“Do something today, that your future self will be thankful for.”

~Unknown

 

HWH #2: This weeks round up- Consistency, Meal Prepping, and an Alternative Statin

The Alt Care Collective is a lifestyle brand started with the philosophy that we can all be healthier, happier, more vibrant and productive given the right tools and resources. And that’s the goal of my weekly HWH post- to share whatever I have learned throughout the week so that maybe in some way it will be helpful to you as well. It could be a workout, a product, a service, something cool I saw online, a new supplement I am trying, a fabulous meal I had or recipe I tried. HWH is the weekly round up of anything that influenced my well-being this week that I thought was worth sharing.

Consistency

I have been on a new workout program for 4 weeks and am feeling amazing, yet very tired- partly due to not getting enough sleep (four kids, a husband on a very different schedule than you, and two crazy dogs will do that), and partly due to my body acclimating to the new physical stress being put on it.

But every day, I make myself get up and before I do anything else, as soon as the kids are out the door I am on my way to the gym. I am one of those people that struggles with putting myself first, so this is a major accomplishment to prioritize myself and my health as number one and letting all else fall in after. And it is so worth it.  By carving out this space just for me and my wellness, I am slowly returning to myself mentally, emotionally and physically after a very long hiatus due to a long term caregiver role with my mom, grieving her death, an insane schedule for too many years, and my own health taking a toll from all of it.

The old me would have wanted far more progress in four weeks, and would have been very disappointed at this stage.  Current me has finally maybe learned the lesson of consistency and taking it little by little. I realize this is a long term comeback not an overnight one- as most comeback’s are.  In the interest of not getting injured and being derailed as usually happened in the past, I am going much lighter with the weights and cardio intensity than I would have normally. And the beauty is- it’s working. Six days a week I show up at the gym, put in the work at an appropriate level for where my fitness is at and I am making progress without injury.

Most of all what consistency is teaching me is that regardless of the quality of my workout or mood, showing up counts. And really- this is true of anything in life- consistency is the magic ticket. Money and savings- be consistent. Relationships and friendships- be consistent. Food and diet- be consistent. No matter what it is, progress and results come from putting in the work consistently.

Meal Prepping

Whether you are busy, on a very specific diet and need to bring your food with you, or lazy meal prepping is the answer. At one point in my life I got really good at it then fell off the wagon and am now going to put it back in place in our life. Meal prepping is simply making multiple meals at once and packaging them up into grab and go containers for the week.

My husband has transitioned to a plant based diet which is so amazing and I am so excited for him because he is feeling great and having improvements in blood pressure. So, I decided this week after getting up at 5 am to prep lunch for him each morning (because otherwise he will eat a banana and call it good but be ridiculously hangry), that I needed to get back on the meal prep bandwagon so I can do it all on Sunday and sleep in a little!  And it will benefit me too because I am very guilty of missing lunch because I am too busy to cook something and PB&J’s get old at some point.

So I am spending Thursday- Saturday picking menu items and making a grocery list so we can shop, chop, cook, cool, and place into containers all of our lunch meals for the week. There are so many great resources and ideas for meal prepping on YouTube and Pinterest. Whether you are Plant Based, Keto, Paleo, Whole 30 or any other type of diet you can find loads of recipes and meals.

Some of my favorites meal prep/ what I eat in a day for vegans that you may want to check out on YouTube are Fit Vegan Chef Natalie Matthews (Vegan Bodybuilding)Bianca Taylor (Vegan Bodybuilding), Ruth May (Vegan Keto), Lauren Henry (Medical Medium Protocol), Fully Raw Kristina (Raw Vegan).

A Natural Alternative to Statins

Clearly heart health has been a topic in my life lately. All is great with my ticker (thank you for the tests to be sure Dr. Haugan and Dr. Klodas!), but in the interest of preventative health my acupuncturist at Crocus Hill Oriental Medicine and doctors decided that taking an herbal statin alternative to address slightly elevated cholesterol was a good idea to try, so I am now taking an herbal supplement called Cholisma that is, as it was explained to me in Traditional Chinese Medicine terms, designed to address cholesterol by addressing digestion. I will be re-tested in six months to see how it works!

If you have any cholesterol issues, you might want to talk to your Traditional Chinese Medicine provider or find one on our network to learn more and see if it is a good option for you.


