Tips for Better Digestion in the holiday season

Tips for Better Digestion in the holiday season

As we enter the Holiday season with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought I would give you some tips on how to get that abundance of food through your system the most efficient way possible. After all, outside of Fourth of July picnics, the Holiday’s are the biggest time of the year to eat to your content and pack on the pounds. First, try not to over-indulge on all of the tasty dishes that will tempt you. Second, if you do over-indulge, make sure it’s not two days in a row! Here are some tried and true tips for before, during, and after your meals.

Before Eating

Make sure you are in a festive mood and not all stressed out about buying gifts or what political affiliation your visiting relatives are from. Set the atmosphere to calm with a moment of silence or thankful comments. This will promote healthy digestive enzymes to start the meal off.

During the Meal

Initially, make sure you can see your plate in between the different types of food. Once you can’t see the plate, you have too much food on it. Make sure you chew your food well, don’t inhale your food. Remember the 20 minute rule - it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that you are full. Eat your food when it is close to room temperature. Too hot or too cold slows down digestion.

After the Meal

A short walk does wonders for digestion, but wait about 2 hours before hitting the gym. Rigorous exercise can interfere with digestion allowing the food to ferment in your stomach. Gravity and movement also help move the food through your intestines to aid digestion (see short walk above). Wait about 2 hours before catching some z’s and you will feel much better in the morning.

Remember to be conscious of what you are putting in your body. You only get one of them in a lifetime. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Victor Geraci is a certified health coach certified through IIN. Call for questions on getting your health back on track while keeping most of your current lifestyle.

What is wellness exactly?

What is wellness exactly?

I hear a lot of questions regarding what wellness is exactly. My quick answer is ‘Wellness is a measure of someone’s mental and physical health.’ I usually get a blank face, so I add this when I sense a need for a more concrete answer, ‘It comprises nearly every aspect of your life, measures and compares them with each other, and puts you at a certain ‘wellness’ level, which is arbitrary to every individual. Once you have a measure of the aspects in your life as a whole, aligned with how you feel, you have your very own wellness level.’ I will break it down further later, but here is a bit more explanation. You may be flying high in one aspect of your life, but in the dumps with another, thereby averaging out to just average. The goal is to reach a point where every aspect in your life is flying high, or at least above average (again, this is arbitrary to how you feel.) To get there it is important to make healthy choices for both your physical and mental well-being, because problems in one area can impact another, as your mental health and physical health are truly linked. This is not to say that wellness is the absence of stress or sickness, on the contrary, there are levels of wellness and you can always strive for a higher level working through the challenges that life throws at you.

Breaking down the aspects of life that make up wellness can make it a bit easier to understand. Each aspect is not finite, as every life is unique in their own way. Here I put together the main points of each aspect for you to interpret into your own life.

Physical

The physical aspect contains the need for physical activity, our sleeping habits, and the foods we eat. Physical activity is necessary for optimum wellness. A sedentary lifestyle bogs people down and allows toxins to accumulate both mentally and physically. By getting up and moving, we rid our bodies and minds of toxins and keep them clear of the cobwebs, so to speak. A minimum of 30 minutes of exercise is necessary to reach higher levels of wellness.

As we age, we get less sleep. In short, the chemical cues in the brain to sleep don’t diminish but the ability for the brain to recognize those cues diminish leading to less sleep. Today’s thoughts on aging is directly related to lack of sleep. My thought process is if you aren’t getting the necessary sleep over night, take those catnaps in the afternoon when you start dozing at your computer or in an early afternoon meeting. An hour will do you good!

Eat healthy foods that are tasty to you. It’s as easy as that. If you eat healthy foods that you don’t like, you aren’t helping your wellness because your mental health is being affected.

Intellectual

Challenging the mind is imperative for mental health. Finding new ways to expand your knowledge, build new skills, and knowing your own creative abilities will create homeostasis in your mind, leading to a higher level of wellness.

Occupational

Just like knowing your own creative abilities on the intellectual portion, getting personal satisfaction and at least liking what you do for a living is a big part of wellness. So many times you hear your friends or family complaining about their work and co-workers, saying how much they hate their job, yet they don’t do anything about it. As long as they stay in those situations their wellness balance will always be low. If this is you, sit down with yourself and go over options you have available in your life and start making changes that will get you into a more happy place. Your wellness depends on it.

