  It’s also helped me examine my relationships in a different way. I want Ryan to get typed, and I’m setting an interview up with Leslie for him as I write this. I think he’s a 1, but we’ll see. 

 

I think really it comes down to the fact that the Enneagram is larger than just your personality. It exposes your inner motivations and how you deal with the human condition. It also gives you information on how to interact better with the people that you love. 

 

Leslie gave Molly and I each different meditations to practice based on our type.  She encouraged Mol to Learn to pay attention to her own needs by asking throughout the day, what do I need? I’m supposed to realize that it is limiting to seek only the positive and allow pain and uncomfortable emotions. Whomp, whomp. 

 

This was THE most informative and helpful self-help or personality test I’ve ever taken. I recommend to everyone. To learn more about Leslie’s work and what she offers, visit her website here. 

 

Healthy Gut, Happy Life: The SIBO Diaries

So we’ve all heard the phrase “The student becomes the master”, right? Well when I met Amy Hollenkamp, it didn’t take me long to realize that despite being a student, she was already an expert. As a clinical dietitian, I precept a number of interns each year who are completing rotations as a mandatory part of their journey to becoming a dietitian themselves. Amy was one of my very first interns, and although she was a student at the time, I learned so much about gut health from her!

 

Amy’s journey to becoming a dietitian is a bit different than most. About two years ago, she was actually working full-time as a marketing and sales analyst after receiving her masters degree from the University of Cincinnati. During this time, however, she was struggling with a slew of health issues.

 

 

 

Amy was battling, what she describes as, constant bloating and abdominal discomfort, and she turned to her gastroenterologist for answers. After being tested for celiac disease, infections, ulcers, and irritable bowel disease, her negative test results left her perplexed and frustrated.. On one hand, this was a relief! On the other hand, she was left with more questions than answers.

 

The GI doctor informed Amy that she was just experiencing a bad case of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS,) and suggested that Amy take some metamucil and reduce her stress. Amy knew that what she was experiencing had to be something more – sure, she knew her bowels were irritated, but why?! After taking matters into her own hands, Amy not only found the root cause of her symptoms, but a whole new passion for functional medicine and gut research that lead her to change her career path entirely… and thank goodness she did. Today, she is a Registered Dietitian helping countless patients who are struggling with gut diseases regain control of their health and their lives.

 

 

 

Amy did not have IBS, she had SIBO (small intestinal bowel overgrowth.) Amy actually argues that IBS is just a junk diagnosis, and her reasoning is pretty dang convincing – check out her explanation here . In her private practice, she helps individuals with SIBO get to the root cause of their symptoms to achieve true healing, which is no small feat. The complexities of SIBO are incredible, but who better to help you overcome these symptoms than someone who knows all too well what it’s like to go through them?

 

 

 

If you’re not already convinced that gut health is the foundation of our overall health, let Amy educate you. She is launching an 8-week gut-restoration program at Liberty Farm Market this May. The program is designed to revitalize your health so that you can live your absolute best life! Think faster metabolism, easier weight loss, better digestion, stronger immune function, balanced hormones, better moods, more vibrant skin and hair, more energy, and improved longevity… ummm where do I sign up?! Contact Amy if you are interested or would like more info on “Healthy Gut Healthy Life” here – and sign up before April 15th to get a 15%-off discount

 

You can learn more about Amy’s incredible story here. Knowing that such a passionate and positive individual is working in the health and wellness industry to improve people’s lives sure gives me a lot of confidence in the future. If you are struggling with gut issues, let Amy give you confidence in the future of your health by checking out her services here.

 

If you are looking for more ways to connect with new people and places of health and fitness, please consider becoming a Cincy State of Being insider. Your guide to all things health and wellness in Cincinnati!

 

The Collagen Craze: Protein Supplements & Benefits

Collagen has long been associated with the beauty world. For a while now, collagen-boosting ingredients have been included in serums, creams, and masks. In recent years, collagen has made an even bigger appearance in the food world as a supplement, powder, bar, and even coffee creamer. So, what’s the deal? Is collagen necessary? Is it worth the extra dollars? Whether you’ve avoided the collagen craze or have been an avid user for awhile now, read on for the science beyond the hype, the current data on collagen “benefits,” and what to look for if you choose to supplement.

 

 

First things first. What is collagen?