I hope you enjoyed this edition of HWH and that each week there is some kernel of goodness and usefulness in it for you!  Be sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Instagram to stay connected.


Cheers & Be Well,

Heather Sloan initials

Heather Sloan

Heather Sloan
Founder & CEO,          The Alt Care Collective

 

 

 

 

“Chinese medicine offers another way of understanding our bodies and our lives. In this medicine, we look at everything in context and every part is interdependent within the whole. This perspective is helpful in understanding the interplay of diet, exercise, stress, the environment, and our relationships on our well-being. Well-being is achieved, then, not by fighting against a disease but by cultivating harmony in our lives.”

~Crocus Hill Oriental Medicine

Welcome to The Collective: Crocus Hill Oriental Medicine!

Crocus Hill Oriental Medicine is located on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, MN and comprised of five fabulous providers- Susan Gillette, Denise Lewis, Jessica French, Lawrence Waechter, and Jennifer Labelstra. Crocus Hill Oriental Medicine offers a full array of Chinese medicine therapies including: acupuncture, herbal therapy, cupping, dietary therapy, and tui na (Chinese medical massage). Their practitioners have diverse experience and specialties, treating a full range of conditions as well as promoting overall health and wellness, including a Reiki master to provide healing through energy work. You can follow them on  Facebook @crocushillclinic.

If you have never tried acupuncture, read on to find out more about this ancient practice and what to expect at an appointment with Crocus Hill.  To make an appointment or ask further questions, you can contact them at contact@crocushillacupuncture.com or call 651-227-6865.

How does acupuncture work?

Special needles are inserted at certain points on the body to stimulate energy, or Qi, along pathways called meridians. The meridians are linked to specific internal organs and organ systems. The needles, which are pre-sterilized and disposable, are extremely thin and cause little or no pain when inserted.

What is Qi?

Qi (pronounced “chee”) is energy in the very broadest sense. It is part of everything you are doing right at this moment: reading, thinking, moving your hand, drinking your tea, listening to your heart beating. It is also the material aspects of all that you have in front of you: your computer, your tea, your feet.

Chinese medicine seeks to restore and maintain health by balancing Qi, the vital energy of life, in order to promote the body’s natural ability to heal itself. When Qi is balanced and flowing, that is, in harmony with the internal and external environment, the body is in good health. Symptoms of illness occur when the energy is either obstructed, deficient, or in any way out of balance.

What is Food Therapy?

One of the most important aspects of Chinese medicine is food. It is what we do for (and to ourselves) any number of times each day and which has an enormous impact on our well-being. This is why an ancient master said ‘Treat with food first. What you can’t heal with food, use acupuncture and herbs.”

This medicine has a way of understanding food that is related to its energy, its Qi. We will give you advice based on the pattern of your body and on the food that is most appropriate to support you, tailoring our suggestions to what you can and want to achieve in your health. We’ll ease you into changes that you can make. We’ll also help you think or rethink how to eat—with mindfulness. As Seneca said, “We kill ourselves daily with knives and forks.”

What is a Medicinal Herbal Foot Soak?

“When a tree dies, it is the roots that die first. When a person ages, it is the feet that age first.” ~ Ancient Chinese proverb

We eagerly look to our devices to see how many steps we’ve taken, but do we take care of the feet that take those steps? Our feet carry the weight of our bodies some 1,500 times for every mile we walk. Each foot contains over 7,000 nerve endings, 107 ligaments, nineteen muscles and twenty-six bones (one fourth of all the bones in the body). For many people, feet are a low priority when it comes to the care and attention we give our bodies. And yet, they are our connection to the Earth.  They are our foundation.  All it takes is an irritation on the tiniest toe to give discomfort to our total being.

The herbs are heated in water that you then soak your feet in for 20-30minutes daily.  The warmth activates the herbs to increase blood circulation in your feet and up your legs.  The herbs in the formula also help to eliminate dampness and phlegm.

So if you have been suffering from cold feet, neuropathy, arthritic pain or any of many foot conditions, regular foot soak therapy will reduce these problems.  Because the feet have so many nerves and connections to the rest of the body, regular foot soaks have also reduced knee, hip, and low back pain, and, perhaps surprisingly, upper body pain as well.  Because they help increase circulation, they have also been useful in eliminating many gynecological problems.

