A simple (+ tasty) trick to improve digestion

Need some help with digestion? In this day and age or high stress, who doesn’t?!? Here is a little trick we’ve been using. Every night before dinner we make ourselves a fancy drink. The”we” here includes our 10 year old daughter. No, we are not trying to get her to acquire an early taste for alcohol, but yes, this fancy drink does include some! We are talking about bitters. Bitters are also commonly used to balance out and give some depth to cocktails, but also have been used medicinally for centuries. It makes for a tasty and beautiful concoction and works wonders for digestion. We mix a few drops into sparkling water and drink about 15 minutes before we sit down to eat dinner.

What exactly is a bitter?

In general, bitters are made with a combination of bitter flavored and aromatic herbs, bark, roots and/or fruit steeped and in alcohol. They can be traced as far back as the ancient Egyptians and commercially first made an appearance in the 1800’s. Peychaud’s and Angostura are probably the most well known. Health-wise, bitters ignite the digestive system, soothe indigestion, ease gas, burping and bloating. In addition, bitters can also help balance sweet craving and help maintain blood sugar.


There are several small-batch companies making high quality bitters such as Urban Moonshine, El Guapo and Bittermens. We’ve been experimenting with these different brands both in water and in cocktails - and loving them. In true Deep Health Evolution nature, we are also trying out our own concoction. It’s currently steeping, so we can’t yet attest to its flavor, but if you are interested in trying to make some yourself, here is the recipe we used.

Grapefruit and Chocolate Bitters

2 organic grapefruit peels with pith, torn into small pieces
1/2 cup organic cacao nibs
2 tbsp grated organic ginger
1 tbsp organic fennel seeds
2 organic vanilla beans halved lengthwise and scraped
Vodka (we like Tito’s)


Place all ingredients except for the vodka in a sterilized glass jar.
Top with vodka, covering all ingredients and leaving about 1/2” head space.
Cover the jar and shake well.
Store in a cool, dark cupboard for 3 weeks.
Shake the jar every once in a while - whenever you remember.
After the 3 weeks have passed, strain out all the liquid and pour into a dark glass bottle (or bottles). You may want to use a nut milk bag.
Store in a cool, dark place.

Notes: It’s super important to use organic ingredients here. The alcohol will leach any pesticides out of your mixture. Bitters are quite potent. You only need a few drops at a time!

If you give it a try, please let us know what you think of the results!

(Full disclosure:  There are some affiliate links above.  While we make a little bit of money if you make a purchase using our links, it is at no extra cost to you.  Rest assured, we honestly wouldn't be recommending them if we hadn’t tried them ourselves and given them a personal thumbs up!)

Fatima CookComment
Is daylight savings dragging you down?

I may seem silly that only an hour time change could really have such a profound impact on our lives and our health. Silly, it is not. Research shows that in the spring, this seemingly trivial amount of sleep reduction due to daylight savings correlates to a shocking increase in heart attacks and traffic accidents the following day. The correlation works in reverse as well. In the fall when we shift our clocks back an hour, the rate of heart attacks and traffic accidents plummet the following day.

The sixty minutes that were rudely robbed from us this weekend have profound effects on how we feel and operate. Hopefully this will be the last time we need to address this - lawmakers are proposing a change - but in the meantime, here is some help! We’ve put together some tips to get you back on track in no time.

  1. Sunlight. We’ve talked about the remarkable healing powers of sunlight in the past. Getting morning or early afternoon sun on your skin and in you eyes helps to resynchronize your internal clock - your circadian rhythms. In ancient Chinese medicine, it is believed that our organs are run on a clock. When we artificially manipulate time, everything from appetites to sleep rhythms and moods are all thrown off.

  2. Vigorous Movement. Begin the day with some vigorous movement. This could be a brisk walk or bike ride outside (in the sunlight, why not kill two birds…) or a set of squats, pushups, and some mobility work. Movement, especially in the morning, initiates the release of a cascade of hormones cuing the body that it is time to get the day started. It will help increase sleep cycle efficiency and decrease nighttime cortisol as well.

  3. Limit caffeine. Try giving yourself a slightly earlier caffeine cut-off time. This is especially useful for those who are particularly sensitive to the effects of caffeine.

  4. Consume extra micronutrients. Greens greens and more greens. Electrolytes play a major role in circadian rhythm regulation and nervous system control. Make sure you get an extra serving or two of greens during this time.

Looking for some more sleep strategies? We’ve got you covered! See HERE.

Fatima CookComment
Mobility 6 - Hips (part 2)
Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs) for the hips. Serious business!

Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs) for the hips. Serious business!

How are those hips doing? As simple as the hip circles we presented last week are, they are extremely effective. This week we are going deeper and manipulating the entire hip socket. This exercise requires a little more explanation, so here is a handy video to give you a visual as well.

This is the last of our basic CARs (controlled articular rotation) series. There are many more exercises to this, but these are the very basics. If you are interested in learning more, contact me about classes.


Stand barefoot (unless out and about) with your feet flat on the ground. You will likely need to touch a wall for balance. Make a tight fist with the opposite hand and place it the across the chest. This will be your working side.

Bring the knee of the working side to your chest, holding it as high as you can. Slowly move the leg around to the side of your body while keeping the torso forward facing. Keeping the knee at that height, turn the leg so that your heel is as high as you can hold it and the knee is facing forward. Circle the leg towards the back of your body, maintaining that height for as long as you can. Slowly lower the knee back to starting position.

Now reverse the move. Bring the heel to the ceiling, while maintaining upright posture. Circle the knee out and around to the side with the heel reaching to the ceiling. Hold it as high as you can. Slowly bring the knee back around to the front of the body to the starting position. Move with focus and intention, but not haste.

Do this 3x to the left before repeating with the opposite leg.


  1. Work into the resistance while maintaining an upright torso.

  2. Pay attention to what you are feeling throughout the exercise. Strong tension is fine, but beware of any pinch points. Work around them.

  3. Move slowly and deliberately, especially through the tightest points.

  4. This exercise can also be done on all 4’s. Take a look at THIS video.

Gregg CookComment
Mobility 5 - Hips
Hip Circles starting position. Always with a smile:)

Hip Circles starting position. Always with a smile:)

Oh those hips…a problem area for so many of us. This is because the hips are comprised of over 20 muscles, each responsible for stability for the pelvis, lateral motions, and the movement of the knees towards the chest which happens every time you sit, walk, run, pedal on a bike, jump, and climb stairs. The hip muscles are hard workers and can get tight and shortened pretty easily. If ignored this can eventually can lead to reduced range of motion throughout the joint, weak glutes, and low back pain. The key to prevent and/or fix this is not only stretching, but also strengthening the muscles around the hip joints. Mobility exercises 5, hip circles (and 6, which you will get next week) will help do just that.


Stand barefoot (unless out and about) with your feet flat on the ground, wider than shoulder width apart. Spread the floor with your feet and firmly contract all the muscles of your lower body. Place your hands on your hips.

Push your hips forward as far as they will go. Slowly begin to create the biggest circle possible with your hips, first moving to the left side, then to the back and around to the right side, then back to starting position. Move with focus and intention, but not haste.

Do this 3x to the left before repeating in the opposite direction.


  1. Think of the the movement coming from your hips, not your torso.

  2. Pay attention to what you are feeling throughout the exercise. Strong tension is fine, but beware of any pinch points. Work around them.

  3. Move slowly and deliberately, especially through the tightest points.

Next Up: Hip Sockets

Gregg CookComment
Mobility 4 - Upper Back

Mobility exercise 4 moves us further down the spine from the neck into the upper back, or thoracic spine. Attached to the ribcage, this middle back area connects the neck and the low back and its main function is to help us twist, turn and bend from side to side. This particular area of the spine is complex in that it needs to have enough flexibility to allow for multidirectional movement, while remaining rigid enough to support and move heavy loads through the arms and legs in whatever position the body may be (sitting, standing, lying down).

Because most of us commonly sit for extended periods of time, and often rounded forward in front of a computer, we often develop mobility restrictions in the thoracic spine. This can be painful and effect overall movement.

This mobility exercise will take your upper spine through its full range of motion and release tightness. Because of its intricate connection with the neck and low back, will help with all upper and lower body movements.


Stand barefoot (unless out and about) with your feet flat on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Spread the floor with your feet and firmly contract all the muscles of your lower body. Cross your arms in front of your body over the chest and make tight fists with your hands. Activating the non-working muscles - the muscles of the lower body and tightening of the fists send a strong neuromuscular signal to the muscles involved in the movement. This is called the principal of irradiation (AKA muscle cheering).

Maintaining your weight directly over the hips, fully flex your torso, hollowing out the core and bringing the elbows to your lower ribcage. Holding that curled position, rotate the torso to the left, keeping the hips squared. Extend the back up and over, looking up at the sky as you do so. Rotate as far as you can to your right and flex the torso, coming back to the starting position. Imagine you are drawing a giant circle with the crown of the head. Move with focus and intention, but not haste.

Do this 3x to the left before repeating in the opposite direction.


