Take Up Space & Be The Change

Nothing other than an amazing weekend with a bunch of fiercely strong and beautiful ladies learning how to claim their space in the world, live BIG, live with adventure, and be unapologetic about it.  

Have you ever been so fired up or passionate about something, you just couldn't wait to share it!?  Upon returning from the 2017 Radiance Retreat in Venice Beach, CA we've been rejuvenated with new ideas and determined to take up more space in our lives, personally and in our business!  So here goes nothing...  It's a start and only the beginning!

At Iron Orchid Studio, our mission is to help women feel secure in their own skin, find strength and become the best versions of themselves.  We need your help making an even BIGGER impact!  

Make and impact.

Grab a copy of our Recipe eBook and we'll donate to The Good Samaritan House where they provide safe, temporary housing for homeless women and children.  Good Samaritan House also offers residents an opportunity to enhance life skills, increase self-esteem and become self-sufficient!  

As a token of our appreciation, we are gifting you with a compilation of healthy & wholesome recipes brought to you from our very own IO Tribe! 

Grab your eBook and be the change you see in the world!

The BIG THREE: Who Knew This Could Impact Your Results

Eating healthy and adopting a new nutritional lifestyle can be a daunting task. Believe me... I’ve done it as have so many others out there. But here’s the thing, truly, it can be quite simple. Modification of your diet does not have to change abruptly all at once. It is all about making slow changes that are sustainable and we'll provide some helpful tips to get you started.   

When it comes to getting the results you want, we prefer the method of giving yourself permission to enjoy life while maintaining a healthy lifestyle (NOT suffering for the sake of results), falling in love with the journey of learning and understanding what works best for you (Because there is NOT a one-size-fits-all approach), and appreciating what your body CAN do and all it is capable of (Because sweat is NOT fat crying - regardless of what Pinterest says).  ~ Your Iron Orchid Crew

Regardless, your journey is unique to you and the more you appreciate it, the more you'll learn from the process and the more you'll accept that challenges will come along the way.  LIFE IS TOO SHORT to get caught up in what went wrong.  Accept it and move on...  But we do want you to know that there is what we call the BIG THREE that can impact or impede your results. 

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But wait Dr. Christina... I thought I needed calcium?? Yes you absolutely do but there are many other great sources of calcium out there. The problem with conventional dairy is that it’s acidic, loaded with sugar, and goes through a harmful pasteurization process which kills pathogens, while also destroying vitamins, fats, and healthy nutrients. Unfortunately these healthy nutrients cannot be “repaired” so, instead they are fortified back in dairy products but in a damaged form! For all of my allergy sufferers out there….. cut the dairy! It could be the culprit contributing to inflammation. Here are some of my favorite dairy alternative:  Coconut milk, Almond milk, Diaya cheese, SoDelicious brand coconut milk yogurt and ice cream.

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Pastas, cereals, breads.. although they may taste good... They are destroying the lining of our guts, inhibiting the digestive process and absorption of nutrients and contributes to chronic inflammation. A single slice of bread can raise one’s glucose levels faster than a snickers bar. Crazy, right?! Manufacturers have gotten pretty smart when it comes to hiding this ingredient. It’s in everything from condiments, packaged granola, protein bars, and salad dressings. Making simple swaps will not only get your body back to a healing state but it will also make you feel better. Healthy carbohydrate choices include: sweet potatoes, quinoa, spaghetti squash or brown rice pasta , leafy vegetables, breads/ muffins made from coconut or almond flour, Tessemae’s condiments and salad dressings (my favorite!).  

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We all know sugar is bad for us … this isn’t new news, but this is why it is so detrimental to our health: Sugar is an antinutrient meaning it leads to acidity in the body (all diseases thrive in acidic environments) inflammation, weight gain, fatigue, diabetes , and it even fuels cancer … do I need to go on?? Really, it is an ingredient we need to eliminate from our diet. And I am talking about  added sugars…. Sugars in granola bars, cookies, candy, condiments, processed foods!