This is not the same as soaking your feet in Epsom salts (which can be great) or detoxing with ionic foot baths.  Our soaks are formulated by a longtime practitioner of Chinese medicine and do much more than other brands you might find on the internet.

The foot soak therapy in conjunction with herbs taken internally, dietary changes, meditation, rest, and other lifestyle considerations can be the best thing that you do for yourself and your hard working feet.

Do I have to be sick to get acupuncture? Can I use this medicine for wellness?

This medicine is based on strengthening the body to prevent illness, and historically has been used to prevent illness. Many people use Chinese medicine as part of their health maintenance plan. Some come in once a month, while others come in with each change of season.

How many times will I need to come in for treatments??

That depends on your ailment and your general health. Some people will respond to treatment more quickly than others. Our goal is to affect your body’s energy so that your body will begin to take over the healing process. At your initial visit, we will let you know how many times we recommend for you treatment plan. Near the end of a treatment plan, we will assess your progress and make changes in our plans if necessary.

What are your certifications?

Our acupuncturists have Master’s degrees in Oriental Medicine, are licensed by the State of Minnesota Medical Board, and are certified through the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

 


Thank you to Crocus Hill Oriental Medicine for joining The Collective, we are grateful for your vision, passion, knowledge and partnership. Please reach out to them for more information or to schedule an appointment!


Cheers & Be Well,

Heather Sloan initials

Heather Sloan

Heather Sloan
Founder & CEO,          The Alt Care Collective

 

 

 

 

 

“A healthy life means a happy life, a happy life means a healthy life.”

~Melanie M. Koulouris

 

HWH #2: This weeks round up- CBD, The Game Changers, and EFT

The Alt Care Collective is a lifestyle brand started with the philosophy that we can all be healthier, happier, more vibrant and productive given the right tools and resources. And that’s the goal of my weekly HWH post- to share whatever I have learned throughout the week so that maybe in some way it will be helpful to you as well. It could be a workout, a product, a service, something cool I saw online, a new supplement I am trying, a fabulous meal I had or recipe I tried. HWH is the weekly round up of anything that influenced my well-being this week that I thought was worth sharing.

CBD for Pets.

I have three adorable pets- my cat that was a stray in the woods 20 years ago, and two dogs from rescue groups- one that is getting to be a senior. I stopped into The Healthy Place in Middleton, WI to see what they had for pets and walked out with some CBD oil as a trial for my very old and probably a little achy cat and to see if it would chill out my two high anxiety dogs.

The staff was super friendly and helpful- shout out to Ross for his awesome customer service. He recommended trying Wild Theory full spectrum cannabinoid for pets. I liked that they were a local company based out of Verona, WI so took his advice and brought some home.

We have not been consistent with the dosing yet (goal for next week)- but I do think it is making a difference for my elderly cat so I will see how it goes next week.  The dogs I did not notice so much of an effect with, but in fairness they have not been given it regularly and I don’t think I gave them enough because I wanted to err on the side of caution.

The other cool thing is they make it in bacon flavor for the pets! I got the original flavor and they don’t seem to mind it, but if it works, I will get bacon next time.

The Game Changers

It’s winter in WI, so that means more inside time, which means more Netflix. If you haven’t seen The Game Changers, I highly recommend putting it on your watch list if you are interested in improving athletic performance, creating longevity, nutritional science, or just like an interesting documentary.

Presented by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, Lewis Hamilton, Novak Djokovic and Chris Paul — it is a revolutionary new film about meat, protein and strength. Whether you are for, against, or just curious about a plant based diet, the science presented in the documentary is interesting and the interviews with elite level athletes are engaging.

In addition to the movie, the website is filled with information and resources on how to start a plant based meal lifestyle including a newsletter with tips and recipes and more and is definitely worth checking out whether you are already plant based or are considering going to a more plant based diet.

EFT

I visited my acupuncturist this week and we were discussing anxiety, fear, and the big emotions that surround significant changes in our life’s and she suggested that I should check out Nick Ortner : The Tapping Solution. I had seen tapping in the Netflix documentary Heal (another must watch!) and thought it looked interesting and powerful, but just hadn’t taken the time to learn more, so I guess now is the time! I feel like it is going to be extremely helpful to me and looking forward to experiencing it.

