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There’s more to Southern Sqweeze than just bottled, healthy juices. Read on for updates about the store, our recipes and the benefits of an all-natural, juice-friendly lifestyle.

WHY YOU NEED MORE PLANTS

Kelsey Vasileff

Why You Need More Plants

 

I’m sitting by an open window on this beautiful, sunny day and thinking to myself: life is great. But I’m also thinking about air purity.

The problem with Our Air

In the modern world, even “fresh” spring air brings nasty things along with it. Every day, we encounter trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, and ammonia, among others. They’re in soaps, air fresheners, perfumes, plastics, leather, paint, vehicle exhaust, household cleaning solutions, the list goes on. The possible side effects of long-term exposure to these chemicals include fatigue, dizziness, increased heart rate, headaches, and even depression. Seriously. Google it and then go read some labels if you dare.

The good news is, you do not have to move into a tree house in the wild, throw away your phone, and shun society in order to live in a home with clean(er) air. (Though, let’s be honest; that sounds awesome)

Nature’s Solution

Of course, when you encounter a problem, look to nature first. One of the reasons we stock Southern Sqweeze with plants—apart from the aesthetic benefit—is that these beautiful, living, breathing, plants clean our air.

They’re so good, in fact, that NASA recommends at least one plant for every 100 square feet of indoor space. And those folks got a robot to Mars. So...

Every room needs a plant. But what kind should you get?

Plant Choice

Personally, I love succulents. There is a wide array to choose from, each absolutely beautiful and great at filtering the air. But my favorite by far is the aloe vera plant.

Not only does this little beauty clear the air of formaldehyde and benzene, it also has medicinal powers. Get an aloe vera plant and you’ll become a magician to anyone with a cut or a burn. Just snap off one of the stems (one of the big ones at the bottom) and rub the cool gel from the inside all over the wound. It’ll soothe pain, kill bacteria, and reduce inflammation. It actually contains enzymes that can help our bodies heal faster.

They’re also fairly easy to care for. Brown thumbs rejoice!

I could go on and on about which plants filter what, and how you should go to a nursery near you immediately and buy all the plants. But here’s is a list of MVPs for you to check out on your own:

  • Dracaenas

  • Spider Plants

  • Golden Pothos

  • English Ivy

  • Rubber Plants

  • Chinese Evergreen

  • Peace Lily

There’s nothing like lush greenery in your home and office. Did I mention being around plants can lower stress and reduce depression and anxiety? Excuse me while I go hug my house plants in gratitude. Go invest in some beauty AND in your mental and physical health. For starters, you can just stop by a Southern Sqweeze. Our clean air is free!

What plants do you have in your home?  Let us know some of your favorites in the comments!

WHY TRY A PLANT-BASED DIET?

Kelsey Vasileff

WHY TRY A PLANT-BASED DIET?

Diets can be awful. I think we can all agree on that.

There’s nothing worse than constantly thinking about your food intake, obsessing over calories, and then beating yourself up when you inevitably slip and pound every donut in Chattanooga. Eventually you get the energy to try again, and around and around we go.

I like to think of food as a friend and ally, not an enemy. Hippocrates said to let food be our medicine, and that guy was definitely on to something. The kind of food we eat is vital. Food is always either helping or hurting us—either supporting or not supporting your body’s systems.

Who cares? You do!

When Food Works Against You

You know that feeling you get mid-afternoon? You’re sitting at your desk or teaching your class or playing with your kids, and suddenly you’re exhausted. Despite the walk you just took around the building, or the gallon of caffeine you just drank, the day is pretty much downhill from there.  

If you’ve ever felt that energy crash, or had that bloated after-lunch feeling, then you’ve experienced food working against you.  

The right kind of food helps us flush out illness, improve our mood, heal inflammation, boost energy, lose weight, regulate digestion, clear our minds, and sleep better! Pre-packaged and highly processed foods filled with chemicals and laden with sugar clog our system, thicken our blood, cause harmful and even chronic inflammation, cause mood swings, and a host of other uglies.

All this is why I’m on a plant-based diet. It’s also why you should consider trying it.

