Hampton Doula to the Rescue

Truth be told, for the majority of my pregnancy, I was in complete denial that I was actually going to have to give birth. Though I was pretty content living in this state of mind, I knew that I would have to accept the fact that I was going to have to physically deliver a baby…that and the fact that I needed some serious guidance, education, and support…aka HELP!

Enter, Hampton Doula, Monica Kadash, to the rescue! I met Monica early in my second trimester when I started to attend her prenatal yoga class at Ananda in Southampton. I instantly gravitated towards Monica’s welcoming personality, calm demeanor, and lighthearted sense of humor. I loved the class and attended weekly, right up until days before I gave birth. Monica incorporates lots of stretching and relaxation to get centered as well as some challenging poses to prepare the mind and body for birth.

When I was considering hiring a doula, I knew that I wanted someone who would bring out the best in me, ideally someone spiritual, but not too spiritual that I couldn’t relate. Monica is exactly that;  straightforward and realistic, yet very warm and tranquil.

The day that I gave birth was a long, uneventful one until my water broke around 2pm, when suddenly, baby came fast and furiously. When it got down to the hard labor (the part I was dreading) I was thanking my lucky stars for Monica’s presence. As a doula, Monica provides support (both prenatal and postnatal) and advocacy alongside the medical staff. (Doulas are commonly confused with midwives, who are medically qualified to deliver babies.)

Statistically, with the help of Doulas there are less interventions,  fewer C-sections, shorter labor and reduced postpartum depression. This results in a fulfilling and satisfying birthing experiences, in short, many more happy moms!

My mission is to honor, protect and guide you, so that you feel empowered to birth fearlessly and joyfully, thus starting your journey into motherhood with confidence.” ~ Monica

Monica did just that for us; I was able to stay (somewhat) strong through the worst contractions, push with sheer determination and confidence, and instantly connect with our baby girl. In the moment, all of my fears of needles, blood, and pain were overcome by sheer empowerment.

Throughout this unique process, Monica helped in every way promised. She provided literature on the birthing process and came to our house twice to get to know our family and educate us on the whole process. She prepared us with facts, stories, strategies, and support we needed to feel ready. Does that mean that everything was smooth sailing? Of course not! But when it came down to it, everything that Monica had prepared us for unraveled pretty much as predicted. It’s already becoming a slight blur (isn’t that how women keep doing it??) but I know that I would have been far less prepared, confident, and comfortable without Monica the Doula.

Here’s Monica, baby Rowan, and I at our postnatal home visit about a week after birth 🙂               If you’re interested in learning more about Monica, visit hamptondoula.com.

One Healthy Breakdown: Happy, healthy, and empowered, thanks to Hampton Doula!

Healthy Communication

Communication is a skill we use every single day. Preparing for my upcoming wedding and attending Precana this past weekend has me thinking a lot about communication, arguably the number one most important factor in a relationship. To me, healthy communication is the ability to clearly express how we feel. While it sounds so easy, when emotions and different opinions are added into the mix, effective communication becomes quite challenging. I know I’ve gotten pretty darn good at the silent treatment, but it really doesn’t get me anywhere near a resolution…so, I’m committing to be less silent and more communicative. Who’s with me?!

Couple Holding Hands With the new season starting, it’s the perfect time to identify some personal goals and things to work on; communication is a great place to start. Whether you’ve been married for 50 years, you’re in a new relationship, or you just want to get along better with friends and family, communication is something we can all strengthen. Here are some tips on healthy communication and constructive arguments (adapted from A Decision to Love by John and Susan Midgley.)

1. Focus on you. We can’t change others, we can only change ourselves. Instead of “you always/never do this,” use “I wish you would/wouldn’t ___ because it makes me feel ____.

2. Focus on your feelings instead of what others are doing wrong. Feelings aren’t debatable, we all feel how we feel and have the right to express them. Understand that arguing should be an opportunity to share and validate your feelings, not to prove right vs. wrong.

3. Deep breaths. Take a breath and a moment to collect yourself in order to remain calm. As soon as we lose our cool and get heated, that’s when things turn for the worst and communication becomes unhealthy and ineffective.

4. Take turns. Instead of a screaming match where nothing is heard because you’re both going at it at once, allow each other to finish the thought and then respond. It’s much cleaner that way.

5. Maintain eye contact throughout the conversation. This will keep your attention and show respect. Looking at the person will also help to remind you that you’re upset about the disagreement, but that your feelings for the other person have not changed.

6. Keep it simple and focused. Argue about what you’re arguing about instead of bringing up past issues or other topics. Being direct can solve the problem at hand instead of leading into a blow-out fight where neither participant even knows why you’re fighting.