Financial

Occupational satisfaction doesn’t always lead to financial satisfaction, only you can create a lifestyle that is comfortable for you. Live within your means and avoid going into debt, outside of a house mortgage or car payment that is well in your means. Once you get established in a job, find a reputable financial adviser, one that understands your wants and needs, not one that just wants to get your commission money and move on.

Emotional

How do you take what life throws at you? Do you have non-toxic relationships or do you get bogged down with people that wreak havoc on your life? By keeping an even keel and not over-reacting about every little thing you will be able to cope with the curve balls of life. The biggest thing to remember as you traverse your life’s road is that everyone is going through roughly the same stuff you are going through. My mantra to every interaction is “always assume positive intent” - don’t think everyone is out to get you. Use common sense and your own intuition and your emotional life will be grand!

Environment

Your environment nearly always has a bearing on your emotional state. Keep it pleasant, clean, and stimulating to ensure a healthy, mentally and physically, well-being.

Social

This goes way beyond your Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram friends, although in a recent poll of millennial’s, they would rather chat or text rather than actually speak to their friends. That aside, developing a support system with real connections and a sense of belonging will keep your mental wellness in good shape, and your physical wellness will benefit also by interacting via sports, dancing, even shopping! Being social in the right environments can help diminish depression, too. Sometimes you just have to put yourself out there and be noticed to build new relationships. Give it a try!

Spiritual

Some people equate spirituality with religion. Yes, one definition of spiritual is ‘relating to religion’, however, another definition is ‘relating to the human spirit or soul’. You don’t have to believe in a supreme being to believe humans have souls. Spirituality is really about finding what your sense of purpose is, the meaning of life, without earthly possessions or material things. to have true wellness, you can not overlook your spirituality and what it means to you.

Wellness defined

All of these aspects of life are equal to our food intake. When our lives are balanced we are fed in more ways than just with food. Strive to rid your life of toxins in every shape and form and you will be rewarded with a higher level of wellness that will enhance your life and give you more life in your life.

Victor Geraci is a Certified Health Coach. Contact Milano Day Spa for a free consultation and more information on his wellness program.

Getting Regular Manicures and Pedicures Reap Great Benefits

Getting Regular Manicures and Pedicures Reap Great Benefits

Other than having an incredibly relaxing and re-energizing experience, mani's and pedi's have wonderful health benefits for you, too.  Making these treatments a regular part of your routine will keep you even keeled while looking and feeling your best!

Here are four benefits of manicures and pedicures:

Increase blood circulation

During any manicure or pedicure, you receive a relaxing massage of the hands and feet. This helps to improve blood circulation and improves mobility of the joints along with reducing swelling of the lower extremities.

Improve the health of your nails

With regular manicures and pedicures, the chances of your nails developing fungi and other infections are reduced. Our hands are exposed to a lot of elements and products on a daily basis. It’s a good idea to have a deep cleaning so the dead skin cells on your hands can be removed, encouraging new cell growth and leaving your nails healthier and stronger. 

Stress Relief

We all know that body massages are a great way to relax and rejuvenate your muscles and nerves, but research has shown that as little as 5 minutes of a hand and foot massage is all it takes to relieve stress considerably.  Manicures and pedicures are a great way to relax while improving the look and feel of your hands and feet. If you’re feeling stressed, some of us tend to pick at our cuticles, leaving them dry, cracked and bleeding. Plus, having great looking nails can always help to put a smile on your face, making stress levels decrease. 

Keeps hands and feet smooth and soft

With summer almost here your hands and feet will be prone to sunburn. chlorine, and concrete.  Regular treatments will keep them protected from the harshness of summer.  On the other hand, Chicago winters are harsh and drag on way too long.  Schedule regular manicures and pedicures to help keep your skin and nails smooth and soft as winter goes nowhere for quite some time. Dryness and cracked skin can possibly lead to painful sores and potential scars.  We are always here to help!

Our nail technicians have over 30 years of combined experience, taking the utmost care of every client.  Come give Milano a try with nails, you won't regret it.  For a limited time, first time nail clients can take 10% off of their nail visit, just by mentioning this blog.

DIY Spring Body Scrub Recipe – Coconut Lime

DIY Spring Body Scrub Recipe – Coconut Lime

It may not feel like Spring but we can certainly take time to create something that will make our skin feel smooth and renewed!

Here is a spring body scrub recipe you can have fun with creating at home.  The scent will make you smile and your skin will feel amazing.  The sugar gently exfoliates (and sweetens!) while the coconut oil ultra-moisturizes.  The citrus of the lime will help invigorate and energize, making it a perfect morning shower scrub!  Enjoy!


