Hi friends! Hope those of you in the U.S. had a wonderful Thanksgiving and got to spend a lot of time with family over the last few days. I had a meal with just my husband, because my family is back in the midwest and his family is traveling through Europe. We made an organic, free-range turkey, deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, broccoli, gluten-free stuffing, gravy, and some other little sides. I made my very favorite (five-ingredient) garlic rosemary plantain crackers. Husband also found GF cupcakes and a strawberry rhubarb pie. It was a great meal, and we still have lots of leftovers.
Instead of Christmas gifts, husband and I decided this year to make advent calendars for each other and just add small (mostly edible) gifts or letters or date night ideas each day. I have all of his little gifts already in the house, so I just need to spend some time figuring out how to create the calendar and what to put where.
We also went to Target and bought matching onesies, because we’re planning to make this a Christmas morning tradition. Haha! Mine is a dragon and his is a lion. We couldn’t stop laughing.
I love new holiday traditions that come about naturally. They definitely give you something unique and special to look forward to this time of year. We’re also planning to incorporate some of our family’s traditions, like birthday breakfast burrito bars, opening one gift on Christmas eve, and Christmas morning egg casserole.
What are your holiday traditions? I want to hear about them in the comments.
Today, for the Self-Care Sunday Series, I’m happy to introduce you to Heather. She is a Wall Street lawyer turned wellness entrepreneur. She owns and runs Thirst Juice Co., a plant-based juice and smoothie bar with locations in downtown Boston and suburban Wellesley, and she writes about entrepreneurship, wellness, and life, on her blog, She Runs On Greens. A twelve time marathoner and lover of travel, Heather is always up for an adventure. She currently lives in her hometown of Boston with her husband, their newborn son, and their Morkie.
Allie: Tell me a bit about your health and wellness journey.
Heather: I have been a vegetarian since I was ten years old and an athlete for as long as I can remember, so I’ve always cared about my fitness. However, my health and wellness have truly become a focus in the last three years. I now own and run a juice bar as well as writing a wellness (and business) focused blog, so health and wellness are huge parts of my life.
After college, I joined Teach for America and took up long distance running as a way to deal with stress. I fell in love with marathons and continued running endurance races through my two years teaching, through law school, and for three years practicing law on Wall Street. During that time, I drank lots of juices and smoothies from my local juice bar, especially while I was training for a 50 mile ultramarathon in 2012. I LOVED how they made me feel!
In 2014, I decided to stop practicing law in order to bring juice and smoothies to my hometown of Boston. I opened Thirst Juice Co., a plant-based, gluten-free juice and smoothie bar in November of 2014, with the goal of helping people to feel and perform better by eating more plants. At the time, there weren’t any other juice bars in the area. In 2016, we opened a second location just outside Boston, in Wellesley.
Through Thirst, my team and I work hard to educate customers and our community about the impact of what we eat on how we feel and perform. We also teach a lot about the impact of what we eat on the environment – the difference in water usage and pollution between a plant-based meal and a meat-heavy one is insane! For the most part, our customers are not vegans, but thanks to Thirst, they eat more plants. In addition to in store education, we post about nutrition and various ingredients on the Thirst Blog, and I regularly speak to corporate groups about juices, smoothies, and plant-based food more generally. (You can also follow Thirst on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter).
Since opening Thirst, I’ve continued running long distances, have completed multiple courses focused on plant-based nutrition and have worked to better round out my own fitness routine (adding HIIT, weights, and yoga to my running). I’ve also started focusing more on the mental aspects of wellness, making an effort to practice gratitude and mindfulness. Being part of the rapidly expanding Boston wellness community has exposed me to so many ideas about health and wellness that I never would have imagined back when I was a lawyer. I’m so thankful to all of the other wellness entrepreneurs in the area from whom I’ve been able to learn!
My blog, She Runs On Greens, focuses on wellness for entrepreneurs. Through the blog, I document my personal experience running a wellness business as a new Mom, and I share many of the tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way that have helped me stay well while running a business. (You can also follow She Runs on Greens on Instagram or Pinterest).
A: What is ONE thing you think everyone should be doing for his/her health?
H: I think that nearly everyone (with the possible exception of raw vegans), should make an effort to eat more plants each day. Even people who eat a lot of vegetables would usually benefit from incorporating more fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and seeds into their diets!
