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MBC Blog
Stress Management + Berry Smoothie, Olivia Porter
Another week past, and what a beautiful week it was! It's been a busy few days in the office and our whole team has worked their fannies off- Go Team! In-between the deadlines, team meetings, and coffee breaks one can get a little worn out- even good weeks can include stressful moments. That's why I am so glad Olivia came in to share this wonderful recipe and let us in on some tips and tricks of fighting off stress in our daily lives. Words of wisdom never tasted so sweet!
 

Stress and What it does to our bodies: 

Im sure we’ve all heard at this point, that stress is bad for your health, but how many really know exactly HOW bad it is, and why? With the holidays coming up, I thought now would be a good time to discuss some of the far reaching effects of stress, as well as some ways to reduce it. This going to involve a little bit of science, as stress wreaks it’s havoc on the body through the endocrine system, which is our control center for hormone production. I have always been fascinated by the intricate and wide spread function of the endocrine system, ranging from adrenaline production, to mood stability, to metabolic rate, and much more.

Let me first start with a quick explanation of the nervous system. It has two divisions: the sympathetic, and the parasympathetic. The parasympathetic is our involuntary nervous system, which controls functions like the heart beating, digestion, bold flow, etc. This is the state we are in when our body is at rest, and we don't have to think about the functions it performs.

The sympathetic nervous system is the exact opposite. It’s in charge of our “fight or flight” response, which is notified when we perceive a threat. It releases adrenaline and cortisol, heightening our senses, and basically putting us in survival mode. We can see, feel, and hear better,as well as experience an increase in strength and cardiovascular endurance. This is a very good thing, when the situation calls for it, but can be a bad thing, when it is prolonged over periods of time. Unfortunately, many of us tend to live in a mild version of “fight or flight”, mode, due to the fast paced and demanding lives we lead. The reason this is a problem, is because when our bodies feel stress, they increase cortisol production, as i mentioned before, which is supposed to enhance our ability to handle danger, but actually prevents our body from producing other hormones we need, such as testosterone, estrogen, dopamine, and many more.

Now you see why this spike in cortisol is ok for short periods of time, but wreaks havoc when it persists for days, weeks, or months on end. If we go for too long without producing the other hormones we need, it creates a domino effect on the other systems in the body. Living organisms are so complex and intricate, that every organ and hormone in the body is connected in some way, and when we damage one, it is only a matter of time before the rest follow.

If that wasn’t enough motivation to reduce stress, another side effect is stored fat. The reason for this, is that when the body thinks it’s under attack, one of it’s primal instincts is to hold on to nutrients, and store them for future energy, in case it doesn't get them again for a long time. Obviously this is not the case in today’s world, but our bodies don't know the difference between types of stress, they only know how to survive. Our ancestors lived in a completely different world than we do, where maybe they didn’t know when or where the next meal was coming from. Running away from a lion or bear, and then storing whatever food they ate, wasn’t a problem, especially because they would burn it off anyway.

So times have changed dramatically, yet our body’s tendencies remain the same through generations. What is the answer? Well, as much as I wish I held the secret to eliminating stress in everyday life, I don’t have a fool proof solution for you. I’m still learning new things everyday, and I will always have a long way to go. I do howeverspend lots of time researching, and have several ideas which can help to reduce stress, and restore peace and longevity to life. Here are a few of them:

  

  • Practice gratitude. Easy to do on good days, but not so easy on the bad ones right? Thats ok, choose to think about the things you have to be thankful for, even when you don’t feel it, and over time, you will notice little changes that add up!!
  • Find something that motivates you. Whether it’s a hobby, a person, a career opportunity, or planning for the future, believe me when I say that those who feel passionate about something are able to handle life’s little curve balls better than those who don’t.

  • Exercise!! Seriously. The best stress relief around. Under utilized and it’s free. So whatever you enjoy doing, just get your body moving, get that heart rate up, and try to tell me you don’t feel better afterwards!

