Why Practice Yoga?

Yoga has so many benefits, the list may surprise you.

Students in a recent Saturday morning yoga practice with Kristi. 

by Dr. Allie Mendelson

Yoga has been practiced for at least 5,000 years and it has lots of health benefits. I’ve been doing it for almost that long (LOL) and I encourage my patients to do it for the mental and physical benefits. It’s a great way to reduce stress, build strength and flexibility, as well as improve balance, making it great for all ages.

Breath work is also a significant part of a yoga practice. Breathing is voluntary and involuntary in our everyday lives, and a yoga practice helps the participant come back to focusing on breathing — something all of us can take for granted. This focus helps to reduce stress and calms the mind.

All types of yoga utilize various breathing techniques and postures. Some are more active such as the Vinyasa classes here on Mondays and Thursdays, while other forms of yoga are more relaxing, such as the all levels class we offer on Saturdays which is great for all levels of experiences.

Even though a yoga practice is very personal and unique to the participant and it’s one of the easiest forms of exercise to do alone at home (all you need is comfortable clothing and a yoga mat), practicing with a group has so many MORE benefits!

There’s nothing like the energy in a group yoga class. The time shared among everyone in class, whether you’re all working on a new pose together or meditating as a group, gives a certain feeling that you can’t get by yourself in front of a computer screen.

Plus, you can use that group support to help fuel your own practice and push yourself to maybe try poses you were afraid to try.

Just like any healthy habit or exercise plan I’m always more consistent in my practice and training if I’m part of a group. Being part of a group is incredibly motivating, and can make it easier to show up to class if other people are expecting you there.

Just a few weeks of consistent practice can bring you further than you might think, so why not try going to a group class and seeing where it takes you? 

Whatever form of yoga you choose, practicing several times per week can work wonders on your mind, body, and spirit. Personally, I take two days off each week, and on the other days I have a variety of classes I participate in.

Yoga benefits:

  • Increased Energy.
  • Reduced Stress.
  • Increased Confidence.
  • Improved Posture.
  • Better Immunity.
  • Increased Focus.
  • Improved Breathing.

Order Thanksgiving Turkeys!

By popular demand… we will be offering organic turkeys this Thanksgiving IF you get your reservation in soon! We know it’s early, but the farms need to prepare.

The deadline for reserving your 2022 organic Thanksgiving Turkey is July 7!

You can pick:

  • Organic Prairie turkey, free range and fed 100% organic feed. Approximately 15 lbs. for $135.

  • Howling Flats Turkey. Pasture raised with no soy and feed includes some non-GMO corn. They will be $8.49/lb. with average weight of 22 lbs.

Final price will be determined when you pick up your turkey in November.

We need a $50 deposit now. Please visit the “Meat, Special Order” section of our online store HERE, or click the button.


Is An Infrared Sauna Safe?

Introducing our new, full-spectrum Sunlighten sauna!

by Dr. Allie Mendelson

One of the biggest questions I get when patients are considering a sauna session is: “is infrared safe?”

Short answer is, yes!  

Infrared is radiant heat. Our bodies, the sun, and just about everything in our environment is giving off infrared heat, so our bodies are very familiar with this type of heat. Put your palms close, without touching, feel that heat? That is infrared. In other words, it is a safe heat. 

Infrared heat in a sauna penetrates and heats you more than a dry heat sauna which heats the air first.

I’ll dive into more questions and answers about the safety and reasons to use a full spectrum sauna on a regular basis in the video below. When I say “full spectrum,” I’m speaking of a range of wavelengths, including near, mid and far infrared.

Check out the links below for some amazing testimonials & benefits. 

VIDEO: Accompanied by my backyard chickens, goats, and pet turkeys, I explain what an infrared sauna is and why it’s extremely detoxing! Sunlighten’s high-quality infrared promotes effortless, deep, productive sweat. It is different from dry heat:

The Importance of A Quality Vitamin C Supplement

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that the body is unable to produce on its own. It’s needed for the normal growth and repair of tissues in the body. Due to the body’s inability to produce vitamin c on its own, it’s important to include plenty of vitamin C-containing foods and supplements into your diet.
This essential nutrient plays a role in healing wounds, repairing tissue, and controlling infection. It’s also needed to make collagen. If not consumed regularly, it is very possible to suffer from a vitamin C deficiency, which can be detrimental to your overall health. 
The most common signs and symptoms of a Vitamin C deficiency are:
•Bright red hair follicles
•Dry, damaged skin
•Bleeding gums, and tooth loss
•Poor immunity

