New Year’s resolutions. Did you make some? Are they health-related? If so, do you ever find that it's easy to keep your resolutions for the first month but then you taper off? I mean, it feels like everywhere you look - from blogs to magazines - January is loaded with resources and easy ways for you to stay on track, but then February rolls around and it's a ghost town. It’s hard to keep the momentum up after that initial month, which is why we’ve decided to put together another thirty day program for you.
This program is different from others, in that it’s a bit more well-rounded and robust because we are bringing on board our go-to health expert, Carley Smith. A certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, and the creator of Fairy Gutmother, Carley is has been a savior to my own health in so many ways. She is someone who walks the walk and is a wealth of information about wellness. This program is called the Love Yourself: Yoga and Gut Health Program and we’ve designed it for people who:
Aren’t feeling their absolute best
Are dealing with stress
Could use a little extra self-compassion, self-kindness, and self-care
May be dealing with gut issues (digestive issues, bloating, gas, acne, hormonal imbalances, skin issues, etc)
Want to incorporate more healthy habits into their daily lives
Want to use yoga as a way to decrease stress
We’ve designed a thirty day program that centers around self-care. There will be a few challenging yoga practices in there, but mostly it will be about cultivating a more gentle, restorative practice so you can tune in and develop a deeper connection to yourself. Carley will supplement this 30 day program with a mini series entitled 4 Ways to Love Your Guts on Fairy Gutmother and have a different post each week, so be sure you're checking out her site so you reap all the benefits.
Related: If you own or work at a yoga studio, dance studio, fitness center, or gym, and would like YBC to come teach a yoga workshop, please fill out this form.
In addition, if you are a subscriber to the YBC Official App, then you’re in luck because Carley and I are going to be hosting three podcasts during the program to help offer a deeper understanding of various gut-related issues from which millions of us suffer and what we can easily do to improve our overall health. We'll also be answering all your gut-related health questions! The app is free to download (here is it for iTunes and Google Play), and contains all of our YouTube videos well organized so you can take your yoga practice on the go. The Exclusive Section of the app, where our podcasts will be featured, is an extension of the blog. It costs $1.99/mo and you can opt-in right from the app. Please check out this link for more information on how the app works. If you have any gut-related health questions you'd like us to answer in our podcast, please submit your question below.
If you want to chat with other like-minded people who are participating in the 30 day program, sign up (for free!) on our Yoga Forum. This is also the place to ask yoga questions, find an accountability buddy, and just chit-chat.
The 30 Day Program
The entire program is customizable and optional. We don't believe in rules. Instead, we are all about doing what works for you, because in our opinion, that’s the highest form of yoga. Start late or jump on board from day one - it totally doesn’t matter. Already practicing yoga on the day we have a practice scheduled? That's fine! You can skip ours! Don't have time to make a broth the day Carley explains how to do it? No problem. Just keep it in mind for the future. Make this program fit into your schedule and life however it works best for you. The schedule will be available here on the blog and will come in two waves. The first will feature days 1 - 15. The second will feature days 15 - 30.
How it Works
Normally, we base our yoga programs around the goal of achieving a particular yoga posture. This time around, the goal will be different. This time around, it’s all about how you want to feel. More calm? Less bloated? Healthier overall? More flexible? Bring to mind what you want, and write it down in your journal.
Speaking of - you’ll need a journal for this program, because a lot of this program is about self-inquiry and self-reflection. If you’re interested, we have our Namaslay journal available for purchase and it would be perfect for this program!
The program will have a suggested yoga practice, a health tip, and a writing prompt each day. The overarching goal is to develop a deeper understanding of yourself, your mental and physical health, and ultimately, love yourself no matter where you are on your journey. These practices, health tips and writing prompts have been designed to help you achieve that overarching goal. In addition, you may want to focus on a more specific goal like one I mentioned above (lowering stress, feeling better physically, etc). That's up to you.
Ok, let’s get down the business. Below is the suggested schedule for Days 1 - 15. If you've decided to join us on this journey, it starts February 1st (although, really, you can start any time!), and all that's left to do is this:
1) Let us know you'll be joining us for the journey by commenting down below in the comments section. Tell us what your focus/goal will be.
3) Get your journal so you're ready to go for Day 1, which starts February 1, 2017 if you want to do it with us. If you've found this at a later date, that's ok! You can start any time.
