New Year’s Resolutions & a Cleanse Review: Aster Elliott Detox Programs



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Well, it’s hard to believe, but 2013 is finally here (take that silly Mayans!) and we all know what that means…It’s time to make those infamous New Year’s resolutions (good luck ladies. You won’t be able to score an open elliptical at the gym for the next three weeks, at least).


But wait, wait, wait. Hold up. Before you start sucking down a lemon-cayenne pepper-maple syrup concoction, swearing off all carbs, or promising yourself you’ll lose 10 pounds by Valentine’s day…stop and think for a second. Sure it’s great to make a New Year’s resolution, but what exactly are you looking to resolve? Are you looking for a quick fix? Are you trying to fix too many things at once? People tend to be all gung-ho about their resolutions for the first few days or weeks, but what happens once February hits? Will those positive changes go right down the drain…?


 Before you start throwing around resolutions…consider this:


1.) What are your goals?

2.) What do you wish?

3.) What steps can you take to be the best YOU you can be?

4.) And most importantly…how can you set yourself up to succeed?


Then, write the answers down.


I don’t know about you, but when I write something down and my goals become visual, that’s when they become real.  Only then can I be honest with myself and think about what would truly make me happy so I can then create a plan to help me to achieve those dreams–not just for a few weeks, but for years to come. I’d be willing to bet that most people don’t take the time to map out how to make their resolutions a reality. They like the idea of change, but then they get too busy to find a logical way to make change happen. Perhaps this is the reason why resolutions don’t always stick!


My suggestion? Start off the year by buying a journal– something cute or pretty that you’ll want to write in (it may seem silly or juvenile to you at first, but it works! I just bought one today with lovely inspirational quotes on it). In my new journal, I’ll write down everything I want to see manifest throughout the year. Then throughout the year I can go back to that journal, track my progress, add new goals and see how far I’ve come. For me, this brings the Law of Attraction into the mix (if you haven’t read Rhonda Byrne’s “The Secret,” I suggest you give it a shot!). You can read all about the Law of Attraction in my previous post here.


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Another suggestion for the new year? Be KIND with your resolutions! If you want to lose weight, and it’s healthy for you to do so… great! But instead of beating yourself up and thinking up all the negative ways you want to lose those pounds by cutting calories and depriving yourself… make a promise to hit the gym one extra day a week, or take another spin class, or relax in a bubble bath before bed instead of munching on late-night snacks, or if you want to munch on late night snacks…grab an apple! If you schedule your workouts, healthy meals, and “me” time into your week (mark your calendar!) and if you treat it like an appointment that you cannot break…you are more apt to stick with the new routine. This way, if you’re stuck deciding between happy hour or a yoga class…you can honestly say “Sorry! I can’t make it. I have a previous appointment!” (Namaste THAT ;) ). No matter what you do–most importantly–please remember….







If you do, I promise miracles will happen :) .


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As I mentioned in my last post, one way I like to kick off the New Year is by giving my diet a check-up. I’m a firm believer that when you feel healthy, you act healthy, and you make healthy choices throughout the day. Now I’ll admit it, overall I’m pretty darn good when it comes to my diet. I fill up on fruits, veggies, healthy fats and whole grains (while being sure to limit my gluten intake). I prefer fresh food to processed, packaged foods, I drink lots of water, and I try to limit sugar and buy organic as often as I can. However, the holidays mean sweets and goodies and fancy alcoholic drinks– and who doesn’t want to take part in some of the fun?? This is the one time of the year when it’s okay to indulge as long as you don’t go totally overboard. What I do find however, is that I go so long without needing or wanting any sweets and then as soon as I have a few around the holidays, it’s that much harder to kick those carb and sugar cravings. Sugar is a funny thing. It makes desserts taste delicious, but it makes YOU feel just awful! For example–after a few days of eating more sugar than normal, I begin to notice that I’m overly tired, I’m grouchy, my skin starts to break out, and I have to muster up the energy to do pretty much anything. Case in point–I feel pretty gross. So why do we keep on eating this stuff? Easy. The problem is this:




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As soon as you eat sugar–even a teeny, tiny amount–the brain gets activated and releases a burst of dopamine into the bloodstream. As soon as the dopamine levels lowers, and the sugar is out of your system, your body and brain crave more sugar to get that same “high” feeling. Consequently, the more sugar you eat, the more sugar you’ll eventually need to get that same feel good “sugar high.” Sounds pretty similar to other drug addictions, huh? This also means that if your body gets used to ingesting sugar all the time, you can experience temporary withdrawal symptoms when you finally cut it out (I’m talking headaches, hunger, and fatigue). But just like other addictions, cutting it out is worth it in the long run. Long-term sugar consumption sugar is linked to a slew of health problems including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, and dental problems.