  1. As you curl the chin to the chest, beware of bending at the hips. Keep your weight centered over your hips.

  2. When turning the upper body to the side, do so strongly and with intent as turn as far as you can.

  3. Pay attention to what you are feeling throughout the exercise. Strong tension is fine, but beware of any pinch points. Work around them.

  4. When moving around the back to get to the opposite side, keep the arms crossed in front of the body, connected to the chest.

  5. When moving around the back to get to the opposite side, no need to lean back and hyperextend the spine.

Next Up: Hips.

Gregg CookComment
Mobility 3 - The Shoulders

Continuing on with our basic mobility enhancement exercises, today we present to you “shoulders”. As with the scapula exercise we introduced last week, doing this work will help reverse the damages of modern day, desk-bound living, enhance all daily upper body movements as well as up your performance game - no matter what that game is. The movement works really well in conjunction with the scapula exercise.

This exercise is a bit complicated to explain, so we’ve added a few additional images to give you a better visual. Keep scrolling!


Stand barefoot (unless out and about) with your feet flat on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Spread the floor with your feet and firmly contract all the muscles of your lower body. Keep your arms by your sides and straight. Make tight fists with your hands. Activating the non-working muscles - the muscles of the lower body, core and tightening of the fists send a strong neuromuscular signal to the muscles involved in the movement. This is called the principal of irradiation (AKA muscle cheering).

Open one of the hands wide, with fingers deliberately straight and spread apart. This will be the working arm. Keep your head reaching up towards the sky, chin pulling back slightly towards the neck to lengthen and shoulders blades secured in the sockets. Raise your arm up towards the ceiling and back behind you as far as the shoulder joint will allow and as close to your head as possible. Be sure to keep the elbow fully extended throughout the move. Pause at the top of the move, then internally rotate your arm as fully as possible, so that the thumb is facing forward and the pinky is facing back. Leading with the pinky, continue to rotate the arm around the back of the body while simultaneously continuing the internal rotation of the hand so that at the end of the move, the arm is once again by your side and the pinky is facing forward. The hand should end up in full, strong internal rotation.

This is half the move. To complete the exercise, reverse the movement. Raise the arm behind the body until you are met with strong resistance. Pause, and externally rotate the hand fully so that the thumb is now facing the sky. Leading with the thumb, continue to rotate the arm up and around towards the sky while simultaneously continuing the external rotation of the hand so that at the end of the move, the arm is extended toward the sky and the pinky is once again facing forward. As always, move with focus and intent, but not haste.

Do this 3x before repeating with the opposite arm.


  1. Keep the torso facing forward throughout the move.

  2. Keep your elbows fully extended throughout this move.

  3. Work into the resistance.

  4. Pay attention to what you are feeling throughout the exercise. Strong tension is fine, but beware of any pinch points. Work around them.

  5. Maintain posture throughout this exercise and move only through the shoulder girdle.

Next up: Upper Back.


Fatima Cook Comment
Mobility 2 - The Scapula

Today we are focusing specifically on the scapulae, which is basically the fancy name for the shoulder blades. What exactly is the scapula and what does it do? It is a complex network where 17 muscles attach, used in doing any upper body exercise such as the push up, pull up, overhead press. It is also greatly leaned on for all upper body daily movements - like reaching for something on a high shelf or grabbing the stability bars on the subway, or lifting groceries or your luggage into the overhead compartment of an airplane. The scapulae are meant to have a huge circular range of motion and travel fully around the upper ribcage. They slide together towards the spine, roll up towards the ears, forward stretching the upper back and down towards the ribcage. Without a fully mobile and strong scapular region, all the above mentioned activities become a burden, overall shoulder function is compromised and weakness in the arms can ensue.


Stand barefoot (unless out and about) with your feet flat on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Spread the floor with your feet and firmly contract all the muscles of your lower body. Keep your arms by your sides and straight. Make tight fists with your hands. Activating the non-working muscles - the muscles of the lower body, core and tightening of the fists send a strong neuromuscular signal to the muscles involved in the movement. This is called the principal of irradiation (AKA muscle cheering).

In your mind’s eye, envision the full circular range of motion the scapulae governs. With your head reaching up towards the sky and chin pulling back slightly towards the neck to lengthen, slide your shoulders forward as if trying to touch them in front of the body. With intent, begin drawing the biggest circle possible with your shoulders, moving up towards the ears and spreading the upper back. Slowly move the shoulders around towards the back, squeezing the shoulder blades together as if trying to touch them behind the body. Finish the movement by bringing the shoulder blades down towards the floor and back to starting position. As always, move with focus and intent, but not haste.

Do this 3x before repeating in the opposite direction (beginning by moving the shoulder blades towards the back, then up and around).


  1. Pay attention to what you are feeling throughout the exercise. Strong tension is fine, but beware of any pinch points. Work around them.

  2. Maintain posture throughout this exercise and move only through the shoulder girdle and upper back.

Next up: Shoulders, continued.

Fatima CookComment
Mobility 1 - The Neck

As promised, here is your first installment of the body part-by-body part mobility protocol. These exercises are a series of movements called CARs, or Controlled Articular Rotations, created by Dr. Andreo Spina, a master of movement, mobility and injury prevention who works with professional sports organizations, athletes and performers around the world. I had the pleasure of learning from him in Austin, TX a few years ago and have been using his techniques on myself as well as my clients and in my classes ever since.

These protocols are 100% ESSENTIAL, and here is why.

  1. Bringing movement and fluidity to the joints pre-workout will boost performance no matter what sport - from martial arts, cross fit, cycling and weight training, to yoga and dance.

  2. Joints that are ready to move and react can safeguard against injury.

  3. For those just beginning, they are a great way to initiate movement, not only in the body, but also in the mind. They can spark more movement - and the beginning of a positively life changing habit.

  4. These exercises take less than a minute each to complete and are an uncomplicated way to love yourself. Begin and end the day with this little gift to yourself for a better day and a better night’s sleep. Your joints deserve the love and attention. Moving them fully at least twice a day will help maintain their full movement ability.

Let’s get those joints prepped for exercise (for life)!

We’re starting from top to bottom. First up, the neck. So many of us experience head, neck, shoulder, and overall back pain stemming from a variety of reasons. This could stem from something as seemingly simple as carrying your head even just a hair too far forward, which puts extra weight on your neck and upper back and can eventually lead to discomfort, headaches and an unsightly bump at the back of the neck (gasp!) Giving your neck joints some attention can help relieve some of this pain and serve as a reminder to reset your head to proper positioning, extended directly upward from the tailbone all the way up to the top of the head. To do this, pull your chin back slightly towards your neck and the crown of your head to the sky.


Stand barefoot (unless out and about) with your feet flat on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Spread the floor with your feet and firmly contract all the muscles of your lower body. Keep your arms by your sides and straight. Make tight fists with your hands. Activating the non-working muscles - the muscles of the lower body, core and tightening of the fists send a strong neuromuscular signal to the muscles involved in the movement. This is called the principal of irradiation (AKA muscle cheering).

With your head reaching up towards the sky and chin pulling back slightly towards the neck to lengthen, draw a huge circle in the sky with the crown of your head by drawing your left ear to the left shoulder, then draw your head back and around bringing your right ear to the right shoulder. Finish this circle by drawing your chin to your collarbone. Move with focus and intention, but not haste.

Do this 3x to the left before repeating in the opposite direction.


  1. As you draw your ear to one side, keep the opposite shoulder down and engaged to optimize the stretch

  2. Pay attention to what you are feeling throughout the exercise. Strong tension is fine, but beware of any pinch points. Work around them.

  3. Maintain posture throughout this move and bend only through the neck, not the upper torso.

  4. When moving the head from one side to the other towards the back, be gentle. The idea is to simply move your head to the opposite side.

  5. Play around with moving the joints in the neck. In that same lengthened posture, look as far to the left and as far to right.

Next Up: Shoulder Blades

Gregg Cook Comments
Eating for the cold (or A cold)

It’s been a while since we’ve posted any recipes, so I figured now would be a good time. Most of us are hunkering down indoors and in warm pj’s (or is that just me??) when the weather gets this cold, complaining about the frigid temperatures, yet not really experiencing it at all - except for a few quick bursts running from front door to the subway or Uber or car.

It IS winter, isn’t it? Shouldn’t it be this cold? Still, talking about it seems like the thing to do.

I digress. As I’ve mentioned in the past, winter, to me, is soup weather. I love a yummy pot of soup, especially the recipe below for chicken soup. In the Instant Pot it can take 45 minutes (or an extra 60 minutes if you are also making home made broth on the same day).

If chicken soup is not your thing, keep scrolling for links for 5 all-star soups worth making this winter (along with a couple of healthful tweeks).

Grandma’s Chicken Soup, Instant Pot Edition

(Adapted from Cook Beautiful. This is one of my favorite cookbooks. Every recipe I’ve ever tried from it is fantastic).