7. Remain respectful. Don’t bring up sensitive spots that don’t even relate just to knock the other person down. An argument can only be healthy when there’s a level of mutual respect. Cheap shots don’t get anyone anywhere.

8. Last but definitely not least: LISTEN. Yes, share your part, but really listen to what the other person has to say. They may just tell you something you didn’t know or change your perspective on the issue at hand. If nothing else, they deserve your attention when expressing their feelings and vice versa. Learning occurs through listening.

One Healthy Breakdown: Arguing is healthy, normal, and inevitable. We all do it. But is it constructive or destructive? Healthy or unhealthy?

Best Apps for a Happy, Healthy Lifestyle

Here are my favorite apps for healthy and happy living (most of which are free!) Technology can definitely help us to stay motivated, expand our knowledge, further our fitness, and have fun too!photo(10)

  • BePositive (daily quotes)
  • MapMyRun (tracks route, activity, distance, calories, etc.)
  • Affirmations (daily positive affirmations)
  • Farmstand (search locations for nearby farmer’s markets and farm stands)
  • A Beautiful Mess (customize photos into works of art)
  • Health Tips (daily health tips and facts)
  • Countdown (counts the time until your next big event)
  • Fitness Buddy (hundreds of exercises for every body part)
  • Stop, Breathe & Think (guided meditations)
  • Human (ensures 30 minutes of exercise every day)
  • Instagram (no explanation needed, one of my faves, follow me @hamptonskiley!)

One Healthy Breakdown: there’s an app for that!

How about a Little Nutrition…For Your Skin?

Christine Laureano is the founder of Ba6 Botanicals, all-natural, chemical-free skin care products that nurture, heal, and pamper your skin. Here she shares her best tips for nutrition for the skin.

fruits-and-nutsIt’s time to think about what we put on our skin – and feeling good in your skin, not just about the ingredients, but about actual nutrition. It’s spring. I think about how much “comfort food” I ate while hibernating over the cold months, and how I’m going to work it off! I look at all the beautiful colors that are emerging – and the greens, the fresh, fresh greens that I can’t wait to consume. I’m thinking about how I’m going to detox and feed my body so I have more energy and feel younger and more alert.

Which leads to…what are we feeding our skin?

Body care products on the drug store shelf, let’s just say, have no nutritional value for your skin. They may have oils (one or two…maybe) that give you the feeling that they are good for you, but nutritionally speaking, they are lacking.

So what does nutrition for your skin look like? What goes on your body, to keep it healthy, vibrant and alive, looks surprisingly like what goes in your body! Hmmmm, who knew.

I always tell people that if you run our of moisturizer, go to the kitchen and grab your bottle of olive oil for hearty skin-soothing nutrients to spread all over the body! Olive oil is high in oleic acid, (a naturally occurring fatty acid) is good for skin cell regeneration, and it helps soothe inflamed skin (thanks to antioxidants like vitamins A & E.)

You’re probably hearing a lot about coconut oil these days. It’s a great oil to cook with because it can “take the heat” so to speak. Coconut oil is another good kitchen oil for the skin because it’s non-greasy, absorbs well, good for dry sensitive skin, and won’t clog pores.

There are a lot of other oils that are super nutritious for your skin: almond, hazelnut, apricot kernel, and avocado. What other natural things can you think of that would be nutritious for your skin? Here are a few of my faves:

Apples – natural AHA (fruit acids) and mild for the skin.
Lemons – refreshes skin and another AHA (but this one stronger than apples) just be careful not to use lemon before going into the sun – it promotes sunburn.
Avocado – mash that up and you get a super-nutrient for skin and a great moisturizing masque for dry and damaged hair too.
Oatmeal – great to soothe inflamed skin. It has protein, vitamins A, B’s, E, K, Omegas and other key minerals.
Honey – real and raw local honey is excellent for helping to soothe your skin form irritation and inflammation, keep skin moisturized, and help with acne. It’s loaded with antioxidants and great for wrinkles and aging skin.

When you FEED your skin the good stuff – nutrient rich food – your skin will look younger, continue to produce collagen and elastin longer. You’ll have fewer zits, eczema, dry skin, and other issues will fade. For more healthy skin tips and information on Christine’s great local skincare line Ba6 Botanicals, see Ba6Botanicals.com.

One Healthy Breakdown: As Christine always says, “Feel Great in the Skin You’re In!”