EFT or Emotional Freedom Techniques is a form of counseling intervention that draws on various theories of alternative medicine including acupuncture, neuro-linguistic programming, energy medicine, and Thought Field Therapy. There are some further explanations of the value of EFT under the research section on his website from a host of well known medical professionals.

Nick’s website is filled with information- there are books, programs, DVD’s, a blog, meditations and more- it’s a little overwhelming honestly. My acupuncturist had suggested starting with the movie and the book for the basics, so I think I will take that advice and then expand from there into all the other resources available.

There are also EFT practitioners that you can go see if you prefer not to DIY it, and there is certainly value in having someone walk you through this technique whether because you are new to it, or because you are dealing with very significant therapy issues that would benefit from having a professional involved.


I hope you enjoyed this edition of HWH and that each week there is some kernel of goodness and usefulness in it for you!  Be sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Instagram to stay connected.


Cheers & Be Well,

Heather Sloan initials

Heather Sloan

Heather Sloan
Founder & CEO,          The Alt Care Collective

 

 

 

 

 

“Health is a state of body. Wellness is a state of being.” ~J. Stanford

 

HWH #2: This weeks round up- goop, KIN Euphorics, vegan BCAA’s

The Alt Care Collective is a lifestyle brand started with the philosophy that we can all be healthier, happier, more vibrant and productive given the right tools and resources. And that’s the goal of my weekly HWH post- to share whatever I have learned throughout the week so that maybe in some way it will be helpful to you as well. It could be a workout, a product, a service, something cool I saw online, a new supplement I am trying, a fabulous meal I had or recipe I tried. HWH is the weekly round up of anything that influenced my well-being this week that I thought was worth sharing.

The goop Lab Docuseries on Netflix.

If you are not familiar with goop– it’s Gwyneth Paltrows lifestyle brand that she started in 2008 which has always been focused on wellness and alternative wellness and health ideas. This has now expanded to a docuseries which is  described on their website as:

” It’s goop HQ’s worst-kept secret: Gwyneth is both our CEO and our bravest guinea pig. That open-minded ethos is adopted by staffers, too—if you’ve watched The goop Lab on Netflix, then you get it. We love being vulnerable and asking difficult questions and trying new things. It’s our job.”

If you haven’t seen it, go binge watch it tonight or this weekend. There are six episodes, each one focused on a different aspect of wellness. Do not watch this with the kids though- it is definitely for mature audiences only. The six episodes cover psychedelic psychotherapy, Wim Hof (the Ice Man) and his cold immersion and breathing techniques, female pleasure with sex educator Betty Dodson, biological age and wellness, energy field healing with John Amarel, and psychic abilities with Laura Lynne Jackson

Anyone interested in alternative care and natural/ holistic therapies and modalities should find this whole series pretty interesting. Is it pure science? Definitely not. There are scientists and professionals that are consulted and featured, but at it’s heart it’s Gwyneth and her employees testing things out and sharing their experiences and results. All in all, if nothing else, it is certainly conversation provoking and the topics are interesting and relevant.

Kin Euphorics

More than just a non-alcoholic alternative,  Kin Euphorics are crafted for “conscious connection” and made with balancing adaptogens, replenishing nootropics, and nourishing botanics. Touted as “All bliss, no booze”, they create a drinking alternative that nourishes mind, body and soul while socializing without the after-effects of drinking.

There are 3 options to choose from (descriptions are pulled from the website) and recipes are available on their site as well:

High Rhode: Put the soul back in social. High Rhode is an herbaceous euphoric with a tart, floral finish that is meant to be mixed. Sip for a new take on nightlife.

Kin Spritz: Just grab and flow. Kin Spritz is a sparkling euphoric pre-mixed with fresh citrus, hibiscus, and ginger. We did the work, so you can bring the party with you.

Dream Light: Make sleep a celebration. Dream Light is an earthy, smoky, smoothly spiced euphoric. Sip to close the night, drift to your deepest dreams, and rise ready for the day ahead.

If you are unfamiliar with euphorics (I was), this is the download on what they are and how they work according to their website:

“Euphorics feel different for everyone. For some, it’s a mind-easing calm. For others, it’s an uplifting joy. You are just as much of an ingredient as the ones inside the can. Here’s why: adaptogens adapt to your body. Like a thermostat, they turn us up or calm us down depending on what we need to rebalance. So while you may feel an urge to get up and dance at a lively party, a friend at an intimate dinner may be more inclined to sink into deep conversation. Your unique neurochemistry and hormones — along with sleep quality and stress levels — all have an effect on how euphorics affect you.”

