Daily Fitness: Organic Ways to Detox

This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper


Summer is around the corner. From the remainder of cold days, it’s common to indulge in unhealthy eating (and drinking) habits. Yet, after so many days or weeks on end, eventually the body needs a restart to a more sustainable lifestyle. Hence, a brief detox.

I’m not one for gimmicky cleanses or adding a slew of ingredients to my body that I can barely pronounce. Rather, I prefer going to the supermarket, or farmers market, and picking up foods that Mother Nature created to naturally help restart my body. If you’re feeling like you need a jumpstart on healthier habits or a quick detox, here are some foods to pick up the next time you’re at the store.

To help with your stomach, pick up grapefruit, guacamole, hibiscus and white teas, turmeric, lemons, and ginger. My personal favorite go-to for a quick pick-me up when I’m feeling sick is blending carrots, oranges, lemon, ginger, and turmeric. I immediately feel a boost of energy.

Coffee addict? Add cinnamon to your cup of joe. In addition to its nice flavor, cinnamon is high in antioxidants and retains anti-inflammatory properties. With this said, while coffee does have benefits, it will dehydrate you.

Water is everything, and the most common way to flush out toxins. If you need help upping your water intake, try adding lemon or other freshly squeezed juice to carbonated water for a soda feel.

Boost your metabolism by consuming egg whites, chili peppers, coffee, green tea, lentils, celery, spinach, lean proteins, and fish.

Other ways to help rest your organs are periods of intermittent fasting — between 12 and 16 hours —which can benefit your health and help you lose weight.

While it’s always advised to eat healthier to maintain long lasting benefits, sometimes your body just needs a casual reminder of what the proper fuel is. Overall, make sure you consult a doctor before any drastic changes in eating habits, and try to choose organic foods as much as possible.


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Daily Fitness: ‘Tauking Health with Monbrewcha

This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper


It seems Montauk is just brewing with new ideas lately.

It’s a literal hot spot of innovation. Beer, whiskey, tea, and now kombucha. As much as I’d like to write about beer or whiskey (again), being a fitness column this week I’m putting the spotlight on Monbrewcha.

Molly and Jean Nolan are the sister duo who created a kombucha brand right in their hometown. The four-year age gap, with Jean being the older sister, proved to be a family recipe for success. Flavors range from Tart Cherry, the newest year-round flavor, to Lemon + Ginger + Cayenne + Tumeric, to Elderberry, Hibiscus, and the seasonal Chai Spice.

This #MagicForYourBelly (company motto) fits right in with their life motto of ‘Food is Medicine.’ Let’s get ‘tauking.

Molly, where specifically did you travel that inspired the business?
After I finished my masters, I turned down a job, my boyfriend quit his job, and the two of us traveled to Kauai, Australia, New Zealand (South Island, only), and Thailand. The two of us were drinking Remedy Kombucha (an Australian brand) mid-afternoon when we were feeling zonked after exploring. After a few sips, we felt more energized and ready to keep going.
The ‘bucha struck a nerve and I found myself tinkering with the idea of starting up a kombucha business when I got home. I applied to the Montauk Farmer’s Market, was accepted, and sold Monbrewcha by the bottle along side raw vegan treats (bliss balls) the summer of 2016. Some places in Montauk wanted to carry it, and so we started wholesaling more seriously that fall (that is when Jean joined forces with her).

What are the benefits of kombucha?
Kombucha, although acidic, has an alkalizing effect in the body. It is also packed with probiotics, which is why many people report improved digestion. Kombucha contains B vitamins, B12 included, which is why some experience increased energy levels. It also contains organic acids like glucuronic acid that binds toxins, helping to detoxify the liver. Hence its nickname, the “tea of immortality.”

What’s the process like to make it?
Essentially, tea is steeped, sugar is added and dissolved, and then a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) is added to either a one or two-gallon glass vessels for fermentation. The vessels ferment for at least eight days and upwards of 21 days for the two-gallon batches. Once the pH and taste is just right, the kombucha is flavored and then bottled. We don’t force carbonate our bottles, meaning the fizz is au naturel.

