Summit County Chefs Share Valentine’s Day Dinner At Home

Summit County chefs share tips for making a nice Valentine’s Day dinner at home – For many, Valentine’s Day is a good excuse to make a fancy dinner at home, even when there’s not a pandemic limiting restaurant capacities.

Summit County chefs have a few tips for those looking to create a delicious, home-cooked dinner — and maybe even a dessert.

For Summit County resident Tieghan Gerard, part of the appeal of cooking at home for Valentine’s Day is bringing a couple together in the kitchen.


“Two people working together in the kitchen can be very romantic,” Gerard said- “Summit County chefs share tips”. “Whether it’s making red wine cranberry braised short ribs or a simple mac and cheese while sharing beers … it’s all about being together and working toward creating something delicious.”

Gerard is a nationally recognized food blogger and cookbook author who regularly shares her recipes on her blog, Half Baked Harvest. She recently partnered with Breckenridge Brewery to develop a few recipes featuring the brewery’s Vanilla Porter.


Getting people involved in a meal and becoming a part of the creation is a big part of making a meal special, said David Welch, the chef, and owner at Food Hedz Catering. When he thinks about making a romantic meal at home, one important aspect for him is the opportunity to spend time together with a special someone.

“You cook it together, you make it together, and you eat it together,” he said. “Grab one of those nice platters you rarely ever use and make it look nice. … No rush, nibble as you go, and enjoy your time together.”

Because not everyone feels comfortable in the kitchen, Gerard said it’s a good idea to stay within your skill level when you’re preparing a meal.

A trap that home cooks can fall into is thinking that a good, romantic meal has to be full of tricky techniques, said Kevin McCombs, the executive chef, and owner of House Cured Culinary. He said a good meal for a special occasion shouldn’t require pulling off a difficult cooking technique.

“A lot of cooking is practice and execution,” McCombs said. “Don’t try to pull something off that is way outside your skillset. I’m not going to try to pull something off that’s way outside my comfort zone when I’m working on a big meal.”

He adds that another important consideration for pulling off a successful meal is timing. He cautions people about being overeager and trying to do too much all at once, creating a higher likelihood for a catastrophic meal failure.

Gerard said she doesn’t have a specific meal in mind that says “love” when cooked for her, but she did say that “adding extra homemade steps sure says ‘love.’”

Making something that sounds good to the cook and adding ingredients you love for someone you care about will make the dinner go beyond the ordinary, Gerard said.

Regardless of the recipe, ingredients are what makes a dish special, said Andre Hampton, chef, and owner of the Black Diamond Gourmet catering service.

“Keep it local, keep it fresh, and you’re going to be great,” Hampton said.

The temptation may be to skip over fresh ingredients, which sometimes come with added costs. Still, McCombs said they really can put a dish over the top, and it’s one thing professionals rely on to make their food stand out.

“One of the biggest things, from a professional standpoint, is that we use fresh herbs to heighten your dishes and add layers of flavor,” he said. “These may be more expensive, but it sets things apart.”

Bringing better-quality or special ingredients to a meal is also a way to show “I went the extra mile for you,” Welch said.

Summit County resident Tieghan Gerard teamed up with Breckenridge Brewery to make creations featuring the brewery’s Vanilla Porter, including this recipe for molten chocolate cake with mascarpone whipped cream.
Photo by Tieghan Gerard / Half Baked Harvest

Whatever someone might make, Hampton said to make sure Valentine’s meal includes dinner and dessert.

“Something savory, something sweet and don’t go overboard on the cheap chocolates,” Hampton said.

For dessert, instead of chocolate-covered strawberries, Hampton encourages a flourless chocolate cake or a torte. Simple recipes for both are easy to find online and produce decadent dishes that can finish off a meal.

“Flowers always help at the beginning of the meal, and chocolates always help at the end of the meal,” Welch said. “Chocolate seems to really help folks out.”

Gerard said she’s still a fan of conversation hearts and has a new recipe for strawberry conversation heart cupcakes that might help those looking to up their sweets game a little.

She said serving heart-shaped food for a romantic dinner isn’t a bad idea and said several desserts on her blog go in that direction.

For a “fancy” ingredient to enhance a dish’s plate appeal, Gerard recommends adding edible flowers or fresh herbs.

