Getting in Shape – Beyond food

HHI teamed up with local vegan fitness coach and internet celebrity Jordan David of @Consciousmuscle to bring you six simple exercises that everyone can incorporate into their workout routine. Each exercise can be great for seasoned athletes to those looking to start their fitness program for the first time. Jordan came to HHI to demonstrate and tell us about how to execute each move for optimal results.


The “it’s OK to be basic” Squat


Your basic squat can incorporate several equipment variations including barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebells. You can also vary this squat as a back or front squat (depending on where the weight is held). Here we are demonstrating a front squat with a dumbbell.

Tips for Form: Make sure to keep knees in line with your toes and emphasize keeping a straight back through the motion. Remember the primary purpose of this exercise is to engage your quads, however, it is a full body compound movement.


The Stiff Leg Dead Lift


For creating a tight and toned mid to lower portion of the body, try The Stiff Leg Dead Lift. This compound movement is primarily designed to engage your hamstrings, lower back, and core.

Tip for Form:  Keep your feet flat, and make sure your back is straight with shoulders back and chest out.



The First Lady Triceps Extension


Achieving those perfect “wing free” arms can be a challenge, especially for those who have gained and lost weight or have only concentrated their efforts on other muscles of the arm such as the bicep. This movement is designed to engage triceps which are the largest portion of your arm.  Because the triceps account for so much muscle it should not be neglected in terms of performance or aesthetics.

Tips for Form: Keep your back straight to stabilize you’re core, and while completing the range of motion make sure not to lock out your elbows, as it will take tension off the muscle/fiber.


The All-Around-Tone Bent Rows


Generally when trying to achieve a slimmer or more toned physique individuals may focus on the muscles they can easily view in the mirror and often neglect ones not as easily seen. Bent rows are designed to engage your upper back, while also strengthening your lower back and core.

Tips for Form: Make sure to use manageable weight as form is essential. As with the squat and stiff leg dead lift, keep the lower back straight and core engaged.


The Perfect Pecs Flat Bench Press


Try saying that name three times fast, and then try this simple press with either dumbbells, barbells, cables, or a fitness machine. This motion is used primarily to engage your chest and secondarily your triceps.

Tips for Form: Keep your feet flat, and make sure to keep chest contracted through the range of motion. When concluding the motion bring the dumbbells down to the starting point just prior to locking elbows out, as this takes tension of the pectorals.



The Vanishing Gut – Hanging Knee Raises


This motion can be completed either hanging as demonstrated or lying (back side down) on a flat surface. This exercise will engage the core with emphasis on the lower portion of abdomen.

Tips for Form: Bring knees up in a controlled manor to emphasize contraction on the core. On the way down make sure to keep your movement slow and controlled for optimal time under tension.


Jordan David is a certified ISSA trainer who for the past 7 years has been helping individuals achieve their desired physique through a vegan diet and personal training.

~ Source: HHI Hippocrates Health Institute


Raw Vegan Biscotti -Recipe Week!


It’s recipe week here at Upaya Naturals and being the food lovers we are, here is a delicious (and nutritious) recipe for Biscotti – raw vegan style! The recipe here is separated into phases of glycemic-index with Phase 1 being the lowest glycemic level.

  • 3 cups of nut/seed pulp
  • 1/2 cup Chia* Porridge
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil*
  • 1/4 cup Sweet-E Powder*
  • 1/2 cup walnuts* or pecans*, chopped
  • 8 drops Vanilla Stevia*
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon*
  • pinch of sea salt* or pink salt*

Roll into a flattened loaf and slice 1-inch thick. Dehydrate* at 115° F for 24 hours or until totally dry.

Optional: Chocolate Dip

  • 1 cup melted coconut oil*
  • 2-3 Tbsp Cacao* (or to taste)
  • 1 dropper Stevia* (or to taste)

*available at Upaya Naturals

~Recipe courtesy of The Tree of Life Café in AZ

Fragrance Folly – The New Second Hand Smoke

Fragrance folly

A look at the not-so-pretty side of the personal care industry


My biggest grievance with the personal care industry is its rampant use of synthetic fragrance. It is in everything from hand soap to shaving cream and can also be found in numerous household items like garbage bags and laundry detergent. It’s impossible to escape because even if you keep your home fragrance-free, you will encounter it in public through other people’s perfume and air fresheners. It is everywhere and we are only beginning to understand the health impacts.