  • 1 whole organic chicken

  • 1 bone in chicken breast

  • 2 yellow onions, diced

  • 5-6 carrots – roughly, peeled and cut into coins

  • 5 celery stalks – roughly chopped

  • 6-8 cloves of garlic

  • 3 medium parsnips, chopped

  • 2 quarts chicken bone broth (substitute beef bones for meaty chicken bones)

  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme

  • 2 teaspoons of salt

  • Freshly cracked pepper

  • pecorino or Parmesan cheese rind

  • handful of chopped parsley, grated pecorino cheese, and lemon wedges for serving

Place all ingredients in the Instant Pot. Add bone broth, just enough to cover the chicken.

Cover and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally.

Using tongs, remove the chicken and place it in a large bowl. Discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat with two forks.

Discard the cheese rind and thyme sprigs and put the meat back into the soup.

Adjust seasoning to taste.

Serve with a hearty helping of pecorino grated cheese, fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon.

*For the stove top version, the instructions are the same. Allow the soup to gently simmer in a covered pot over low heat for about 1 1 /2 hours, or until the meat begins to fall off the bone.

*No bone broth on hand? Use whatever you have on hand - chicken stock, vegetable stock, a combination of broth and filtered water, or plain old filtered water.

And now here is our all-star line up of soups worth making to beat the winter blues.

Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Soup from 101Cookbooks

For a legume free variation, skip the lentils. It’s delicious either way. If you are ok with dairy, use grated parmesan instead of nutritional yeast, but then it is no longer vegan of course. Lastly, toasted pumpkin seeds make a delicious topping.

Winter Squash Soup , Smitten Kitchen

Winter Squash Soup, Smitten Kitchen

Winter Squash Soup from Smitten Kitchen

Skip the croutons and substitute bone broth for the low-salt chicken broth. Toasted seeds, roughly chopped parsley, crumbled kale chips and/or shredded gruyere make for very nice toppings for this soup.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup , Smitten Kitchen

Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Smitten Kitchen

Broccoli Cheddar Soup from Smitten Kitchen

Omit flour. Use bone broth. Substitute the cup of half and half for 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup of additional bone broth. Even a 1/4 cup of heavy cream with 3/4 cups of broth work well here. There is a lot of cheese in the soup - you won’t notice the missing cream.

Six Ingredient Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup from Half Baked Harvest

Fresh, ripe tomatoes are best for this recipe, although I’ve also made this with fire-roasted organic canned tomatoes and it works brilliantly.

Portuguese Soup with Cauliflower , Chris Hagan via Food52

Portuguese Soup with Cauliflower, Chris Hagan via Food52

Portuguese Cauliflower Soup from Chris Hagan, via Food52

This soup is so good and easy to play with. I’ve used a variety of hearty greens, different types of sausages, skipped sausage all together and added shrimp or even mushrooms. The options are endless!

What are some of your favorite soup recipes? I am always looking for new things to try! Please share.

(This post contains few affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission if you make a purchase using them).

Fatima CookComment
How to maintain a youthful body
image courtesy of Daily Burn.

image courtesy of Daily Burn.

If you are visiting this website, it is highly likely you have an interest in health, wellness and longevity. You likely already practice some type of movement, or are thinking of beginning one. The fact that exercise has its benefits is not exactly cutting edge information. We’ve gotten into more detail on the blog in the past HERE. Have a read if you are interested.

What is new and intriguing research about the impact of exercise is its ability to physically freeze time so to speak. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that exercising regularly may keep the body 30 years younger. 30 years, my friends! Do you realize what this means? If you are 50, you can have the body of a 20 year old. If you’re 70, your body can be that of a 40 year old. This is big news, given that with a simple infusion of a regular exercise practice in your life, you can have a body that is virtually identical in many ways to that of one 30 years younger. No drugs. No surgeries. No injections. No expensive tricks or gadgets.

If you are struggling to make exercise part of your regular routine, try thinking of something you loved to do as a kid. Perhaps you loved swimming or ice skating or jumping rope, or simply playing tag. One of the most effective ways to turn regular exercise into a habit is to find something you really enjoy doing.

Another way is to send this email to a friend to convince them to join you. (Have them subscribe in the meanwhile:). This could mean a walk together a few days a week, taking tennis lessons or a class at your local gym together. Accountability is key to compliance.

If you really don’t know where to start and need a coach, you’ve come to the right place. Both Fatima and I are experienced coaches. We can help you recognize and break through walls that may be holding you back from success or if you are already on this path, we can help you reach new plateaus. HERE is some more information on those programs.

In the next few weeks we will be sending out body part-by-body part mobility protocols to get the joints into gear for exercise. These protocols are ESSENTIAL. They will be a friend to you no matter where you are on the exercise spectrum. For those already exercising, they will boost performance and keep you moving injury free. For those just beginning, they will get you moving and insure you don’t hurt yourself as you get going.

For a full immersion into mobility (a really fun time and so much more), please join us in beautiful MALLORCA this summer. Can you believe it is only 5 months away? We’ve put together a spectacular agenda in the most amazing villa on the island. Come spend the week with us. See HERE to register. Spaces are limited. If you need some more convincing, see the images below!

Gregg CookComment
Managing the Stress Epidemic
Image: MIT News

Image: MIT News

Welcome to the new year! As we close the doors to the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we begin to reflect on the past year and cross the new-year-threshold in anticipation of renewed energy and goals.

What often fastens itself to this expectation is the increased pressure to accomplish - to make this year be THE one that makes a difference, THE one where the big promotion is achieved or the extra 20 pounds is lost. We are also in a climate of uncertainty politically and economically, are in the midst of the season of colds and flus (to boot, it is cold and dismal, at least where we are in NY), and are living in an age where social media instills a false sense of who /where/what we are supposed to be. This combination of unpredictability, seasonal bleakness and self-inflicted pressure, can certainly chip away at the new year’s feeling of optimism and put a damper on one’s mood. This type of chronic stress inevitably leads to a compromised immune system, diseases and infection, and if unattended to can potentially even lead to cancer.

There are many lifestyle changes that can be made to help alleviate stress including meditation or simply getting out into nature, but today we are going to focus on another very powerful strategy. What if we told you that you could decrease anxiety and stress AND increase performance levels by doing what we are about to tell you? What if we told you that this could also fortify your wellness reserves for free and immediately? What if we told you that you already know how, but just need a bit of guidance and practice?

The answer is in your next breath. Yes, breath work. You can literally breathe yourself into bliss. Breath work has been around for thousands of years, but now seems to have been rediscovered and with new science to back it up.


How can the breath be so powerful? Breathing techniques increase vagal tone. The vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve containing motor and sensory fibers. It passes through the neck and thorax to the abdomen, has the widest distribution in the body and interfaces with parasympathetic control of the heart, lungs, and digestive tract. Breath work has the ability to decompress all unnecessary stress. According to Dan Brule, breath work pioneer and author of Just Breathe, conscious breathing techniques have the potential to transform the quality of your life on every level and on a day-to-day basis. On the other hand, dysfunctional breathing can lead to a laundry list of ailments including back pain, anxiety, lung problems, asthma and allergies, as well as performance, sleep and digestive issues.

Putting it into Practice:

Slow your breath down to about 4.5-6 breaths per minute. This slower rate of breathing alone can have a long lasting effect on heart coherence. It can reduce heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels by up to 20%, and increase oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin levels. Just 5 minutes of practicing this has a positive effect that can last for 4 hours or more. It increases alpha brain waves which are associated with stress release, focus and creativity. It is that “zen” or “zone” often achieved in meditation.

To slow the breath down, try cadence breathing. This is mindfully breathing in to a specific count and out to a specific count. The cadences can vary, i.e 1:1 or 1:2. Breathing in a 1:2 inhale to exhale ration is one of the most simple and effective way to increase vagal tone. Breathe in deeply through your nose. Hold briefly at the top. Exhale through the mouth with resistance. Do this by closing the back of your throat. The relaxation is in the exhalation. Repeat as many times as you need until the feeling of relaxation kicks in. Box breathing is another example of cadence breathing. Breath in for a count of 4, hold your breath for 4, exhale for 4 and hold for 4 before repeating the cycle. As you practice, the feeling will kick in more quickly.

Breathe Light to Breathe Right. This method is from the book The Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown. The idea is that over-breathing causes a loss of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the blood and therefore oxygen cannot be effectively released for use in the muscles. There is a direct correlation between CO2 tolerance and increased performance levels, decreased anxiety and stress. To reverse over-breathing, practice very light breathing which builds up CO2 for 3-10 minutes a few times a day. Breathe Light to Breathe right breathing also has a strong way to up regulate parasympathetic tone (to get your body to relax). Another way to reduce over-breathing is to breathe in and out through the nose whenever possible.

The Wim Hof Method of breathing is definitely worth mentioning here as well. It is a proven method for bolstering immune system functioning. We use it regularly and even more extensively if we feel the onslaught of a cold coming on. HERE is a short video on how to do it.

Try one or more of these exercises at least 5 minutes a day. Work it into your day and turn it into a ritual - like showering or brushing and flossing your teeth. Remember, practice is the key to success. New Year, new breath, new stress-free you!!