My favorite way incorporate extra vegetables in mind diet is to put lots of them into a green juice or smoothie each day, but for those who prefer salad, that works too! Another great option is adding a small fruit salad to one’s breakfast each day.
A: Do you have a quote or motto you try to live by?
H: I’m a strong believer in the benefits of pushing oneself to try new things. I really like the quote “a ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” I try to push myself to do new and uncomfortable things as often as I can.
A: Tell me about a big WIN you’ve had in your health/self-care journey.
H: One of my biggest wins on my health journey was running a 50 mile ultramarathon on a very hilly course in California in 2012. What was important about this race was not just that I completed it, but also that I had prioritized training – something important to both my physical and mental health – during an extremely time as a junior lawyer at a large firm. Completing the race, despite my demanding work schedule, was extremely rewarding!
Right now, I’m working on regaining my fitness after the birth of my son this past August. After he was born, I wasn’t allowed to exercise for nearly a month. In my adult life, I’ve never before gone that long without exercising! My goal is that by spring, I can comfortably lift heavy weights and run longer distances again. I’d like to run a half-marathon as my first longer race postpartum.
A. How do you practice self-care? And WHY?
H: I practice self-care because I know that I couldn’t do all of the things that I want to do, or be the person that I want to be (as a business owner, friend, daughter, mother, or wife) if I didn’t take care of myself. The primary ways I practice self-care are (1) eating healthfully almost all of the time (with the occasional, guilt-free, indulgence), (2) practicing gratitude, and (3) exercising regularly. The first two ways of practicing self-care don’t require extra time, but still make me feel good, which is great for me as a new Mom. I prioritize finding time for exercise, because it is important to me.
A: What would be your ideal self-care routine, if you had the time for it daily?
H: I would love to be able to start each day with a run along the water, followed by a shower, a leisurely breakfast, and some time to reflect on my goals for the day. With an infant at home, I don’t see leisurely breakfasts (or leisurely anything!) happening any time soon, but I do hope to start running with him in a jogging stroller once he’s old enough.
A: What are your three favorite SHORT self-care techniques a reader could try, if he/she only had 5-20 minutes?
H: I love finding quick ways to incorporate self-care into my daily routine, so I have lots of short self-care techniques! A few of my favorites are: (1) drink at least one green smoothie a day, (2) squeeze in a really quick HIIT workout (there are some great ones on YouTube), and (3) call a friend while taking a quick walk outside. Check out my post, 10 Self-Care Rituals That Take 10 Minutes or Less.
A: What are your three favorite LONGER self-care practices?
H: My three favorite longer self-care practices are (1) going for a long run or a long hike, (2) taking a hot yoga class, and (3) going for a massage (a splurge, but one that I love!). It’s not traditionally thought of as self-care, but I also love long dinners at home or at restaurants, catching up with friends.
A: Do you have a favorite wellness book or podcast?
H: The Rich Roll podcast is one of the most fun and informative wellness related podcasts that I’ve ever found. His guests are incredible, and listening to his podcast is such a great way to discover people in the wellness world who I might not otherwise have found.
Thanks so much, Heather, for sharing your self-care practices. I love learning from you!
Have you seen my 2017 Holiday Gift Guide yet? You’ll find 84 unique gift ideas for the health-conscious one, the foodie, the yogi, or the self-care junkie in your life… but there’s a little something for everyone else, too: the comfiest blanket sweaters, self-rolling yoga mats, candles that burn to reveal a crystal, avocado salt and pepper shakers, yoga dice, affirmation bath salts, pineapple tumblers (for your green smoothie), oil pulling kits, matcha lotions, Ayurvedic spice shots, home kombucha kits, kale-growing bags, and lots more. There’s also some beer maps, cocktail tarot cards, dinosaur taco holders, donut earrings, and peanut butter samplers thrown in. Check it out!
And if you haven’t yet, go ahead and read my rebuttal to the popular self-care chocolate cake post that has been circulating Facebook in the last week. It went completely viral, had hundreds of shares on social media and almost 5000 views in the first 24-hours.
We’re also on Day 11 of 30 Days of Affirmations, which you can check out here and join now! It doesn’t cost anything to participate, and it will make you feel amazing. (:
As always, thanks for reading. Wishing you a wonderful Sunday!