Ingredients

-1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil, melted

-1 1/2 cups organic white sugar

-10 drops Young Living Lime essential oil

-Lime zest from 1/2 fresh lime

-Juice from ½ fresh lime

Directions

1) Combine all the ingredients and mix well

2) Spoon into glass jar and sprinkle  zest on top

3) Give it a try and let us know what you think.

* Use within 5 days recommended or refrigerate.

Looking for therapeutic grade Lime oil for this recipe, check out this link… Lime oil

Healthy Holiday Hoovering!

Healthy Holiday Hoovering!

To 'Hoover' during the Holidays means to eat fast and a lot by sucking up the food on your plate, usually without the use of utensils.  We all do it, it's justifiable - most of the snacks and desserts are SO good, and it's only once a year, right?  Unfortunately, this behavior perpetuates the need for the most popular new years resolutions - to eat better, to lose weight, and to cut out 'bad' foods. all of which are such cliches in any time.  Here is how I have changed my holiday habits for the better in this ever increasing tasty season.

Take Inventory of all the Food on the Trough Table

Scan the spread before you make the entire spread part of you.  Pick up to three of your favorites and one that looks good but you've never tried.  Grab one of the tiniest plates available (if there are only dinner plate size, ask the host for a smaller one, they won't mind) and put the four foods using only one-quarter of the plate for each.  Please use a utensil to eat.  Do the full chew and swallow before taking another bite, even if standing you can put your fork down in between bites.  Bottom line - take your time and enjoy the food, not just the filling of the belly!

Choose your drinks well

It is true that some party drinks are more fattening than deep-fried-bacon-wrapped-cheese-curds.  Knowing what is in your favorite mixed drinks can blow up your reality, but it's better to know than not.  Case in point, changing to a Gin and Tonic to save calories from a non-light beer sounds like a good idea, I mean how many calories can be in G&T, right?  Well, an 8 oz. gin and tonic contains about 200 calories, mainly due to the tonic containing high fructose corn syrup.  Compare that to my second go to beer, Blue Moon, which contains only 171 calories per 12 oz (my first is Guinness containing only 125 calories per 12 oz.).  Swap out the tonic for club soda, which has zero calories, and you are only taking in about 64 calories!  Add an extra lime and you'll never know the difference. 

Here's a calorie list of some popular Holiday and go to drinks, per 8 oz.:

  • Spiked Egg Nog - 425 calories
  • Cosmopolitan - 400 calories
  • Hot Buttered Rum - 335 calories
  • White Russian - 700 calories
  • Skinnygirl Margarita - 200 calories
  • Plain hot chocolate -190 calories

Now for some good news

  • Old Fashioned - 180 calories
  • Moscow Mule - 140 calories
  • Mojito - 150 calories
  • Gimlet - 178 calories
  • Champagne - 180 calories

Of course, enjoy in moderation.  Slip in a few soda waters with a lime twist after one or two drinks, no one will be the wiser and you will be able to wake up easier the next day, not to mention the lower calorie intake.

KEEP UP YOUR WORKOUTS

Just because it's the holidays doesn't mean you can take a break from getting your exercise.  In this season you should actually be doing more exercise, at the very least step up the intensity of your sessions if you are going to cut down.  If you do really get strapped for time, or just get the lazy's, follow this routine that will hit most of your muscles in a relatively short amount of time.  (Consult with your doctor if you are new to exercise before starting this plan.)

Holiday Speed Workout

Two minute warm-up - jumping jacks, bike, treadmill, something to get the heart going and warm up your muscles.

All of the exercises you will do for 40 seconds with a 20 second break in between.

  • Push-ups
  • Dumb-bell curls (bi-cepts)
  • Upright rows (Shoulders)
    • Repeat the above three
  • Plank on elbows and toes
  • Any tri-cept exercise - dips, bent over extensions, over head extensions
  • Crunches
    • Repeat the above three.

You're done in 15 minutes and you will most likely break a sweat.

Whatever you do to keep somewhat of a healthy lifestyle through the holidays, just keep in mind to enjoy friends, family, and the joy of the season itself.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

Victor is a certified health coach, call for a consultation to help you get through the holidays with a custom plan.

 

Improve Your Overall Wellness with Massage

Improve Your Overall Wellness with Massage

It seems these days that if you don't have stress in your life you're not considered 'normal'.  For most of us, stress is the norm in our daily lives but not a lot of us take advantage of one of the best stress-reducing treatments known to man - massage.  Sure, there's yoga, vacation, exercise, comedy clubs, and long walks, but nothing compares to the muscle and mind 'de-tightening' of a hands on massage.