PS: We will be practicing EXTENSIVE breath work during our Catskills retreat next week, January 11-13, 2019 and still have room for a few more. Breath work, mobility, great food and drinks, the coziest of accommodations and much more are all included. If you are interested, sign up NOW. For more information and to register, see HERE.

Gregg CookComment
January Support

Does it feel as if the beginning of every year mirrors the last? Goals are set with just the right amount of caution to make them feel achievable, but lofty enough to satisfy the desperate urge for change. Vision boards are created, lists made and often times, gym memberships purchased. The month of January is usually one of compliance. (I know this because my classes are overflowing with newcomers)! Then what? Schedules become full, distractions set in, and by about mid-February, we spiral into the habits of the year prior and throw those goals out the window.

Sound familiar?

The problem is not your chosen set of goals. It is not your laziness or your inability to move forward and make changes. Millions of people face the same scenario year after year. Why? Change is not easy. No matter how deep our desire and instinct towards evolution may be, letting go of what was once serving us - be it habits, relationships, work situations - is frightening, as what is on the other side of that, the unknown is uncertain. We hold on to the pain we are experiencing for fear that what lies in the unknown will be worse. It is in our DNA for survival reasons to protect ourselves and hold on to the well-known dark instead of embracing the light of possibility. So how do we take a leap of faith and rewire our habitual set point?

Fatima and I believe the answer lies in one of the foundational tenets of Deep Health Evolution. That is, community, a big part of that being accountability. We can’t do it on our own folks! We need solid accountability every day. There is a quote by Jim Rohn that says you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. It may just be worth your while to think about this. Who are the people you spend the most time with? Do they share your values and support your ambitions? The people we surround ourselves with have a huge impact on our thought patterns and behaviors, and these, in turn, set the course of our lives.

Build your crew. Think of friends, family and coworkers that move you forward, support you and who possess qualities you admire and aspire for yourself.

Coaches can also be instrumental for change. - coaches who can be fully present, help uncover unique strengths and wisdom, and help craft personalized solutions with judgement free support.

Need help finding a coach? Send us a note. Both Fatima and myself are trained and experienced coaches and work both in person in the NYC area as well as virtually.

On that note…want to hang with a small group of like minded individuals? As many of you already know, we are now hosting retreats and have a separate website dedicated to them. The next one is coming up in a couple of weeks. It is a restorative weekend retreat in the beautiful Catskills from January 11-13. We still have some room. Click HERE to sign up. Make unforgettable memories and friends and experience a taste of how we approach a Deep Health lifestyle!

Happy New Year! That this may be the best, brightest and soul-satisfying one yet, in the deepest health.


“The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit”. - Fabienne Fredrickson

I love this quote because it really gets down to the root of Deep Health Evolution’s existence. And that is to plant the seeds of vitality through six major tenets: movement, nutrition, sleep, stress management, community/connection and environment. Our approach is delicate, sharing our continuously growing library of knowledge, experience and our age-earned wisdom, so as to quietly cajole small evolutionary steps towards enhanced life span and health span. The seeds you plant today in these areas will undoubtedly cultivate an elevated life.

What are some seeds you can plant today? We came up with six daily rituals to help you prioritize “Deep Health Evolutionary” self-care to help get through the holiday season, end the year on a positive note and set the stage for the year to come.  Do them everyday until the end of the year. (And longer).

Of course, in a perfect world we will nurture these seeds and they will grow into steadfast habits. Instead of setting out to revolutionize your world, we'd prefer for you to plant the seeds of evolution and embrace wherever you find yourself on this journey. Do what you can, be unabashedly forgiving of what you don’t get to.

If you choose to join us, let’s support each other on Instagram. Use hashtag #deephealthseeds on stories and your feed and share what you are doing so we can be in it together! If there is anyone you know who may benefit from something like this, please feel free to forward this post to them and have them follow us and join as well. We hope to see you there!

  1. MOVEMENT. Set a timer and move every 30 minutes. This doesn't mean you need to spontaneously drop into pushups or break a sweat. It can be as simple as changing seated positions if you are in a meeting or doing a CARs move or two. Here are some other simple ideas as well. If you have the opportunity to do something more rigorous, go for it.

  2. NUTRITION. Eat more vegetables. With every single meal, make something plant based most of what you eat. Veggie dominant soup for breakfast, extra greens in your shake, a double serving of brussel sprouts with your dinner, the choice is yours! Vegetable powders from Dr. Cowen’s Garden or the Green Juice from Organifi make this easier! (Use code GREGGCOOK for a 15% discount).

  3. SLEEP. Prioritize this. Without good quality/quantity sleep, most of everything else that is life supporting falls apart. Turn off any screens at least 1, preferably 2 hours before going to bed.

  4. STRESS MANAGEMENT. Upon awakening, before you do anything else including rolling out of bed, think of three things you are grateful for. These things needn’t be monumental. Whispers of goodness in your life are more than fine.

  5. COMMUNITY/CONNECTION. Reach out to one person you normally wouldn’t have contact with every day just to check in and say hello.

  6. ENVIRONMENT. Get out in nature for at least 10 minutes a day without regard to weather. Try and get some sun on your skin.

We have some exciting news! We have a new website dedicated to our retreats, Deep Health Retreats. Please visit! Our retreats are all about planting some seeds of health into the lives of our guests. There are a few rooms open for our Catskills retreat in January and registration is closing on Saturday. Join us! We promise you an unforgettable weekend. You will not be disappointed.

Need more information before you commit, contact us!

(Some affiliate link in which we make a small commission above - all tried and true and at no cost to you if you make a purchase).

Gregg CookComment
Time for Wine
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Celebratory times bring with it celebratory drinking - for better or for worse! While drinking wine is not a new thing - there are historical records of grape based fermented drinking dating back to the about 7000 B.C. in China - modern wine production is a whole lot different than the wines created in the past. As wellness, longevity and graceful aging advocates, we can’t honestly promote drinking the sulphate, pesticide, arsenic ridden wines most commonly found on the shelves today. The extra calories, high sugar and high alcohol content in most of these wines will definitely stand in the way of any health and fitness goals you may be working toward.

The other side of the coin is that there are some benefits associated with drinking wine as well. In addition to the pleasurable taste and positive social aspects of wine drinking, studies show some positive heart-health benefits to drinking a glass or two in conjunction with physical activity. Red wine in particular, is chocked full of polyphenols, which are loaded with antioxidant properties and are known to fight disease by reducing oxidative stress and neutralizing free radicals.  Furthermore, polyphenols from red wine have a prebiotic effect on the gut, meaning it feeds the gut with beneficial bacteria. We’ve gone into greater detail in the past and have offered different ways to help mitigate the negative affects of wine drinking.


This is why we only drink Dry Farm Wines. They curate 100% natural wines from small European family owned farms, that are lab tested for sugar and alcohol content, mycotoxins, molds and sulphates. Not only that, the wines are also ethically sourced. So…we are especially excited to share this news with you. (We are, after all, all about spreading holiday cheer)! Normally, the only way to try these wines is through their wine club, but for the holidays they are offering one-time only Winter Holiday Collections. There are 3, 6 and 12 bottle gift options available, reds, whites and bubbles, either for your own enjoyment and holiday hosting and/or as incredible gifts! To learn more or to order, click here.

Sorry to sound like an ad, but we really love these wines and think you will too! Give ‘em a try. And just to be completely transparent, we do make a small % from your purchase.

Happy Holidays!

Quick Holiday Anxiety Fix

Have your anxiety levels begun to skyrocket with the holidays on the horizon? You’re not alone. The holidays bring with it a myriad of demands on top of the demands of everyday life - from gift giving and party throwing (and attending) to an influx of family and relatively less time for self and peace and quiet.

Our number one way to kick that unwanted anxiety out to the curb is free and easy to do no matter where you are. Breathing practices can help both rev you up for enhanced performance and help you down regulate to ease stress and anxiety as well as help you to sleep.


The first step is learning to breath through your nose. For those of you who have taken my classes you know I have been preaching this for quite some time. More and more attention is being given to nose breathing. In fact, the NY Times just published an article about nose breathing and its link to better brain functioning, specifically memory. In addition to memory, nose breathing sends a direct signal to the nervous system cueing it to stay calm. In this state, the body can repair, regenerate and digest optimally. Nose breathing is also one of the top defenses against colds and flus. The nose acts as a filter and ensures the air in the lungs is warm and moist which means healthier lungs and greater O2 distribution. To top it all off, nose breathing will allow for the accumulation of nitric oxide in sinuses and all the benefits associated with this. What are these benefits you ask? Nitric oxide is very effective at opening airways and capillaries for great O2 transport to muscle, brain, heart, etc. It also works as an antimicrobial and antibacterial agent to fight potential health invaders. Bottom line? The nose was designed to do most of our breathing - specifically for health and physical performance purposes. Mouth breathing is a back up for emergency cases (including high intensity activities).

For a quick de-stressor in moments of overwhelm and anxiety, try these exercises:

  1. Breathe in through your nose for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale through the nose for 4 counts, then hold for 4 counts. Repeat. This is also known as box breathing. You can adjust the timing of this breathing as you become more practiced. for example, increase all counts to 5 or up to 10.