Aside from the food, McCombs said it’s important to be mindful of what’s happening outside of the plate, which can contribute to the overall enjoyment of a meal.

“Beyond the food is attention to detail about other things that are on the table,” he said. “A nice glass of wine, flowers, and making sure things are picked up and put together outside of the table.”

Gerard also encourages the food to come with a little ambiance.

“Candles, a pretty place setting and dishes, your favorite music and flowers,” she said. “… I love simple flowers.”

 Creamy, brown butter mushroom chicken

 

Ingredients

• 4 chicken cutlets or 2 boneless chicken breasts, sliced in half horizontally

• Kosher salt and black pepper

• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

• 1 teaspoon garlic powder

• 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

• 4 tablespoons salted butter

• 3 cups shiitake or cremini mushrooms, sliced

• 2 shallots, chopped

• 3 cloves garlic, chopped or grated

• 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried thyme)

• 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

• 3/4 cup Breckenridge Brewery Vanilla Porter

• 3/4 cup heavy cream

• 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes

• 1 pound fettuccine pasta

Directions

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the flour and garlic powder in a shallow bowl and dredge the chicken through the flour mix, pressing to adhere.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken and sear on both sides until golden, about 3-5 minutes per side. Add 1 tablespoon butter, and allow the butter to brown around the chicken, about 2 minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet.

To the skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the mushrooms. Cook undisturbed for 5 minutes or until golden. Add 3 tablespoons butter, the shallots, garlic, thyme, and a pinch each of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook 4-5 minutes, until fragrant. Spoon half the mushrooms out of the skillet and onto the plate with the chicken.

Pour in the beer and broth. Cook 10-15 minutes until reduced slightly, then pour in the cream. Add the chicken to the skillet and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until warmed through and thickened slightly. Spoon the reserved mushrooms over the chicken.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Serve the chicken and sauce over bowls of pasta. Top with fresh thyme or parsley.

Source: HalfBakedHarvest.com

 Chocolate mousse

 

Ingredients

• 2 ounces butter

• 8 ounces dark chocolate

• 4 eggs

• 3 tablespoons sugar

• 5 ounces cream

Instructions

Have eight, 6-ounce serving vessels set and ready for finished mousse. Place a medium pot on the stove with an inch of hot water in the bottom and set it to low heat. Cube the butter and place it in a metal mixing bowl and place the mixing bowl on top of the pot to create a double boiler. Allow the butter to melt for a minute or two, then add the chocolate.

Stir the chocolate frequently with a rubber spatula until it is completely melted and smooth.

While melting the chocolate, separate the egg yolks from the whites, being sure not to get any yolk in with the whites. Add the sugar to the egg yolks and mix with a fork until the sugar is well incorporated.

Fold the egg yolks and sugar into the chocolate. In a mixer, whip the egg whites on high speed until they reach medium peaks. Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.

Clean the mixing bowl and whip the cream on medium speed until medium peaks are formed. Fold the cream into the chocolate. Make sure the mousse has no streaks and is completely mixed.

Pour mousse into a piping bag and squeeze into serving vessels. (A Ziploc bag with a small corner cut off works great in a pinch if no piping bag is available.) Allow chilling in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Serve with fresh fruit, berries, nuts and whipped cream.

Source: Kevin McCombs


By: Steven Josephson

Vail Resorts reports significant revenue declines in early season

EAGLE — It’s no surprise that Vail Resorts is reporting some significant declines in its business this season.

On Friday, Jan. 15, the company reported metrics for the beginning of the ski season through Jan. 3 compared with the same period last season. The metrics are for the company’s North American ski areas, including Breckenridge Ski Resort and Keystone Resort in Summit County and Vail Mountain and Beaver Creek Resort in nearby Eagle County.

The report indicated losses in the following areas:

Skier visits down 16.6%

  • Lift ticket revenue, including an allocated portion of season pass revenue, down 20.9%
  • Ski school revenue down 52.6%
  • Dining revenue down 66.2%
  • Retail and rental revenue down 39.2%

Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz indicated that the declines were a result of pandemic-related restrictions and low snowfall early in the season.