So what’s the big deal with plants anyway?

Plants are definitely the MVPs of food. First of all, they’re dense with nutrients. Often we get our nutrients all split up—calcium in milk and protein in meat for example. Not so with plant foods.  

Take kale for example! This leafy green packs a huge health punch: full of protein, vitamins A and C, sulfur, calcium, and omega-3s. Basically, you get the most nutrient bang for your buck.

A plant-based diet is just the most efficient way to give your body what it craves, a slightly alkaline (~7.4) environment that metabolically disables disease. It’s also been proven to prevent illness and severely lower the risk of cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders.

Stay Real, Form Habits

I’ve been on a plant-based diet for twenty years, and a key to getting out of the yo-yo diet cycle and seeing real, lasting change in your health is realistic expectations. If you expect yourself to never eat an ounce of bread or sugar again for the rest of your life, you’re dreamin’. Be honest with yourself, you may eventually slip up and start the whole diet cycle again.

But if you eat well 80% of the time and allow yourself the occasional indulgence—a glass of wine, a muffin, chocolate chocolate chocolate—then you’re more likely to stay on track and create sustainable habits. (Eating real food most of the time also better equips your body to handle those occasional treats.)

Put simply, the longer you eat real food, the more your body will crave it, the less it will crave “cheat” foods, and the better your body will feel.

Goodbye, Portion Control

Plant foods are not as calorie-dense as processed and high-fat foods. That means when your diet is rich with plant foods, there is no need for portion restriction! Yes, you read that right. No counting. No measuring. Just listening to your body and eating when you’re hungry, and however much you want.

With the nutrient density in plant foods, you’ll easily get higher

amounts of nearly every nutrient than someone on the more typical American diet of processed foods.

Eating more, building up your body, receiving more nutrients, and feeling better. Pretty great, right?

Also remember that eating a plant-based diet is good for the environment. It conserves water, reduces greenhouse gases, and reduces deforestation and desertification caused by animal agriculture. So do your body and your world a favor - go plant-based!  

Have you experienced a plant-based diet? We’d love to hear your perspective. Comment below!

Q&A With the Amazing Kelly Lewis

Kelsey Vasileff

Q&A With the Amazing Kelly Lewis

The Southern Sqweeze team is a huge part of what keeps me wanting to educate folks on healthy living and show them how great they can feel. To see the team’s passion for health and positive change, to recognize their kindness no matter what— is pretty amazing.

This is Kelly. Honestly she’s one of the most loving and generous people I’ve ever met. She makes it a point to get to know customers, remember their names, and help them find the juices and foods that are best for them and what they’re wanting. I wanted you to meet her, so here are her thoughts on juicing, cleansing, and health!

What drew you to work at Southern Sqweeze?

At Covenant College I majored in sociology because I love working with people. Not just surface-level interactions, but being involved in their life and well-being. After finishing college I was working at a great place, but it wasn't for me. My stress levels were high and the effect they had on my body were too much.

So, in the midst of hoping for something better, I had to ask myself some questions. What do I love? What do I never get bored of learning about? How can I love myself well and still help others in a meaningful way? All those questions led to the same answer: health. It’s such a broad word, but Southern Sqweeze was the first place that came to mind. I had already applied once before, but I was determined in my heart that working here would serve both my current desires and my long-term goals and dreams. Of course that’s what drew me to work here initially. My reasons for staying are too many and wonderful to count.

When did you start juicing?

I'd had some juices here and there, but I didn't truly start juicing until I came to work at Southern Sqweeze. Saying that seems crazy because now it's a major part of my lifestyle. Even being super health-conscious at a young age, juicing wasn't common or discussed in my environment and community. At age 22, juicing became a staple in my diet, and will continue to be for the rest of my life. What once was so new is now irreplaceable! I deem myself lucky to have learned about juicing at a younger age, which will allow me to share it with more people for so many years.

What's been your experience so far?

Thus far juicing has led to a lot of learning and self exploration. My experience has been nothing short of eye opening.

