Flavorful Water Infusions to Avoid Water Boredom and Stay Hydrated
The weather is getting warmer and it becomes even more important to stay hydrated, but are you bored with regular ol’ water? Adding natural flavors to water can not only cure your boredom with hydrating; but can also add in some extra health benefits to your day thanks to antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Favorite Water Infusing Flavor Combinations + Descriptions
- Watermelon-Mint – a classic combo of sweet and refreshing
- Cucumber-Mint-Lemon – this is the ultimate refresher with mint being that little hint of energy
- Basil-Strawberry – classic go-to, add lemon to make it like a lemonade combination
- Blackberry-Sage – deeper, rich flavor with sage
- Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon, + Lime Citrus Water – refreshing acidity with a tart flavor
- Peach-Basil – refreshing, subtle flavor
- Watermelon-Jalapeno- spice it up!
- Grapefruit-Rosemary – tart citrus flavor with a savory sharpness from rosemary
- Blueberry-Lemon – makes me feel like I am drinking fresh blueberry pie 😉
- Kiwi-Strawberry-Cucumber – subtle sweetness with an extra refreshing kick thanks to the cucumber
- Orange-Blackberry – these flavors definitely complement one another
- Lemon-Lime-Rosemary – bright and sharp flavor; great morning time water wake-up call
- Lemon-Lavender – lavender is a natural stress reliever (the essential oil is used in calming bath recipes + more,) but is a very subtle flavor, so the lemon is the lively flavor
- Peach-Watermelon -oh-so-sweet flavor profile with these two summertime fruits
Some Prep Notes:
FLAVOR: The more produce, the more flavor. Kind of obvious, but some items, like citrus, have a stronger flavor so less is needed. These items also take less time to infuse.
KEEP IT GOING: after drinking your infused water, you can add more water to infuse again, but the flavor will be lighter. After a few days, it is best to start over fresh.
You brush your hair, but do you brush your body? Probably not, and unless you have been to a progressive spa, you most likely have not heard of this amazing routine that can literally brush the crap right out of your body, benefiting your much-cherished lymphatic system.
Let’s chat about your lymphatic system for a minute…the main function of the lymphatic system is to transport lymph; a clear, colorless fluid containing white blood cells that helps rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. This is a super simplistic explanation, but the basic gist is that you can clean yourself out by exciting your lymphatic system with dry brushing…
Dry brushing is a daily detoxifying habit that, if performed correctly for 5-10 minutes before taking your morning shower, you will see the following benefits:
- Exfoliates the skin
- Increases circulation, which helps with elimination
- Reduces cellulite
- Improves digestion
- Lymphatic support; it stimulates the movement of the lymph system, lending to detoxification
- Provides stress relief
What’s a dry brush? Find a firm brush with natural bristles like this one – under $20!
Now, for how to do this!
- You are to always brush towards your heart with dry skin + a dry brush.
- Do this before a shower.
- Do not brush hard, especially if you have sensitive skin.
- Use lotion or a detox oil post-shower.
- This should take 5-10 minutes. Keep going slow.
- Start at the bottom of your feet, brushing the right side up to your hip all around the foot, ankle, calf, + thighs in long, slow strokes. I perform roughly 10 + then repeat on the left side.
- Work on brushing toward the center of your body next, around the back as well. On the stomach, I brush in circular motions.
- Repeat the same process with the arms, starting with the palms of the hands and brushing up the arm toward the heart. In the armpits, I also brush in a circular motion.
- Continue with your face if you have purchase one with a face/smaller brush.
I highly recommend taking a room temp/cooler shower + then using a detox oil or high quality lotion afterwards.
Yea, yea- let all of the immature giggles out 🙂 This may seem like a very personal conversation, and it is, but it is one you at least need to have with yourself. Since this is essentially an “exit strategy” that is directly related to what is going on in our bodies and serves as a direct indicator of our health. Appearance, color, and smell matter and can show you whether you are living your healthiest life, so look down before the flush people! If it is identified as any of the categories below, take note and chat with your doctor as-needed.
FREQUENCY is different for everyone, but one thing to look for is to pay attention to your normal routine for a week and then if you go too much or too little after that, you will have a better gauge on what is abnormal for you.