“As expected, COVID-19 has had a significant negative impact on our 2020-21 North American ski season-to-date results,” Katz said in a news release. “Visitation across our North American resorts declined relative to prior year levels, primarily as a result of declines in visitation from nonpass, lift ticket purchases. We expect these declines were primarily driven by reduced demand for destination visitation at our Western resorts and COVID-19 related capacity limitations, which were further impacted by snowfall levels that were well below average at our Colorado, Utah and Tahoe resorts through the holiday season.”

Vail’s two resorts in Summit are significantly behind on snowfall. Breckenridge reached the 100-inch mark on the season Sunday, Jan. 17, a milestone it hit more than a month earlier on Dec. 14 last ski season. Keystone is sitting just shy at 99 inches. As of Monday, Jan. 18, Breckenridge had 49% of terrain open. Keystone was faring better at 82%.

The lack of snow is especially difficult for resorts this winter, when ski area capacities are limited. The ski areas and Summit County government have declined to say what exactly those capacity limits are, citing trade secrets.

Beyond skier visits, the resorts are seeing even bigger declines at restaurants and ski school operations.

“Consistent with our expectations, our ancillary lines of business saw material season-to-date revenue declines in excess of the declines in visitation as a result of the COVID-19 limitations and restrictions, particularly in food and beverage and ski school,” Katz said.

Katz added that despite the setbacks, “We are pleased with our overall revenue performance compared to the prior year period.”

Katz added that if capacity restrictions remain stable and normal snowfall conditions return to Colorado, Utah and the Lake Tahoe area, the company expects to see “improved performance” for the remainder of the season.

This story is from VailDaily.comSummit Daily contributed to this report.

Choose The Right Hair Stylist

Choose The Right Hair Stylist – The only thing harder than finding the perfect guy? Finding the perfect hairdresser. We’ve all ventured into uncharted hair territory only to walk out with an accidental bob, botched bangs, and probably some tears. Whether you’ve recently moved to a new city or you’re going through a dramatic hair breakup, we spoke to Devin Toth, a hairstylist at Salon SCK in New York City, on how to find the right stylist to suit your specific needs. Before you plan your next hair makeover, follow these simple steps:

Ask Around

Sometimes the best way to find a trusted stylist is through word of mouth. If you spot a cut or color you love on a friend or acquaintance (or even a perfect stranger), ask them which salon they go to and who they see there, Toth suggests. “Second, ask the person what their name is so you can tell your future stylist,” he adds. “Knowing who referred you will help the stylist understand what kind of aesthetic you like and who to thank for the reference.”

Book a Blowout

This is the safest way to get a feel for a salon without making any major commitments. “Sometimes you can even get a discount by going through promotional booking services like GrouponLiving Social, and Gilt City,” Toth says.

Know Your Products

Obsessed with Oribe or Kérastase? Jot down your favorite brands and visit their websites, the pro adds. “Manufacturers often have a salon locator that allows you to search your local neighborhood for salons that use their hair styling products, shampoos or even hair coloring products.”

Do Some Research

Once you have a few salons in mind, narrow down the choices even further by searching the web. “Try doing a Google search on the salon and the stylist you have in mind,” Toth tells us. “Look up the salon’s Yelp reviews and see what people say firsthand. I recommend averaging out the reviews of any given salon or individual stylist to get a good idea of their capabilities.”

Use Social Media

If all else fails, there’s always Instagram. “There’s no better research than seeing a stylist’s actual work,” says Toth. “Salons often have an Instagram handle or hashtag that can show you day to day images of the salon, the clients, and the finished hairstyles.”

Ways You Can Help Local Businesses Right Now

Small businesses need our help now more than ever. Here are 10 creative ways to lend your support without risking your health.

Ways You Can Help Local Businesses Right Now. Social distancing is the right thing to do right now, full stop. But the worry is that if everyone stays home, we won’t just shut down Covid-19, we’ll shut down small businesses as well. Most local businesses have already lost massive amounts of revenue as people self-quarantine, and some states are starting to mandate the closure of bars and restaurants. With potentially weeks’ worth of lost income, the local businesses that are so integral to the fabric and character of our communities may not have the margin to survive.

So maybe quit panic-buying toilet paper and start panic-buying stuff from the local stores, restaurants, and service providers you care about. Here’s how to support the small businesses that need your help right now — without risking your health.

