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The Wren

Filtering by Tag: Health

5 Great After Work Yoga Poses by Lauren Conrad

Renee Woodruff

Long day at work? Try these awesome yoga poses by Lauren Conrad to release a little tension and to give your body the love it deserves. And PS - if you aren't a familiar with her site, it's a good one to bookmark and reference often!

Downward Dog
If you are a regular yogi, you know that downward dog is the foundational pose of most yoga flows. It’s home base. And it’s also the best move you can do after sitting all day. It stretches your shoulders, lengthens your back, and gets blood flowing to your brain. Simply make your body into an inverted “V” shape, and push your hands into the floor to stretch your legs and back.

Mountain Pose
This pose may seem simple, but you’d be surprised at how much good it can do for those sitting joints. Stand comfortably with your feet hips-width apart and reach your arms to the sky. Then move your torso backwards into a slight backbend and let your neck and head relax. You should feel a lengthening in your legs and an opening in your chest muscles.

Forward Fold
One of the best poses for stress and anxiety, forward bend is a position you should be implementing into your everyday routine. And the best part is that you can do it anywhere (even on your lunch break!). According to Huffington Post, this post provides a feeling of release in your body and mind, allowing you to let go of anything hectic that’s going on at work. Stand with your feet hips-width apart, bend your kneed slightly, and fold your hips down to the ground. Let your arms and neck hang for at least one minute for a full release.

Cobra Pose
This back bend not only feels good after sitting all day, it also lengthens your spine and opens up your chest and shoulders. Lay on the ground with your arms bent and place your hands directly under you shoulders, as though you’re about to do a push up. Then gently straighten your arms, bringing your chest up off the ground. If this feels comfortable, you can eventually graduate onto an Upward Dog pose, where you lift up your thigh and hips as well.

Butterfly Pose
Good old fashioned “criss cross applesauce” is actually an incredible yoga pose that opens up your hips and lower body. It’s a great way to ease any tightness you may feel from sitting for a long time. Sit on your hip bones with your back straight and your knees out to either side. Focus on melting your knees lower to the ground, gently, to really give your hips a stretch.

3 Ways to Use Coconut Oil

Renee Woodruff

If you don't have a container of coconut oil in your bathroom or kitchen (or both!), use this blog as your inspiration to buy some. You've probably read one of the many articles that have been published about the benefits, but as a quick reminder here are a few:

  • Helps maintain a healthy heart
  • Fights infections (including conditions like candida)
  • Boosts immune system 
  • Improves digestion
  • Supports healthy skin and hair

Below are a few of the ways to consider using Coconut Oil:

1. Apply to your skin and hair.

Coconut oil is a great moisturizer for your skin. It's a more natural and affordable solution than many of the beauty products on the market today. I cover myself from head to toe in this delicious smelling oil. Note: I do not use on my face due to my current skin care regimen (wedding prep!) but I know plenty of people who do. 

2. Cook with it.

Coconut oil makes for a great cooking oil because it can withstand high heat. I use it for frying eggs, sautéing, or roasting. I now prefer the taste over olive oil (although we still have plenty of that in our house too). 

3. Eat it by the spoonful. Frequently. 

I also consume it raw by mixing it in my oatmeal and by adding it to my smoothies

Note: When purchasing coconut oil, make sure you buy organic, cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil. There is great option in the Stay Beautiful Shop.

Conscious Box

Renee Woodruff

Always a fan of the convenience and novelty of the delivery subscription box services, I signed up to trial a month of Conscious Box after a co-worker recommended it. Anyone who makes suggestions for helping me discover healthier choices is instantly a friend of mine. And I figured it was worth the $20 to see if this company would stand up to it's promises of sorting through hundreds of natural goods like snacks, beauty, and cleaning products and picking the best ones. 

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Initially, I signed up for a one month delivery to see if I liked it.  I had a positive reaction when the first box arrived.  As you can see from the pictures, everything is beautifully packaged (I'm a sucker for thoughtful details) and they provide a description card that allows you to quickly scan all of the products included and details on why you might enjoy it.

The following items were included in my first box:

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With everything from tea to toothpaste I give them an A+ for variety. Although, being a health conscious person, I was familiar with several of these brands (NumiNordic NaturalsManitoba Harvest and Mighty Leaf -- all great companies) so the discovery part was lacking for me. But I like receiving validation that I'm on the right path in my choices, so seeing consistencies always makes me happy. Being a subscriber to other delivery box services such as BirchboxGoBitesNature Box and Stitch Fix, I was also surprised to see that Conscious Box felt more like a gift bag at a nice event versus providing full-sized samples as most subscription boxes do. 

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I'll leave you by saying the Two Degrees Bars were my favorite find -- delicious! And I readily put that $100 wine voucher to use at Naked Wines. Dave and I have opened two of the six bottles we ordered and they were both great!

A Healthy Welcome Home

Renee Woodruff

Dave just returned from a five week stint in Thailand where he was putting the finishing touches on a documentary film that he and his company, Run Riot Films, have been pouring their hearts into for the past several months.

I've been spending my weekends captive to a yoga studio in Manhattan's Soho neighborhood, juicing and living a healthier lifestyle than even I thought possible. Dave has been lamenting the unhealthy way he has been living. He's complained of his back hurting, having not worked out while he's been away and lugging around heavy camera equipment. In addition to indulging in all of his favorite Thai foods. If I know Dave l like I think I do, he's also been drinking a lot of Leo, Chang and Singha while keeping his social skills in tact.

To celebrate his return, I welcomed him home with a little healthy motivation -- a basket filled with goodies. These items included a Men's Health Magazine, some fresh flowers, (to brighten the apartment and to remind him that spring is hopefully just around the corner), and lots of fun, healthy snacks (Dave loves snacks). 

Here's a list of healthy ideas to create your own homemade gift for that special guy in your life:

(Most items listed can be found in your local Whole Foods store)

Smoothie Ingredients To Keep on Hand

Renee Woodruff

This blog is dedicated to my brother, Ben for his recent curiosity of my Vitamix obsession. Below is the email I sent to him with ingredients I'd suggest keeping on hand to whip up a smoothie as a meal replacement or snack, especially when you're in a pinch or need a healthy fulfilling quick fix. The ingredients are all kitchen-categorized and alphabetized in true sisterly fashion. For anyone into grocery lists, I hope this makes your life a little easier. You can also shop these items directly from this website. Countless smoothie recipes to come! 

Pantry

  • Almond Butter (lots of it)
  • Bee Pollen
  • Cacao Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper (lots of it)
  • Chia Seeds
  • Cinnamon (lots of it)
  • Coconut Oil
  • Flax Seeds (ground & whole)
  • Ginger (fresh and lots of it)
  • Goji Berries
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Maca Powder
  • Matcha Powder
  • Mesquite Powder
  • Protein Powder
  • Raw Shredded Coconut
  • Vanilla Extract

Fridge

  • Almond Milk (lots of it)
  • Apples (Chopped)
  • Avocado
  • Beets (chopped)
  • Carrots (chopped)
  • Celery (chopped)
  • Coconut Water
  • Cucumber (chopped)
  • Kale (lots of it)
  • Mint (fresh - I grow this seasonally)
  • Parsley (fresh - I grow this too)
  • Pomegranate Seeds
  • Spinach

Freezer

  • Bananas (lots of them)
  • Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice Squares* (squeeze into ice cube trays and freeze)
  • Organic Berries (all kinds)
  • Anything that is about to go bad I throw in the freezer to use in a smoothie, i.e. avocado, herbs, etc

* You can squeeze any fresh juice into ice cube trays and freeze for single serving use!