Pebble-like Poop or Very Thin, longer Poops
- Dehydration and lack of fiber in the diet leads to these types. You may also not be expelling all that you need to at bathroom time.
I know, the visual is rough, but this is a clear indicator you are not ingesting the recommended 25-35g of fiber per day. Also, drink half of your body weight in fluid ounces of water per day to stay hydrated.
- This doesn’t always mean food poisoning or a stomach flu, it can also mean you have a food intolerance or a reaction to common artificial sweeteners and preservatives.
- Eat an overall cleaner diet, make sure you have enough fiber in your day, and get checked for the common food intolerances if this happens several times/week. Having watery bathroom patterns can also dehydrate you overall and is not to be ignored.
Colored: black or red
- Blood in the stool can indicate several different medical issues and is to be addressed with a doctor immediately.
- Common causes for black, tar-like bowels include lack of iron or hemorrhoids. These issues can be unknown to you until symptoms appear.
It’s Painful to Poop
- Commonly a symptom of constipation, but over-straining often can cause other problems. Magnesiuim can help loosen stools naturally as well as teas like dandelion, marshmallow, senna, and more.
- If constipation with painful symptoms lasts more than 2 weeks, contact your doctor.
- Note: constipation is also caused by a high fat, overly processed diet, as well as some prescribed medications.
- FIX IT: Regular exercise, fiber, hydration can help constipation overall
- This can be an indicator of a blockage because your poop is collecting bile that lightens it in color. If it happens once, no worries. If it persists, there may be a need for a colon hydrotherapy treatment or medical assistance to identify any serious blockages.
Dang, That Smells!
- An intense smelling bowel movement can be an indicator of your diet (onions, red wine, cruciferous veggies, asparagus, etc can make it smell more pungent.)
- Typically, high fat also makes its way into the stool and causes a terrible aroma.
- However, it can be a sign of digestive distress, trouble digesting fats overall, or celiac disease (gluten allergy)
- Seek a doctor only if you cannot identify any dietary changes that coincide with the aroma change.
Mucous in your Bowels
Women with IBS or celiac tend to have a mucous-like consistency to their bowels. Unless already diagnosed, if it is common for you have this outcome, check in with your doctor.
DETOX BATH BENEFITS
A detoxifying soak in the tub for 20 minutes a few nights/week before bedtime can change your life, we promise. Not only will specific bath-time recipes help your body sweat out nasty toxins you have accumulated throughout the day, but it will also prep you for a good night’s sleep, calm you, + provides a fantastic time to connect with your mind via meditation after a long day.
How does it do that? You will SWEAT-IT-OUT. Being able to remove metabolic waste that can turn into and/or create chronic disease is a MUST when it comes to our health!
Detox Bath General Rules + Regulations:
- Soak for a minimum of 20 minutes, but do not stay in fo longer than 40 (too much of a good thing, you know what I mean…)
- Don’t be surprised if you feel light-headed or flushed when you are getting out of the tub, so take it slow and easy and always try this when someone else is home with you.
- Do not eat immediately after your bath, but by all means, drink plenty of water to replenish what you just released.
- Do not use any harsh, chemical-laden soaps while in the bath as your pores are open at this time and your skin may be more sensitive to them.
Ashley’s Favorite Detox Bath Recipe:
- • Fill it with Warm/Hot water
- • ¼ cup Himalayan Crystal salt
- • 2 cups Epsom salt
- • ½ cup Baking Soda
- • 1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- • 10 drops essential oil of choice
- • I love invigorating peppermint or calming lavender
Recommended frequency: 2-3 times per week minimum
As always, consult a doctor beforehand to ensure you do not have any limitations.
CLEAN SLEEPING is how healthy living truly begins
Research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that women who are sleep deprived are 1/3 more likely to gain 33 LBS over the next 16 years than those who receive just 7 hours of sleep per night. This extra weight can lead to chronic diseases + more that oftentimes, nutrition + exercise cannot prevent alone.
High-quality REM sleep is the start of a healthy lifestyle. Point blank, without enough sleep aids in the reenergizing and rebalance of your body’s 10 control systems. It’s as if you are a cell phone that needs to recharge overnight to work at full-capacity with better battery life the next day.