1. Buy a gift card.
Businesses need cash flow right now, and the easiest way to help them out is to buy some gift cards to use down the road. Lots of shops are offering gift card bonuses right now, so treat yourself. Even better, treat someone else. Email a gift card that lets your nurse friend order some after-work tacos. Donate an art store gift card to your local school. Or stock up on cards from coffee shops, nail salons, yoga studios, and bookstores to hand out as gifts down the road. It may be hard to believe, but Mother’s Day, birthdays, and teacher appreciation week are still going to happen this year. Get your gift-shopping done now when it can make a huge impact on a struggling local business.

2. Get delivery.
Hanging out in your favorite diner is not a good look at the moment. Luckily, most restaurants and shops have stepped up options like delivery or curbside pickup so you can minimize contact with humans. If you can afford it, commit to ordering in a few meals this week.

3. Shop local online.
Lots of local shops keep at least some inventory available to order online. That boutique bag you’ve been eyeing? The great piece of local art? Now’s the time to treat yourself. This is a perfect time to support indie bookstores, too. Many of them have closed to the public but are offering free shipping, curbside pickup, and local deliveries. And trust us: you don’t want to quarantine without a stack of good books. (Prefer audiobooks? Get your favorites through libro.fm, an audiobook company that partners exclusively with indie bookstores.)

4. Tip like a boss.
It’s a crappy time to be a waiter, delivery driver, or barista, because not only are they likely working fewer hours, they’re getting fewer tips from their nonexistent customers. (Plus: Sick leave? What sick leave?) If you can afford it, make someone’s day with a massive tip.

5. Keep paying the people who work for you.
If you’re taking self-quarantine seriously, you’ve canceled the piano lessons and sent the housekeeper and the tutors away. But that doesn’t mean you should stop paying them. Venmo is no-contact and germ-free. Maybe throw one of those gift certificates their way while you’re at it.

6. Skip the refund.
If you missed a local show that you had tickets for, consider writing it off as a donation instead of asking for your money back. Now’s also a great time to sign up for that membership to your local nonprofit arts association or subscribe to the summer theater series.

7. Schedule a service for later.
Coronavirus has created the ultimate cancel culture, but all those missed reservations and skipped services are stressing out local workers. If you can, schedule works with a cleaner, a painter, a plumber, a contractor, or a salon. Simply knowing that work is coming their way can alleviate some anxiety and make a big difference in helping them weather this difficult time.

8. Provide a signal boost.
Give a shout-out to your favorite local businesses by leaving them a stellar review on Yelp, Google, or Facebook — that thing you always meant to do but never had time for. (Thanks, coronavirus!) While you’re at it, follow all your favorite businesses and artists online and share their social media posts. They might have their own ideas for how you can support them. (Indie musician Roxi Copland suggests buying merch online.)

9. Reach out to government leaders to ask for help.
In one of the cities hardest hit so far by the coronavirus, Downtown Seattle Association president Jon Scholes has said, “We need to move quickly at the local, state, and federal level to provide economic relief to the small business and workers who are out of jobs.” To get serious about boosting local businesses through this mess, email your legislator and ask them to help small businesses.

10. Say thanks.
All of us are mega-stressed right now, but local business owners worried about their livelihood have a special level of anxiety. Send a thank-you note or an email to let them know that you see them and you’re thinking of them. A little compassion and connection right now go a long way.

“Ways You Can Help Local Businesses Right Now”

From: https://livability.com/topics/love-where-you-live/10-ways-you-can-help-local-businesses-right-now

By: Melody Warnick is a freelance writer and the author of This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live

HIKING IN NATURE CHANGES YOUR BRAIN

HIKING IN NATURE CHANGES YOUR BRAIN – Immersing yourself in the great outdoors can ease stress and heighten your mood, but a new study shows it can even help you stop ruminating— or overthinking and dwelling on situations and life events. Rumination is linked to mental illness, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as binge-drinking and binge-eating.

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found spending time in nature can lower negative, obsessive thoughts by a sizeable margin. The researchers aimed to find out the impact of nature on the mind. They compared the thoughts of urban dwellers who walked through an urban environment for 90 minutes with those who walked through a natural environment. Those who walked in nature reported fewer negative thoughts. They also had less neural activity in the part of the brain associated with mental illness, known as the subgenual prefrontal cortex.

