Updated: Jan 27, 2020
As the end of the year approaches, it is common for us to reflect on the year. 2019 was a crazy year full of lots of changes with the construction of our new wellness space.
For the past several years, we have hosted a class called "Connie's Favorites." This class is always such a fun and entertaining night because it gives us a chance to reflect on the year and the things/products I love the most.
Here is a review from the class!
At the Shoppe, we love to have local Minnesota products as much as possible. This year, we started carrying Peace Coffee, a local MN organic, fair trade company. I was always a tea drinker, but never was into coffee until I started using Peace Coffee. Now, I LOVE this organic coffee. This company roasts the beans fresh, both whole and ground, plus they are truly great people to work with.
Coffee contains important nutrients like vitamin B, potassium, manganese and magnesium. Coffee will boost your energy, improve cognition and even speeds up your metabolism to increase weight loss. Interestingly, it can improve heart health, maximize fitness goals and even has studies shown it helps to prevent Parkinson's, alzheimer's and dementia.
However, you should consume coffee in moderation. Studies suggests that an average adult can consume up to 4 cups (400 mg of caffeine) per day. Also, a good rule for coffee drinkers is to drink an extra cup of water for every cup of coffee or 2 cups of black tea to stay hydrated since it is a diuretic. When picking out your coffee, I suggest you go with organic brands because it won't be treated with pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and Genetically Modified Organisms. Pick up your Peace Coffee at the Shoppe today!
As I reflected on this year, one thing that stood out to me was that I was always busy with something and often didn't have time to make the healthy meals I wanted. I was often on the run between meetings, our Wellness Center construction and family events. My solution was to have healthy meal replacement bars on-hand.
Designs for Health makes a variety of high quality nutritional bars. One of my favorites is the EssentiaBar with double dark chocolate because it is a convenient high-protein, low-carb snack food. The protein in this bar is sourced from grass-fed whey and pumpkin seeds with only 150 calories. Designs for Health makes multiple nutrition bars, so there is one for everyone! Check it out here.
Fire Cider/Super Tonic
This year was an interesting year for colds/flus. People were often sick in the middle of the summer. One of the tools I used to fight off the germs was Super Tonic. Super Tonic, also known as fire cider, is a vinegar infusion made with powerful ani-inflammatory, immune-boosting, lymph moving, circulation stimulating, and digestion enhancing fresh herbs.
The standard base ingredients include apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, ginger, horseradish, hot peppers (I love to use cayenne peppers). It is an easy tonic that you can make at home and use during cold and flu season. This item is definitely one of my top favorites of 2019 even though I have been using it for years.
Tai Chi Classes
This year, we started offering Tai Chi classes at the Lamb Shoppe & Wellness Center. Tai Chi is a mind-body practice that originated in China. Shelly Heinen, PT leads beginner Tai Chi classes on Tuesdays from 10:00 - 11:00 am and Thursdays from 5:00 - 6:00 pm.
I just love Tai Chi! This is something I have not tried until this year and now it is a favorite! There are many health benefits including reducing stress since it is a lower impact activity. It has been proven to improve your mood because it slows down your breathing and gives you mindful movements which have a positive effect on the nervous system and mood-regulating hormones. In addition, it can help you sleep better, improve cognition, improve fibromyalgia symptoms, improve COPD symptoms, improve balance and strength and can even reduce pain from arthritis.
Keep updated with our class times by following this Facebook event.
As I reflected on 2019, Solomon's Seal stood out to me as the "Herb of the Year." Our family has used this herb for a variety of things this year including a mule riding accident, falls, sore muscles, neck pain and more. It is known to be a tremendous muscle and bone remedy and can be used for conditions or injuries related to torn, bruised, over-used and overextended muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints.
Solomon's Seal is in the lily family and is often found in shady and moist woods or gardens on naturally sloping areas of land. The roots are used in herbal preparations. Native Americans used this herb for muscular skeletal problems including tendons, ligaments, bones, joints, breaks and calcifications. It is also good for a sore back and may help with fallen foot arches.