Massage provides us with many health benefits, not to mention just how damn good they feel. Here is a list of how massage changes your body and reasons why you need to make massage a habit in your wellness routine.

1. Relaxes Muscular Tension Caused by Stress

Do you have stiff legs?  Aching muscles?  Stress leads to muscular tension and massage can free your muscles from it’s tensed state.  A massage therapist will knead away those aching muscles, headaches or back pains.

The Annals of Internal Medicine published a study in 2011 concluding that getting a massage can be extremely effective in managing chronic back pain.

A good massage therapist will have a plethora of techniques to help bring muscles back to their natural state and with regular massages, they will stay in that state for longer periods of time.

2. Improves Your Body’s Flexibility

In the world of sports, massage is mandatory.  By manipulating the muscles, massage therapy actually improves your flexibility, which in turn increases your agility, something necessary to be a top performer.

Whether you are an athlete, a weekend warrior, a busy business owner, or a teacher, you should have a massage appointment on your calendar at least once every month.  

3. Improves Blood Circulation

Shoulder pain and neck tightness is common in this age of desk jobs working on a computer all day.  With limited movement, less stretching, less walking, your blood circulation takes a hit which can cause a plethora of other abnormalities - slow digestion, lowered immune system, muscle atrophy, among others.

You can help get your circulation back on track by integrating a regular massage into your routine to counteract that “sitting” energy. According to Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Center, exercise is great but a massage for your body is just as beneficial in stimulating blood flow which helps keep your digestive and immune functions going smoothly.

4. Better, More Sound Sleep

When your blood circulation improves, you feel calmer and more relaxed – as if you have just been rejuvenated.  You can’t help but have a better perspective.

When your mind is clear after a good massage, you’ll indulge in long and deep sleep. Even infants who have no worries in the world sleep better and longer when massaged correctly, according to a study from the University of Warwick.

5. Depression and Anxiety Diffuser

Hippocrates defined a massage as the “art of touching” because human touch can change lives or it can simply be relaxing.  

Some cancer patients get regular massage therapy as part of their treatment and the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry disclosed that a 30 minute back massage given daily for a 5 day period to 52 hospitalized depressed and adjustment disorder children and adolescents, reduced stress levels. When happy hormones are induced and neuromuscular pathways are calmed, anxiety and depression are significantly reduced.

6. Gives your Immunity a Boost

According to the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, people who get regular massages have better immune functions based on a study in 2010 conducted among HIV patients.

When you are stressed you are more prone to viruses and diseases. Help keep your body’s defenses up and running and treat yourself to a relaxing massage which can help reduce the level of stress hormones floating around your bloodstream.

7. Soothes Headaches

Instinct will tell you to rub or apply pressure on an aching part of your body or head to relieve the pain so next time you get struck by a terrible headache you can self-massage or someone can do it for you, either a loved one or a professional.  

8. Get that Skin Glowing

As blood circulation dramatically improves by simply massage your face or body so will your pale skin. Get that natural glow from the inside and save your skin from the harsh effects of stress!

9. Connect with yourself

Anxiety and depression are becoming more commonplace in the world today.  With so many gadgets that remove people from social interaction, there is a rise in people that are simply detached from the world, even themselves.

Did you know that regular trips to a massage therapist can get you into the zen zone? That zone of relaxation and solitude where your worries are being kneaded away?  Massage can help you 'feel' yourself again

We live in stressful times.  A massage will remove much of that stress in the short term.  By having regular massages you will become stress free for longer periods of time.  Start a regular massage routine and find out for yourself.

If you have never had a massage from us, come in for our 'First Timers' special of $55 for a one hour Swedish massage.  You won't regret it.

Right to the point on Acupuncture

Right to the point on Acupuncture

The first time I had acupuncture, I had strained my hip doing something dumb which lead to a hobbling stage of my life I never want to revisit.  I did stretching, rolling, pain meds for two weeks and still could barely walk.  Never having acupuncture, it didn't dawn on me to even try it, even with having an acupuncturist at my disposal!  You can say I had a moderate fear of needles, getting shots or having blood taken wigs me out enough to cause some anxiety, but I never openly cried. 