At the most basic level, collagen is a protein that’s produced by all animals. It’s actually the most plentiful protein found in our bodies. Collagen accounts for about 1/3 of our total protein and 3/4 of the dry weight of our skin. Dang. It serves as the structural protein that binds our cells and tissues together. Think of it like the “glue” that maintains the shape and integrity of our skeleton, skin, muscles, tendons, and other forms of connective tissue.

 

As we age, we produce less and less collagen. A poor diet likely contributes to a quicker decline. Collagen is a vital protein for our health and our bodies just don’t seem to make enough of it as time goes on. The thought is that supplementing our current diet with collagen-building ingredients or collagen supplements will help with skin elasticity, strengthen hair and nails, ease joint pain, improve digestion and gut health, and maybe even help with weight loss goals or weight management. I’ve even had someone share with me that collagen was the missing ingredient to help lessen their anxiety and depression (when combined with self-care practices, other vitamins, and therapy when needed).

 

 

For athletes, collagen supplements have been used to boost lean muscle gain, decrease recovery time, and reconstruct damaged joint structures due to collagen’s promotion of more natural creatine in the body. Collagen also helps keep inflammation under control, which we know to be pretty essential for our gut, digestion, and even immune health.

 

All that sounds pretty great, right? Many collagen fans happily report one, two or more of these benefits. However, in digging around, the hard data for all of the benefits can prove difficult to find.

 

Digestive and joint health? Check. Magical skin fixer-upper? Jury’s still out.

The reason collagen is so helpful for our digestion is because of it’s amazing amino acid profile. Amino acids like glycine, proline and hydroxyproline are just a few that help with absorption, stimulate cell growth to repair our gut, and fight inflammation. Our digestive tracts are made of the same amino acids found in collagen. The more collagen we have, the stronger our intestinal lining can be and the less toxins enter our bloodstream during the digestion process. “Leaky gut” be gone!

 

When thinking about what collagen actually IS, it’s no surprise that there seem to be proven benefits related to bone, joint, and muscle health. Studies like this one have shown that increased collagen can slow down joint deterioration. While many of us don’t suffer from constant pain like osteoarthritis (…yet), strong bones are always in style. Especially for those incorporating fitness into their daily or weekly routines. Just like taking a rest day is great for muscle repair and building, boosting our collagen can help strengthen our frame for the action.
 

As for skin, quality evidence is still somewhat limited. Dermatologist friends of mine fall on both sides of the table; some are in strong support and some say that people who already eat protein-rice foods don’t need additional collagen. Several accessible scholarly articles have debunked the effect of collagen supplements for skin across the board for all users. Some people may certainly notice positive changes like better elasticity and texture, but trials have proven little noticeable effects.

 

Dr. Mary Stevenson, assistant professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Health, told HuffPost, “We do not have good data to suggest that ingesting collagen will result in it reaching your skin. When you ingest a protein it is broken down into amino acids and your body absorbs the nutrients you need. Generally speaking, unless you are deficient in protein, your body is remarkably efficient at absorbing what you need and discarding what you do not need.”

 

 

Supplements: what to know before you purchase

It’s certainly possible to consume extra collagen naturally in your diet, especially if you eat animal products. Bone broth, certain types of fish, and cuts of meat like oxtail will give you a decent collagen boost. Foods rich in vitamin C, like bell peppers, broccoli, and dark leafy greens, also help the body produce more collagen. Similarly, iron-rich foods like lentils, spinach, chickpeas, and liver as well as zinc-rich foods like quinoa, beef, and turkey are good sources.

 

Although it should always be our focus, it can be tough to incorporate lots of real, whole foods in our diet. Collagen peptides, then, are a protein supplement derived from animal bones, cartilage and hides, and sometimes fish scales. Like many things, the effects of collagen supplementation will differ depending on your age, condition, and lifestyle. Before you introduce a new vitamin or supplement into your routine, always consult with your doctor or dietician to make sure it’s appropriate for you to try.

 

I have been incorporating collagen peptides on and off for about a year now. The most important thing I found is to pick a quality brand. My two personal favorites are Vital Proteins collagen peptides and Primal Kitchen collagen fuel. Yes, they are expensive. I have made trade-offs (no more manis/pedis) and I like to think it’s worth it. Some of my friends have asked, why not whey protein? Whey protein is derived from milk, and I have cut dairy almost completely out because I believe it causes more hormonal acne for me. So, collagen has become my protein of choice when I need a little something extra.

