PASS THE SHROOMS
Not your mama’s mushrooms
Two words: Shroom boom. Mushrooms are having a serious moment, and we’re not talking about the portobello slices you top your salad with or the trippy kind you “never” tried in college. Although most edible mushrooms are considered healthy due to high levels of nutrients and antioxidants, some appear to contain properties similar to human medicine, including the reishi, chaga, cordyceps, and lion’s mane variety which are touted to be able to help with everything from combatting stress to boosting energy. Increasingly, these exotic shrooms have been making their way into drinks and beauty products, so much that the medicinal mushroom market is expected to hit $50 billion in the coming years!
So are these magic medicinal shrooms really able to deliver on their promise? When you dig into the research, there are some problems, including the fact that the medical community needs more clinical trials to truly assess medicinal mushrooms impact on the body. It’s important to realize that although medicinal mushrooms have been used in eastern medicine since back in the day (Chinese medical texts dating back to 206BC describe reishi as a tonic against aging!) they are relatively new to the US palate.
Should I replace my green juice with mushroom coffee?
We’re still in the early days of understanding the shroom boom and its health impact on the body. If you’re interested in trying a mushroom supplement, we recommend looking out for a seal from either the ConsumerLab.com, NSF International or USP, which ensures the products advertised are free from any harmful contaminants.
WHAT’S YOUR SIGN?
We’ve officially hit peak astrology. From horoscope readings delivered daily to your inbox to social networking apps like Co-Star, which let you see how compatible you are with your friends and lovers based on your birth chart, astrology is more prevalent and easier to access than ever. You might have also noticed that this spiritual shift has made its way into the wellness world, with everything from workout routines to self-care guides being recommended based on zodiac signs.
A whole(isitc) new world
So what’s the deal? The astrology craze has coincided with the realization that wellness is not simply comprised of fitness and diet, but rather a holistic approach to feeling good, that encompasses mind, body, and spirit. When it comes to leaning into the stars, that could be everything from looking for health issues in your Tarot readings to using your zodiac sign as a guide to optimize how you eat, sweat, and travel.
Sun, moon, swoon
Horoscopes promise predictions based on the “movement” of the stars. I.E., the stars have the power to influence the daily events in our lives as well as our personality traits. Many say that astrology makes them feel better. It helps them take action and tap into their star-powered strength and weaknesses in order to find their most suitable set of self-care rituals and wellness practices. If you think about it, both wellness and astrology are deeply rooted in the idea that what works well for one person might not work well for another, so it makes sense these two philosophies could go hand in hand.
So can I blame mercury in retrograde or not?
There’s not too much factual science in this area so ultimately it’s all about using whatever belief system helps you create the life you imagine and the wellness routine that makes you feel like an absolute...star.
SEED, NOT SOUL, CYCLE
No stationary bike or candles needed
Seed cycling involves eating certain seeds (including flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds) during specific times of your menstruation cycle to help balance hormones, boost fertility, and ease symptoms of menopause.
You might already be familiar with the fact that periods are a woman’s body’s way of saying ‘News flash, you’re not pregnant’. But did you know that there’s a delicate hormonal dance that has to happen throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle, which involves rising and falling levels of the key female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone? You can find more on the phases of the menstrual cycle and the complex interaction of hormones that happens during each, here. But for the purposes of seed cycling it’s important to know that there’s the follicular phase (Day 1 - 14) and the luteal phase (Days 14 - 28) which we’ll touch on more, below.
Cramping my style
So here’s the deal, if anything goes awry with these hormone levels, think factors like stress or changes in nutrition (aka...life!), PMS symptoms such as breast tenderness, acne, and cramps kick into high gear. So where do all these seeds come in? Certain seeds are high in specific oils and nutrients, which can help counter balance hormone deficiencies—virtually eliminating the PMS symptoms mentioned above.
Sesame for your thoughts
How? A woman’s cycle is basically a roller coaster ride for hormones, and said seeds, are thought to steady these steep slopes, making your Six Flags Kingda Ka feel more like a kiddie ride. Here’s how it all goes down. During the follicular phase (Days 1-14), cyclers recommend eating 1-2 tablespoons of ground flax and raw pumpkin seeds per day to steady estrogen levels and promote progesterone production needed for the upcoming luteal phase. Then, during the luteal phase (14-28/35), 1-2 tablespoons of sesame and sunflower seeds are recommended in order to inhibit estrogen from increasing too much and keep progesterone levels steady. Got all that? While it seems confusing, there’s no seed for alarm (dad jokes 4 life). Seeds can be eaten with other foods. I.E., you can blend them into smoothies, mix them into salad dressing, and try adding them to oatmeal or yogurt parfait.
There’s still much to be discovered on the topic, and there is currently lack of scientific research suggesting that seed cycling actually impacts hormones. However, while it might not yet be a universal suggestion, if you think there's a chance of a more predictable period and less cramps all in the name of a little extra crunch in our salads, it seems pretty manageable!
Cupping is a practice that involves applying suction to the skin using small, cup-like containers that are heated up and then placed on your body (usually your back). By warming the air within the cup, a vacuum is created, and when it is applied to the skin, the tissue is drawn up into the cup. Although you might be seeing pepperoni-looking backs everywhere now, it’s not new. The treatment has been popular in Chinese, Egyptian, and Middle Eastern cultures for quite some time now, but really only started making waves in the US after swimmer Michael Phelps was spotted with giant red spots on his back at the 2016 Olympics.
Since Phelps jumped on the cupping bandwagon, everyone from Jennifer Aniston to Justin Bieber has been seen rocking big red spots. So what’s the deal? Cupping is all about enhancing circulation and pulling out any toxins that might linger in the body’s tissues. It has been said to help treat back and neck pain, lower cholesterol, eliminate migraines, improve immune function, and get rid of acne and hives.
Ok, so those scary red marks are worth it?
The discolored spots, which are caused by broken blood vessels under the skin, generally fade away after a few days. However, according to this article in Medical News Today there’s not enough research to determine the true impact cupping has on the body, which has led many doctors to consider it a complementary therapy as opposed to a magic cure-all.
Cup to the chase
Despite there being limited scientific studies on cuppings effectiveness, many people find that this treatment can help relieve pain along with many other beneficial side effects. If you’re into it, you can expect a cupping treatment to run you from $30 to $80 a pop.