Let's chat about my absolute favorite workout (outside of hiking) of all time, Pilates.
In my own descriptive, Pilates is a cross between ballet, yoga, resistance training and dance that elongates the body, tones & strengthens the core. If you want to read a more professional descriptive, go here.
Flex Pilates Chicago is a great choice if you want to experience Pilates for yourself. I personally prefer Pilates on a reformer which you can read about on their site (although expensive).
The key is to get moving, Pilates or otherwise. If you are bed bound, stretch your body. If you cannot do that yourself, have someone help you. If you are recovering from illness, move - stretch - walk...slowly.. And if you are healthy, man..... get out there as much as you can and exercise your muscles!!!!!! Your body will thank you!
Taking care of our bodies is such an amazing privilege. Having a body that is fully functional is SUCH a blessing from God. I have to say that it makes me sad and frustrated when I see people harming their bodies with toxic processed food - chemicals laden in their household products- and complaining about 'having to do another workout'.
With that being said, I used to be one of these people that would complain sometimes so, no judgement but the entire world is waking up to the wellness. Jump on board! People educate themselves and do more research over a car they are purchasing or vacation rental then they do on what they eat-move-drink-etc.. Think about that.
We all need to treat our bodies with the utmost care and love. Team w/ your body - love yourself. I mean, you and your body as going to be together a lifetime! You live 'within' your body so, exercise, eat healthy organic foods from the earth, speak KINDLY to your body and enjoy the abilities that your body affords you.
Well hellOOO there! Happy Friday!
I shared that Snapshots of Wellness would be back in action for the month of August and here we are on the eve of the last official month of summer. This summer is an amazing 'blink' so, let's enjoy every ounce of outdoor activity that we can Chicago!
So, if you follow me on IG @snapshotsofwellness, you know that I have been hailing this company, 'Simple Mills'. I cannot wait to share their back story next week.. I get incredibly passionate about specific companies whose cornerstone is ethical, sustainable and health mindedness. You all know this......or at least you will if you keep coming back to SW.
I think it's important to know that 'all' of my product reviews are not paid or endorsed by the particular company. I actually approach product reviews quite a bit differently then most of the blogging world. I seek out the companies 90% of the time. I have companies seeking me but, easily over 90% of the time, I approach them. I study a company extensively from their product ingredients, manufacturing process, marketing techniques, etc. I get to know the staff/team & creator - I taste/try the product for weeks- sometimes - months- on end........all before I would ever support & consider sharing them on SW.
In sharing this, what do I want to convey to all of you? I want to convey that I test the waters first to ensure the most healthy organic products coupled with integrity & authenticity. I also want you to know that every single company, idea, product, etc. shared on SW is shared w/ a heart of fierce passion. You actually won't see too many product reviews on my site but when you do, know you have a bit of knowledge as to how I chose them.
I would never (ever) recommend anything at all that I don’t personally love and use, and think worthy of your time to consider for yourself. My hope is that SW is a wellness resource that you can trust in.
Enjoy the weekend ahead. By the way, I appreciate all of the community support in raising awareness for Beagle Freedom Project. The organization is absolutely incredible. And sometimes people think 'I don't have money to donate' but giving $3,00 is a contribution - it's something and every dollar counts. So, check out all of the great work they are doing & if you feel moved, donate!
If you are in Chicago this weekend, music will be heard throughout the whole city w/ Lollapalooza kicking off today! Enjoy the liveliness that our gigantic summer playground of a city has to offer!
Happy Saturday SW readers! It's a hot one in the city of Chicago! The heat index is over one hundred......my kind of weather actually! I have frequented Jamaica numerous times through the years and I just love that humidity that I like to refer to as 'jungle heat'.
Today I wanted to share a short blog to encourage all of us to 'engage' in fruitful conversations with one another. We have the power to make such a notable difference in this world via serving others through wellness!
Gather your friends together for a summer meal and choose a topic or wellness endeavor that you all want to get behind. Make it fun! So many people tell me, 'I don't know where to start' and inevitably end up continuing to focus on 'self'. And come on, we are born & bread for more then turning inward so much. Let's turn 'outward'!
Well, a great start & one of numerous examples is to head over to Food Tank who 'spotlights environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways of alleviating hunger, obesity, and poverty and create networks of people, organizations, and content to push for food system change'.
As to how you get started via this gathering w/ your friends that I mentioned above?
You just simply start a conversation about it. If you do want to choose an organization affiliated w/ Food Tank - for example - simply ask your friends 'Have you heard of Food Tank'? 'What are your thoughts on sustainable food sources'? 'Do you all want to get involved along side of me'? 'Let's choose an organization to help'.