 

 

My two favorite ways to incorporate collagen are:

  1. One scoop of Vital Proteins collagen peptides in morning coffee or an almond milk latte. It dissolves instantly and is completely flavorless, making it an ideal addition to any beverage!

  2. “Fab Four” Smoothie: 1-2 scoops of Primal Kitchen chocolate coconut collagen fuel, 1 cup of almond milk, 1-2 TBSP chia seeds, a huge handful of spinach, 1 scoop of peanut or almond butter, and a few ice cubes. It tastes like a chocolate peanut butter milkshake, I kid you not.

 

Are you a fan of collagen? Tell us how and why you use it and if you’ve experienced the benefits!

 

Q+A with Skinny Piggy Owner

If you follow our Instagram at all you know that both Molly and I are pretty obsessed with Skinny Piggy Kombucha, a buch product local to The Queen City. We drink it on the regular (like every single day) and can’t promote it enough. Warning: people may ask you if you are drinking beer in public at 2PM on a Monday. Speaking from experience.

 

Anyway, we were pretty excited to sit down with Skinny Piggy Kombucha owner Katrina a few weeks ago to learn more about this tasty bev. Read on for our Q+A with Katrina. 

 

 

 

 

How did you get into kombucha? 

 

My husband and I actually started with home brewing beer in college. My husband wasn’t old enough to purchase beer yet, but he could purchase all the ingredients for beer so he decided to make his own. He made it and started selling it to his friends. Through this process, he fell in love with fermentation. 

 

In 2013, finishing grad school, we saw kombucha on Sean Johnson’s Olympic Instagram. We decided to try it. It was kind of interesting and different and seemed to hit the spot for when we were craving a beer but didn’t want an actual beer, or when we wanted a soda but wanted something healthier. 

 

We had a kegerator in the living room and slowly we started brewing kombucha and started replacing the beer kegs with kombucha kegs. 

 

What is kombucha? 

 

Kombucha is basically fermented tea with a probiotic culture added to it (SCOBY). It is created when sweetened tea ferments with a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast (or, SCOBY). 

 

What is a SCOBY? 

 

THE SCOBY (also called the Mother) is a symbolic culture of bacteria and yeast (it’s the pancake that floats on top). The yeast eats the sugar that you put into tea and that turns into alcohol. Then the bacteria eat the alcohol and turns it into acids that help us with digestion.

 

Where do you get your tea? 

 

Our tea supplier out of Lexington, KY. The company only purchases and sells products that are created through fair trade, meaning that all of the workers have their basic trade with all the tea vendors that they work with and they make sure that have their basic needs met. 

 

What are the benefits of drinking kombucha? 

 

Kombucha is huge for our gut brain health. 70% of the immune system is in your gut. Kombucha has a lot of probiotics, healthy gut bacteria associated with all kinds of benefits for our gut and our overall health. It’s obviously especially good for digestive health. And, it’s making a smarter choice over a beer or soda.

 

How has the kombucha scene changed since you started almost five years ago? 

 

GT Kombucha is still a biggie. It was the first commercial company in the ’90s and has 70% of the market share to date. When we started there were a ton of voices from the east coast and the west coast but no one doing this in the midwest. That’s changed and we’re glad to be a part of that. 

 

 

 

How are you different from other kombucha products? 

 

We only do one fermentation. A lot of companies will do a second fermentation, and/or add juice to the product, but that adds more sugar. We treat our process like the beer brewing process. We don’t have a ton of sugar in our product. 

 

Where did the name Skinny Piggy come from? 

 

It pays tribute to Cincinnati, it’s an oxymoron, and it makes people chuckle

 

Where can people find Skinny Piggy? 

 

Skinny Piggy is sold in 7 states now. Locally, you can find it at a lot of places like Rooted Juicery, Deeper Roots, Whole Bowl in Clifton, Deans Mediterranean in Newport, Lydias on Ludlow, Panino, Urban Artifact, Jungle Gyms, and more.  We sold 60,000 bottles last year. We’re planning to double production in the next year. 

 

What’s your favorite part of what you do? 

 

Knowing that we make something that goes out into the world and people that we don’t’ even know drink it. It’s in those moments, you realize you’re touching someone’s life.

 

 

 

How many flavors do you have? 

 

We have four constant flavors and we try and do a rotating seasonal every few months. 