  • Take some time for yourself. Each day, you should set aside an hour to do whatever it is that makes you feel at peace. Preferable something that helps you relax, like yoga, playing an instrument, reading, etc. But don't let me tell you what it has to be; you know what works best for you.

  • Surround yourself with positive people. Obviously this is not always in our control, but you can choose who you spend your free time with, so make sure it’s with people who lift you up, and are happy about life. Also remember, you have the ability to be that person for others as well, so even if you spend time with negative people, BE the positive energy in the room, and maybe you’ll be surprised at the effect it has on others.

  • Treat your body like a temple. Even if it doesn't feel like it, your body is an amazing thing. If you want it to feel strong, you have to take care of it. Increase nutrient rich, whole foods, especially proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Here are a few example of each:

  • -  Proteins: Chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, ground beef, cheese, yogurt (be sure to look for low sugar content), clean protein powder, etc. (Organic is best in all cases).

  • -  Fats: Avocado, nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, etc., seeds (flaxseeds, chia seeds, seseme seeds, sunflower, pumpkin, etc., coconut oil, and olive oil to name a few, again, go with organic if possible).

  • -  Carbohydrates: Sweet potatoes, yams, quinoa, brown rice, beans, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.

  • -  Herbs and spices like ginger, garlic, tumeric, cumin, curry, cilantro, basil, etc.
    Reduce the bad stuff :( This includes caffeine, alcohol, refined, processed, packaged foods, and most importantly, SUGAR!! Sugar has the worst effect on our stress response because it spikes blood sugar, (much like cortisol does), and then allows it to drop down, even lower than it was before, causing mood swings, irritability, fatigue, and fat storage.
    For additional support, there are many natural supplements you may find helpful. Some of these include: Eluthero root, ashwaghanda, licorice root, rhodiola, maca, and prickly ash bark, to name a few. All of these are plant roots, and can be used in the form of tea, capsules, tinctures, or sprays. You can also find blends with many of them all in one. Try looking under “adrenal support” in any health food store.

I know this was a lot of information, so feel free to contact me with any questions or for more ideas. In closing, I want to leave you with a recipe which is very nourishing and supportive for the nervous system.

 

1/2 cup Green Tea, chilled or room temp. (substitute Nettles Tea) 

1/2 cup Milk (coconut, almond, flax, or organic cows milk)

1/2 Medium Banana 

1/2 cup Blueberries 

1/2 tbsp Maca (add more if acclimated)

1/2 tsp Ginger Spice or fresh Ginger, grated

A dash of Celtic Sea Salt

1/2 tbsp Honey to sweeten (substitute Maple Syrup or Stevia)

 

Have a great weekend!
-Liv
Pumpkin Smoothie, with Olivia Porter
Bonjour! We here at MBC wish all of you wonderfuls a very happy week. Today we are happy to introduce to you a good friend of ours named Olivia Porter who will be sharing with us on the blog every now and then. Liv is a health guru who has made it her mission to share her knowledge of right living with those around her. The importance of health cannot be overstated so we are so excited to have her involved and feel privileged to learn more and more about living a healthy lifestyle. She will be sharing some of her favorite recipes that are all things nutritious and good. So with that, I'm turning it over to our favorite health nut! 
 