Hiking Enhances Creativity and Problem-Solving

Disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with nature can increase creativity and problem-solving, according to a study conducted by psychologists Ruth Ann Atchley and David L. Strayer. Participants went on a four-day tech-free backpacking excursion and were asked to perform creative-thinking and complex problem-solving tasks. The researchers found their performance on these tasks improved by 50% after hiking through nature.

The researchers noted that technology and urban noise are constantly demanding our attention and inhibiting our focus, which strains our cognitive functions. Going on a peaceful nature hike, while cutting ties with technology, can be just what you need to recharge.

Hiking May Lessen ADHD Symptoms in Children

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHA) is becoming increasingly common among children. Those with ADHD exhibit hyperactivity, inattention, and difficulty focusing.  It often arises in childhood, with symptoms continuing into adulthood. While medication is typically prescribed to ADHA patients, a study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, found exposure to green outdoor activities like hiking can drastically reduce their symptoms. This suggests anyone with difficulty concentrating or controlling their impulses can benefit from spending time in nature.

Hiking is a fun and healthy activity suitable for all ages and fitness levels. So, strap on your hiking boots and go exploring!

“HOW HIKING IN NATURE CHANGES YOUR BRAIN”

by: Nicole Romeo

From: http://blog.spaweek.com/2016/08/30/hiking-changes-your-brain/

Massage measurably reduces stress

A study finds that 10 minutes of massage or relaxation can activate the body’s system for overcoming stress.

Massage measurably reduces stress – The damaging effects of stress are well-known, but fortunately, our bodies have a built-in system for managing and recovering from it. This system is called the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS).

While there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that taking time to relax — especially when it involves massage — can activate the PSNS, the new study by psychologists at the University of Konstanz in Germany has scientifically measured and confirmed this effect.

In their paper, the researchers conclude that short periods of relaxation may be psychologically and physiologically regenerative and that the effect is even more pronounced with a massage.

The senior author of the study is Prof. Jens Pruessner of the university’s Neuropsychology lab, who is a member of the Cluster of Excellence “Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour.” He explains the importance of the new research:

“To get a better handle on the negative effects of stress, we need to understand its opposite — relaxation. Relaxation therapies show great promise as a holistic way to treat stress, but the more systematic scientific appraisal of these methods is needed.”

The study appears in the September 2020 issue of Scientific Reports.

The study

For their study, the team divided the participants into three groups.

The first group received 10-minute head-and-neck massages with a moderate pressure intended to stimulate the PSNS’s vagus nerve. This nerve contains some 75% of the PSNS nerve fibers, branching out to the many organs in the body with which the system interacts.

The second group of individuals received much softer 10-minute neck-and-shoulder massages as a means of determining the PSNS-activating effect of simple tactile contact.

A third control group simply sat at a table relaxing for 10 minutes.

The researchers used both physiological and psychological measurements to evaluate the degree to which each intervention, or lack of, had activated the participants’ PSNS.

Neuropsychology doctoral student Maria Meier led the team, who assessed the tests’ physiological effect by measuring the participants’ heart rate, as well as their heart rate variability (HRV). HRV is a measurement of variations in the time intervals between heartbeats.

For example, when the body is in fight-or-flight mode, there is a very little variation because the heart beats quickly at a steady rate. This will provide a low HRV value. When the body is relaxed, a greater degree of variation occurs, resulting in a higher HRV.

All of the participants had significantly higher HRV levels afterward. However, the most dramatic increases in HRV belonged to those who had received massages. The type of massage did not matter.

Simple tactile contact proved just as effective for helping an individual relax as a massage designed specifically to activate the PSNS.

Psychologically, all participants reported feeling less stressed and more relaxed after the tests.

Overall, the experiments confirmed that simply taking a few moments to relax can help a person manage stress. Adding a relaxing massage does, even more, to activate the PSNS and alleviate the physical and mental effects of stress.

Stress management

Meier concludes: “We are very encouraged by the findings that short periods of disengagement are enough to relax not just the mind but also the body. You don’t need professional treatment in order to relax. Having somebody gently stroke your shoulders, or even just resting your head on the table for 10 minutes, is an effective way to boost your body’s physiological engine of relaxation.”

Equally important as the study’s finding is the development of a system for objectively evaluating relaxation therapies. With experts often citing stress as the driver of diseases such as depression, a reliable means of validating relaxation techniques clearly has value.