How do you make Monbrewcha stand out so with a smoother taste?
We went with simple flavors to cut kombucha’s vinegar-like taste, to ultimately create a smooth drinking experience. To add to that, we don’t force carbonate, making it more tame than other brands.

What’re some of your favorite places to eat healthy and stay fit on the East End?
Happy Bowls, Joni’s, Naturally Good in Montauk, The Squeezery, Organic Krush, Hampton Chutney in Amagansett.

The Market in Greenport, Love Lane Market, Good Food in Mattituck. Saaz in Southampton is Molly’s new favorite restaurant—they have a ton of vegan options. Many of the places we sell our kombucha to are great, healthy spots. We both try to get outside everyday and go for long hikes/walks. Navy and Shadmoor trails are our favorite spots.

Favorite meal to pair the Monbrewcha with?
Molly prefers her bucha on an empty stomach, but if she had to pick a food it would be bliss balls. Jean’s morning routine: coffee, water, kombucha, smoothie

As a fairly recent start-up, it seems your growth is consistently increasing. What’s been the biggest hurdle you’ve overcome?
There’s been many hurdles across all aspects of the business from accounting to labeling rules to inspections to delivery logistics and more. It’s been a learning curve for sure, but has made us stronger as individuals and a business. Our biggest hurdle thus far has been getting new accounts—there’s no business without the accounts.

We have learned the value of forming a relationship with each and every account. For us, the best part of wholesale is getting to be a small piece of each business we sell to.

Sisterly advice you constantly give to each other…
Jean to Molly: Take a deep breath and relax.

Molly to Jean: Step it up, let’s go.  We balance each other out.

Finish the following sentences…
I religiously stick to a health/wellness philosophy of …

Molly: a plant-based diet.
Jean: everything in moderation.

My friends would probably laugh at me if they knew …
Molly: I got colonics.
Jean: the amount I drool in my sleep.

I’m most myself when I’m…
Molly: in a giggly mood.
Jean: with my family.

Mombrewcha is best enjoyed …
Molly: on a hot summer day straight off the tap.
Jean: straight after fermentation.

Check back with their upcoming partnerships with Tote Taxi and Beauty Disclosed, other female-founded brands. Visit their website for a list of where you can purchase their kombucha, follow them on social media @monbrewcha.

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Daily Fitness: Andreassi Talks Wellness

This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper


With the title of my column a few short weeks ago, ‘What Matters to You?’ I received several story referrals. As March is National Nutrition Month, I wanted to focus on those aiming to eat healthier and focus on how an inner change can begin to pay it forward. One story in particular grabbed my attention.

J. Andreassi has been living in the Hamptons for over 35 years with his wife, Donna. Together, they raised two sons and currently run and own Sabrosa Mexican Grill, a location I’ve passed countless of times on Route 27 in Water Mill, but hadn’t made my way in—until recently. I became inspired, when I stopped in to chat with the couple.

Business aside, Andreassi began his wellness journey over five years ago with the Wellness Foundation with an aim to better his life.

What was your life like before? What prompted your new lifestyle? 

Since 1997 I had heart issues—clogged arteries and stents. I consumed much of anything I wanted, attempting to stay away from fatty meats and doing some light exercise. I never paid much attention to food preservatives and unnatural foods much. I was lured into participating in the Wellness Challenge by chance. My doctor friend was planning to take the challenge with his wife and, at the last minute his wife decided against making the commitment and I had the opportunity to fill her spot.

During the initial stages, I was not familiar with, but was interested in learning about this new lifestyle. I realized quickly that the program was one of a plant based diet and exercise. At the end of the challenge, I realized the importance of a better diet and exercise. The Wellness Challenge has educated me enough to know what kind of life is right for me even if I do not follow the regiment 100 percent of the time.

Having heart issues, what would your cardiologist recommend?

My annual visits with my cardiology doctor and good friend Dr. Prateek Dalal always ends with a discussion about my weight. I know the weight charts are from India when my weight—based on my height—should be 164. Prateek told me one visit that I need to “go to bed a little hungry.” I had to remind him that “Italians never go to bed hungry!” As a kid, my father and I would enjoy a supper meal at 6 PM cooked by mom and cook again at 10 PM as if we missed dinner.

Do you work out or take any sort of fitness classes?