They also have an advisory warning that says:

“Do not consume if you are under 18. Do not consume if you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or may become pregnant; have a medical condition, including but not limited to GI disorders heart disease, or hypertension; taking any medication including but not limited to Coumadin, antidepressants, MAO inhibitors or SSRIs. Do not consume with alcohol. May cause drowsiness, so do not consume when driving or operating heavy equipment. Use only as directed: start with a single serving and increase slowly to determine the amount that works for you. Do not consume more than 4 servings in 24 hours. Keep out of reach of children. Discontinue use immediately if you feel any unwanted effects.”

So that said…. this should be interesting. I tend to be a person who has the opposite effect of whatever I take is supposed to give me. I decided to order the Spritz because it comes in four little cans and seemed to make the most sense for a test run. I will check in next week and let you know how my euphoric experience went!

Vegan BCAA’s

BCAA’s have long been a pre/during/post workout staple for bodybuilders, cross-fitters, triathletes and other intense sport folks to help with muscle soreness, endurance, and muscle protection and building.The problem for vegans has been that are typically made up of human hair, duck feathers and animal skin/ hair. (GROSS!)

Not Clean Machine BCAA’s. They are made from 100% Fermented Non-GMO corn, sunflower seeds and coconut water and are naturally flavored, colored, and sweetened and I would highly recommend you try them.

Having just been cleared to get back in the gym and lift after a two year hiatus, I am drinking these left and right to help with muscle recovery and repair and fat loss. I haven’t tried the Lemonade, but will next time I order. The Fruit Punch flavor reminds me of the Kool-Aid Fruit Punch in a packet that I drank as a kid.

Sometimes I will mix it with a packet of Emergen-C and I usually add a dropper full of RAE Hydration too. Whether that impacts the effectiveness I am not sure, but if you read the post about my dump shake then you already know I am all for function and will add everything I can to get in all the goods at one time.


I hope you enjoyed this edition of HWH and that each week there is some kernel of goodness and usefulness in it for you!  Be sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Instagram to stay connected.


Cheers & Be Well,

Heather Sloan initials

Heather Sloan

Heather Sloan
Founder & CEO,          The Alt Care Collective

 

 

 

 

“The greatest medicine of all is to teach people how not to need it.”

~Unknown

The reason you became involved in health & wellness was to help people- and that is our mission too, but we need you to achieve it.

The more providers and merchants we have in our network, the more knowledge we have to share and the bigger the impact we can have on helping people live their healthiest lives. Our primary goal is to be a source of information about alternative, natural, holistic, and complementary health and wellness care for employees and employers that join our plan.

The more diverse our network, the more opportunities we have as a community to make a significant impact creating awareness and participation in the industry of holistic, natural, alternative and complimentary care modalities and products. The vision is to give providers an opportunity to connect, educate and engage people to experience their services or products in a very direct and targeted way through our innovative and unique lifestyle oriented employee discount program.

1. Create Brand Awareness

Whether you are a national or local brand,  brand awareness is vital because if someone doesn’t know you exist, they are not going to buy from you. Our network allows you to reach thousands of potential new customers who will tell other people about you as well, so you gain both internal and external reach.

For national brands our network expands exposure across the US through both single site and employers with multiple locations. For online retail companies this is a great way to very easily and affordably promote your products and services. By simply setting up a coupon code dedicated to our network and utilizing our social media, blog, newsletter, and provider directory listing you are able to create and change offers as often as you would like.

For local brands, you have all the same brand awareness opportunities, but they are scaled to your demographic area. We are aligning providers by markets and are currently building out our Twin Cities (Minneapolis/ St. Paul) and Madison markets. As we expand we will continue to coordinate providers and employers by specific location.

2. Educate.

There are so many alternative health and wellness tools and resources available to people, but many don’t even know they exist. And that is where the opportunity to reach people directly and educate them is so important to both your business and industry. In order to grow both, people need to be aware of what is out there and how it can help them and what problems it can solve for them.

By joining our network you gain access to employers and employees directly without having to reach out to each of them yourself. You automatically gain an audience to give a presentation or demonstration to and enlighten them and educate them on your specific modality or product. It is highly encouraged that providers take advantage of this opportunity to connect via seminar/ webinar to build awareness and connection with potential customers which I will talk more about next.