Says Meier, “Massage, being such a commonly used relaxation therapy, was our first study. Our next step is to test if other short interventions, like breathing exercises and meditation, show similar psychological and physiological relaxation results.”’

From: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/massage-measurably-reduces-stress

 

How much hair product should you use?

How much hair product should you use?

How much hair product – Wondering how much of your favorite styling products to use? We were, too—so we asked David Shablesky, Senior Education Development Manager here at Moroccanoil, to give us the (appropriately sized) scoop.

The amount of product you’ll want to use depends on a few factors:

Your Hair Type

“The amount of product partially depends on the length, texture, formation, and density of your hair,” David says. So long, coarse, curly, and dense hair can generally handle more products than short, fine, straight, or sparse hair.

Your Style Goals

“The goal of the style may influence how much product you use,” David advises. For example, if the goal is a “sleek” style, you may want to layer Moroccanoil Treatment, Hydrating Styling Cream, and Smoothing Lotion to create your look. For a more “natural” look, you may want to use less product.

The Product Itself

Obviously, this is a big factor! For something concentrated like a serum, you might start with a pea-sized amount—but for a mousse, you’d want to think bigger (think an egg). David broke down a few Moroccanoil favorites for us:

Moroccanoil Treatment

“Apply several pumps to towel-dried hair, from mid-lengths through ends,” David says. “Distribute evenly with your fingers or a detangling comb. Apply more product as needed, depending on the length, texture, formation (straight, wavy or curly), and density of your hair.”

Smoothing LotionCurl Defining Cream, or Hydrating Styling Cream

Since these products are a little lighter, you can apply them starting from your roots! “Apply several pumps to towel-dried hair, from roots through ends,” David says. “Distribute evenly with your fingers or a detangling comb. Apply more product as needed.”

Enjoy this article? Read more. 

“how-much-hair-product-should-you-use”

From: https://moroccanoil.com/blog/beauty/how-much-hair-product-should-you-use/

Natural Ways to Relieve Stress

Constant worry over money, job security, family, and health keeps your stress system on high alert all the time

Stress comes at you all day, from every angle, now more than ever. Constant worry over money, job security, family, and health keeps your stress system on high alert all the time — and it feels like you can never calm down. That can lock you in a never-ending stress cycle and likely search for natural ways to relieve stress.

Chronic stress makes you feel awful — mentally, emotionally, and physically. It can even change the way your body manages stress, making it much harder to break the stress cycle.

Plus, long-term stress adds an extra strain on your body.

It takes an enormous toll on your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to any infection that’s going around. And when you’re already feeling anxious and worried, the last thing you need is a stressed-out immune system.

Unfortunately, you can’t avoid stress completely. But you can take specific steps to help your mind and body calm down — even in the face of non-stop stressors.

Constant Stress Derails Good Health

Stress isn’t just a feeling — it’s a whole system of physical reactions that are supposed to keep you safe from imminent danger. Those reactions protect you when you’re facing immediate, temporary threats like avoiding a car crash. Their sole purpose is to help you survive by stimulating “fight or flight” action. When the danger passes, the system turns off and resets.

But when you face stressors all the time — work deadlines, traffic jams, bad news — the system can’t turn off. It stays on ready alert around the clock and never gets to stand down. That’s when “survival mode” transforms into a threat on its own. Constant stress knocks your whole body off-track, causing physical, mental, and emotional distress.

Physical Effects of Stress

Chronic stress takes a huge toll on your physical health. That’s why you probably feel sick when you’re stressed out. Maybe you get stress headaches, maybe stress hits you in the gut, or maybe it just makes you tired. Those symptoms you feel come from the physical effects of stress, which include:

The way stress affects your immune system can be especially troubling. When alarm protein galectin-3 gets activated in response to stress, it kicks off a series of inflammatory reactions.

It confuses your immune system so much that it triggers immune overreactions and under-reactions. The overreactions can leave you struggling with autoimmune disease symptoms. At the same time, immune system under-reactions could leave you catching every cold, flu, or other bugs that’s going around. All of this makes it all the more important to explore natural ways to relieve stress. Read on for proven tactics…

Mental Effects of Stress

When you’re constantly stressed out, it feels much harder to think clearly. That’s because chronic stress keeps the brain flooded with high levels of cortisol — the stress hormone — and that can interfere with optimal brain function.