I've noticed that juicing has allowed me to drink certain foods I normally wouldn’t have eaten, therefore opening up opportunity to eat things I would have normally never touched. For example, instead of eating an apple and a salad, if I drink a juice of apple-celery-kale-and lemon, then I can also eat some kelp noodles (seaweed- yum!).

Of course I definitely had to learn a balance. At first I was a lover of all juices fruity and sweet. In my mind I knew a balanced diet consisted of more, so I had to make myself drink juices that didn't taste quite as good to me. I witnessed my taste buds changing over time. Now I crave green juices and only want fruit juices ~5% of the time. My body went from craving taste to craving nutrition.

How often do you do a cleanse?

I know people who do cleanses weekly, monthly, or about 3-4 times a year. For me, I found that shorter, more gentle cleanses worked with my body. There's no set date for me as to when I cleanse, it's about listening to my body and giving it what it needs, to the best of my listening ability. I'll do an afternoon cleanse, or a meal cleanse whenever it seems like my body is responding well.

Also, I do feel like I cleanse daily in a different way by eating a plant-based diet with an array of superfoods and herbs. Don't forget, cleansing the mind and soul is just as important as cleansing the body. Nothing is better than getting a good night sleep and drinking lots of water to prepare your body to cleanse itself.

What's that like?

I love cleansing as long as it is with care and intention. Having juice daily helps my body cleanse. I have replaced caffeinated beverages (yes, including coffee) with juice and that has made a huge impact!! Being "off" coffee is the most freeing experience. I wouldn't know that feeling if it weren't for my cleanse. My body has reacted well to juice, but I also need to listen to it to learn about what intensity it needs. Every person is a little different!

What do you say to people considering their first cleanse?

I would ask them what motivated them to try it. Drive and dedication to health are important when it comes to cleansing, especially in our culture. I recommend that everyone try a cleanse, at least to see how it goes for them. From there they can learn what type and duration of cleansing is best for their body. You never know if you never try!

Sometimes we learn best from things that we are scared to do, and especially things that are difficult for us. Anyone's first cleanse will teach them about their body, their addictions, their cravings, and all that good stuff! Cleanses can open your eyes to changes you can gradually make over time. My cleanse changed my headaches and my relationship to food, so what could yours do?

What is your favorite part about working at Southern Sqweeze?

Hands down, being excited about going to work and not being anxious to leave. In a world of people being frustrated and complacent about their work situation, I feel so blessed to love where I am. Southern Sqweeze is fun, I mean literally fun! This job allows me to work hard and feel accomplished while also being in a peaceful environment.

But wait! There's also the co workers, the customers, and obviously the great food. I get to do what I love and help people I love—what could be better? We laugh a lot, we learn a lot, and we get to meet a lot of awesome people. Sometimes we even cry, because that's good for us. But, at the end of the day, Southern Sqweeze has changed my life in ways I never imagined. It is preparing me for a bright future with lots of good things to come!

How has it changed your health?

My health has changed immensely! My fridge, my cabinets, my brain, and my whole body. Even my relationships and my self-care have changed for the better.

In a nutshell, my approach to health has become much more holistic. I've learned that everyone is different, so just because I hear something or read something doesn't mean it’s for me. Here, there is such a variety of foods, super-foods, and herbs that I've been able to find the best of the best; which are now my favorite things. Southern Sqweeze is very resourceful and integrative, so I am always excited to see what’s new!

What’s your favorite item?

Out of so so so many things I love, I am going to choose maca. I’ve been working to balance my hormones and help my anemia for quite awhile, and this super-food has been the most helpful, paired with ashwagandha. It's full of vitamins, iron, potassium, and tastes delicious!! I have both the powder and tincture in my kitchen.

What’s your favorite smoothie or food or both?

I see we saved the hardest question for last...

Okay, simple and sweet. My favorite smoothies are the Kale Yeah and the Down Home Chocolate Shake, with added vitagreens! My favorite savory food is the kale salad, and sweet food would be the banana bread (everyone at the shop knows this because I buy it almost everyday). My favorite juice as of now is the Wild Greens. Yummmmm. But I’ve gotten really good at not recommending only my favorite things, so if you come in I’ll help you find your own favorite!