4) Pin the image below for easy reference back to this post each day of the program.
6) We'll be pulling here and there from my book Namaslay, so snag yours now if you'd like to be able to access those components.
Suggested Schedule for Days 1 - 15
Yoga Practice: Gentle Yoga Sequence
Writing prompt: What are your goals with this program? What is it what you’d like to achieve? How do you feel right now in your life, and how would you like to feel?
Health: Did you know you're supposed to chew your food thirty times before you swallow? Try eating mindfully today and see how that impacts your eating experience.
A message from Fairy Gutmother: I am excited to collaborate with YogaByCandace for our special “Love Yourself” month. Self care is extremely important and due our increasingly busy lifestyles, it is difficult to find time for ourselves. This month, Candace and I are encouraging you to take the time not only for fitness but for nutrition as well as it is equally as important to nourish the body from the inside out.
Every week, I will be sharing a different installment of 4 Ways to Love Your Guts as part of our Love Yourself: Yoga and Gut Health Program. This first week, we are talking Bone Broth. I truly believe bone broth is the most nourishing and healing resource for your body. Bone broth is rich in gut healing nutrients like L.glutamine and collagen, which is important since nearly 80% of the immune system is located in the gut. Check out my post 3 Reasons Why You Should Be Drinking Bone Broth for more details on the many health benefits.
Bone broth can be a bit intimidating to make, especially if it is your first time. Today on Fairy Gutmother, I will be breaking down the process to making a delicious broth in just four simple steps. Check out my blog for these steps as well as some awesome recipes! PS: Don’t forget to share your recipes and yoga journey with the hashtag #YBCFGM
Yoga Practice: Neck and Shoulders Gentle Practice
Writing prompt: We often tense up through the shoulders when we are stressed out. What are three things that are stressing you out right now? Write a list of three ways you can decrease these stressors.
Health: Do you know your body needs to be in a parasympathetic state in order for your food to digest? Essentially this is just a fancy way of saying your body needs to be in a calm state in order to properly break down foods. Stress impairs our body’s ability to produce digestive enzymes that are imperative for the proper breakdown of food. Think this: You have to rest in order to digest. Here are 3 ways to get into a parasympathetic state when eating:
1. Take 3 deep breaths before each meal. Make sure you’re calm and try to avoid eating in the car or when you’re in a rush.
2. Chew your food. It sounds cliche, I know, but making sure your food is properly broken down in the mouth is the first step to better digestion. The more we break our food down with our teeth, the less work our stomach has to digestion and the easier it is for your body to absorb nutrients.
3. Sit down and enjoy your meal. Too often we are so busy in our life that we are eating at our work desks or in our car. It is hard for our bodies to be in a parasympathetic state when we are rushing about so take some time out of your day to really sit down and relax while you enjoy your meal.
Writing prompt: What is one thing you absolutely love about yourself?
Health: Did you know fats are the preferred source of energy for the body? Think of our energy like a campfire where fats are the logs that maintain the fire over time whereas carbs are like the grasses and small sticks, the quick burning source of energy that adds spark to the fire. Eating good quality fats throughout the day helps maintain energy levels, so opt for cooking with grass-fed butter, ghee, coconut oil, animal fats, as well as eating foods rich in good quality fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and full-fat dairy.
Writing prompt: How are you feeling today? How's your energy level? Take a moment to listen to the rhythm of your breathing and record what it sounds like - shallow? Deep? Slow? Fast?
Health: Hydration is not just about drinking water but also making sure that you have the proper minerals in your body to maintain hydration. To make sure you’re properly hydrated, a good rule of thumb is drink your body weight divided by two and that is the number of ounces a day you should be consuming. Plus, make sure you’re mixing in electrolytes like pure coconut water or sea salt every now and then to replenish the minerals that are essential in maintaining hydration.
Yoga Practice: 30 Minute restorative yoga for hip flexibility
Writing prompt: 1-10 How is your stress these days? What is one simple thing you can do today to decrease that stress? Write it down and commit to doing it today.
Health: Meal planning is the key to maintaining a healthy diet, we make our worst decisions around food when we are tired and hungry and want something immediately (aka: hangry). My best advice for meal planning and transitioning into eating healthier is by picking one meal a day to plan for (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) and then planning for those meals for the week. Once you’ve picked your one meal, plan for that by prepping just your protein, meaning bake some chicken and slow cook a roast. Now, think ahead for the next few meals and prep those ingredients needed to assemble a nourishing meal. The best analogy I can give is to create a salad bar in your fridge so that way all your fix-ins for the week are readily available to help reduce the chances of ever being hangry again!