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And this is exactly why a detox/cleansing program is so beneficial this time of year.


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Thankfully Aster Elliott has all of our unhealthy cravings and holiday slip-ups covered! Aster Elliott (created by Aster Amelia Elliott, a board-certified nutrition consultant who has worked in the health and wellness industry extensively for over 15 years and has used nutrition as part of her holistic approach), offers a variety of vegan-friendly, all-natural, cleansing/detox programs that are tailored to fit your individual needs.


One thing that is the same across the boards however is the Aster Elliot Mission: “Aster Elliott is dedicated to enhancing your health and longevity through natural detoxifying cleanse systems. Given the environment we live in today, cleansing & detoxification of your body should be a regular part of your life.”


Some Important Facts About Aster Elliott Products:


1.) They use only the finest ingredients, most are organic, some are raw, they are pure, powerful and unique.

2.) There is an enormous amount of nurturing and care that goes into every program.

3.) No two natural detoxifying cleanse programs are alike. Choose a total body detox or a targeted system.

4.) No animal testing only human testing.

5.) Aster Elliott is environmentally aware of the planet and maintains GREEN whenever possible.

6.) Aster Elliott detoxification systems combine many different therapies; ortho-molecular, ayurvedic, homeopathic, aromatherapy, herbal extracts and whole food all working together as a team.


The popular detox programs available right now are the Catwalk Cleanse, the Corset Cleanse, the Candi Cleanse, the Rock Your Body Cleanse, the Detox Blast, the Pulse Detox Cleanse for Men, the Aster Detox (new), and the Aster Detox Plus (new). I purchased the six-day Corset Cleanse off of Rue La La a few weeks ago and decided to give it a shot.


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 Long story short?




The focus of this cleanse is on digestion and Aster Elliott believes that “by allowing the digestive tract to cleanse and become more efficient, you are rebuilding and improving the way your body distributes energy which equates to a healthier you; glowing skin, shinier hair, sparkling clear eyes and a sharp mind.” I will say, was a bit skeptical at first. I was afraid I’d be hungry, give in to my gluten cravings, or even (gasp!) miss the sugar I’d grown accustomed to over the holidays. So you can imagine (to my pleasant surprise) that by the end of my cleanse, my eyes were truly brighter, my skin was clearer, my tummy was flatter/rid of bloat, and I FELT LIGHT AND AMAZING. Even better? I didn’t get crazy hungry, I didn’t miss gluten or sugar, and I was still able to eat real food on this cleanse!


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The Corset Cleanse comes with a protein shake (called CORE) that you mix with a fiber supplement (called LEAN) and a dietary supplement of medium chain triglycerides (called TRIM) found in coconut and palm kernel oil that work amazingly well to help detoxify the liver and speed up metabolism. You use the shake to replace two meals a day after eating a piece of organic fruit. The cleanse also comes with a variety of herbal supplements (called STIR, TONE, and SOOTHE) that you take throughout the day  to enhance regularity, and detoxification, and to maximize the digestion of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. And what’s most helpful is that the cleanse includes a healthy meal guide full of lunch and snack options you can choose from throughout the week along with a post-detox food guide so you can continue to eat clean after the six-day cleanse is over.


And the BEST part of all?? 


From now until 1/10/2013, the collection of Aster Elliott Cleanses are 30% off! 



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So, what are you waiting for?


Make a resolution to be happier, healthier, (and maybe just a little bit hotter) in 2013 ;)


This is YOUR year!


Healthfully Yours,


Ashley Michelle




Is Sugar Addictive? 

Time Magazine: Sugar 

Livestrong: Cutting down sugar 


Oh Baby, I LOVE BOSU.,r:14,s:111,i:116&tx=79&ty=69

A few months ago…I started a new class at my gym called BOSU Challenge. It quickly became a favorite.