I keep as much of a plant based diet as possible and exercise either by being physically active or having some gym time. Unlike most people, I would rather wash my truck for 30 minutes, play a game of tennis, or rowing a kayak versus walking on a treadmill.

What’s been the hardest part about your journey?

The most difficult part of my journey has been to have the extra time to relax and think about the mental aspect of the journey. In my opinion, your mental and physical state need to be in sync for all to work at an optimum level.

What’s been the greatest personal achievement?

For me, knowing how I should be living, and trying to keep true to that knowledge, is rewarding, paying high dividends. It’s not always easy, but the toughest part of it all is when I go off course and actually feel guilty about missing my exercise (low pedometer daily total) or eating something not part of a good diet.

Has your family adopted certain changes with you? 

My family has been greatly impacted by my life change five years ago. We have never had as much fruit and vegetables as we do now and my 20-year-old daughter has been vegan for a year-and-a-half.

What would you say to someone looking to make a healthier lifestyle change but who needs some motivation to get rolling?

I would tell a person ready to make a lifestyle change to give the “Challenge a Chance!”

You would look and feel better in a short period of time.


Andreassi lives by the motto “never look back,” and with a zest for life, I understand why. Sitting down for lunch, we had a quinoa bowl with Sabrosa marinated chicken and fresh fillings.

“You can eat all you want and you won’t feel weighed down,” he said to me as we indulged in a little post-lunch gelato. From one Italian to another, the importance of food certainly isn’t lost—just cleaned up.


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Daily Fitness: My Birthday Vows

This article was originally published in The Independent Newspaper

As of Wednesday, I have entered into the final year of my 20s. A 365-day period I’ve been told is both freeing and gripping, as the numerical concept of youth slips away while social maturity sets in. Whether this is true or not, I’ll figure out for myself.

In grasping this, a countdown to turning the big Three-0, I’ve decided to do a personal 29-day challenge. For 29 days beginning Thursday, the day after my birthday, through April 27, I have vowed to detoxify my life, mentally and physically. In doing so, I’ll be keeping photo records to show the difference in not only my body, but my face and state of mind — eyes are the windows to the soul, after all.

I vow the following:

• To give up all alcohol and fried foods

• To consume red meat no more than twice a week; to eat five smaller meals each day and never skip breakfast

• To cut out all sugar and artificial sweeteners in my coffee

• To allow one dessert indulgence a week, otherwise sticking to dark chocolate

• To practice mindful meditation for 10 minutes a day

• To wake up to uplifting music every morning

• To read for 20 minutes every night

• To work out for a minimum of 30 minutes each day

• To call someone I care for on the phone once a day

• To do something that makes me truly happy each day

The above are small ways to jump-start my own life in hopes to make a permanent change. By writing down these vows I can visualize the road ahead. In creating an end date, I create an achievable goal rather than an ambiguous, personalized standard.

While I am doing this for myself, I hope it encourages my readers to write down vows of their own and take a step in the right direction, whatever that means to you. Every day is an opportunity to become a better version of yourself; it’s up to you to seize it.

To keep up to date on my results make sure you follow me on social media.


Daily Fitness: The ‘V’ Life

This article was first published in the February 21, 2018 issue of The Independent Newspaper


Are you living “The V Life?” By V, I mean Veridatta—an honest skincare line created by East Hampton native, Rebecca Underdown. Upon meeting Underdown over the holidays, I immediately noticed her complexion. Aside from being a bicoastal resident, between here and California, she attributed the glowing skin to her own products.

How did you come up with a skincare line?

The development of the formulas started nine years ago while I was in acupuncture school in San Diego. I was getting wrinkles and acne at the same time. I felt the organic products weren’t working and the chemical-based skincare lines were giving my skin a grey hue. So, I decided to make my own organic night cream that would reduce the signs of aging and not cause a breakout.

I shared it with my family and then, my friends. It didn’t take long before they all started asking for a day cream and then a cleanser, and then a sunscreen. Each product would take about a year to formulate and test. In this time, I had opened my acupuncture practice in Encinitas focusing on facial rejuvenation. I was also the acupuncturist for the executives at SPY Optic, which allowed me the perfect focus group to record the results of the skincare products.

