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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 Juicers Should Meditate

Kelsey Vasileff

WHY JUICERS SHOULD MEDITATE

We live in a culture of constant noise and stimulation. We’ve all been guilty of spending a whole day glued to a screen, listening to a constant stream of podcasts and music, and texting a dozen people—all at once.  

Silence is scarce. So is uninterrupted thought. That’s why maybe the most valuable habit I’ve formed is meditation.  

Now I don’t claim to be an expert—just a practitioner. Like eating well, meditation is a journey I’ll always be on. It’s helped me get better acquainted with myself, to be unafraid of quiet and discomfort. It’s taught me to be still, to let go of anxiety and stress, and to be more grateful for myself and the world around me.  

How you can start

If you’re new to meditation and want to try it out, I recommend starting by finding a yoga class!  Mediation is built into most yoga practices, and it’s a safe and guided atmosphere to try new things.   

Another great way to start is to sit in silence and stillness for two minutes every day. It sounds easy, right? Nope. If you’re new to meditation, it will feel more like ten minutes. Or an hour. Or a day and a night.

But don’t be discouraged! Meditation takes time and practice. Remember, consistent behavior produces predictable results. Keep trying two minutes a day for a week, and it will get easier. When you’re ready, add another two minutes. Eventually you’ll be a comfortable with six, eight, or even ten incredibly rejuvenating minutes. Trust me.

When to meditate

I’ve found that first thing in the morning is a great time to meditate. It sets your mind and body up to handle the day ahead. But whenever it helps you is the right time to meditate.
 

What to do while you sit there

First of all, don’t get caught up in how to sit or if you’re doing it “right.” Just do it!  

As you sit in silence, try checking in with how you’re feeling emotionally and physically. Try a body scan. Start with your toes and feel all the way to the crown of your head. What aches? What feels great? What muscles need to relax?

What is the quality of your mind? Are you anxious? Busy? Tired? Happy? Try not to judge what you find. Don’t label anything good or bad. Be a friendly observer.  

How to breathe
Take deep, full breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Try to focus on the movement and oxygen does to your mind and body.


Don’t leash your mind

Don’t worry about clearing your mind; it is bound to wander, and that’s okay. Your mind almost never gets to have a good wander! Just keep coming back to your breathing. You can even count your breaths. Or imagine your stray thoughts are train cars entering and leaving the station of your mind. Without judgement, watch them come and then calmly send them on their way.

These are just a few ways to spend your two minutes a day. Get to know yourself and your mind, cultivate curiosity and quiet in your life.You may be surprised by what you find.Are you a meditator? Share your practice with us in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!