Yoga Practice: Rest day or yoga nidra practice.
Writing prompt: What would you do if you knew you would not fail?
Health: Looking to incorporate grains into your diet but don’t know where to start? Most people can be sensitive to grains and that typically is because we either have dysfunction in the gut and/or the grains we are consuming are not in their properly prepared form. When looking to incorporate grains into your diet, look for breads and baked goods that contain sprouted grains as opposed to the highly processed forms of grains on the shelves now. Sprouted grains are in the form of a plant and are easier to digest for our bodies. Check out this article for more helpful info on choosing the right kind of grains!
Yoga Practice: Yoga for digestion.
Writing prompt: Our core center holds the key to what we’re feeling. When we’re anxious our stomachs might be in knots. When we’re excited, we might get butterflies. Take a moment right now to reflect on how your stomach is feeling now. Then, spend five full minutes practicing the three part breath (explained on page 75 of Namaslay) and write down how your stomach feels afterwards.
Health: Did you know that roughly 80% of the olive oil on shelves is fake?! That’s right. A number of olive oils on the shelves are not properly prepared or are a mix of highly processed and dangerous oils. Check out this article for more information. Looking for a new source of olive oil? My favorite brand is Kasandrinos. All of their olives are sustainably sourced, hand picked and GMO-free as well as cold pressed (within 48 hours of harvest!) to ensure optimal flavor and preservation of nutrients. Use code “fairygutmother” at checkout for 10% off your order. You will not believe the difference in taste and flavor and your body will thank you!
Yoga Practice: Yoga for strength.
Writing prompt: When is the last time you did something for the first time?
Health: Did you know? Taking a full deep breath does more than just work your lungs. It helps to decrease cortisol, which is directly related to stress. Breathe deeply today!
Tune in: Today on the Exclusive Section of the YBC App, Carley and I are holding our first podcast. We’ll be discussing digestive issues and will be answering your questions! The app is free to download (here is it for iTunes and Google Play). The Exclusive Section of the app, where our podcasts will be featured, is an extension of the blog. It costs $1.99/mo and you can opt-in right from the app.
A message from Fairy Gutmother: Last week I explained the bone broth making process in 4 easy steps. This week, I am sharing my favorite nourishing soup recipes to make with your broth and breaking these soups down into 5 steps so that you can become the master creator of your own base soups.
What I love about making these base soups is that they are excellent for meal planning. I make a giant pot of soup early in the week and then pair it with different proteins each night (ground beef, pulled pork, whatever I have on hand). These soups are also a great way to make sure you are getting your daily dose of bone broth and they taste great hot or cold! Check out FGM for more details and don’t forget to share your recipes and yoga journey with the hasthag #YBCFGM
Yoga Practice: Yin yoga practice.
Writing prompt: How easily are you able to relax? What parts of your body tend to be the most tense?
Health: There is a direct correlation between lack of sleep and weight gain. In fact, in a recent study, children with less sleep were at a 58% higher risk of developing obesity. Another study showed that people who slept less ended up consuming more calories the next day. You can check out this article for more details on the study, but definitely make sure you are getting plenty of sleep and for adults that is on average at least 7 hours per night. A few helpful tips for having a good night’s sleep is having fat before bed, this helps keep your energy stable overnight. For instance, this would be a good time for a scoop of peanut butter, eggs, avocado, or full fat dairy. Bone broth can also be helpful and soothing before bed. Also, try to keep your sleeping hours consistent (in bed by 10PM every night). Plus, sleeping between the hours of 7-9AM in the morning are incredibly healing and restoring for the adrenals.
Yoga Practice: Guided mantra meditation.
Writing prompt: Bring to mind three people in your life for whom you wish happiness. Write it down and take a moment to sit in silence and let it soak in. That alone can be helpful in transforming your own happiness.
Health: Hopefully you have been experimenting with making your own bone broth by now. If so, do not forget to source your bones from humanely raised animals. I would avoid picking any old random bones from the freezer aisle as the bones are, in my opinion, the litmus test for the quality of life for the animal. Remember, you are extracting the nutrients out of the bones so you want to make sure you are buying from the healthiest source possible as it directly affects your health as well. Look for bones at your local butcher shop or health food store or order online from a reputable source like 5280 Meat.