Vitamin C supplementation can be taken in capsules, gummies, liquid, or powder. Each of these forms varies in quantity, quality, and absorbability. When attempting to choose a quality supplement that is right for you, it’s crucial to get a supplement that is closest to the source.
It’s important to feel confident about what you put in your body. From the moment the raw materials are sourced, it’s then encapsulated and made into the uncompromisable gold standard of products. Each product is a masterful accumulation of quality ingredients that help you achieve an inherent state of vitality.
Vitamin C Complete helps to:
•Strengthen immune system
•Naturally detox
•Nourish skin with antioxidants
•Increase iron absorption 

BIG Reasons to eat MicroGreens!

Microgreens provide BIG nutrition! Come learn the how, what, why of this growing practice!

Join us March 5 at 12:30!

Dr. Allie welcomes Matt Collins, co-owner of Hartford Plant Company (HPC), a family-run business based in Hartford.* Come hear the HPC’s interesting start-up story as well as watch a sowing demonstration, learn the benefits of these tiny and delicious greens, and samples will be available while supplies last.

What’s the difference between sprouts and microgreens? Come to this workshop to find out!

Dr. Allie will talk about the benefits to eating sprouts and microgreens and she will teach people how to grow sprouts.

*The Hartford Plant Company took shape serendipitously. Valentina, who is the principal microgreen grower, needed to leave Belarus in late 2020, affected by the tragic political circumstances in her country. Shortly after joining her daughter and son-in-law, Anastasiya and Matt, in West Harford, she began experimenting with microgreens… come to the workshop to hear the whole story!

IV Therapy Day at Essential Health 1/22/22

At Long Last, I Found IV Therapy Practitioners to Introduce to You!

by Dr. Allie Mendelson, DC

Come meet the nurses and practitioners who run the CT-based “LIVation” IV Therapy on Saturday, January 22! I’ve been searching for a professional group to teach my patients about this beneficial form of therapy and I’ve revamped what was originally my “Wolverine/Heal Yourself” workshop to spotlight LIVation.

I am always exploring and researching the best ways to support your immune system through healthy habits like getting adjusted regularly, eating well, supplementing properly, resting, exercise, and hydrating. I have helped hundreds of patients with the best ways to support their bodies through all kinds of health challenges.

Due to the increase in numbers of residents seeking more information for the best alternative, natural care for prevention and recovery from illness, this workshop has been revamped to put the spotlight on LIVation, IV Therapy.

Joe Baczewski, RN and owner of LIVation will be here to spotlight his company’s IV Hydration, Infusion Therapy, Boosters, Mobile IV Therapy & more. LIVation’s CT registered nurses have helped their clients obtain the wellness they need to help achieve their health goals. They strive to be excellent and at the top of what they do!

Now’s the time to come learn and watch a live demonstration (on me!).
Please register. Space is limited.

Heal Yourself life Wolverine!?

UPDATE: Focus of this workshop will be on LIVation IV Therapy. Please go to this page.

Would you like to have healing powers like Wolverine?

New Registration link HERE.

Dr. Allie has been exploring all the good parts of Wolverine’s powers, and you don’t have to be a Marvel comic fan to join us for this workshop!

Wolverine’s main mutant power is rapid healing or “mutant healing factor”. This rapid healing allows for regeneration of damaged (or even destroyed) bodily tissues that exceed anything a “non-mutant” is capable of. In the movies and comic books Wolverine almost comes out as indestructible, like Superman.

While we are mere mortals, and not comic book heroes, as humans we do have the power to heal when we do the right things for our bodies. Avoiding toxins is difficult in our world, but our bodies are powerful healing machines! 

SPECIAL GUEST! Joe Baczewski, RN and owner of LIVation will be here to spotlight his company’s IV Hydration, Infusion Therapy, Boosters, Mobile IV Therapy & more. LIVation’s CT registered nurses have helped their clients obtain the wellness they need to help achieve their health goals. They strive to be excellent and at the top of what they do! 

Want Wolverine’s secrets? Come to this informative talk on January 22, 2022.