Chronic stress has been linked to:

  • Brain fog
  • Inability to focus
  • Difficulty learning and retaining new information
  • Trouble adapting to change
  • Memory lapses

Scientific research also shows a strong connection between chronic stress and Alzheimer’s disease. So learning how to manage your stress today may help protect you against that devastating loss of self in the future. Research shows that a number of healthy stress relief strategies, including those listed below, also offer protection against Alzheimer’s and other forms of cognitive decline.

Emotional effects of stress

Stress can have a whirlwind effect on your emotions. You may feel more worried, snap more easily, or have bigger emotional reactions than would normally match the situation you’re in.

And since stress triggers galectin-3, the alarm protein, it also sets off inflammation … even in your brain. That inflammation reaction is a key way that chronic stress leads to serious mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. In fact, eye-opening research shows a direct link between galectin-3 and depression, making this alarm protein a strong potential target in treating stress-related mental illness.

There are so many ways that chronic stress harms your body, mind, and mood. And while stress is unavoidable — now more than ever — you can take steps to help your body respond in a healthier way. The more effectively you cope with stress today, the healthier you’ll be for the rest of your life.

7 Natural Ways to Relieve Stress & Calm Down Your Anxiety

Coping with stress is a full-time job, and your body needs all the support it can get. That support comes from immediate actions that help you calm down at the moment, as well as longer-term solutions that increase your body’s resilience and coping abilities. Use a combination of these stress-reducing methods to calm down your mind and body no matter what life throws at you.

Meditation: If you’ve never tried meditation before, you might feel like you’re doing it wrong — but there is no wrong here. There are many different methods and techniques, so keep trying until you find a practice you feel good about. As you practice meditation over time, you’ll notice how much clearer and calmer your mind and emotions become. That helps your body better adapt to rapidly changing situations and shut down stress responses more easily. It’s one of the top stress relievers out there. And it’s free!

Nature: Spending time outdoors in nature helps your body and mind relax. Go for a walk in the woods, dip your feet in the ocean, or relax on a hammock in your backyard. Taking even 10 minutes in nature can lift your mood and reduce your stress level.

Yoga: Practicing yoga promotes relaxation for your mind and body. Yoga involves more than stretching your muscles. It involves focusing on mindful breathing and spiritual engagement. Regular yoga practice helps regulate your nervous system and reduces the harmful effects of stress.

Healthy eating: When you’re feeling stressed, your instinct may be to grab for sweet, salty, fatty foods — but those can add to your body’s stress load. Healthy foods, especially fruits and vegetables, packed with nutrients and antioxidant compounds help your body cope with the damaging effects of stress.

Exercise: Physical activity helps your body blow off steam, but its benefits don’t stop there. Exercising leads to the release of endorphins, natural “feel-good” chemicals that combat the effects of stress. Exercise also helps regulate your body’s stress responses so you become less reactive when faced with stressors. So go for a walk, take a bike ride, or dance around the room and let those endorphins kick in.

Read More: 11 Surprising Life Extenders

Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP): When it comes to supplements that reduce the effects of stress, clinically researched modified citrus pectin (MCP) doesn’t usually make the list — but it should. Along with increasing your overall resilience, MCP blocks galectin-3, the alarm protein that triggers inflammation and causes many of the harmful effects associated with chronic stress. MCP also helps clear out toxins that can stress your immune system. Those gentle detox abilities make it easier for your body to cope with other challenges, including chronic stress.

Honokiol: When stress and anxiety overwhelm your mind and your life, honokiol — a compound extracted from magnolia bark — offers quick, calming relief. Honokiol is a powerful antioxidant known to specifically improve brain health and function. It also helps reduce brain inflammation, which has been closely linked with depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. Honokiol acts like a natural antidepressant has also been shown to relieve anxiety, and demonstrates important benefits against Alzheimer’s. And when you pair honokiol with MCP, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of both increase significantly, offering more stress relief for you.

Let’s face it: Today’s stressors aren’t going away any time soon. But with proactive, natural stress management strategies, you can increase your resilience — and receive lasting benefits for every area of health.

“Ways to Relieve Stress”

Natural Ways to Relieve Stress, According to a Leading Integrative MD

By Isaac Eliaz, MD, MS, LAc

November 16, 2020

Which Massage Should You Choose?