As far as weight-loss goes, a lack of sleep is detrimental. Less than seven hours of sleep per night can reduce and undo the benefits of dieting, according to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Not only that, but your fat cells respond to what people call “metabolic fatigue,” which can affect your body’s effectiveness of using insulin. Uh oh- in the long-run, this means fat cells are not removing fatty acids + lipids from your blood stream to prevent fat storage. You’ve also heard it before, but the same chemical in your brain that tells you that you’re tired, is the same chemical that tells you you’re hungry. Not many people can or wait to decipher between the two and wind up eating more. This is eating based off hormones too, so that can mean carb craziness + comfort foods galore.
Lack of true sleep also slows down the production of growth hormone, making your workouts suffer. Growth hormone is a natural source or anti=aging + fat-burning. The goal of a workout is to burn fat vs energy, so you’re impeding on your body’s true ability to get rid of the fat stores in your body if you’re too fatigued.
You know those days you wake up and feel truly refreshed and ready-to-go? No snooze button was hit, no coffee was mandatory, you could crush a workout, are more focused at work, are more inclined to make healthy food choices – you just have the energy to bust through the day! That is a sign you got your much-needed reboot time in bed.
There are plenty of tips to train you to get to bed + stay asleep:
- Have your worries abated or solved. I do this by having my tasks laid out for the next day, meals prepped or at least planned, a workout scheduled on my calendar, all emails answered (even if just to say: I see this + will answer at-length tomorrow,) + ensure my mind is quiet along with my environment, my technology is in another room or far away, + I have a comfortable bed with no television or computer on.
- On especially long or trying days, I’ll do a few relaxing stretches, yoga poses, or 5 minutes of meditative peace before hopping in bed. I also try soft music with a bath or reading a light-hearted book.
- Try a sleep tea or melatonin dose before bed to put you in the sleep zone.
Colon Hydrotherapy: what, how, and why I prescribe to this method of cleansing
I’ve been doing this for over a decade. And by this, I mean shooting water in my backside to improve my health. Yep, I said it. If you want a literal clean slate internally, this is a step in the right direction.
Why do we need this? It isn’t just a hippy dippy or “wild” holistic idea here. Colon cleansing has been around for centuries, but has become even more of an immediate need for people due to having more and more things that negatively affect our control systems from working efficiently and effectively. Specifically, prescription medicines, internal bad bacteria build-up, undiscovered food intolerances, and anything else that causes malabsorption of nutrients, constipation, and poor digestion overall.
I am going to relate this in a seriously strange way with a famous singer’s anecdote. Bare with me people…
Unknown fact: many people believe Elvis died due to an overfilled colon that imploded and not solely a drug-induced heart attack. Upon further posthumous review, his autopsy and his personal physician’s paperwork and commentary, both elaborate on how sick he was internally. According to his autopsy, the diameter of Elvis’s colon was 5 to 6 inches, which is about double the size of the typical person’s, and instead of being 4 to 5 feet long, his colon was 8 to 9 feet in length. O.M.G. And if you’re thinking: GROSS, that’s absolutely OK. It’s insane. HIs doctor said: “We found stool in his colon which had been there for four or five months because of the poor motility of the bowel.” This was part genetics and mostly chronic overuse of prescription drugs.
That man was certainly All Shook Up…He could have used some serious colon hydrotherapy. More importantly, this little ditty was meant to show you that we need to keep tabs on our internal health, perform upkeep, and watch our intake of things that will clog us up or “ ‘toxify ” our insides.