January Yoga Workshop – New Date TBA!

This Introduction to Yoga is for All Levels – postponed

UPDATE: 1/12/22 We are postponing this workshop and the new date will be announced soon!

ORIGINAL POST: This “Happy New Year Yoga” is designed for those who have been curious about yoga, but don’t know where to start! The new year is the perfect time to check it out! Kristi is an awesome teacher. You’ve heard about how yoga is good for flexibility and balance, but there are so many more physical benefits of yoga… check it out! Event date is Saturday, January 15, 2022 from 12:30 – 1:30. Pre-Registration Required

Food isn’t the same today as it was a decade ago!

The World Health Organization estimates more than 2 billion people worldwide experience essential vitamin and mineral deficiencies. 

The quality of our food has decreased tremendously. The fruits and vegetables that we eat today are not as rich in vitamins and minerals as they were decades ago. Quality supplements can help to restore and maintain the essential nutrients that the body needs for overall health and optimal bodily functioning. Supplementation is a great way to fill in the gap of nutrient depletions where today’s food lacks.
Four reasons why we are nutrient depleted:
1-We have evolved away from eating wild foods that contain dramatically higher levels of all vitamins, minerals, and essential fats.
2-Because of depleted soils and industrial farming and hybridization techniques, the animals and vegetables we eat have fewer nutrients.
3-Processed, factory-made foods have no nutrients.
4-The total burden of environmental toxins, lack of sunlight, and chronic stress lead to higher nutrient needs.

There are a variety of things that can happen during the process of preparing our food that can affect its nutritional content. The absence of certain nutrients in your diet can be supplemented by vitamin D, vitamin C, optimal omega. Supplements paired with positive lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, a healthy diet, and sufficient sleep are the makings of an effective plan to reach optimal health.

Source: Maximized Living, Dr. Allie Mendelson.

Meet Working H Farms!

Tucked in the northwest corner of Maryland in a town named Friendsville is Working H Farms. From their USDA-inspected shop Essential Health sources the highest quality beef, pork and chicken, meeting our strict specifications.

Their farms are located in the rural area of Cranesville, West Virgina, perfectly situated to provide an outstanding environment for naturally-raised beef, pork and poultry.

All livestock is raised without antibiotics, growth hormones or other drugs. All pastures are fertilizer and chemical free and stock is rotated daily to ensure an excellent supply of rich lush grass for the livestock’s enjoyment and health.

When you buy meat from Essential Health, you can be confident the animals are raised at the highest level of care. See the list of our Farm Partners here

Order online for in-store pick-up, or come browse the selection during our market hours!

Market Hours:

Mon-Thurs: 10:00am – 7:00pm
Fri: 10:00am – 6:00pm
Sat: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Welcome Kristi Sullivan, Yoga Instructor (updated)

Kristin Sullivan, Yoga Instructor.

Kristi has been teaching yoga since 2004, has trained with and been influenced by the teachings of Seane Corn, and completed her 200-hour teacher certification at West Hartford Yoga in 2009. Her classes at Essential Health are vinyasa flow style for all levels.

Kristi encourages her students to be empowered by their yoga practice – uniting the mind and body while transforming the spirit. When she isn’t teaching, Kristi hosts a virtual community to support personal development and self care. She also is a speaker, workshop teacher, retreat leader, and co-author of 3 best-selling books written and published during the 2020 pandemic.

All Levels Vinyasa classes take place on Mondays and Thursday mornings from 9:30 to 10:30. Starting on September 14, 2021, a Beginner/Gentle class will be on Tuesday afternoons from 5:30 to 6:30. Drop-ins welcome.

Don’t Panic, Eat (Mostly) Organic

One of Dr. Allie Mendelson’s favorite things to do is to present informative workshops to improve our health and wellbeing. On Monday, January 11, 2021 she had the chance to talk to the town of West Hartford about a subject important to her and her patients: Organic eating.

We had an engaged and eager group of 30 people ready to learn some new, healthy tips from Dr. Allie, and thanks to the wider audience provided by Zoom, this online class drew attendees from Texas and Florida!

The setting provided attendees with an “Ask Dr. Allie” format and once we got rolling, the hour flew by.

The “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” were a great place to start when it comes to produce shopping. Dr. Allie explained that this report is actually updated every year by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and includes the two main categories. You can find it online or you can even download an app to keep track of the trends.