  2. Breathe in through the nose for 4 counts, hold for 7 counts, exhale through the nose for 8 counts.

Nine River Road, Callicoon, NY

Nine River Road, Callicoon, NY

Interested in learning more breathing techniques? Join me and Fatima in January at Nine River Road in the Catskills for a truly restorative weekend. We will be taking a much deeper dive into breath work and mobility practices geared towards redefining age and cultivating a bullet proof, resilient, lean and strong body. For more info and to sign up, see HERE. Don’t wait, space is limited!

The Perfect Present

Welcome to the holiday season!  It’s the Cook family’s favorite time of year and while we don’t necessarily love the idea of the commercialism surrounding the holidays, we absolutely adore everything else about it – from the tree trimming and smell of pine that fills the air to the gathering of family and friends for shared meals.  Part of what makes the holiday so special is, ironically, the very thing that renders the season so commercial in the first place - the gift giving.  I personally don’t think it HAS to be commercial.  It can instead be a communication of heart felt love and appreciation.  With some thought, a gift filled with the heartful intention of health and longevity has the potential to change the course of someone’s life.  Forget the socks and ugly holiday sweaters (although, I love both).  I am delighted to offer you a look at 10 alternative perfect present ideas.  I  tried to include a variety of price ranges, so I hope you are able to check everyone off your list!

Nine River Road, Callicoon, NY

Nine River Road, Callicoon, NY

1.     For the ultimate gift of instant recovery from holiday madness, welcome in the new year and treat a loved one (and yourself) to a Deep Health Evolution weekend in the Catskills.  Once all the indulgence and frenetic energy usually surrounding the holiday season has passed, the time for renewal is in order.  This retreat is a commitment to making this the best year yet.  All joining will learn improved mobility and physical conditioning, mental stamina through breath work and indispensable morning practices, will experiment with hydrogen inhalation, eat nourishing and delicious foods, drink clean, low-sugar, keto-friendly wines.  And last but not least have the opportunity to sleep ensconced in the peace, quiet and natural beauty of the Catskills n the comfortable and cozy beds at Nine River Road in Calicoon, NY Here’s a thought.  Buy a beautiful luggage tag, and insert your retreat weekend gift message inside!


2.    Help a loved one break habits no longer serving them, break through plateaus and design their own path to deeper health through our Health Coaching services or Complete Wellness Package.   We offer several packages from a la cart consultations and trainings to full six month packages customized towards your personal goals - improved body composition, better energy, diet help, sports specific training, overall wellness overhaul.  Scroll down to see all our offerings. Buyer beware, fat loss is a common result - you may find those brand new jeans falling right off you once you begin working with us!

This season we are excited to offer something very special. Would you like a personal chef to come into your home with all provisions in hand and cook you an absolutely creative, delicious, nutritious meal? For a limited time, Gregg and I are personally up for the challenge. We will personalize the meal to your tastes and dietary restrictions, provide low-sugar wines and take care of clean up as well! If you are interested in a “Deep Health Evolution” meal, please contact us for details.

Sleep Master Sleep Mask

Sleep Master Sleep Mask

3.    For those who have trouble with sleep and stress, how about putting together a Sleep Intervention Package.  For pitch black darkness, this eye mask will do the trick.  For white noise, this is our favorite little device.  We even travel with it!  For some help falling asleep, relax with some Sleep Remedy – a Navy Seal doctor concoction of Vitamin D, magnesium, L-tryptophan, phGABA, 5-HTP and the tiniest dose of Melatonin.  Take a serving 30 minutes before bedtime and slowly drift away into dreamland. (Use code Cookbooks for a 10% discount).

 For stress management, give the gift of neuro-balancing Hemp Oil.  Safe for children and pets alike, this is the most effective hemp oil in the market (as far as we’ve tested).  It is cleanly sourced and extremely bioavailable.   For more info on the numerous benefits see HERE.

4.    For those troubled by aging (aren’t we all to some degree), our nutritious aging weapon of choice is hydrogen inhalation therapy (or HIT).  This would knock the socks off - as well as a few wrinkles - off of any one using it. The Japanese have long known the benefits of this delicate yet powerful molecule.  With absolutely no negative side effects, the hydrogen molecule is a selective anti-oxidant that will address oxidative damage detrimental to health, while leaving behind those created by stressors that strengthen the body, such as those created during exercise.  HIT puts you on the fast track to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress - the root cause of all disease and aging concerns. Read more about it here. The most efficacious delivery method of hydrogen molecules is through inhalation. The HIT device is not easy on the wallet, but certainly worth it and for a limited time Health & Beauty Wellness, our source, is conducting case studies on the benefits of Hydrogen Inhalation Therapy. It is a 3 month study and upon completion you will receive $250 cash back for your participation. Financing is also possible. To purchase a system and to learn more here. And of course, contact us with any questions.

Want to spend a little less?  How about a clay mask and derma roller from Alitura? This mask is made from a long list of 100% natural, hard-to-find powerful ingredients such as grass-fed colostrum and Rhassoul Clay.  For a one-two punch and skin softer then a baby’s bottom, use it with the Alitura derma roller.  

Another favorite tool for those puffy-faced mornings (you all know what I am talking about) is a jade roller. Basically this tool combats inflammation and puffiness by helping to circulate the lymphatic system. It’s pretty as well!

Miyabi Birchwood Knife Block

Miyabi Birchwood Knife Block

5.     Know someone who loves to cook?  Enhance their pantry with the most delicious and nutrient dense food powders available in the market – and in fact, exclusively through this website.  These powders by Dr. Cowen’s Garden are made from organically and biodynamically grown rare vegetable varieties and gently dried and stored in Miron jars for maximum preservation of nutrients.  And they are delicious.  Our favorites are the Leek Salt, Kale Power and Savory Threefold Blend.  Use code DR.COWENSGARDEN for a 15% discount. How about a package of vegetable powers and a beautiful organic California olive oil?

Anyone who cooks knows the importance of having good knives.  We invested in these Japanese knives a few years ago, and have never looked back. They are indeed spendy, but not only do they elevate the cooking experience to new levels they are also beautiful to look at.  I also covet these handmade beauties.

This is my favorite cast iron dutch oven. It is perfect for large roasts, soups and even baking bread.

This Greek copper pepper mill is divine. I saw it first at a friend’s house in Portland and immediately looked or one for myself. It is would make an exquisite gift. Some other gadgets we find indispensable in the kitchen are the Vitamix Blender (which we’ve had for close to 20 years), Instant Pot, mini food processor, zester and this meat thermometer for perfectly cooked meat every time! (The zester and meat thermometer are perfect stocking stuffers). 

Fellow Stagg Electric Pour Over Kettle

Fellow Stagg Electric Pour Over Kettle

6.    And now for our vices.  Today we talk about our morning vice.  Coffee. We have written extensively about it in the past.  Delicious and full of healthful benefits, a toxin-free, mold-free, organic, high antioxidant very-exclusive coffee is a gift from the gods.  Purity coffee has been tested for molds and mycotoxins as well as for its antioxidant properties and checks off all the right marks.  The coffee beans alone would fit nicely in a stocking and a coffee subscription, a set of beautiful coffee cups, a gorgeous electric kettle or Japanese coffee dripper would make any coffee lover happy (and may even convert those who are not)!  Bonus:  Attach a handwritten note written on parchment with the benefits of coffee listed to your package.

7.    Vice number two. Wine.  We at Deep Health Evolution are all about living a balanced life. This includes enjoying a glass of wine or two a few times a week, especially with friends and family. Unfortunately, the way most wines are made – the way the grapes are grown and harvested and the non-desirable additives put into them, this practice can quickly get in the way of leading a healthy life.  For more information, see here. Fortunately, there are some good people out there making it easier for us to have the best of both worlds.  Dry Farm Wines curates natural, organic and biodynamically grown wines from small producers around the globe.  Every batch of wine is tested for its sugar and alcohol content, insuring that every single bottle is not only low in sugar and even keto-friendly, but also never surpassing an alcohol content of 12%.  This way, the detriments of drinking are minimized and hang-overs are completely avoided (assuming you’re imbibing within reason, of course). Their wines are little known and exclusive, which is a must in terms of gift giving, and best part of all is that they taste fantastic.  A Dry Farm Wine subscription is a great gift idea.  If you are wary of giving someone a subscription, gift yourself the subscription, and give away couple of bottles along with this gorgeous corkscrew and unique wine glasses

Bellicon Mini Trampoline

Bellicon Mini Trampoline

8.     If you have kids of your own or are close to kids in your life, you know that the holidays are really all about THEM.  It is a magical time of year and for kids this is true in magnitudes.  While I am sure toy catalogues have made their ways into your mailboxes already, how about instilling the gift of movement to a child – and the whole family really.  Bouncing is great for a host of reasons ranging from bone density, joint health, balance, cardiovascular conditioning, recovery and immune system strengthening and is loads of fun.  It was be an effective tool for improving fitness and performance as well as a toy!  This is the one we have.  You can customize the colors and tension on it and the legs fold up for easy storage.  For an additional cost you can opt for screw -on legs and other balancing accessories.  Amazon sells many less extravagant ones which are less expensive and also fine, although we can’t personally attest to that! 