Netflix has been a fabulous catalyst for getting alternative therapies into the mainstream. They have created and featured documentaries that are reaching people that would normally not be watching these including The Game Changers, Heal, The goop Lab and more (which if you haven’t watched I would recommend all of them). The Alt Care Collective has the same goal-  to reach people at employers that normally might not be aware of the breadth of services and products that our providers offer that can help them live their best life.

3. Build Connection and Market Your Services/ Products.

Our network builds connection with potential customers and among providers. Through the collective, providers are able to reach out to one another and form relationships and partnerships as business and industry co-creators and experts. The more we share and exchange information the better we all become.

With access to thousands of potential new customers in our network, you are able to market your business as much or as little as you would like to through our social media, blog, newsletter and directory listing tool. You are in control of your offer and able to choose what makes sense for your business. The only requirements are that it is a minimum discount of 25% and that it is exclusive to our network and not available to other customers.

By utilizing the opportunity to hold webinars or seminars you have the chance to inform, educate, answer questions, and promote your service/ product directly without having to advertise or promote the event. We take care of that for you through social media, the newsletter and our blog and serving as a liaison for you to contact the employer and make arrangements that work for both of you.

We are also planning to start a subscription box late spring/ summer that will go out quarterly to enrolled employees offering additional discounts, unique offers, and product samples which is another avenue for you to reach potential customers if you choose to participate.

Whether you are a service based provider or a local or online retailer, we give you the opportunity to reach a targeted new audience of potential customers that will only continue to grow as we expand and we hope you will join us on our mission to build a healthier, more productive, creative, and balanced workforce through our employee discount program.


Joining the network is completely free for providers and you can register online. You have nothing to lose and only new partnerships and customers to gain. We have created a variety of provider categories (check them out if you haven’t), but if you find that your business doesn’t quite fit any of them, we can create a custom category for you.

Our goal is to be a lifestyle resource and tool, so we want to have a robust variety of providers and products in order to offer as many tools as possible for employees to live their healthiest, happiest, most productive, fulfilling, and vibrant lives. 

I would love to talk to you if you have questions, suggestions, or would like to chat before you join. You can schedule a quick meeting with me on our website or just email me at heather@thealtcarecollective.com

 Cheers & Be Well, Live Well~

Heather Sloan initials

Heather Sloan

Heather Sloan
Founder & CEO,          The Alt Care Collective

 

 

 

 

“It’s not about how much you do, but how much love you put into what you do that counts.”

~Mother Teresa

Loving well counts.

Whether it is yourself, others, animals or the planet. When we love well, we live well. Our hearts are happier, our souls are at peace. What is loving well though? At it’s source it is being authentic, vulnerable, brave, kind, and passionate. Susan David gave a beautiful TED talk on the subject of  loving and living and emotional courage that is worth a watch. Loving well and living well are tied together. Here are three easy ways to love well  and live well everyday.

1. Be thoughtful.

I used to think I was a very thoughtful person. I would do nice things for people like make them things, bring them things, buy them things- most of the time nothing extravagant, just I would see something that reminded me of them or was something they could use of would enjoy and I would pick it up and give it to them. Often I would make them something little- a card, a note. And then I realized that the busier my life got the less and less I did these things and suddenly I was mostly on the receiving end, not the giving end. And it bothered me.

Was I any less thoughtful of a person? No, I was just a really busy person who barely had enough time to get the basic things I needed to get done everyday, much less make time to do extra things for other people. And I think that is a lot of us and a main reason why maybe we are not as thoughtful as we could be.

We are so busy. Thoughtfulness requires time and attention. Two key things many of us don’t have in this fast paced world we live in. Which is why we have to get mindful about thoughtfulness. We all want to be thoughtful and do nice things for other people and we certainly appreciate it when others do thoughtful things for us. And the beauty of thoughtfulness is that it is free. What we can give that is of the most value to someone else is ourselves.

So, try to find a few minutes to just text or call a friend or family member and catch up this week. We forget how important just reaching out to someone can be in showing we are thinking of them.

As parent’s it’s easy to tune out the kids clamoring for our attention or trying to tell us something. Try this bedtime ritual to connect with your little ones (or teenagers)- ask them these four questions and really listen to their answers and engage with them. We have done it with our kids and not only is it a peaceful, loving way to send them off to sleep, but I am always surprised by the answers and things I learn.