As a basic rule, it’s always best to buy organic when you are produce shopping, but the Dirty Dozen list includes produce that, when grown conventionally, is heavily sprayed with dangerous pesticides, so buying organic is much safer and healthier.

The Clean Fifteen list includes items that are not heavily sprayed, as a rule, and are safe to buy as conventional. The example Dr. Allie gave was avocados, which are a staple in many ketogenic lifestyles, and they are grown with little or no spraying needed, so shoppers don’t need to spend the money on organic.

Topics ranged from organic and GMO foods, to grass-fed beef, water, cooking oils/fats, grass-fed butter, nuts, and raw milk.

Dr. Allie talked about taking supplements if you are deficient in certain minerals. Most people need a little extra calcium, Vitamin D and Vitamin C. Also magnesium is important. But it’s advisable to get tested by a naturopath to see what your body needs.

Dr. Allie shocked participants with the point she made about eating pink Himalayan salt to help your body, she said “A great way to get minerals is to buy pink Himalayan salt because it has eighty-four minerals in it. Regular salt is very acidic and has only three minerals.” Himalayan salt has iodine in it.

She went on to say, “most people are deficient in salt.” If you don’t have enough sodium, you can’t absorb the minerals your body needs.

When thinking about organic products, it’s important to keep that in mind for what you put in your body, and on your body. When you eat, your liver will help filter the bad ingredients. Of course you’ll tax your liver if you over do the synthetic ingredients. When you use lotions and beauty products on your skin any it’s extremely important for what you put on your skin to be natural because it goes right through your skin and into your bloodstream without the benefit of your liver/filter. Anything you put on your body you should be able to eat.

“What you put on your skin should be organic and clean… that’s why we like essential oils for things like cleaning and more,” said Dr. Allie.

Special thanks to Robin Collins, Gina Marino and Deborah Kennedy with the town of West Hartford Senior Center. Thanks also to Essential Health’s Marketing Manager Joy Taylor for moderating the discussion.

The Q&A style session ended with a quiz on the healthiest countries. Wondering what they are? Watch the video!

Keto Lifestyle May Be For You, If you Like to Eat!

Dr. Allie walked us through the ketogenic lifestyle, “It’s not a diet, it’s a way of life,” she explained at a recent workshop.

Some of the very basic lifestyle tips came to the forefront in the keto talk (see complete class video below), and attendees walked away with some awesome tips.

The ketogenic lifestyle includes the following for a healthy mind, body and spirit:

  • High fat, moderate protein, very low carb, right nutrients, fatty acids
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Hydration
  • Electrolytes and salt
  • Food has dopamine effect, thirst and hunger center right next to each other in Hypothalamus… eating increases dopamine a lot, drinking stimulates much less (which may explain why many of us will turn to food for comfort)
  • Gratitude. Be grateful for our lives, show forgiveness, and express love.
  • Stress stimulates fight/flight. Find ways to cope with — or better yet — release and eliminate stress

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry During The Holidays

Did you know that the average American consumes between 3,500 and 4,500 calories during a big holiday meal and during the course of all the feasting between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, the average person gains about eight pounds.

I’m not going to preach to you about not eating the once-a-year treats, although I can show you plenty of substitutes to avoid the up-and-down energy levels, and potential fat gain. (Refer to my Sugar Is Bad blog and Sugar Crash video).

Here are my top 3 tips to allow you to eat, drink, be merry and stay lean during the holiday season.

1. Fast First

The easiest way to balance the oops-I-did-it-again holiday overeating is with some fasting. (If you watch my “Longevity” workshop, you’ll know that fasting is an important part of giving our bodies a break and preparing for digestion.)

Fasting anywhere from 14 to 24 hours leading up to the big meal can help you burn some fat, reset your palate so you enjoy your favorite foods even more, and create some caloric wiggle room so you can say “yes” to slice of pie. All you have to do is eat an early dinner the night before, skip breakfast, maybe say no to lunch, and THIS IS IMPORTANT, stay hydrated.

To make it easier, you can drink some black coffee or hot tea during your fast. I suggest decaffeinated organic coffee or tea. This will help you metabolize a little more fat, keep your energy levels up, and keep your appetite down.