 

Where can people learn more about kombucha in Cincinnati? 

 

We hold community classes on kombucha every quarter with UC Communiversity. Our last one was at Churchill Tea shop in Rookwood. You can look up UC Communiversity to find the schedule. 

 

 

The Great Bridal Chase

Spring is upon us, and you know what that means… wedding season is right around the corner! Can you think of a better reason to party than celebrating love??….go ahead I’ll wait.  Weddings bring me a happiness that I can only compare to the joy felt from the endorphin rush of a good workout… okay, eating freshly baked cookies brings me to that same level of nirvana, but stay with me here.

 

 

 

 Imagine experiencing the best elements of a wedding with the fun of a 5k, and you have The Great Bridal Chase. That’s right, this is a 5k that has it all! Including, but not limited to, an after-party that promises to rival the best wedding reception you’ve ever seen. There may not be freshly baked cookies at this event, but there will be cake samples and champagne, which is quite possibly even better!

 

The Great Bridal Chase is the brainchild of Allison Schroeder; as an avid runner herself, she created the  event to highlight the intersection of runners who run races for the after party with those who are sweating till the wedding.. The event is great for bridal parties, for partners who want to get in shape before the wedding, and truly, for anyone looking to have a great time. You don’t have to be engaged or even thinking about tying the knot in order to run in this race, everyone is welcome!

 

 

This is the second annual Great Bridal Chase, and this year’s theme is Bubbles vs Bourbon. Allison and her team are once again going above and beyond to create a fun and memorable time for participants. Every detail has been carefully planned and executed. There is no way anyone will leave without a smile on their face.

 

 

The race takes place in Covington, KY (you can find the route here). All participants will receive a tuxedo t-shirt or a white race t-shirt, a one-of-a-kind finisher’s medal, a bubbly or bourbon cocktail, and a celebration after the race that promises to give you all the fun of a wedding reception. This years party will be held in the beautiful courtyard of Hotel Covington, and will have a live DJ, pizza, cake, cocktails, a photo booth, and awards. Sounds like a great time to me!

 

If you haven’t been convinced to register yet, consider this, you can choose to run this race to fundraise for your favorite charity! Upon signing up, you’ll choose your charity from those listed or you’ll create your own with proper documentation.

 

You can find the link to register for the race – or quite honestly, to attend the party – here. In the meantime, make sure you’ve got running shoes that can double as dance shoes and we hope to see you there!

 

What Are Your Feet Telling You? Reflexology with Lillian's Holistic Center

There are 7,000 nerve endings in each of your feet. Seven thousand. And these nerves correspond to every organ and system within your body. Mind. Blown.

 

I had the opportunity to visit Janice of Lillian’s Holistic Journey’s home treatment center where she introduced me to Reflexology. Reflexology, also known as zone therapy, is an alternative medicine  “system of applying pressure, usually to the feet, which practitioners believe stimulates energy and releases ‘blockages’ in specific areas that cause pain or illness.”

 

Before we go claiming that reflexology can treat disease, I’ll take a direct quote out of Janice’s website: “I like to think that diverse holistic modalities can be very complimentary to western medicine therapies. The overall outcome is to provide the best wellness plan for the individual, work together, and accomplish optimum wellness. Some modalities such as, reflexology, aromatherapy, Ionic foot detox, Reiki, can be so beneficial to so many people, walking all paths of wellness. ​” Amen.

 

The idea behind reflexology is that different areas of the hands and feet correlate with different organs in the zones your body.  Like many of the best alternative treatments out there, it’s been around for thousands of years, with documented practices from ancient China and Egypt.  By studying your hands and feet, and more specifically your bodies response to pressure on certain areas, reflexologists such as Janice are able to pinpoint areas of concern.

 

The benefits of reflexology are widespread: from stimulating nerve function and the central nervous system, to increasing energy, boosting circulation, eliminating toxins, even preventing migraines, treating urinary tract infections and menstrual cramps. Your hands, feet, and ears are home to thousands nerve endings, making sense of the direct correlation between the zones of your feet and hands and your body’s organs.