9.    Want more than a weekend away and are willing to wait until June?  How about a fully immersive week in Deep Health practices in Mallorca.  With this, I guarantee a life-changing experience that will last forever.  Our first trip to Mallorca was so successful, we decided to repeat it – only this time we’ve learned from our experience and perfected it.  This is a true and deep dive into learning how to upgrade your life.  The retreat will happen while in the midst of the intoxicating natural beauty of Mallorca and pampered in the most luxurious accommodations imaginable - the beautiful bones of an ancient farmhouse meticulously maintained and modernized with all the comforts you could ask for, only a few minutes from the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean.  You will experience movement as never before, breathwork that will transform the way you perform, eat, sleep, recover and even age.  You will eat nutritious and mouth-watering foods prepared by local chefs, visit local beaches, tour a biodynamic wine farm, cycle, hike, coaster and much more.  Every detail has been taken into account.  This is a family friendly event with a special itinerary for kids 8 and older, timed specifically around the summer school break.  This is THE gift for you and your family.   


10.  Finally, some home made beauties. In only a few minutes you could create some memorable homemade gifts that work as stocking stuffers or equally well as hostess gifts.  Here is my favorite:

Homemade Marshmallows & Grain-Free Graham Crackers S’mores Kit (adapted from The Real Food Dietitians)

For the crackers:

  • 1 1/4 cup finely-ground almond flour (I like the Honeyville brand)

  • 1/4 cup arrowroot starch

  • 3/4 tsp Vital Proteins Gelatin 

  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 3 Tbsp honey or maple syrup

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

  • 2 tsp organic whole milk (or nut milk of choice)

  • 10-12 marshmallows (home made recipe below)

  • 10-12 squares of chocolate, milk or dark

  1. Preheat oven to 300ºF.

  2. Place dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade and pulse to combine.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey or maple syrup, vanilla and milk.

  4. Add to dry ingredients and process until the mixture forms a ball.

  5. Turn dough out onto a large sheet of parchment paper. It should fit on your baking sheet without overhang.

  6. Dust dough with arrowroot starch then begin to shape it into a log. Then with an additional dusting of arrowroot starch, roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick.

  7. Score dough into 2×2-inch squares using a knife or pizza cutter and poke holes in each cracker using a skewer or fork. (For a more rustic look, skip the scoring and break the cookies apart by hand once cooked and completely cooled).

  8. Transfer the parchment with dough to the baking sheet. With the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven, bake for 8-10 minutes. The dough will be slightly puffy with edges lightly brown.

  9. Turn off oven and let the crackers to cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes with the oven door slightly ajar. Transfer baking pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

  10. Break crackers along score lines when completely cooled. Store in a covered airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

  11. To package your s’mores gift, place chocolate bar, graham crackers and marshmallows in a wide mouth mason jar. Wrap a pretty holiday ribbon around the mouth of the jar with a handwritten ingredient and instruction label. Alternatively, you can place a few crackers, chocolate and marshmallows in a box with tissue paper.

For the marshmallows:

*You will need a candy thermometer for this recipe.

  • 2 cups water, divided

  • 5 Tbsp. Vital Proteins Gelatin 

  • 1 cup honey or real maple syrup

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt

  •  Arrowroot starch for dusting (tapioca flour works as well)

  • Coconut oil for greasing pan

  • Parchment paper

  1. Lightly grease a 9×13″ baking dish with coconut oil then line with parchment lengthwise and grease the parchment. Line again with another piece of parchment in the opposite direction, and grease. Leave some overhang in both pieces of parchment to help turning the marshmallows out of the pan.

  2. Dust the pan lightly with arrowroot starch.

  3. Pour 1 cup of water into the bowl of a stand mixer with whip attachment (or in a bowl if you are using a hand mixer)

  4. Sprinkle gelatin over the water and allow it to “bloom” for 5-10 minutes.

  5. In the meanwhile, make the syrup. In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, whisk together the remaining 1 cup water, the honey or maple syrup. Set up your candy thermometer in the pan.

  6. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat slightly to prevent the mixture from boiling over.

  7. Allow the mixture to simmer rapidly until it reaches 240℉ on the candy thermometer (soft-ball stage).

  8. With the mixer on medium speed very slowly pour the hot syrup into the bowl over the gelatin. Be careful not to pour directly onto the beater or it will splatter.

  9. Once the syrup has been mixed in, add vanilla and sea salt and beat on high speed for 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture is fluffy, white and almost tripled in volume.

  10. Pour the fluffy marshmallow cream into the prepared pan and with a rubber spatula gently smooth.

  11. Allow marshmallows to cool, uncovered for 6 hours or overnight. Transfer marshmallow to a cutting board dusted with starch. Peel away the parchment and dust with starch.

  12. Using a sharp knife, cut into 36 squares. Dust cut sides with additional starch to prevent them from sticking together.

  13. Store in a covered container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

And from the internet:

We will be sending you some other ideas in the next coming weeks as we find them ourselves. Happy gifting!

(This post contains lots of affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission if you make a purchase using them).

How to eat on Thanksgiving.
Image via Our Food Stories

Image via Our Food Stories

Our overall philosophy in life in general applies to Thanksgiving as well. And that is, life is to be relished. Thanksgiving is a celebration of gratitude - of health, of happiness, of friends and family, and the opening of the holiday season. Be kind to yourself and please, allow yourself to enjoy - guilt free. One “off-the-rails” meal is likely not going to make much of a difference in your body composition and digestive health overall, but the memories of your Thanksgiving experience will.

If you were hoping we’d give you a step-by-step plan on how to skillfully maneuver in a healthful way the overwhelming amount of food usually served on this abundant holiday, here is a loose one.

  1. Move throughout the day. Take walks. Play some games like touch football or tag with the kids. Put on some groovy tunes and dance while you cook. Throw in random squats, push ups (insert exercise of choice) here and there.

  2. Do a high intensity interval training before the big meal.

  3. If #2 is not possible, a quick 30-60 second intense move just before the meal will help with blood sugar regulation.

  4. Appreciate the food with all your senses - smell, sight, mouth-feel and taste. This not only will feel good but will also slow you down.

  5. Start with greens and lots of them.

  6. If you are going to drink alcohol, choose low sugar wines and cocktails. If you are having a cocktail, mix in some bitters. Bitter herbs are digestive aids, blood sugar regulators and super tasty.

  7. Pace yourself with alcohol. Have a glass of water in between for every drink, or have 2 sips of water for every sip of alcohol.

  8. Make sure to chew at least 40 times per bite. This helps with digestion and helps you to pace yourself.

  9. Speaking of pacing, go for an after dinner walk (or dance or engage in some type of movement)

  10. Deep belly nose breathing throughout the day will help keep your nerves in check. This is especially helpful around mealtime. It will help you stay in rest-and-digest mode. Shallow and/or mouth breathing cues your sympathetic nervous system to up regulate.

Last but absolutely not least, our Mallorca June 2019 retreat registration is OPEN! If you joined us on the last one - this trip is even more luxurious and special. If you didn’t, don’t miss out! More info on our own brand spanking new retreat focused website coming soon, but in the meanwhile, head on over to our fabulous partner's site for details and to register. 

Registration for an adult-only restorative weekend in the Catskills with us will also be opening later this week! It will be the perfect way to start the new year and recover from the holidays. This retreat will take place from Friday, January 11 through Sunday, January 13, 2019. Be on the lookout. As you know, we like to keep things exclusive and intimate, so space will be limited!

Fatima CookComment
Cold & Flu Season Prep

The ominous cold and flu season is upon us. How can we strengthen our immune systems and keep colds and flus at bay? Flu shot you say? Well, maybe. While there is a small chance the CDC got it perfectly right and matched this year’s vaccine formulation with the currently circulating strains of the virus, more than likely this is not the case. Regardless of your dogma - pro-vaccination or not, it makes sense to super charge your immune system and those of your loved ones naturally. Read on and she how we do it.

  • Vitamin C. This is an important vitamin to help prevent colds. In addition,1,000mg per day of a good quality, organic food based vitamin C supplement (or one that is USP grade and produced in a GMP certified facility) can alleviate the severity and shorten the duration of a cold. Here is an example of a good one.

    Aside from supplementation, eating vitamin C rich foods is the easiest way to make sure you are getting enough. Some examples include all citrus fruits, papayas, strawberries, raspberries and pineapple, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables and parsley.

  • Elderberry. This powerful fruit contains anthocyanins which are known to have potent immune boosting effects. Studies have shown that supplementing with elderberry within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms, can reduce the duration of symptoms by four days on average. You can find this in a syrup or juice concentrate, as well as in capsules or tinctures. We make gummies out of the juice or tincture.

    Elderberry Gummy Recipe

    *You’ll need a silicone mold and coconut oil to prevent sticking.