Better Boozin’

MC900449032In honor of all things worth celebrating, I give you top tips for better boozin’:

  • Go with wine, wine spritzers, light beer, or simple cocktails to avoid drinking your calories (usually, the lighter the color, the lighter the drink)
  • Always drink water while ya booze
  • Use zero-cal club soda, seltzer, or sparkling water instead of tonic
  • Use REAL juice – like fresh-squeezed or 100% juice if store-bought
  • Use REAL fruit – mix/garnish with lemon, grapefruit, berries, and other fruits for natural fruitiness, especially fun to get creative with fruit during summer months!
  • Sweeten with stevia, honey, or real maple syrup for natural sweetness
  • Don’t be afraid to get creative with your mixers…hello, kombucha!
  • Watch those portions and keep track of how many you’ve had
  • Use fun glasses. Even a boring drink or a mocktail in a fun glass tastes better
  • Lasty, and possibly most important: keep full water bottles beside your bed and make sure to drink at least one before hitting the hay – you’ll cut your hangover and headache in half instantly because you won’t be as dehydrated!

One Healthy Breakdown: what’s better than better boozin’?!

SUPER SPRING CLEANSE

It’s happening: spring is in the air! It’s time to ditch those layers, say goodbye to the snow boots, and…get ready to spring into spring feeling SUPER, confident, healthy, and happy!

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Beach days (and bikinis) are right around the corner! Don’t worry, take a deep breath, and relax. OHH has you covered with this Super Spring Cleanse to help you SPRING into spring!

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This program includes all of the steps you’ll need to cleanse, including a 5 day meal plan full of seasonal recipes and whole foods. Focusing on fresh, in-season produce, manageable changes, convenience, and taste, you’re sure to love this plan. Let’s get out of hibernation and back on track in the healthiest, most affordable way possible! Just add to cart below for just $30 or email kiley@onehealthyhamptons.com for your instant download and get started!

young female having fun on flowery meadow

You’ll get the Super Spring Cleanse program (delicious recipes for every meal, a full grocery list, and pages of tips on mindful eating, exercise, and detoxing) within hours to start whenever YOU’RE ready. This five-day program is flexible, fun, fresh, and easy to incorporate into any type of lifestyle. One Healthy Hamptons’ Spring Cleanse plan costs just $30, so sign on now for the boost you need and bring on the sunshine!

One Healthy Breakdown: we’re springing into a healthy, happy spring!

Apple Cider Vinegar is a MUST

Apple cider vinegar has super powers. Seriously, this stuff works wonders promoting bone health, clearer skin, stronger hair, better digestion, more energy, balanced pH levels, sinus health, weight management, whiter teeth, heartburn, and finally, catching flies! Yup, you read right. Apple cider vinegar is a MUST have!

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All of these amazing health benefits can be attained by simply drinking this stuff! Not a lot, just a little goes a long way. Go with raw and organic for maximum results. While some take a tablespoon or a shot of apple cider vin daily or twice daily, I prefer to add a bit to water with lemon juice for a morning and nightly cleanser (warm water even doubles for a bedtime “tea.”) At first taste, you may not be hooked, but the benefits are countless and that sour taste will grow on ya. Feel free to add a drop of honey or stevia if need be to get it down, but eventually, you won’t mind the taste (trust me!)

Apple cider vin does wonders for the whole body. You’ll wake up feeling fresher because this stuff aids the body in its natural processes: from digestion to germ-fighting. Whether you have a sensitive stomach or not, apple cider vin will work magic, from lowering glucose levels (super powerful for diabetics) to preventing heartburn. Use apple cider vin in salad dressing or other recipes calling for vinegar. Not only will you notice physical effects, apple cider vin promotes alkalinity over time, which prevents cancer from forming. Yay for alkalinity!

You can also use apple cider vinegar as shampoo, facial cleanser, household cleaner, sunburn relief, teeth whitener, deodorant, and the anti-fruit fly savior! Just use as is on hair and skin. You can even add a little to your bath or dip your feet in to detox the skin for an at-home pedicure. Use an old spray bottle for a natural household cleaner. Finally, apple cider vin saved my kitchen from a recent fruit fly attack, long after the fruit was gone. To catch those little buggers, add a little bit of dish soap to a shallow bowl or plate of apple cider vin and add water so the mixture bubbles. Cover with saran wrap and poke holes with a fork. Hours later, you’ll have floating fruit flies and less flying around your kitchen! (A huge thank you to those who suggested this solution during my recent fruit fly freakout!)

One Healthy Breakdown: Bet you’re heading to the grocery store if you don’t already have this stuff around, apple cider vin is a MUST.

As Local as Local Gets

photo 1Another great (and delicious) community event under my belt thanks to Slow Food East End. I’ve come to the conclusion that summer actually may not be the busy season around here. No, I don’t mean crowded, I mean productive, educational, and valuable. Summer has wrapped up and we’re getting back into our routines. For Hamptons locals, the ‘off-season’ caters to so many opportunities to get more involved in the community, meet new people, take on new goals, help a cause, or educate yourself and others. Personally, I’m making it a goal to take advantage of these possibilities. One of the ways I’m doing so is to educate myself and become more involved in local causes related to health and wellness. That started with a potluck dinner at the Shelter Island Historical Society with Slow Food East End.