 

 

Besides the medical claims, there’s one that is undeniable: it’s relaxing. Janice’s practice started by me lying down on a massage table, her washing my feet, then moving from feet, to hands, to ears and face. She uses aromatherapy, and places an eye pillow with soothing essential oils on your face to aid in the relaxation process. An hour seems like a long time for this type of massage, but believe me it flew by (I even fell asleep on the table). At the end, Janice performed Reiki and then walked me through a few blockages and areas of concern she came across during our session. All in all, it was such a relaxing experience that left me feeling like I got a whole body treatment. It definitely helped that Janice has this kind, positive energy about her that made me feel so comfortable from the moment I walked in the door.

 

If you are looking for relaxation, increased circulation, have chronic migraines or are experiencing menstrual cramps, reflexology might be worth considering. Learn more by visiting Janice’s website here.

 

Logan Armstrong of Flourish Ayurveda: Transformational Healing

 

“I’ve always had a fearless disposition. I will go do anything, anywhere, if I feel drawn to it.”

 

After spending a short time at college in Charleston, transferring to a triage school outside of Asheville, and completing her yoga teacher immersion training at 21 years old, Logan Armstrong (then Brookbank) knew where she was being called.

 

New Mexico.

 

After hearing about Ayurveda during yoga training, it was like a lightbulb went off in her head. All of her experiences had undoubtedly led her to that moment. “I was like, I have to do this. I already know this. I must have done this for lifetimes. This is my path! It was so clear to me.” She quickly packed her bags, re-routed her college fund money, and made her way to Dr. Vasant Lad’s Ayurvedic Institute to study the “science of life” and spiritual coaching.

After the completion of her two-year program, Logan landed back in Cincinnati with every intention to leave again as soon as possible. Fate, of course, had other plans. While working at Essencha Tea House in Oakley, she met her husband Jonas. She began seeing Ayurvedic clients at the teahouse and other spots around the city, waiting tables at a local restaurant, working with her father-in-law Dr. Jack Armstrong at Whole Care Chiropractic, and teaching yoga at the Breathing Room. Every person and opportunity was a learning moment for her as a practitioner. It was only a matter of time before her practice, Flourish Ayurveda, was born and took up residence in the Breathing Room.

 

 

“The name ‘Flourish’ came to me, actually, when I was in Colorado, a long time ago. That’s ultimately what Ayurveda provides for people: this flourishing of the soul and dismantling of their belief systems and conditioning.”

 

Thank goodness Logan didn’t leave Cincinnati. She’s been coaching clients, hosting retreats, guiding cleanses, performing energy healing, and much more for nine years. People seek out Flourish and Logan for an alternative approach to healing. Some clients come with specific health concerns like hormone imbalances, digestive issues, depression, and self-sabotage. Others know that something in their life needs to change, but they’ve either tried everything else to no avail or they don’t know where to start.

 

Healing, with Ayurveda as the vehicle, is deeply spiritual. “When you don’t process an emotion, it gets stuck. And then it creates disease. Disease is unprocessed emotion.” We’re all guilty of what Logan refers to as “spiritual bypassing.” Only when you reach the root cause and spend time processing can transformation begin. Logan holds that space, gratefully, as her life’s work.

 

I was honored to sit with Logan over matcha at Bean & Barley to learn a little more about Ayurveda and Flourish.

 

Where did Ayurveda come from?

Ayurveda may seem like a “trendy” path to wellness, but it’s quite ancient. “I love the history of Ayurveda. It’s really thought to be an eternal science, meaning that it’s always existed in the consciousness,” Logan explained. 5,000 years ago mystic Indians “downloaded” divine knowledge; meaning that information was given to them by source energy, or the creator. These mystics followed the rhythms of the moon and the sun, they planted herbs, and they learned how to heal themselves and thrive using this knowledge. Later, the concepts were recorded as what we now know to be the “vedic texts;” the philosophy which guides Ayurvedic practices today.

 

How can we use Ayurveda?

“Ayurveda is for everyone,” Logan says. “It’s preventative health that can be implemented into anyone’s lifestyle.” It helps us sync up with our natural state, honor our strengths, and maintain balance by identifying imbalance. As busy women (and men), we often feel out of whack as we try to juggle commitments and constant change. Ayurveda can deepen our understanding of the strong connection between our bodies and the elements. The more awareness we have, the better balance we can achieve. One of the first steps is to understand the doshas.

 

 

What are these doshas?