When I started to see people’s faces change within three days of the using the system, my desire to share the products turned into a passion, and that passion grew into obsession. It only continues to grow, because in all honesty, it’s fun.

Your most popular products right now?

Living Enzyme Scrub is our best seller, because men are drawn to it, so our customer base nearly doubles. The scrub is gentle enough for it to be used every single day, making it the most effective way to improve the skin’s clarity and glow. The second best seller is the Raw Coconut Day Repair, which is an anti-aging moisturizer (meaning it regenerates healthy cells) and does not cause break-outs.

Why does your product work on all skin types?

Because all skin needs the same thing: a clear passageway for dead cells and toxins to move out. All skin conditions are caused by one thing: stagnation. A wrinkle, a pimple, a sunspot, and blotchy skin are due to congestion of dead cells or the byproducts of cells, which limit the movement of energy or blood. Sometimes I see people with a grey skin tone due to years of chemical skincare products, and the buildup of dead cells and chemicals.

What’s your go-to workout to feel good?

I practice Kundalini yoga and ballet. Kundalini yoga is the quickest way for me to see my own blocks and release them. I used to work out pretty hard, but I didn’t have a meditation practice. So, I would often be eating in a thoughtless way. So, the effort of working out was negated by overeating or poor choices. I don’t believe there should ever be a routine that does not intend to connect the mind to the body.

Where did the motto “You are enough” come from?

It is from my own life experience. We are always going to want more, because it is the natural state of the universe. The conundrum in always wanting more is the feeling of not being enough in the present moment. I believe the most important practice one should have each day is to find the feeling of contentment inside. When one feels love and appreciation for themselves, the trajectory of their day is one on course with success and brilliance.

Veridatta reminds people to feel enough, or even better, beautiful and powerful during their morning and evening ritual of using the products.

What does “The V Life” mean to you?

We tag #theVLife on Instagram when there is a visual representation of someone that is owning their beauty. There is a huge difference between looking beautiful and feeling beautiful, and you can see it on camera. When we do a photoshoot, I always prep myself and the models to embody the feeling of “enough.” When someone is feeling this and we catch it on camera, I post it. I want people to see what it looks like.

The best advice you’ve ever received?

From my sister, upon starting high school at age 13. She told me, “Stay true to yourself.” It is a mantra, and in the most challenging times of pressure of other people’s expectations or my own negative thinking, I come back to it.

What made you take on a healthier lifestyle?

I think by most people’s standards I have always lived a kind of healthy lifestyle. I began yoga in eighth grade, was an Eastern Religion major at Boston University, began teaching yoga in NYC after graduation, and then I began Chinese Medicine School in San Diego shortly thereafter. The four-and-a-half years at this school is what built my understanding of the body’s chemistry. Living a “healthy lifestyle” seems like a bore to me. I like energy. I do the things and eat the things that give me more and more energy.

What is Sweat + Glow?

Sweat + Glow is Veridatta’s signature class that is traveling to cities to spread happiness. Happiness is the feeling of being enough, of being powerful, of being beautiful, of being clear, of being conscious, of being oneself. We incorporate yoga or dance with a meditation at the end, and we offer all of our participants sample products and V Tonics [fresh organic juices developed to tone or nourish the skin].

Why is sweating important to Veridatta?  

Chemical skincare products which are basically 95% of the marketplace sit on top of the skin and create a barrier stopping the skin from its natural detoxication process. For optimum health, the skin needs to be able to breathe. Sweat + Glow is an awareness movement connecting the dots for people about sweating, skin, and glowing. I want people to know that with a couple of daily practices they can have beautiful glowing skin. It is chemistry and it feels good!

What’s coming up for Spring?

Locally to the Hamptons, the explosion of Vital Sun SPF in all of our retailers and the opening of The Squeezery, where The V Tonics are made and sold.  Vital Sun is our tinted zinc oxide SPF that works as a daily moisturizer, a concealer, and a sunscreen.

Follow Veridatta on Instagram or online .

Follow my Instagram & Facebook to see my upcoming, personal review after using the Living Enzyme Scrub, Skin Tight Toner and Raw Coconut Day Repair.