Yoga Practice: Rest day.
Writing prompt: How do you feel when you take a day off from physical activity like working out or a yoga practice? Do you enjoy it or do you come from a place of guilt? Reflect on that in today's writing.
Health: Looking to incorporate dairy into your diet but are afraid or do not know where to start? It is true, most people experience digestive issues when consuming dairy and that (similar to grains) can be due to gut dysfunction and/or not eating the proper kind of dairy. If you are looking to drink milk, try to find a raw milk source near you. If you cannot find a raw milk source, buy whole, full fat milk from the store that is preferably organic and free of hormones or antibiotics. From there, you can make your own homemade cultured dairy or kefir that has more probiotics and gut healing nutrients than the yogurt bought in the store. You can also look for aged cheeses as those typically have a higher probiotic count as well.
Yoga Practice: Gentle yoga in bed.
Writing prompt: How are your sleep habits? Do you sleep soundly? Do you fall asleep easily? Do you wake up feeling rested?
Health: Did you know your mindframe has a lot to do with how you digest your foods? I wrote an article that touched on this regarding holiday eating and that perhaps it is less about the foods we are eating but more about our mindframe while we are eating. Check out my article for more details where I reference the Milkshake Study and how those who thought they were eating more of an indulgent milkshake ended up staying fuller, longer, due to their mindframe. Our thoughts are everything, so always make sure you are staying positive and getting rid of the guilt as those have a direct relationship on our body and health. I like to say affirmations when I am eating like, “This food is nourishing and going to heal me.” Or even when I take my supplements, I always say “thank you for healing me” and then I imagine all the nourishing properties they are bringing to my body.
Yoga Practice: Yin practice.
Writing prompt: What are you thankful for in this moment?
Health: Protein is essential in our diets as they are the building blocks for our body. How much protein should we typically eat? That's a question I'm often asked. Well, the typical rule of thumb for macro nutrient intake is 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fats. Or conversely, you can multiply your body weight by .5 and that is the amount of protein in grams you should generally aim to consume each day. Sometimes I find it difficult to get enough protein in my diet each day, so I supplement with my favorite protein powder by Rootz Nutrition. This powder is non-dairy based which is wonderful for those with any lactose intolerance. Instead, they use a combination of egg-white protein, sacha inchi powder, and hemp protein. Use code “fairygutmother” at checkout for 10% off your order! Check out my post for more information on protein, this product, my Protein Banana Bread recipe.
Yoga Practice: Yoga to de-stress.
Writing prompt: What yoga pose do you typically avoid? Why?
Health: Some nutrients are best absorbed through our skin. Magnesium, something many of us are deficient in, is one of those nutrients. Take an epsom salt bath to boost your magnesium. Bonus: it's awfully relaxing as well!
Yoga Practice: Slow flow power yoga.
Writing prompt: What is one yoga pose you always love to do? Why?
Health: Did you know that Chinese Face Mapping was accurate for me (Candace) when trying to find the root cause of acne I suffered from years ago?
Tune in: Today on the Exclusive Section of the YBC App, Carley and Candace are holding our second podcast. We’ll be discussing skin issues and will be answering your questions! The app is free to download (here is it for iTunes and Google Play). The Exclusive Section of the app, where our podcasts will be featured, is an extension of the blog. It costs $1.99/mo and you can opt-in right from the app.
Message from Fairy Gutmother: Welcome to Week 3 of our special Love Yourself month. This week, I am sharing the third way to show some love to your guts with Ferments & Cultured Dairy. Ferments and dairy are full of probiotics, or bacteria that line your gut and support your body’s ability to fight infections. Healing the gut is often a two part process: healing and sealing the gut and repopulating the gut with beneficial bacteria. Did you know there are roughly over 5,000 species of bacteria living in the gut? That is why it is very important to make sure you have the proper balance of bacteria as well as a good environment for them to thrive. Check the full post on my blog today where we discuss the many health benefits of ferments and cultured dairy plus a couple easy recipes to incorporate more beneficial bacteria into the gut. Don’t forget to share your recipes along with your yoga journey this month by using the hashtag #YBCFGM and #ybcyogis.