  • 1/2 cup elderberry syrup

  • 1/8 cup gelatin powder

  • 1/4 cup hot boiling water

    Grease the molds with a bit of coconut oil.

    Whisk 1/2 the elderberry syrup with the gelatin powder quickly.

    Add the hot water and stir vigorously until smooth. Pour into the prepared molds and refrigerate until completely firm.

    Store in an air-tight container with parchment in between each layer.

  • Echinachea. Immune boosting and oxidative damage protecting, this medicinal root was first used by indigenous North American Indians. Research shows that it can help prevent the common cold and also reduce its duration by a day or two. It is particularly helpful for respiratory conditions and inflammation.

  • Zinc. Required for multiple functions throughout the body, zinc is a micronutrient important for immune system containing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Some foods containing high levels of zinc are seafood, especially oysters, meat and cheese. Studies have shown it to have the ability to shorten colds by a whopping 5 days or even longer. The most effective form of zinc is zinc acetate for cold prevention/shortening. Try a lozenge the second you feel a cold coming on and continue taking one every few hours until your symptoms go away.

  • Hemp Oil. We’ve talked about this at length and if you’d like to learn more, read here. In a nut shell, hemp oil is a plant-produced cannabinoid (or phytocannabinoid) from the Cannabis sativa plant that mimics our body’s own internal cannabinoid (or endocannabinoid) system. The main function of this system is to maintain homeostasis and help the body adapt to stressors. When it is out of balance, the digestive, reproductive, nervous, and immune systems suffer. In addition, this system regulates neurotransmitter function, inflammation, mitochondrial function, and metabolism. Use hemp oil regularly as a nutritional supplement to prevent and help the body naturally fight colds and flus. There are hundreds of different CBD oils available now, some more efficacious than others. This is the one we use.

  • Prebiotics and probiotics. A healthy gut equals a healthy body and mind as an estimated 80-85% of the immune system is in the gut. The bacteria in our digestive tract plays a vital role in nutrient absorption, mucosal barrier function, support of gut lymphoid tissue, and immune function. We can keep our gut bacteria happy by feeding it prebiotics (foods that promote the increase of good bacteria in our gut) and probiotics (foods that feed that good bacteria). Some good examples of prebiotic foods are Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, leeks, asparagus, dandelion greens, chicory root, potato starch, green bananas or green banana flour, cooked and cooled white potatoes and cooked and cooled rice. Fermented foods such as kimchee, sauerkraut, beet kvass, fermented pickles, yogurt and kefir are good sources of probiotics. Aside from whole foods, you can boost your prebiotic and probiotic intake through supplements - we like Hyperbiotics Organic Powder and Healthy Origins Fiber All Natural for prebiotics and Klaire Labs Ther-biotic Complete or Primal Blueprint Primal Probiotic for probiotics.

  • Mushrooms. The anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties of this incredible superfood have long played a role in Chinese medicine and have more recently made its way into the Western world. They contain powerful antioxidants, polysaccharides and triterpenes as well as a long list of nutrients that can help with cardiovascular health, hormonal regulation, thyroid functioning, digestion and skin health. Culinary delights made from enoki, maitake and oyster mushrooms can help fortify the immune system and these mushroom varieties can be found in local and specialty grocery stores. Other mushrooms such as chaga, reishi, turkey tail, lion’s mane and cordyceps are a bit more difficult to source. In addition, extracting their medicinal properties to their greatest potential can get a little more complicated. Luckily, there are companies such as Four Sigmatic and Host Defense that do the job for us. We personally use the 10 Mushroom Blend by Four Sigmatic and My Community Multi Mushroom Extract by Host Defense.

  • Bone Broth. Bone broth contains particular amino acids and lipids that are indispensable for immune system functioning. It is collagen and gelatin rich - two things vital for gut health, and contains anti-inflammatory and immuno-regulating glycosaminoglycans. For more bone broth info (and a recipe), see here.

  • Load up on Micronutrients. An adequate intake of micronutrients will help keep your immune system intact. While in general we eat a rainbow of vegetables regularly and make sure our plates are 90% plant based, we turn to Dr. Cowen’s Garden for an even broader variety of vegetables to easily supplement our micronutrient intake. Dr. Cowen is a brilliant, forward thinking anthroposophical doctor, author of several books, one of our favorites being How (& Why) to Eat More Vegetables, based in Northern California. He cultivates organic, biodynamic heirloom plants, carefully dries and creates vegetable powders out of them. The powders are stored in Miron jars to preserve their nutrients. Sprinkle any of their veggie powders on foods and drinks and mix them into baked goods. Not only are they beautiful to look at, they are also delicious. Our favorites are the Savory Three-fold Blend, the Leek Salt, the Kale and the Three Beet Powder. The powders are not inexpensive but we think they are worth the price. We are affiliates of Dr. Cowen’s Garden and if you use our code (DRCOWANSGARDEN) you’ll get a 15% discount. Every little bit helps!

  • Sauna. The principal role of the lymphatic system is to keep white blood cells and fat-soluble vitamins flowing throughout the body while moving dead cellular matter out. Stagnant lymph can lead to an accumulation of toxic cellular debris and pathogens - and an impaired immune system. One of the the body’s primary means of detoxification is through the skin. Sweating in a sauna is a great way to circulate lymph fluid.

  • Rebounding. This is another powerful lymph-moving technique. Bounce on a mini-trampoline for about 10 minutes a day to help keep the lymph system decongested. Alternatively, stand on a vibration plate.

  • Sleep. We have talked about sleep and its numerous benefits in the past, but it is so important, it is worth mentioning again. It is during rest that the body is able to renew, recover, and revitalize. This is especially important when the immune system is compromised.

  • AVOID: sugar (including bread and pasta), processed foods, industrial seed oils and gluten. These foods present stressors in the body and place an excessive burden on the digestive system. They divert energy away from our natural immune and maintenance processes.

And what if you do get sick? In addition to the above, here’s the home made cold-busting concoction swear by. Take at onset of symptoms! Mix all ingredients into a paste and eat.

  • Juice from 1 lemon

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon organic turmeric powder (or freshly grated if possible)

  • 1 teaspoon Manuka honey

  • 1-2 teaspoon coconut oil

  • freshly ground black pepper

(Full disclosure:  Lots of affiliate links above. Yes, we make a little bit of money if you make a purchase using our links, but it is at no extra cost to you.  Rest assured, we wouldn't be recommending them if we hadn’t personally tried and approved of them)!

Additional references:











Fatima CookComment
THE exercise you need to know to feel young forever.
Basic Body Weight Squat

Basic Body Weight Squat

The SQUAT. Yes, the squat. It is arguably the most basic and fundamental exercise every human being on this planet should re-learn how to do regardless of age.* Because it engages more muscle then virtually any other exercise, it is the backbone of health and mobility. While it is not a complicated exercise, it has to be done properly in order for one to a) reap its full benefits and b) avoid injury.

*Side notes: 1. RE-learn because children instinctively know how to squat perfectly. 2. The next equally important exercise we’ll talk about is the dead-lift.

Why is the squat so important?

You need to be able to squat for just about everything you do - to sit down and stand up, to pick things up off the floor, to use the bathroom, even walking up stairs is a series of modified squats. You get the idea. And, these are only examples of partial squats. Ideally, you want to be able to perform a powerful and full squat with some sense of ease. Consider a fall. A powerful squat increases the ability to prevent an impending fall and to move quickly out of the way of incoming and sudden danger. Power also exhibits a strong neuromuscular connection and practicing powerful squats is a great way to maintain that connection. Without this explosive element, you no longer can be completely autonomous and the potential for injury goes up exponentially. Should you actually fall, being able to comfortably squat fully, meaning, butt to calves, will enable you to get up unassisted.

The inability to squat means you have restricted mobility throughout your entire body. Without a proper squat you really lack the strength to traverse the earth. In fact, there was a study conducted in 2012 correlating the ability to stand up off the ground unassisted with longevity, and it makes sense.

It’s important to keep in mind that there are about 100,000 ways to squat - maybe more - as long as you have healthy knee and hip joints. The more ways you can squat the better. The basic squat is a good place to start. Master this, before you move on.


  1. Toes: Keep them pointed straight ahead or slightly turned out.

  2. Feet: They should be hip to shoulder width apart. The tighter you are, the wider your feet will need to be.

  3. Torso: Maintain upright posture. Pay attention to your ribs. Don’t let them pop out.

  4. Weight: Center your weight throughout your feet. Keep your heels down. Imagine you are inside a tight cylinder and avoid bowing your head forward (so as to avoid hitting the walls of the cylinder).

  5. Butt to calves. Actively pull yourself down into the squat. Your hips will shift back a bit. Your tailbone reaches to a target just behind your heels. Your knees stay in alignment with the toes, but track forward as far as needed in order to pull down into the deepest squat possible without losing your balance.

  6. To come out of the squat, imagine you are in that tight cylinder again and keep your torso upright. As you press the floor away with your feet, your hips and torso come up at the same speed. Imagine you are shooting out of the floor like a rocket.