  1. What was your favorite part of your day?
  2. What was your least favorite part of your day?
  3. What did you learn today?
  4. Who were you kind to today?

And don’t forget to be thoughtful with yourself too. Do something nice for yourself each day that speaks to your soul. Whether it’s an affirmation, a walk, yoga, a workout, tea, reading- whatever connects you to your heart, incorporate it into your daily/ weekly routine. Life-longlearner.com has a great post on how to be a more thoughtful busy person in less than 10 minutes a day.  No matter how busy we are it’s no excuse, we can be more thoughtful if we are intentional about it.

2. Celebrate.

We all want to feel valued and loved and seen and heard. One of the easiest ways to love people well is to celebrate them. Not just on their birthday or holidays (although those are fantastic occasions to do so too), but for the little accomplishments and successes in everyday life. We all need a cheerleader, a biggest fan that’s there to celebrate with us and to keep us going when the going get’s tough. Psychology Today has a great article about 52 Ways to celebrate people.

A friend of mine sent me a quote the other day out of the blue and it made my day. I was struggling with feeling overwhelmed and rather unsuccessful, it said “Quick pep talk: Hello, you bad ass bitch. You’re killing it. Keep going.”. I wanted to hug her through the phone. It was perfectly timed and gave me that little bit of love, faith and inspiration I needed.

My sister is the queen of this. That woman knows how to celebrate people better than anyone I have ever met. There is not one person whether family, co-worker, friend or stranger that does not feel loved by her. She know’s your favorite drink, dessert, store, restaurant, meal, etc. and if you are long distance she will mail it to you, that’s how determined she is to make sure you know how much she loves you. She will email, call, text or send a card every time you succeed wonderfully or fail miserably in life. She will compliment strangers with such authenticity and love that it will bring a tear to their eye.

To be celebrated is to be honored, adored, cherished, and loved for who we are and we all deserve and need to be celebrated. Life’s hard. Love is what makes it easier.

3. Give.

Give your time, your energy, your talents, your money, your wisdom, your attention- give whatever you have to give to someone or something that needs it. To love well, we must give something of ourselves.

Whether you volunteer at or donate to a charity, you are giving love. When you hold the door or elevator, you are being polite, but you are also being loving. If you are a painter and you give someone one of your paintings, you are giving them love. When we think of love as a currency, as energy, we realize there are multiple opportunities every single day to love people well.  And we could all use more love.

We can love our family well by giving them our time and attention, by sharing knowledge and talents with our children to teach and empower them, and maybe by giving up some things- too much television, booze, work, etc and replacing them with things that nurture our bonds, relationships and love.

Giving to ourselves needs to be a priority. Loving well does not mean sacrificing our time, needs, or wants. We must keep our well full in order to have more to give to others, check out this blog on Tiny Buddha that talks about this in more detail. Love starts from within and to love another well we must love ourself well.


May your Valentines Day and everyday be filled with loving yourself, others, animals, and the planet well. 

Cheers- Be Well & LOVE Well

Heather Sloan initials

Heather Sloan

Heather Sloan
Founder & CEO,          The Alt Care Collective

 

 

 

 

 

“When you start taking better care of yourself you start feeling better, you start looking better, and you start to attract better. It all starts with you.” ~unknown

 

Welcome to the first edition of HWH: Healthy w/ Heather

The Alt Care Collective is a lifestyle brand started with the philosophy that we can all be healthier, happier, more vibrant and productive given the right tools and resources. And that’s the goal of my weekly HWH post- to share whatever I have learned throughout the week so that maybe in some way it will be helpful to you as well. It could be a workout, a product, a service, something cool I saw online, a new supplement I am trying, a fabulous meal I had or recipe I tried. HWH is the weekly round up of anything that influenced my well-being this week that I thought was worth sharing.

Step One Foods

So I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful referral from my primary care doctor to an amazing cardiologist- Dr. Elizabeth Klodas, founder of the Preventative Cardiology Clinic in Edina, MN and Step One Foods. I was born with heart issues and followed closely by my pediatric cardiologist until I was into my 20’s, so I am no stranger to a cardiology clinic. But, what I absolutely loved about her clinic and her approach, was that it is all about prevention through diet and exercise.