Each dosha – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha – embodies a combination of the elements and their qualities. The three doshas stem from the five elements Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth and their related qualities. Here’s a little breakdown:

 

Vata – 

  • Ether + Air (dry, cold, mobile, fast, moving, rough, light)

  • Fall and every change of season is Vata

  • Vata is our creative energy; spontaneity; mystery

Pitta

  • Fire + Water (hot, sharp, oily, transforming, light, sour)

  • Summer is Pitta season

  • Transformation, growth, lifelong-learning is Pitta

Kapha

  • Earth + Water (heavy, dense, cold, slow, sticky, soft, dull, steady)

  • Kapha is Winter into Spring

  • Kapha is stability, groundedness, and comfort

 

Each of us has all three doshas within, but the “ratio” varies from person to person. Ayurveda prompts us to identify both the natural, balanced state of doshas that we are born with (called prakrati) and our current, out-of-balance state of doshas (known as vikruti). So, we come into the world with a natural “constitution,” but different climates, seasons, life stages, and daily occurrences create constant fluctuations. Hence, all the crazy imbalances! Ayurveda then gives us the tools to identify our current vikruti state and get closer to our natural prakrati state.

 

 

Huh? How do you figure out what your personal dosha makeup is?

Even as we embody all three doshas, there will often be a dominant dosha, or even two. Practitioners use personality traits, physical appearance, pulse and tongue diagnosis to determine doshas. I’d taken an online dosha quiz (classic Millennial…), but I was excited to have Logan assess my doshas in person. My natural prakrati state is pitta-kapha dominant but Logan noted that my vata was running high at the time. While vata is the creative and spontaneous dosha, it can also lead us to be anxious, disoriented, and overthink things. Spot on: I had just traveled back to the States from Germany and was preparing to move to the East Coast; blatantly ignoring the massive anxiety and uncertainty that had been brewing. Logan helped me talk through a practice of meditation and what I could do to balance my energy in the coming weeks.

 

Understanding our doshas also helps us implement specific practices into a daily routine, including Ayurvedic tools like using certain oils, tongue scraping, food combining, taking herbs and supplements, practicing yoga and meditation, and special care for our skin.

 

What role does diet play in Ayurveda?

Ideally, we’d all be using our doshas to guide what we consume. Each meal is a form of medicine for the body. “Like increases like,” and certain foods will have a balancing effect on the dominant dosha. For example, to stabilize the dry, light, anxious, and flighty nature of overactive vata, I should incorporate foods that are warm, heavy, and oily. Lots of cooked root vegetables in ghee and soup for me right now!

 

Logan’s approach to nutrition is not unlike intuitive eating. As a client, you’re not going to get a regimented diet plan or even a list of foods to eat or avoid. Wanting that structure, rigidity, and control is, as Logan puts it, a presentation of an imbalance in itself. Decisions about food don’t have to be hard or stressful if you can build a practice of “conscious eating.”

 

“The part that people want to skip over is getting to know themselves; asking themselves those [intimate] questions and taking self-responsibility.” Coaching sessions aren’t focused on food itself, but on the root cause of your imbalance(s): your mindset and self-worth. “It’s scary, but in the right container, that is what leads to the conversations that will really lead you back to balance.”

 

 

I want more. What can I do with Flourish?

If you’re really feeling called to change your life, Logan will lead you to the doorway. Her 8-week and 16-week transformational programs are one-on-one with special community additions, like a retreat weekend in Yellow Springs. Other touchpoints to consider:

 

  • Enter our giveaway for one consultation (75-minute session) with Logan on Cincy State of Being’s social media!

  • Sign up for a Yin Yoga class at the Breathing Room, Fridays at 10am: This is a great opportunity to see if you connect with Logan as she instructs the class. Plus, your first class is free.

  • Consider a guided Spring Cleanse: With registration, you’ll receive a program e-book, two sessions with Logan, access to an intentional online community, Facebook live videos, and more. The next cleanse is in April.

  • Visit FlourishAyurveda.com and keep in touch with Logan on Instagram at @FlourishAyurveda. You’ll also catch glimpses of her two sweet, loving children!

 

My cousin Jill Prosser, a current Flourish client, says this: “Logan inspires an expansion of the heart and mind. She brings awareness to areas of my life that are in the dark and helps me implement small changes that have a huge impact… it’s not therapy, but it is. It’s not medicine, but it is. All I can say is that working with Logan makes everything brighter. As a result, I’m enjoying my children, my husband my job, my friends and life so much more.”

 

Beautiful words about the beautiful soul that is Logan Armstrong of Flourish Ayurveda!