I spent many years loving perfume. This changed when I discovered essential oils and fell in love with the true aromas of plants. As my interest in aromatherapy grew, I started to feel like we had all been ripped off with these fake petrochemical versions of fragrance that have dominated the industry. Not only did I develop a distaste for these artificial scents but I also developed a sensitivity by not being exposed to them for a period of time. I first noticed it while walking through a store’s beauty department where the typical barrage of perfume occurs. A strange headache appeared. I am not alone; 30 per cent of Americans report experiencing adverse health effects from fragrance. Some of the symptoms include headaches, tightness of chest and wheezing, asthma and exacerbation of asthma, and infant diarrhea and vomiting. You have to wonder what else it’s doing to our bodies.

One of the challenges of researching fragrances is that the ingredients are not disclosed by the manufacturers for proprietary reasons. It is difficult to know what toxins are involved when the ingredients aren’t required on the label. Fortunately, some researchers have been able to break down some of the formulas and the results are alarming. In a 2009 study, fragrances in 6 top-selling air fresheners and laundry detergents were analyzed. Of the 50 unique components found, ten were regulated as toxic or hazardous under US federal laws, and among those, three were classified as Hazardous Air Pollutants – acetaldehyde, chloromethane, and 1,4-dioxane.

The Environmental Working Group in the United States released a report called Not So Sexy: The Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrance, which found numerous potential toxins in the 17 popular perfumes tested. Diethyl phthalate, an hormone disruptor found in 97 per cent of Americans tested, was contained in 12 of the perfumes. This is a chemical that has been linked to abnormal reproductive development in baby boys and sperm damage in men. I shudder to think of pregnant women using fragrance and unknowingly putting their babies at risk. The report found that each perfume tested had an average of four hormone-disrupting chemicals including galaxolide and tonalide, synthetic musks that accumulate in the body and can even be found in the cord blood of newborns.

Whether or not you expose your own body to these chemicals is your choice, but keep in mind that you are exposing others to them as well. It’s similar to second hand smoke. Scent is very important to humans so it’s understandable that the fragrance industry is so large. We simply need safer options. Thankfully, you can get the benefits of a nice smell from essential oils and plant extracts and many companies are using them instead of synthetics. There are even some amazing perfume companies creating 100 per cent natural blends, something I see growing in popularity. There are also many unscented products on the market to choose from.  When reading labels, always check for ingredients listed as ‘fragrance’, ‘parfum’ or ‘natural oils’ (if it’s truly natural, it will be listed as its botanical name).

~Source: Alternatives Journal

New Research on Chemical Hair Dye & Cancer

New Research on Chemical Hair Dye & Cancer


by Alicia Di Rado

Keck School preventive medicine researchers may have propelled numerous policy changes on the use of hair dye throughout Europe.

According to a study published in last February’s issue of the International Journal of Cancer, the USC research team found that women who use permanent dyes at least once a month for a year or longer have twice the risk of bladder cancer as non-users even after adjusting for smoking. Those who used dyes more often and for longer periods, as well as hairdressers (who use dyes on their clients), face an even higher risk. Study authors in preventive medicine included J. Esteban Castelao, Manuela Gago-Dominguez, Ronald Ross, Mimi Yu and Jian-Min Yuan. The findings were part of a continuing study on bladder cancer incidence.

The hair dye study results raised concerns in Europe, where as in the United States about one-third of women over age 18 dye their hair.

The European Commission, a body that drafts legislation for members of the European Union, quickly asked for a review of the research. The commission’s Scientific Committee for Cosmetic Products and Non-food Products Intended for Consumers then declared in June that the research was sound, and the results call for more investigation into the components of hair dyes.

“We’re pleased that European officials want to look further into the relationship between hair dyes and bladder cancer,” said Gago-Dominguez, lead author of the study. USC researchers found that the use of permanent dyes not temporary or semi-permanent dyes were associated with an increased risk of the malignancy.

Noting the cancer risk was “of concern,” the European Commissions committee has demanded data from manufacturers about the exact chemicals contained in the dyes and how the human body absorbs them.

Officials also called for follow-up epidemiological studies in the European Union, and requested that the European Commission take further steps to control the use of hair dye chemicals.

Legislators have not taken similar action in the United States, where regulatory policies differ. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration only regulates cosmetics after they are released to the marketplace, and it does not have authority to require manufacturers to file data on ingredients or report cosmetic-related injuries.

The FDA provides general information on hair dye ingredients as well as requirements for safety and labeling on its Web site, atwww.cfsan.

~ Source: Morrocco Method