Hello All!
First of all, I would like to say how excited I am to be working with these amazing women, and to to be involved in their inspiring movement with the Mason Bar Company. I went to school for Holistic Nutrition in 2012, with the assumption that I would use my degree to work exclusively, with clients, one on one, as a nutrition consultant. However, throughout the process, I had the opportunity to do so much more, including teaching classes and workshops, learning about sustainable living, and now, to write for a blog, which allows me to reach so many more people than I ever expected. I discovered new passion in the area of health, which has shaped my belief system on what the word truly means. So I thought it would be fitting to hit on a few key topics, which I believe to cumulatively sum up what we as individuals need in order to thrive. True health encompasses the whole person: body, mind, and soul. So the conclusion I've come to, is that we must have three of the following things.
 Physical Health: This includes proper nutrition, fitness, balance, strength, and endurance. Our bodies have an amazing ability to heal, adapt, and grow, especially when taken care of properly. Think of it as preventative maintenance, because, while it may not seem like a priority now, I promise it will be as you get older. Its your future, so you decide how you want to spend it; healthy and active, or sick and tired. Ok I`ll be done with my rant for now!
Mental Health: This can be different for everyone, but I think its safe to say that most all people need to love, and be loved, unconditionally. Also to feel supported, passionate, capable, and motivated. Being able to accomplish goals, and share life with those you love, is what makes it worth living. This brings me to the third and most important point! Emotional health: This comes down to having faith that there is something more than this life. That there is some method to the madness of this world, and gives you a sense of purpose beyond grinding through each day just to survive. No matter how much we love them, people are just people, and will let us down at some point. Placing your trust solely in another person, is like asking to have your world turned upside down. However, believing in something more than this life, and in a Love that overcomes all, is what creates the passion to love each other in the same way, even though we know we aren't perfect.  Making it a goal to support health in each of these ways, and to share it with others everyday, is what drives my mission in this world. Most of my posts will be more practical and hands on, with daily ideas and tips for incorporating health into busy lifestyles. I just wanted to take this opportunity to explain my belief system. I hope it is helpful!! I also want to leave you with a great recipe for a seasonal smoothie which works perfectly in the mason jars, for easy transport!! I call it “Pumpkin Spice”, it is super easy to make, full of nutritional benefits, and tastes amazing!! Here is what you will need:
1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 frozen banana

1 cup organic milk (coconut milk or hemp milk can be substituted)!
.
1/2 cup plain organic yogurt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1or 2 packets of stevia

1 tbls. honey 

(Makes 2 servings)  
Nutrition Facts: Calories: 171, Carbohydrates: 25g., Fat: 2g., Protein: 13g.  

Enjoy!!!
  -Liv

// C O L D - B R E W //
Goodbye Spring, hello Summer! The days are growing longer and the California sun has finally shown it’s true colors- it is officially steaming hot! With that being said us girls at the warehouse are taking every possible precaution to beat the heat. Since coffee is one of our main food groups around here (but really) I thought it would be a good idea to try our hand at some cold brew. Could there be a better solution? I think not!
Through my many wanderings on our ever loved Instagram, I came across Seaworth Coffee Co.- an all natural, american made coffee company based in Costa Mesa, California. Each cold brew is hand-crafted, they use fair trade organic coffee beans, AND they repp the golden state. In short, we love them! Seaworth was kind enough to send us over a care package of their amazing product so that we could try it ourselves- I only have one word for you- SOLD!
Bobbi, Meg, and I selected our usual favorites to pair with Seaworth's Single Fin Sludge cold brew and the results were soooo yummy! We thought we would give you guys a few ideas if you need some cold brew inspiration so here are our top picks!
Bobbi's Choice (served in a wide 16oz)
- 6oz Seaworth Single Fin Sludge
- 6oz Unflavored Coconut Milk
- 1tsp. Sweet Beet (all natural locally made sweetener)
- Just a pinch of cinnamon
It was too amazing for words.
My pick: (served in 24oz)
- 8oz Seaworth Single Fin Sludge 
- 8oz Coconut Milk
- 1/2 oz Seaworth Coconut Simple Syrup
If you're looking for a punch of amazing flavor without the fuss of anything too sweet, this little recipe is the one for you.
Last but not least, Meg's Cold Brew: (served in regular mouth 16oz)
- 6oz Single Fin Sludge
- 6oz Coconut Milk
- 1tbsp. Raw Honey (locally made by Gold Country Honey Farms)
 Honey is always a good idea. Always.
All three of our brewskies were so so good. Seriously, we wished we had more to go around! A giant thank you to Seaworth Coffee Co. for obliging us with such an amazing cold brew. Be sure to check these guys out- they're going places!
"When there is no other solution- just choose coffee." -Yours truly
xo - Lis