Swedish massage is for relaxation, circulation, and detoxification.  Choose Swedish if you want the most relaxing massage without deep pressure or working on specific issues like sore muscles.

Deep Tissue, the therapist is penetrating into muscles in order to work-out soreness and remove lactic acid, which causes sore muscles.  Choose Deep Tissue if you have sore muscles from skiing or other activities.

Sports Massage incorporates stretching and movement into the massage in order to address specific issues you may be having.  Sports let our therapists use all their knowledge and training in order to alleviate pain, soreness, and stiffness, so you’re feeling better and ready for your next mountain activity.

Hot Stone is a relaxing massage where smooth river stones are heated, placed on the muscles, and incorporated into the massage.  The stones penetrate heat into the muscles, making for a soothing and relaxing massage.

Due to COVID-19 we have temporarily disabled our online booking in order to schedule services accordingly. Unable to take walk-in’s so please call for an appointment. Please call 970-453-2044 or email Info@alpinespaandsalon.com to schedule. Thank you for your understanding.

Swedish Massage
30 Minutes                                        $60
60 Minutes                                        $90
90 Minutes                                        $125

Hot Stone Massage
30 Minutes                                        $80
60 Minutes                                        $115
90 Minutes                                        $155

Sports Massage
30 Minutes                                        $70
60 Minutes                                        $105
90 Minutes                                        $145

Deep Tissue
30 Minutes                                        $70
60 Minutes                                        $105
90 Minutes                                        $145

Couples Massage
60 Minutes                                        $180
90 Minutes                                        $250

Pre-Natal Massage

60 Minutes                                        $105

Aroma Therapy
                               $10
CBD Relief Cream                          $20

We offer 3 different Aroma Therapy Blends:  Relaxation, High Altitude Relief, and Sore Muscle

Which Massage Should You Choose?

 

Best essential oils for Winter

Best essential oils for Winter

With all of the viruses and ailments circulating this winter, it’s no wonder people are searching for the best essential oils for colds. And the flu. And dry skin and sore throats. Cooler months bring a unique set of health challenges. When this time of year sets in, I like to use essential oils as part of my first line of defense.

Whether you’re completely new to essential oils or looking to expand your comfort level with new oils, this list identifies some of the go-to oils for common winter and fall issues. As always, essential oil safety is important to understand, too. Not all oils are safe to ingest or apply to your skin. Your age, medications, and pets in the house will also play into which oils are best for your household.


Best Essential Oils for Colds 

Thyme oil may be best known for its antibacterial properties, but it packs a potent antiviral punch, too. In fact, its germ-killing qualities are so effective, you’ll find thyme oil as the active ingredient in many commercial green cleaning products.

Warming ginger essential oil also comes in handy during the cold season, thanks to its mucus-clearing properties.

 


Best Essential Oils for the Flu

When flu season is in full swing, you may be looking for more natural ways to ease symptoms. As always, if your symptoms become severe or do not improve, check in with your healthcare provider. But many people are able to support their bodies and use essential oils and other flu natural remedies to get through a flu episode.


Essential Oils for Dry Skin

Humidity levels typically drop in late fall and winter, leaving our skin parched, flaky, and sometimes even cracked. So many lotions and moisturizers on the market contain really harmful synthetic scents. I opt for natural oils to keep my skin feeling smooth and less damaged.


Essential Oils for Sore Throat 

If you find yourself searching for essential oils for sore throat issues this winter, you’re not alone. Viruses like the flu and common cold often cause irritating sore throats.

 


Essential Oils for Arthritis

If you’re living with arthritis, you know the transition to cold weather can be brutal. Add to that the wild fluctuations in temperature and humidity we’ve experienced this season, and it’s easy to see how people’s joints are feeling the effects.


Essential Oils for Sinusitis

Clogged sinuses can last for weeks or even months. In fact, about 35 million Americans suffer from sinus infections or sinusitis annually. These are the oils I turn to when I feel sinus issues starting to crop up.

 


Essential Oils for Cool Weather Allergies

Thankfully, brutal ragweed and other pollen-related allergies aren’t in full swing in the winter. But that doesn’t mean a break from all allergies. If you’re irritated by cold-weather allergies, you may want to look into these essential oils for some relief.

By Leah Zerbe, MS, NASM-CPT, NASM-CES

January 29, 2018