So, laying on my side, ready to get pricked by who knew how many needles, I took some deep breaths and braced for the pain.  But the pain never came.  Before I knew it I had 12 needles in and around my hip, my leg, and my foot.  I laid there for about 30 minutes, in total relaxation mode mind you, before the needles were removed.  They didn't hurt coming out either!  I was told to lay there a few more minutes as the clearing of the Qi (pronounced "chee") could cause a light headed state.  I got up slowly feeling a little light headed, but I was more excited about running down the hall and jumping around as the pain should be gone!  Well, It wasn't.  It was lessened, yes, but still hurt to walk enough to revert me back to the hobbled walking state. 

I went home and contemplated how long I would be laid up after my replacement hip was installed, dreading the next 8 months of my life.  I propped up some pillows and fell asleep.  Waking up the next morning, mad that I knew I still couldn't work out, feeling the roll on my belly getting a bit more pronounced, I got out of bed and walked to the bathroom.  Still a bit groggy, I didn't even notice that I got there hobbling but my hip pain was COMPLETELY GONE!!  I mean, I kept walking around, down the stairs, up the stairs, waiting for some pain to return, but it never did.  I was in complete awe that the treatment worked. 

Speaking with my acupuncturist, she stated that the Qi clearing happens differently for everyone and is dependent on the severity of the condition.

Acupuncture dates back to at least 100 B.C., which is when an organized system of diagnosis and treatment using needles was first described in writing in China. However, the practice likely precedes this written history, according to Dr. Edzard Ernst, a research physician specializing in the study of complementary and alternative medicine. 

Kylie Study, an acupuncturist and traditional Chinese medicine practitioner at Beaumont Hospital, agrees that current research shows that acupuncture probably excites the biochemical responses in the human body via the nerves. Acupuncture itself doesn't directly release feel-good chemicals that can aid in inflammation, stress, and so forth, according to Study, but it works higher up the chain such as affecting the pituitary gland to produce the extra hormones.

The proof is simply that it does work, as attested by many other people than me!

Acupuncture can be used to treat a multitude of conditions:

  • Pain
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Stress/Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • High blood pressure
  • Migraines
  • Digestive issues
  • PMS
  • IBS
  • Stop smoking
  • and many more

Come in for a free consultation to see if acupuncture is right for you.

Fall Skin Care

Comment

Fall Skin Care

With Fall around the corner, here are a few things to help prep your skin and get you ready for the changing season. After all, we want to keep you feeling upbeat and beautiful!

1) Use a good moisturizer or oil. 

The change in the weather and humidity (or lack there of) can leave the skin feeling dry.  Keep the skin hydrated with a heavier moisturizer or even a facial oil, such as olive, primrose, or jojoba.  Infuse them with essential oils, such as Frankincense or Lavender for added youthful benefits.

2) Try a DIY mask. 

It's fun to be creative and transform your skin with your own mask.  Here's an easy idea with hydrating results.  Just mix 1 mashed avocado, 1 Tbsp honey, 1 Tbsp. olive oil and leave on the skin for 15 min. Remove with warm water and moisturize.

3)  Treat your feet. 

Your feet take a beating during the summer months, so if they are feeling rough and dry, rejuvenate them with a festive fall pedicure.  Use a good moisturizer and cuticle oil overnight to keep them moisturized and refreshed.

4) Try on a new nail shade. 

Say goodbye to summer lights and brights and say hello to purples, burgundy, reds, and even dark blues, greens and smokey neutrals.

5) Surround yourself with the scents of the season. 

Trying diffusing a couple drops of Cardamom, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Ginger from Young Living essential oils and invite a refreshing atmosphere to your space and elevate your mood. Feel free to ask us about more festive fall combinations.  

6) P.S. Sunscreen is still in and should be worn year-round to protect you from the sun's damaging rays during the Fall and Winter.

7) Need some pampering after a busy summer?  Schedule an afternoon at Milano Day Spa and Wellness Center and we can help you with your post-summer skin transformation. 

Call 708.246.9200 to schedule an appointment.  

Comment

Welcome to our blog

Welcome to our blog

Hi everybody!  Michelle and I are dedicating this blog to all of the people that want health and wellness in their lives but were afraid to ask.  We will discuss everything from exercise to spiritual retreats - as long as the topic will add to the well-being of our readers, you will eventually find it here.  Other than us looking out for other people in any way we can, we are both certified health coaches, which is why we are so passionate about helping others in any way.  

We want to bring you on our quest of bettering our own health and wellness so some of what we do can hopefully help you in some way.  We hope that this will be as fun as it is educational.  Enjoy!