For all you sugar lovers out there (like myself), THANK GOODNESS for these amazing sugar substitutes:  Stevia, Xylitol, real maple syrup, and organic honey. These natural sweeteners will satisfy your sweet tooth without leading to a major insulin spike. The average female should consume no more than 6-7 tsp or 25g of sugar per day.

Did you know the average American ingests 53 tsp a day! Yikes! Relying on natural sugar from fruit is always your best option. Choose the fruits that have the lowest glycemic index: raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and granny smith apples, lemons and limes.

We all know nutrition is important when it comes to seeing results.  As you begin to implement new nutritional habits to become the healthiest and fittest version of you, remember that nutrition is more than just calories in and calories out and IS more about fueling your body with the right nutrients. It could go as big as disease prevention to results like having loads of energy, or accomplishing things you only dreamed of, and being able to enjoy this wonderful thing called life to it’s fullest! Proper nutrition begins with a mindset. Determine your goal, lay out the steps to get there, and lastly….. promise yourself EVERYDAY you'll do your best to achieve your goal.

Now...  the Crew at Iron Orchid Studio have put together a few tips to make your journey as sustainable as possible.  We have a unified goal to help others maintain a healthy, yet realistic lifestyle and implement nutritional habits that can be sustained over time.  Check out these 4 tips and if you need additional support check out what we have up our sleeve, below.  

Yours in health and wellness,

 Christina Claywell DC

While it may sound simple to completely overhaul your pantry and start fresh, it's not always as easy as it sounds, right?! Here are some user friendly tips to help preserve your sanity:

  1. Always Simplify.  Don't overthink it and eliminate any possibility of overwhelm.  Choose one and stick to it before moving on. Simplify and increase your chances of staying consistent.
  2. It's not "all or nothing".  Do not feel like you must throw out everything in your refrigerator or pantry.  When you run out of an item, simply replace it with a better one.
  3. Know your WHY.  When you've clearly defined your WHY it's not as easy to get knocked down. 
  4. Know your journey is unique to you and the more you appreciate it, the more you'll learn and understand from the process and the more you'll accept that challenges will come along the way.     

Do you want to take what you've learned from this blog and put it into Action? Maybe you're looking for a little guidance in how to take that first step?  If so, join us for a complimentary Pantry Makeover Workshop, Summer Edition! We will be providing you with new amazing grocery finds and shopping lists, kid snack and meal ideas, educating you on how to eat healthy on a budget and I am revealing my top 10 grocery items everyone should have in their pantry.  This workshop will make it easy for you and your family to eat not only nutritious but delicious! 

One lucky winner will receive a $100 gift card to Dierbergs to makeover their pantry!  

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Dr. Christina Claywell is a native of the Metro East area whose passion is educating others on the ability of the body to heal from the inside out. She graduated from Logan college of Chiropractic where she obtained her Doctorate of Chiropractic degree as well as the  Certified Chiropractic Nutrition Specialist. She believes that by living a life of wellness through proper alignment, whole food nutrition and exercise, one can achieve his or her potential and live a life of fulfillment for which he or she was destined. 

Learn more about Dr. Christina Claywell by visiting her on her website at The Chiropractic Wellness Connection.

One Tribe + Big Ripple

Well, here is an inspirational story we just had to share!  It demonstrates how making decisions about your health, fitness and lifestyle really can be easy!  

I know!  I can see the look on your face now!  Easy??  Most of us are juggling a tremendous amount.  You’re living the #momlife and/or a busy professional trying to balance it all…  maintaining a family and a household, those crazy kiddos (don’t forget their schedule on top of your own), finances, mounds of laundry, the next big deadline.  Most of you are doing the best you can and the thought of a “healthy lifestyle” or even the thought of making it to the gym is an overwhelming thought, in and of itself.

I have been there!  I know some of you!  I know where you are!  Maybe you’re at a point in your life where you find yourself saying, “enough is enough”, or you have that feeling in your gut telling you something has to change.  Yet, you find yourself paralyzed with this sense of overwhelm with all the decisions you have to make about your health and fitness.  Just because all these fitness experts and bloggers make it look perfect and seamless, doesn’t mean it is and will always work for you.

Q:  So what really makes for a successful story? 