I’M NOT ELVIS, BUT I NEED COLON CLEANSING TOO
I wanted to write about my experience from start to finish so you can all be assuaged that this is not like a Chinese water torture-like service. This is something that we ALL need to do. Start fresh? New year? 99% of you probably have the same goals. Look good, feel good- am I right? My best advice? Do as I do and go get a colon cleanse. As my friend said to me about this blog; “…do as I do and get rid of the pooh!” Maybe this is a taboo topic for you, but my profession has a lot to do with your bathroom habits. When in doubt, remind yourself that over a decade ago, it became a public claim that we should concern ourselves with our doodies thanks to Dr. Oz and Oprah: https://www.oprah.com/health/everybody-poops/all
Here we go. So I am walking to my appointment and I am in comfortable sweats, a tank, and a hoodie. Thanks to winter in Chicago, I am bundled up head to toe. I digress. I brought my headphones and a book on my Kindle app on my iPad to keep me distracted and entertained throughout the hour. I will tell you, the first time I ever did this, I actually spent most of the time chatting with the technician who was working with me. Now, whether it be out of my inherent nervousness and my Chandler Bing-like humor shield, I learned a great deal, was put at ease, and it passed the heck out of the time! Not only that, but since there are two kinds of colon hydrotherapy; open system and closed system.
- OPEN: is usually a gravity-centered colonic. An I-ACT certified Colon Hydrotherapist will assist you in the comfort of a private room and will be with you for the entire treatment. Oftentimes, they are giving you a stomach/intestinal massage to help guide flow and encourage any backed up materials in your system to move. This format is basically shaped like a bathtub-like bed. After you receive the temperature controlled water treatment, you then expel built up toxins and waste in a clean, sanitary environment while monitored.
- CLOSED: similar and administered much like the open system; this is a system that is not seen or heard and is administered by a therapist where the water and waste is removed and closed off to the client on what I associate with a massage table.
I have done both of these ways and I must say, I don’t prefer one or the other.
But you do you in your session. Being completely silent is accepted and chatting away is welcomed…
What to expect during: you will enter into a completely private room and be asked to put on a gown to cover your lower half. You will roll to your left side and the technician will guide a small spectrum into your back end. You will then be able to comfortably lay on your back. At the end of your session; which lasts anywhere from 45-60 minutes, you will be lead to a private bathroom to expel any extra waste as-needed. You may also see a stool in front of the toilet to place your feet on like a “squatty potty” in order to improve the efficiency and efficacy of clearing what remains. Now, it’s time to get dressed and make your way home.
How I feel after: the first thing is that you just expelled a great deal of toxins and waste from your body. So you may feel a bit lightheaded and slightly nauseous. This is easily understood by the fact that when bad things are removed from your body- you have a bit of an after affect and need to rebalance. It passes! I drink water to hydrate and stick to a light diet of steamed veggies and fish for 24-48 hours after (which is so healthy to do anyway!) I also highly recommend you avoid rigorous exercise and make sure to take a probiotic everyday and sip a bit of Kombucha once or twice a day for 2 days to replace any healthy flora that may have been removed along with the negative waste. You just started fresh, so being as kind as possible to your body is a good start!
What are the researched and studied benefits of colon cleansing:
- Makes the digestive system more effective (this has SO many benefits)
- Jumpstarts weight loss journeys
- Increases energy
- Helps maintain regularity and prevent painful constipation
- Improves the body’s absorption of vitamins and minerals
- Decreases the risk of colon cancer
- Helps maintain pH balance inside the body
Do I do this again and when? Listen to your technician when they give you a diagnosis. How many times should you come to be “fresh” and then how do you maintain this? I have had to go back a few times initially, then continued on with a quarterly refresher cleanse. Sometimes it is your diet, your genetics, and even just your stress level that dictates your status on the inside; they know how to move forward to get to the best results.
What to look for in a technician: certifications and experience. However, above all, I also have to say that you need to try it and find who you are most comfortably with as a therapist. Who sets you at ease and knows their stuff! Definitely read reviews!
Places I have been + trust in Chicago:
- Ruby Room: 1743-45 West Division St, Chicago, IL. 60622, (773) 235-2323, https://www.vagaro.com/rubyroom/services
- Chicago Internal Cleansing: 1 E Erie St Suite 510, Chicago, IL 60611, (312) 445-9569, http://chicagointernalcleansing.com/
- Cleanse Chicago: 216 N. Halsted, Chicago, IL. 60661, (312) 664-5886, http://www.cleansechicago.com/
Let’s all Prioritize the Poop 🙂 But more importantly, put our internal health before our external appearance and clean up from the inside, out. It does after all improve your skin, energy, and digestion; which improves your weight in general.