In other words, it all starts with heart to heart conversations about where God is leading each of us to contribute, serve and provide for others. And these conversations lead to personal growth, education, planting seeds of encouragement, making a difference & motivating all of us to live our best life. And the goal of these conversations is that they lead us to taking action to change others lives entirely. And that's what life is really about....joining hands and serving one another.
“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead
I was asked to share my fashion sense on Snapshots of Wellness. I have talked about this several times but, thought I would find a photo that captured my sense of fashion. And this photo does. Messy hair pulled up, left curly & air drying after a morning shower..
As for clothing, typically navy, white, black or grey....with my cross body bag, diamond studs and backpack.
And that sums up 'fashion' to me.
I am so much more interested in the adventure each day has in store - the organic foods I am combing to make a delicious meal - the laughter & complexities of layered conversations - figuring out someone's soul - talking to God - biking or hiking trails - learning and being educated on topics I am passionate about.
Don't get me wrong, I have a very feminine style but my style is so minimalistic & overall simplistic that I would not even refer to it as 'fashion'.
I like to refer to my style as how I speak, smile and how my eyes light up when I am happy about something. My style is the type of conversations I dive into with others and rib aching laughter. My style is about how I am living my life for eternal value.
I think who someone 'IS' is far more intriguing then what they are wearing.
And that concludes my 'take' on fashion (smile).
The following article was written for Food Tank. I wanted to share with my audience because I am such an advocate for PCRM as well as Food Tank. Having spent a great deal of time in hospitals as both a patient & professional, I fully support these efforts! I hope you do as well.
Hospitals are meant to be locations where healthfulness is promoted and diseases are cured. However, when it comes to food, many hospitals aren’t promoting patient wellbeing at all. In a survey of 200 hospital food environments, the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) found that Chick-fil-A has 20 hospital contracts, McDonald’s has at least 18, and Wendy’s has five across the United States. Many of these hospitals are in the South, where obesity rates are disproportionately high.
Fortunately, medical professionals and healthy food advocates are fighting back against fast food contracts in hospitals. The PCRM, a national network of health professionals advocating for a preventative approach to diet-related diseases, is taking action, urging citizens to ask for more healthful options at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia.
Another organization, Healthcare Without Harm, also advocates for healthy food in the healthcare industry. Hundreds of hospitals across the country have signed a Healthy Food In Health Care Pledge developed by the organization. The pledge commits hospitals and healthcare institutions to building sustainable and healthful food procurement programs for the benefit of patients, staff, and patrons.
Food Tank spoke with Cameron Wells, RD, MPH, about hospital food environments. Ms. Wells is a staff dietician for the PCRM.
Food Tank (FT): How did you become concerned with unhealthy hospital food environments?
Cameron Wells (CW): I worked at a bariatric clinic and saw firsthand the damage of long-term poor eating habits. Using food as medicine, or as a means of prevention really got me interested in the work of the PCRM. As a physicians’ group, we have a lot of members. It wasn’t only physicians, but also nurses, physicians’ assistants, and healthcare providers in general who were noticing poor food environments in the hospitals where they work every day. I personally visited various hospitals during my dietetic internship, and I think we’ve all had loved ones we’ve visited in the hospital. It’s hard not to be struck by the unhealthful food that patients are served, and the general food environment for patrons and staff as well. There’s just a major disconnect in a facility or institution that should be setting a good example for health.
FT: How does the PCRM work to change these environments?
CW: We started our Hospital Food Report a number of years ago. The point is really to bring attention to this issue of unhealthy food environments in hospital settings. We have researched various topics, from children’s hospitals to public hospitals, to touch on various populations within different areas of the report. We want to call attention to where hospitals may be going wrong, and advocate for change. I think the reports really bring people together and get the conversation going; since we’ve started the report, we have seen a number of hospitals remove fast food restaurants from their facilities. Most recently we saw Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles remove McDonald’s from their facilities. Slowly, we’re beginning to see more hospitals following suit, but there are still many hospitals that engage fast food restaurants in contracts.
FT: Why do the PCRM recommendations focus specifically on fast food contracts rather than on unhealthful foods in general?
CW: We care about the healthfulness of food in general, but I think the fast food contracts are just a very blatant conflict of interest. Large corporations are essentially operating within the confines of a hospital environment, with an eye out for the bottom line. Fast food companies are not looking out for the health of the patients, the staff, or hospital patrons. They aren’t thinking about long-term health outcomes. The presence of these companies in hospital facilities is almost comical, because their priorities are so misaligned with a message of wellbeing.