2. Exercise Pre-Meal

Squeeze in a workout at the gym, a vigorous walk, or yoga class prior to your feast to prime your body. This will help turn any excess calories into muscle-building rather than fat gain, not to mention giving you more energy. A 20-60 minute workout that combines some reasonably heavy strength training and medium to high-intensity cardio will prime your body for eating.

To make it easier, fuel your workout with a high-quality essential amino acid supplement, which will help you stay focused, energized, and help you maintain muscle while working out in a fasted state.

3. Manage Your Blood Sugar

Most fan-favorite holiday foods are loaded with sugar and likely to spike—and subsequently crash—your blood glucose. Luckily, to stay off the energy roller coaster all you have to do is get in some light physical activity right after the meal. My good friend always takes a 30-minute walk with her family after the holiday meal, before dessert, and it’s a great way to re-energize and help the body with the work of digestion.

There are so many safe and natural sugar substitutes for cooking and baking. Plus you can enjoy chocolate and ice cream without sugar. Some of my patients will serve the gluten free/grain-free/sugar-free treats without announcing it to the family. I’m not encouraging lying to the family, LOL. But if you alter grandma’s recipe a bit, no one really needs to know you used monk fruit sweetener instead of sugar but you!

I also suggest a digestive enzyme before every meal to aid the process since we tend to eat a little more and a few things we may not eat during the rest of the year.

Enjoy your holidays and many will find it is easy to enjoy without sugar! (originally published 12/14/19)

How to Use a Far Infrared Sauna

Using an infrared sauna can reap an incredible amount of rewards. But before you hop in, it’s important to know infrared sauna time limits, usage guidelines, and other tips for your sauna session.

 Infrared Sauna Usage Guidelines

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use your infrared sauna safely:

  1. Warm up the sauna to the temperature of your choice (when you book your appointment to use our sauna, we make sure it is pre-heated for 20-30 minutes before your scheduled appointment.)

For a far infrared sauna, most people set the temperature for anywhere between 100-140 degrees. If you are a beginner, and particularly if you are not in great health, you’ll want to start at 100 degrees or less. This way you’ll give yourself a chance to get used to the heat.

It’s okay to get in after 10-15 minutes after you’ve turned it on, even if the temperature is not up to your target temperature yet (infrared sauna time limits can vary, but typically that is more than enough time to wait before you hop in). It doesn’t take longer than that for infrared sauna heaters to warm up, and once they do, you’ll be getting the infrared heat effect. The infrared-emitting heaters will be on continuously until the heat gets up to the temperature you set.

(Please note: For a traditional saunas, most people set the temperature for anywhere between 160-200 degrees. Be mindful as this is not a traditional sauna).


  1. Drink Water

Have a glass of water before you enter the sauna. Take some water with you into the sauna as well. This is the most important “how to take a sauna” step! Other good drinks to take into the sauna with you would be a sports electrolyte replacement drink (or coconut water, which is nature’s electrolyte replacement drink!). It’s important to stay hydrated, as your body will sweat.


  1. Bring a Towel With You Into The Sauna

You’ll need a towel to sit on and a smaller towel to wipe down with once you start sweating. Remember, your body will be sending out toxins, including heavy metals, with your sweat, and you won’t want your sauna bench or floor to absorb these. (If you forget yours, towels are available to rent for $2 each.)


  1. If possible, don’t wear clothing into the sauna

If not wearing clothing isn’t an option, then wear the absolute minimum of clothes that you can—not more than a bathing suit, for example.

Why, you ask? Well, some people think they’ll sweat more if they enter a sauna with clothes on. This is dangerous and a mistake! When you cover your skin with clothes, your sweat can’t help cool you down by evaporating on your skin. You will quickly overheat and also lose the benefits of wiping away your toxin-loaded sweat. When you wipe away the toxin-filled sweat, the toxins don’t sit in contact with your skin and possibly be reabsorbed. Remember this, as it is one of the most important infrared sauna usage guidelines.

You will also want to remove jewlery that dangles (some necklaces get hot!)


  1. And finally, relax, reflect, listen to music, read a book, or socialize

This is your time and it’s a time to relax, reflect on your day. Try resting your eyes and mind or meditate for a while. The sauna at Essential Health is made for up to three people, so consider inviting a buddy along. (Add a friend for 50% off).