I am approaching 50 and both of my parents died in their 70’s of heart and vascular issues that were not caught when they were around my age, so prevention is high on my radar. With that in mind, I had a Coronary Calcium Scan done at U of M Heart Health Care and some very specific blood-work at my primary care clinic and took all of that to consult with Dr. Klodas.

We talked about food and how diet affects our body and our heart and she referenced the “Blue Zones” diet as being a proven model of success. The Blue Zones are areas that have the highest population of people that are living longer and living longer better than other areas of the world. Check out the website or book to learn more- it’s pretty fascinating and simple. At it’s heart it is living/eating close to the land, maintaining exercise and good social connections,  and not drinking too much or eating a lot of meat.

As part of her passion for prevention through diet,  she created Step One Foods, which are designed specifically with heart health in mind and created to help you improve your cholesterol. They contain the precise amounts of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, plant sterols, and antioxidants that have been extensively documented to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health.

I subscribed to the Step One Foods blog  and am finding it has lots of really good information focused on heart health diet and nutrition and would recommend it to anyone looking to learn a bit more about heart health and what you can do from a non- medicine, natural standpoint to improve it.

Vessel Care

This is a new supplement that I am trying that was recommended by my primary care doctor based on a family history of extreme vascular issues. It is made by Metagenics and is called Vessel Care/ Methyl Care. It is I checked with my acupuncturist to be sure it wouldn’t interact with any of the herbs I am taking, and have now added this to my arsenal starting yesterday. I will report back on this later and let you know my experience/ results.

What’s in that smoothie?!?

If you saw my Instagram post, then you already know- everything but the kitchen sink as the saying goes. I am notorious for not eating- not because I don’t love to eat (I do!), but because I get so busy and task focused that I just don’t take the time I should to make meals and sit and eat.

So, my solution is to be sure that everyday after I workout I make a “Junk/ Dump/ Kitchen Sink” smoothie so I know even if I fail at making time to eat or I don’t eat as healthy as I should for the day, I will have gotten in all my core supplements in one fell swoop. Is it a perfect answer? No, but reality is that it’s better than not getting any of it at all which is what would happen if I didn’t at least have my guaranteed once a day uber healthy shake.

So, what’s in it? Protein, greens, collagen, spirulina, vitamins, turmeric, BCAA’s, coconut milk and frozen fruit. It tastes better than it looks when you blend it all up and it turns to the color of swamp water. In fact, one of my co-workers had nicknamed it “Swampjuice” for just that reason and it stuck. I don’t make it for flavor, I make it for function so I just use whatever fruit is in the freezer which means it tastes different every time, but magically always looks about the same color of green. You can check out my Insta post to see what brands I am currently using.

It’s a great time saver and keeps me on some level of healthy everyday no matter how crazy the day may get, so it works for me. Maybe you already do the same thing too but with a different batch of goodies in it, or maybe it’s something you might want to add into your day. Either way, it makes for great conversation if you take it somewhere with you because inevitably someone will ask… “What is in that?!”

Sipping Vinegar

Lot’s of people take Apple Cider Vinegar for it’s health benefits, but Siren Shrub Co. has given Apple Cider Vinegar a whole new life as a cocktail or mocktail beverage of choice. I discovered them at a little artisan store in Wausau, WI where they were doing a sample tasting. It was not at all what I thought it would be- it was delicious and I left with two bottles- Basil and Tart Cherry. I have created all kinds of odd concoctions of my own with it, but they have some fabulous recipes on their website, so I would highly recommend trying one of them.

Hydration from the inside out

It’s winter in Wisconsin, which means dry, blah, pale skin just due to the weather. However about a few weeks ago I found a fabulous new indigestible hydration serum at Target to add to my arsenal to combat the winter skin doldrums- RAE Wellness Hydration formula. It’s great because the hyaluronic acid in it plumps and hydrates skin from the inside out with these mostly tasteless drops. I put it in my water, my smoothies, whatever drink I am having and its such an easy way to increase my skins hydration and glow. Bonus- it’s vegan and gluten free.

 


I hope you enjoyed the first edition of HWH and that each week there is some kernel of goodness in it for you! 


Cheers & Be Well,

Heather Sloan initials

Heather Sloan

Heather Sloan
Founder & CEO,          The Alt Care Collective