Make a fist with one hand in front of you at chest height and squeeze it tightly with the other hand. Pull your shoulder blades down so you are engaging your lats. Squeeze your arms to your sides as if you were holding something under your armpits.

Corkscrew your feet into the floor and/or spread the floor away with your feet.


Lack of hip mobility, tight ankles and/or a tight back.


The more you practice, the better you will get. Practice squatting more and sitting in a squat for longer periods of time. Sit in the squat position for as long as you can and while down there, explore different positions. Try rocking forward and back, and rotating from side to side. This may feel uncomfortable at first and this is totally ok, just don’t go into pain. Focusing on deep breathing can help. Inhale for 4 counts and on the exhale let the air strongly release.

Use props to help you such as a TRX, door knob, kettlebell, column or a person to counterbalance your weight to help pull yourself deeper into a squat.

Tiny Fencer. Image courtesy of Daily Burn.

Tiny Fencer. Image courtesy of Daily Burn.

Try this exercise. I call it the Tiny Fencer. Kneeling on an exercise mat, step one foot out to the side with your knee bent, toes facing out and heel in line with the opposite knee. Open your arms out on a diagonal and press your forearm into the inner thigh of the inner thigh. Keeping your turned out foot flat on the floor, bend the knee of the leg that is turned out as you press your hips forward and reach your arms out as long as possible. Allow the knee to extend past the toe to feel the stretch in your hip flexors, inner thighs, calf muscles while increasing your ankle mobility. Hold for a few seconds, then practice rocking from side to side. Repeat on the other side.

Practice doing some powerful squats intermittently throughout the day. Do 10-20 jump squats every 30-60 minutes.

Ready for more? Who says you need equipment or added weight? Try these first!


  1. The Pistol

    This is essentially a one-legged squat with the non-working leg straight out in front of the body. Extend one leg in front of you, lower down slowly with control and balance until your butt is on your heels. Push into the floor to powerfully stand back up. In addition to leg strength, before you can do a pistol, you need to be able to do a full, deep squat. You’ll need mobility in your hips, feet and ankles, and good balance. (Image 1 above)

  2. The Sissy Squat

    This type of squat helps to build quadriceps strength. Standing on both feet, keep your torso in a diagonal line with your knees as you bring your knees forward and shoulders back. Drop your knees down to the ground as you push up on the balls of your feet. (Image 2 above)

  3. The Shrimp Squat

    This is another single-leg bodyweight squat requiring tons of strength, flexibility and balance. Bend the knee of the non-squatting leg behind your back (as if you were stretching your quadriceps) and hold that ankle with your hand. Slowly and with control, lower your body until your knee touches the ground, then stand back up. Keep your weight balanced in the middle of your foot as you squat up and down. (Image 3 above)

Need some help with your squat? Is limited mobility, flexibility or stability getting in the way of living a pain-free life? Work with us.

Want a taste of a deep functional mobility and breathing class? Join us at Limelight Fitness in NYC this Sunday, November 11 at 1:30. Details and sign up here.

(Full disclosure:  There are some affiliate links above.  While we make a little bit of money if you make a purchase using our links, it is at no extra cost to you.  Rest assured, we honestly wouldn't be recommending them if we didn't believe in them)!

Gregg Cook Comments
Souper Power!

Summer is no longer lingering here in NY. As the weather has become crisp and chilly - as fall should be - my focus lies on two things. First, making the house feel warm and cozy. We begin to enjoy dinners by candle or oil lamp light. Thick, yummy blankets come out of their summer hiding places to snuggle with us on Friday “movie nights”. Second, I shift how we nourish ourselves. The Instant Pot is out on heavy rotation as I busily conjure up a vast array of chilis, soups and stews. Vast, to keep things interesting for me to make and the rest of the Cooks to eat.

At the base of all my wintry preparations is none other then bone broth. It is the foundation of every chili, soup, stew and the like that I make all fall and winter long. Why?

In a nutshell, the big secret here is collagen (and gelatin). Collagen is found only in animal flesh and connective tissue and is a fundamental part of bone, containing a large amount of amino acids. Aside from water, it is the most common material found in the body. It makes up 70% of the skin, 90% of bone mass and 90% of connective tissue. Believe it or not, our endogenous production of collagen begins to slow down in our 20’s!

Our ancestors practiced nose to tail eating. They never knew when they would have their next successful hunt and couldn’t really afford to waste any part of the animal including skin, bones, hooves, tails and knuckles. What they discovered was that by cooking down the tougher scraps, they were able to draw out all kinds of beneficial nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, and collagen protein. Eating this way is no longer common practice and boosting our collagen is therefore crucial. Bone broth contains the most bioavailable form of collagen.

Here is a list of some of the key properties of bone broth.

  1. Bone broth helps heal your gut. It contains glycine, and amino acid that helps heal and protect the gut through it’s anti-inflammatory, immune regulating and cell protecting properties. Glycine is also a major player when it comes to detoxification, reducing oxidative damage, enhancing insulin sensitivity, and regulating human growth hormone.

  2. Bone broth contains the joint healing nutrients glucosamine and chondroitin.

  3. Bone broth aka Mother Nature’s Botox, does wonders for your skin. The collagen in it helps smooth out wrinkles and stretch marks and can even help reverse sagging skin. Bone broth also contains glycosaminoglycans which help keep the skin plump and supple. In addition, bone broth strengthens nails and encourages hair growth.

  4. Bone broth helps fight inflammation - glycine, proline, glucosamine and chondroitin all have anti-inflammatory properties.

  5. Bone broth is helpful for weight loss. Through its anti-inflammatory and gut healing properties, it allows your body to maintain a healthy GI tract which in turn helps facilitate weight loss. For more on this look into The Bone Broth Diet, popularized by Dr. Kellyanne Petrucci. It combines clean, anti-inflammatory eating with intermittent fasting and bone broth.

  6. Glycine found in bone broth is a sleep aid. It works on the central nervous system to improve sleep quality.

  7. Bone broth is versatile, rich, complex and soul satisfying.

Turmeric Bone Broth Latte

Turmeric Bone Broth Latte

Want to try making your own? Thousands of recipes can be found online, but these are the beef and chicken versions I make. I use an Instant Pot, but the recipe works in a regular old stock pot or slow cooker as well. Instead of the 2 hours in the Instant Pot, simmer for 12-48 hours.

*It is CRITICAL to use high quality bones as it is in the skin and bones that toxins are stored. Go to a trusted butcher and ask for 100% organic grass fed beef bones and 100% organic pastured pork and chicken.

*Adding apple cider vinegar to the pot and letting it sit for 30 minutes or more before turning on the heat will help extract the most out of your bones.

*For a richer flavor, roast the bones before adding them to the pot.


2 stalks celery roughly chopped
2 carrots roughly chopped
1 onion cut into large chunks
5 cloves garlic smashed
3.5-4 lbs grass-fed beef bones (preferably knuckle bones and joints)
1 pastured pig’s foot (optional, but is a great source of additional collagen)
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Kosher Salt
Filtered Water


Place the bones and foot (if using) into the Instant Pot. Add apple cider vinegar, and let sit for 30+ minutes. In the meanwhile, chop your vegetables.
Drop in the vegetables, bay leaves, and sprinkle with salt.
Cover the contents with water, but make sure the pot is not more then two-thirds full.
Cover and lock the lid and set to high pressure.
Set the timer for 2 hours and let the pressure release naturally.
Strain the liquid, discard the solids and place in the fridge overnight. This is simply to let the fat rise to the top and solidify. It makes it a lot easier to skim the fat off the top.
Drink the broth alone or add to recipes - even smoothies!

To substitute chicken for the beef, use 2 1/2-4 lbs of pastured chicken bones (from another meal or a butcher). You can use a pig’s foot here too, and/or about 6-8 chicken’s feet. Follow the rest of the recipe as written.

Our favorite way to enjoy bone broth is in latte form, blended with a little grass-fed butter, ghee or extra virgin olive oil, turmeric, cumin, a dash or two of cayenne pepper, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Don’t have time for make your own? We like Brodo Bone Broth, available in Wholefoods, Fairway and other grocery stores and Kettle and Fire.

Some interesting related facts:

“All disease begins in the gut”, said Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. Documented as early as 400 BC, he recognized the healing powers of bone broth and prescribed it to those with digestive disorders.

In 1845 American industrialist, Peter Cooper, secured a patent for powdered gelatin. (Bone broth cooked over a long period of time turns the collagen in the bones turns to gelatin).

Other collagen boosting foods include wild salmon, chlorella, leafy greens, citrus fruits, eggs, berries, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, avocados, garlic, chia seeds.

Do you eat the tendons, ligaments, joints and bones? Do you eat the skin off your chicken or turkey? Personally, these are some my favorite bits! image:www.foodinsight.org

Do you eat the tendons, ligaments, joints and bones? Do you eat the skin off your chicken or turkey? Personally, these are some my favorite bits! image:www.foodinsight.org

(Full disclosure:  There are some affiliate links above.  While we make a little bit of money if you make a purchase using our links, it is at no extra cost to you.  Rest assured, we honestly wouldn't be recommending them if we didn't believe in them)!