FT: What are some of the biggest challenges in making hospital rooms #FastFoodFree?
CW: Since fast food is a moneymaking industry, a lot of marketing dollars are available to promote their products and secure hospital contracts. There’s not a corresponding effort pushing for carrots, whole grains, or legumes. So that’s one of the toughest things, and hamburgers and French fries just shouldn’t be an option in a hospital. The message from hospital food environments should be more consistent with the overall goals of patient wellness, rather than catering to companies that promote the diseases that bring people to the hospital in the first place.
Sign the PCRM petition to remove McDonald’s from the Children’s Hospital of Georgia HERE.
by Emily Nink
Emily is a masters candidate of the Agriculture, Food and Environment program at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston.
The weekend has arrived! SW is in Chicago!
I really hope that all of you are diving into your communities - getting together over meals - throwing mud at challenging internal/external topics and wrestling w/ answers along side of one another. Exposing vulnerability within a group setting is amazing and encourages others to do the same.
I am just hoping you are all finding ways to elevate your involvement in whatever it is your passionate about. Being in community & coming together to make our world a more sustainably healthy place for everyone is beyond invigorating. Overall health & wellness initiatives - globally - are expanding to levels that I am so motivated by.
You will all be hearing SO much about environmental sustainability and agriculture internationally over at Food Tank. I have recently become a member and I will be teaming w/ two international organizations affiliated with Food Tank which we can dive into another time on SW.
We will be doing a 'SW Guest Feature' within the next couple of weeks with my dear friend Mike who serves with such a cool organization in Guatemala called Potters House. It's pretty exciting what Mike is doing within this community and he will share with SW readers all about how we can help as well.
The BFP social media awareness campaign in Chicago has been building momentum and is a TON of fun! We have met so many incredible people that have become friends. I am most surprised by the fact that not ONE person has said 'no' to helping BFP - how amazing is THAT! I love seeing people take action for the voiceless.
And that's a wrap for the weekend. Let's all go enjoy some delish healthy meals and fab company! It's mid-JULY - savor every last bit of this summer b/c it's a flyin' on by!
Every company above unnecessarily embarks on daily cruel & horrendous animal lab testing. They are blanketing the public's eyes on the truth. Frankly, they all remind me of Monsanto. Yes, I just said that.
In support of Beagle Freedom Project & Physician Committee of Responsible Medicine, I am asking every single one of my readers to purchase cruelty free products. This is a topic that get's my blood boiling because of the mass level of greed via these companies listed above. The propaganda is similar to all of the hidden truth unfolding within the food industry globally. And it's our job to get educated - fact check our sources - and do what is ethically responsible.
There is a difference between responsible sustainability via farmers and 'factory farming'. And likewise, there is a difference between countless necessary lab testing for products and ethical lab testing without the use of animals. The statistics of the lack of success in even using the animals is astounding and will make your stomach churn.
Beagles are the top choice for animal lab testing because they are so docile and trusting: Beagles are the most popular breed for lab use because of their friendly, docile, trusting, forgiving, people-pleasing personalities. The research industry says they adapt well to living in a cage, and are inexpensive to feed. Research beagles are usually obtained directly from commercial breeders who specifically breed dogs to sell to scientific institutions.
With that being said, 106,000 people die yearly from drugs tested as 'safe' via animals in labs. As mentioned, the statistics on both websites - Beagle Freedom Project & Physician Committee of Responsible Medicine - are ghastly.
Please do not support companies that are listed above. When I see a woman using Avon or Estee Lauder, I cringe at the lack of either awareness or care for what is ethically responsible and frankly, ethically reasonable. We can do so much better folks. We must. And here is some specific information on Avon & their manipulative sales spin via the ethics of the company. And this is just the beginning via these companies.
WE need to be educated and excellent researchers. And I believe, along with the wellness movement across the country, people are becoming as educated via what products they are purchasing. Why support a company that is torturing animals (literally...please do your own research rather then rely on these companies to pull the wool over your eyes) when there are 20 more products to their every '1' that will be more effective and yet, ethical? There is only one answer.
We need to wake up to the reality of what we are purchasing. Period. We do.
There are eco-friendly sustainable household, beauty and integrative health options that do not involve having to place innocent dogs in cages only to torture them (literally) until most die.
I absolutely love what Beagle Freedom Project is doing in saving the animals directly but also in raising awareness for what is ethical.