A huge thing that everyone was talking about this year was one-use plastic straws since they are ending up in the ocean and landfills. Therefore, one of my favorites this year was stainless steel reusable straws! There are many types of reusable straws including glass and bamboo, but stainless steel are by far my favorite. Unlike glass or bamboo, they do not break easy and are rust-proof.
These straws are easy to clean and dishwasher-safe. They are portable, so you can take them with you instead of using plastic straws on-the-go. These great straws will last for years, so they are eco-friendly. Shockingly, the world produces 335 million metric tons of plastic every year and only a very small percentage gets recycled. Plastic can take a thousand years or more to degrade and decompose. Let's be a part of the solution to reduce the plastic in the world and start using reusable straws! Here at the Shoppe, we always try to have some on-hand for sale.
Medicinal Mushrooms have been a hot new trend this year! Therefore, they have made my top list. The truth is, it is really nothing new, but instead they have been used for hundreds of years by our ancestors.
What is so special about mushrooms? They help with immunity, adaptogens for stress, energy, boosts the brain, cancer fighting properties and so much more! Here is a quick list of just a few great medicinal mushrooms: Reishi (for calm body & mind, relax and deeper sleep), Chaga (for immunity, lots of antioxidants), Cordyceps (for energy boost and recovery), Lion's Mane (for brain power and booster), Shiitake (to support the liver and nurture the skin), Maitake (promotes weight loss and good digestion).
One of my past herbal students introduced me to this local company from Wells, MN and now we all love Herbal Beauty here at the Shoppe. Herbal Beauty has awesome body products such as soaps, lotions, lip balm, shampoo, conditioner, room sprays and more.
I love this company because they only use natural ingredients that are safe and nourishing. They pride themselves in the freshness of their products because each item is made in small batches. Another reason I love Herbal Beauty products is because they use a generous amount of herbs which is a plus for me! They grow their herbs to collect and use in their body products. This is a company that you can feel good about using!
Organic Cotton Clothing
By now, most of us know about the health benefits of eating organic foods, but what about our clothing? A top favorite of mine this year is organic cotton clothing. The main benefit of organic materials is that they are NOT treated with pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and Genetically Modified Organisms. These toxins are harmful for farmers, workers, consumers and the wildlife/eco-system.
Less than one percent of all cotton grown is organic. Conventionally grown cotton uses the MOST insecticides than any other crop in the world! It has been estimated that 25% of the world's insecticides and 10% of the world's pesticides are used on cotton. These chemicals can be deadly to those exposed including the factory workers who have to breathe in their fumes during manufacturing. The World Health Organization stated that there are up to 20,000 deaths each year caused by pesticide poisoning in developing countries. In the U.S., more than 10,000 farmers die each year from cancers related to these chemicals. Skin irritations, rashes and even headaches or dizziness can be caused by the residue in cotton clothing.
Organic cotton is by far the better option. It is softer and more durable, so it looks better and last longer. You don't need to sacrifice quality for environmental and social benefits. Try shopping for organic cotton when possible because your dollar does have a vote. Our Lamb Shoppe t-shirts & tanks are made in the U.S. with organic cotton. Be sure to check them out next time you are at the Shoppe!
I always think it is important to do self-care because we often forget about ourselves. Herbal teas are a great way to end the night. Whether it is making a cup of herbal tea or bathing in an herbal bath (hydrotherapy). Much like bath soaks, tea can be used in a similar way. It can be soothing, relaxing at night, or energizing in the morning, depending on what herbs you use.
My favorite is to use teas you already have such as our Flower Power Tea. You can put them straight in the bath water or put them in a muslin bag for easy cleanup. You can hang it on the faucet and let the water run through it as you fill your bath, then put the bag in the water after it's full to soak with you.
Herbs like lavender will help you wind down before bed. Peppermint or spearmint can be relaxing, but can also be energizing in the morning. Some great ones to use before bed are rose, chamomile and lavender. Feel free to mix up your own bath teas and get creative! These can make very thoughtful and beautiful gifts.
Take time this season to reflect on 2019 and think about the positive changes that happened to you. When you focus on the positive, your entire outlook can change for the better. I hope you enjoy some of these favorites in the new year. I am looking forward to another great year in 2020.
Join us next December for Connie's Favorites of 2020!
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.