Though it’s been a few days since we spent a day at The Surf Lodge in Montauk for the 2nd Annual Strong Like a Mama Event, we still find ourselves buzzing with excitement. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day of rejuvenation, education and restoration with our mama tribe, and we left the day feeling thankful and truly at peace. This year’s event was extra special because not only did it sell out days before, but we made so many new connections and were reminded, once again, just how important our community (and those who are a part of it!) is to us.
With so much happening in the world around us, we felt the desire to unplug and practice some serious self care. As women and mothers, we can’t stress enough how important it is for us to pause and reflect on where we are at in our journeys and where we want to be heading. Turning our focus inward is an important step in silencing the chaos we may be feeling. This was a common theme amongst our panelists throughout the day.
One of whom, Glow Maven and Doula Latham Thomas, helped to remind us that in taking better care of ourselves, we are better equipped to take on the challenges in our own lives, but also to help others with their struggles, too. As Latham said, “Self-care is an integral piece to our participation in the resistance…If we aren’t well, then we can’t do the work we are intended to do in the world, and that includes the social justice work as well as personal self-care. We must remember that in putting ourselves at the top of the list and prioritizing our wellbeing, we have the energy and enthusiasm to bring to the more challenging work. That is critical as we move forward as women who are the crux of community and the true leaders of a nation.”
You may feel overwhelmed at the mere thought of turning your focus on your own needs as you have so many other people’s needs to think about, but trust us, it’s the foundation to leading a more fulfilled and beautiful life. To get started, Stephanie Middleberg, who is a highly sought-after health expert and founder of Middleberg Nutrition, had some easy tips to guide us on finding our inner beauty. She explained, “The skin is one of the largest organs for detoxification, so things like food allergies, digestive issues, dehydration, lack of sleep, etc. can really show in the skin in some capacity. Since the gut is the epicenter to our health (our immune system, mood, skin, etc.) it’s really important we support it to restore our health and help us feel our best (from the inside out).” Below, Stephanie shares some simple (yet key!) foods to set you on the right path:
- Hydration: We wake up dehydrated, so consuming 1-2 classes first thing in the morning can make a huge difference in your digestion, skin, mood and metabolism. Aim for 8 glasses each day!
- Probiotics: These help to boost the good bacteria in your gut, keep the nasty bacteria in check, strengthen your immune system and ease digestive problems as well as help you to absorb nutrients better. There are billions of strains of bacteria and we are still learning about the difference between them. If you’re taking a probiotic supplement, look to rotate every quarter (just like you would a pair of running sneakers). Foods naturally rich in probiotics include fermented vegetables, kombucha and kimchi. Try Farmhouse Culture, Hawthorne Valley or Bao Food and Drink. Yogurt and kefir are also great sources of probiotics.
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil : In addition to supplying Omega 3 fatty acids, Cod liver oil also contains vitamins A and D (which is rare to find in food) which protect the digestive tract. If you can’t stomach it, getting in Omega 3s in the form of wild salmon or sardines is wonderful.
- Magnesium: A relaxation mineral that aids over 300 enzymes to work in the body, magnesium is important in regulating blood sugar and for proper digestion. A deficiency can lead to malabsorption, constipation, poor sleep, headaches, a poor immune system, etc. Foods rich in magnesium include pumpkin seeds, cacao/cacao nibs, green leafy veggies, sea vegetables (like spirulina), and halibut. But magnesium isn’t often absorbed well, so you may need a supplement in the form of powder (like Natural Calm), pill (look for a Magnesium Citrate), or Epsom salts (this is also great for sore muscles and swollen ankles).
- Find a mantra: Stephanie constantly tells herself and her clients to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
The entire “Beauty from the Inside Out” panel was filled with sage advice from all involved, including Dr. Raj from Tula, Latham Thomas, and Splendid Spoon founder, Nicole Centeno in addition to Stephanie Middleberg. Our very own co-founder Katya Libin had the ladies sharing what beauty meant to each of them, how they practiced self care and the strength that each gained by surrounding themselves with a like-minded mama tribe.
While plenty of water and starting your day with probiotics was a strong recommendation from all of our panelists, we loved what Splendid Spoon’s Nicole Centeno had to say about her views on beauty. “For me, beauty is all about energy. I am beautiful when I am calm, confident, resilient to the many challenges I face. The best way to nourish this beauty energy is to ground yourself with at least one daily self-care ritual that is simple and easy to repeat day after day. It can be something as simple as giving yourself gratitude when you grab your keys in the morning, or a little more involved, like a meditation ritual. Mine is one mindful meal everyday: 15 minutes, no phone, just me and my lunch and an appreciation for the slowness of time in that 15 minutes. Beauty is strengthened by the care and attention you bestow on yourself.” A simple practice that can yield tremendous results.
We’re so grateful to all of our partners for making this event such a success. From Old Navy Active for outfitting all of our guests in super cute and sporty workout looks, to Montauk Juice Factory for the delicious start to our morning, and Supergoop! Sunscreen for keeping us sun-safe all day long. Oh, and of course we can’t forget our amazing lobster roll lunch, courtesy of the Surf Lodge Restaurant‘s culinary experts!
It was amazing to see everyone moving in unison during the Rock Your Flow yoga class led by an instructor from Canyon Ranch in Lenox and a welcome treat to take a little break with Health-Ade Kombucha at their “make your own” mocktail station. We couldn’t get enough of the Face Love station where therapists gave us the most indulgent face massages, complete with acupressure that was out of this world.
It wouldn’t be a heymama event if there weren’t an insane gift bag to send you on your way and this one was definitely our most covetable yet, including dangling earrings from Mignonne Gavigan, Birchbox goodies, Old Navy and Ramy Brook gift cards, Tula and First Aid Beauty products, a clutch courtesy of Goldno.8 and chocolate from Cisse Cocoa. We honestly don’t know how we’re going to top it next.
Overall, we were reminded that when women come together, magic happens. We know that with each other’s support we can literally change the world of those around us, as well as for ourselves. The day was a wonderful reminder to slow down, enjoy the journey and take time to care for ourselves so we can achieve the best lives possible. We are already excited to dream up a bigger and better event for next year. Until then…Namaste.
Photos by Shelly Simon