I am getting a lot of questions from people about 'how to tell' if a product tests on animals or not. Beagle Freedom Project has this quality app that will tell you every single product that does test on animals, etc.
Info. on the app is as follows which is taken directly from their site:
CRUELTY-CUTTER is cruelty-free shopping made simple! Cast-away any doubts when purchasing items by using this app to scan an item and have an immediate response about it’s animal-testing status. Cruelty-Cutter has every company in the "Leaping Bunny" and PETA lists and thousands more. It is the most up-to-date and vigilant cruelty-free list on the market.
Cruelty-Cutter is your activist app! Share your results with friends on social media and also share your concern or praise with the company itself. Companies that still choose to test on animals will get the message that Cruelty-Cutter users are against what they are doing! The more shares, the more “Doggie Dollars” you earn towards coupons for cruelty-free items!
Cruelty-Cutter lets you register your concern and help collect data to bring to companies that test on animals to show them that the public is not interested in supporting companies that continue to use animals when it is not needed.
Download the app by clicking the buttons below or learn more at Cruelty-Cutter.Org.
Please make ethically responsible choices for yourselves and your families. And continue to further your education(s) on health and wellness. We all might disagree on what to eat, etc. and that's called life BUT my gosh, choose responsibly. We should ALL agree though that what the companies listed above are doing is absolutely unacceptable, inhumane and unethical. And that means we don't purchase a thing from them. If you don't think you can make a difference, you are lying to yourself. You can because you do make a difference every single day of your life with the products you purchase, the food you eat and the social injustices that you tolerate. You have a voice. And you have a highly intelligent mind. So, let's make the right decisions....together.
Snapshots of Wellness is in the process of evolving as a site. Within the next few months, the site will be entirely renovated to illustrate our global pursuits surrounding helping people of all walks of life (including animals) around the world in the areas of organic farming/sustainability/agriculture/environment.
Moving forward, Snapshots of Wellness will be shining the spotlight on international global initiatives involving empowering those in impoverished communities to create sustainable farms so they can feed their families. This has been a passion of mine for years and is only now coming to fruition. I have become a member of Food Tank and will update all of you with a separate blog post on this amazing organization & community!!!
Snapshot of Wellness will also be featuring organizations that I will be personally teaming with or simply marketing for such as PCRM & Beagle Freedom Project. Organizations that are changing both families/children & animals lives and providing the highest level of sustainable education in the world (literally).
With all of these changes, this means that Snapshots of Wellness will no longer be a personal 'Lifestyle blog' centered around my particular life, wellness or health rather an overall wellness educational site. As I have evolved as a person in pursuing passions that will stand to serve eternal value, Snapshots of Wellness must naturally evolve along with me. And I know this means that I will lose some readers and gain new readers. Stagnation is not fluid though so with change comes......change. Sometimes people forget that simple fact. I had considered shutting down the site but after a ton of prayer, I realize this is a fantastic platform to educate others on 'God's impossible' that is happening around the globe and threaded throughout our own stories.
For those of you who asked, yes, we will still discuss health, healing, recipes, food, growth & wellness but on an entirely new 'elevated' scale. And yes, I will definitely throw in some whimsy and personal references but the focus will be outward globally/locally vs. inward via my life.
I must give a gigantic thank you to Jennie Allen, Creator of IF Gatherings, who resides in Austin, TX.. Jennie Allen wrote the small group study, Restless, which I credit in being 'the most' pivotal bible study in changing my present life. Here are the questions that Jennie Allen -herself -asked us via Restless: What if the things you love began to collide with the plans that God has laid out for you? What if the 'random' relationships in our lives had a focus and felt intentional and they felt meaningful? What if the things that have caused you the most hurt in your life began to heal and became the birthplace of your deepest passions? What would it look like to spend our lives for eternity? These are all pieces of our lives that God gave us 'on purpose' to build into The Kingdom. Restless is a call to 'wake up', to 'dream' and to dare to believe that God has a purpose and design for our lives.
We are all here to better this world and make an eternal impact that God specifically created each of us for. And I believe in His Impossible. I believe the absolute best way to share Jesus through Snapshots of Wellness is to introduce all of you to organizations who are His hands & feet. By teaming with and marketing for organizations that are changing lives through healthy sustainable endeavors, we are showing love for our planet - love for those that are in need - and love for one another who are participating in various global initiatives across the country. I want to provide all of you with resources that will motivate you to live in community and participate in efforts that will not only transform lives but transform hearts.
Created and curated by Kelly, Snapshots of Wellness encourages all of you to cultivate your 'joie de vivre': Compassion for Animals via food, style & lifestyle.