A:  Find a tribe that inspires, empowers, uplifts, energizes you and side by side you transform, together.  

Meet Laurie!  She totally found her tribe!  She will now always be a part of our IO Family, even from afar (South Carolina, that is!)!  Laurie is the daughter of one of our own (Deb M) and over the summer was counting down the days to visit her family for a short stay. 

Being excited that her mom arranged for her to visit Iron Orchid during her stay, wasn’t exactly the first thing that came to mind as a good time.  She was simply looking to catch a break.  Just having the extra hand with kids, the ability to breathe and feel free of the pressures from trying to balance everything and everyone else around her.  In addition to everything we call “life”… she found herself trying to understand some emotional and behavioral challenges, as well as medical concerns both of her children were facing.  I remember when Laurie walked into the studio that first day and after asking her how she had been, I could tell it took everything in her to hold back her tears!  I know exactly where she has been, I knew her story, and it took everything in me not to cry right along with her!

What she didn’t realize was that she was welcomed into a community of support, a place without judgement and she certainly couldn’t foresee that everything was about to change for her.  She embraced her first day!  It was her time!  An hour to herself! 

It was also that summer that Iron Orchid decided to kick off a modified version of its IO Healthy+Fit Project, where many clients and most of the coaches participated in a guided nutrition and accountability group.  It couldn’t have come at a better time.  The mother/daughter duo jumped right in. 

Immediately, Laurie began to notice differences in herself and in her confidence.  Her visits to Iron Orchid left her empowered as she grew to value her strength and began to celebrate every moment of what was only the beginning of her journey.  While Laurie’s stay wasn’t long, she continued her journey even from afar, found what worked for her, and left equipped with the tools to sustain her new lifestyle. 

The key for Laurie was undoubtedly having a community of support and a level of accountability to get her started. 

We shared recipes, triumphs, tribulations, and in the end, success.  She seriously left town with a whole new family she could connect and celebrate with.  As a result, she quickly began to realize the impact her new lifestyle could have on her family. What seemed like an overwhelming transition initially, quickly became a priority and non-negotiable.   

What IO taught me was to take time for myself and to force myself to be more of a priority in what was one of the most difficult seasons of my life. I left that summer motivated for a change of lifestyle for mind, body and soul - they did that for me - when they could have treated me as a temporary visitor they embraced me as family.

Her journey didn’t stop and yet, still continues.  Laurie’s journey lead her to losing 38 pounds, regaining her energy and reclaiming her life.  Her influence has now impacted many, including her husband and her children. 

Fast forward to Christmas ‘16…  Laurie is BACK for a holiday visit!  We were equally as excited as she was for her visit back to Iron Orchid.  Her physical transformation was obvious, but the confidence that radiated from her was even more inspirational.  Her own mother was amazed to see a glowing and healthier version of her daughter and couldn’t believe the radical outward change in her grandchildren.  During her visit, Laurie’s entire family became inspired by the transformation in Laurie, her husband and children.

And so the ripple effect began…  Laurie’s own sister and family made a shift, having much of the same success.  And with the dedication to their new lifestyle, together…  a change of heart occurred in their own father, they never thought they’d see.  A man who struggled with long-term obesity, now leads a much healthier life.  A true transformation for an entire family!  Between all of them, there has been a 125 pounds weightloss as a result of healthier lifestyles altogether.

The Ripple Effect that began at Iron Orchid.  A  journey that was molded and took shape.  It’s one of our proudest moments to know we were a part of Laurie’s journey, and as a result of her dedication, she has now been an inspiration to her entire family. 

Choose YOU, find your tribe, write your own story, and understand that your journey will always look different.  If you're looking for a place to start, looking for the accountability to get you started, and looking for the tools to help you sustain a new-found lifestyle that fits you... the official launch of our IO Healthy+Fit Project is here!  But not for long!  Experience it for yourself.  


About the Author:  Christal Laswell
Christal is a co-owner of Iron Orchid Studio and Flow Spin Studio, is a Certified Personal Trainer and fitness enthusiast.  She is mesmerized by the body and its capabilities and loves all things kettlebells.  She is passionate about helping others move better, get stronger and appreciating the journey along the way.