Slow Food is a National nonprofit board with the mission of promoting “clean, fair food for all.” Slow Food’s East End chapter works to educate, advocate, and promote access to clean, fair, food for all. In few words, this means healthy, local, and accessible food. I am definitely behind this movement for food that is both good quality and affordable. While we’ve made a lot of progress already, we have a LONG way to go. Unfortunately, the best quality, non-GMO food is also expensive. While it’s an investment in health, let’s be honest, it’s expensive. In order for more people to eat healthier, it’s got to be more affordable and accessible. Slow Food, in addition to lots of other organizations nationwide, fight to recognize the discrepancy between health and accessibility. (As an MSW, I could talk for hours about this topic! But, lucky for you, I won’t!)

It is something I’m passionate about, though. Especially within this amazing community. It’s a good mission and I like it. My point, however, is actually much more broad than this one organization. The point is to get out there and get involved. Get local. Explore the real goings on in your community, wherever your passion or mission may lie. This is really what One Healthy Hamptons stands for; activating, both individually and together, a healthier, happier lifestyle.

Health and wellness are applicable on so many levels, not just in your kitchen. There’s a whole world out there, right in this community. Think outside of just your own body, your mind, and your family’s quality of life. Wellness extends throughout neighborhoods, communities, and cities. Take a step in the right direction, explore this world. Figure out what makes your community unique. That’s as local as local gets. Get involved, read, learn, teach, grow, cook, share. Get involved, however you can, however you want. And enjoy it.

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One Healthy Breakdown: What will you do to expand your local world of wellness?

Come on, Get HAPPY

I just watched The Happy Movie andI highly, highly recommend it. Here’s a few facts, tidbits, quotes, perspectives, and words of wisdom learned from this captivation of global happiness.

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  • “The Constitution only guarantees the American People the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” –Benjamin Franklin
  • Positive Psychology (the study of happiness) became the most popular class at Harvard.
  • Genetics determine 50% of happiness, circumstances determine 10%, and intentions determine the remaining 40%. Set intentions.
  • Dopamine naturally starts depleting after our teen years; however, positive experiences (like exercise, socialization, and love) produce dopamine in the body.
  • Tangible goods produce fleeting happiness; compassion produces long-term contentment.
  • We always have a choice to be happy, or not. When it rains, we can either hide or embrace it.
  • There is no such thing as pleasure without pain. Both are necessary to be happy.
  • While the United State’s economic growth has doubled, our happiness level as a nation has remained static.
  • The top consistency among happy people, both individually, and as a culture, seems to be a close, supportive family and friends.
  • Japan has been deemed the least happy nation due to stress. Japanese people have died from forcing themselves to be more efficient. Japan actually has a name for this, when the person’s heart just stops, due to nothing but exhaustion, is “Karoshi.”
  • Denmark has been labeled the happiest country. Danish citizens not only receive free education and healthcare, but also tend to co-habitate; numerous families will reside in small homes or apartments close together, decreasing solitude. There is always someone there to share conversation, a meal, and even pain. Families save time and money by sharing chores and benefits and there is constant socialization among all ages.
  • Instead of looking at society selfishly and thinking “what does he/she have that I don’t?” if we think “what do I have that I can give to others?” we would all constantly help each other and the world would be a better place. That is true community.
  • Fundamentalists, who build their life mission on hate and segregation, are proven less happy.
  • People live longest on Okinawa Island, the only part of Japan known for happiness. Community is the center of the culture. Citizens shared their secrets to longevity: hard work, lots of sleep, sweat, neighborly love, no harm to others, and…sake. They even bury people in one communal coffin to allow for infinite connection.
  • When humans are given the choice to choose competition or cooperation, we almost always choose cooperation. We find cooperation intrinsically rewarding.
  • One uniquely happy Bushmen tribe values each member’s individual wellbeing as one. When one member of the tribe is sick, the whole tribe unites for group-healing. One member explains: “being together, that’s what makes us happy. To laugh is very important.”
  • Compassion is part of our genetic makeup; it’s in our blood.
  • Intention can physically change your brain. Gratitude and acts of kindness have been proven to boost happiness on a cellular level. Happiness can be seen as a skill we must practice often.
  • Lifting others spirits makes life meaningful.
  • The formula for happiness = play + new experiences + friends and family + meaning + appreciation. All of which are free. Things we can all have.
  • The more happiness you have, the more everyone has.

One Healthy Breakdown: Watch The Happy Movie. Practice happiness. Every single day.