No. Scratch that.


It’s become my OBSESSION!

(Seriously, my boyfriend bought me my own BOSU ball as a gift).


For those of you unfamiliar with a BOSU, it is the funky looking piece of gym equipment that resembles half of a yoga ball you’ll find stacked in the corner of most fitness centers. If you haven’t heard of a BOSU (or just haven’t paid much attention to the stack of them at your gym), my suggestion is to fix this immediately.

Ask a trainer, take a class, YouTube some exercises. Do SOMETHING. You’ve GOT to try it!

I have started noticing my body was getting fitter and firmer in all the right places after only a few classes. And you know what…it’s made me feel so much more confident and strong inside and out!

Yesterday, I took a class at the Boston Center for Adult Education (a great non-profit adult education center where you can sign up to take a fun class on anything from cake decorating and cocktail making, to learning a language and designing a website). I’m a big nerd and LOVE school (I’m currently trying to find a way to go back for my Master’s– fingers crossed) so when I found out there was a one time, all-day writing class being taught by all the top Boston magazine editors…I was SO in (a full post about my whole day at the BCAE is coming soon!).

One of the classes I signed up for was ”Health and Beauty Writing.”

PERFECT, right?!

Anne Vickman (Associate Editor and Weddings Editor for Boston Magazine) taught the class and gave our group a bunch of fabulous tips on how to make it in the writing world. She then had us spend 45 minutes writing an article that could potentially be printed in Boston Magazine’s “This is Just a Test” section, which highlights new health, beauty, or lifestyle trend worth testing out that’s relevant to the Boston area. Immediately, I KNEW I had to talk about BOSU.

So, I thought I’d use this post to share the article I submitted at the end of my class. It recounts my first day of BOSU Challenge. I hope you like it! Also, please feel free to offer any feedback, I’d really appreciate it!

And seriously…go buy a BOSU ball or just join Healthworks. It’s SO worth it!


Healthfully yours,

Ashley Michelle


This is Just a Test: Get Bikini Body Ready with BOSU

A crowd of determined women of all ages begins squeezing into the main fitness studio at the Healthworks Fitness Center, Cambridge. Immediately, everyone starts scrambling to stake out the prime spots in the class, marking their territory with blue BOSU Balls, yoga mats, and various sized free-weights.

For those of you unfamiliar with a BOSU, it is the funky looking piece of gym equipment that resembles half of a yoga ball you’ll find stacked in the corner of most fitness centers. It is most fitting then that the hour-long class the women (including myself) are waiting for is called BOSU Challenge, a favorite among Healthworks members. This is quite evident given the fact that class is already filled past capacity and it hasn’t even begun yet.

Yeah, it’s just THAT good.

To give a little bit of background, the BOSU Balance Trainer was invented by David Weck in 2000, and since then, it has become an increasingly popular piece of gym equipment given its ability to intensify cardio, target multiple parts of the body at once, and more importantly, obtain GREAT results.

According to the official BOSU website, the word “BOSU” originally stood for “Both sides up,” since it can be used on either side, the platform or the dome. Over time its meaning has been altered to stand for “Both sides utilized” as a way to showcase its versatility compared to more traditional training.

Training with the BOSU ball facilitates functional balance training, which “encompasses an evolved performance approach that involves the whole body” and requires some degree of motion and stabilization the entire time. Bosu Challenge does just this, and incorporates a variety of high-intensity drills, cardio combinations, and strength training moves using the Bosu ball, free weights, and yoga mats. Each move requires you to engage your core and focus on balance, thus giving you the perfect all-over, summer-body workout.

While still waiting for class to start, each additional woman walking into the room is immediately hawk-eyed by the rest of the group. No doubt they are attempting to inconspicuously search her hands for the class’s coveted “golden ticket.” This ticket means she has signed up for the popular class well in advance, thus confirming her entrance. Even so, this doesn’t keep some people from trying sneak in to one of these already crowded classes sans-ticket. Class-goers and instructors alike frown upon this practice.

To secure a spot for BOSU Challenge, taught by the infamous “Sean” at Healthworks gyms across the Boston area, you had better sign up at least 24-hours in advance. To gain entry into this particular Saturday morning class, I was forced to set my alarm for 1:00 a.m. on Friday morning and sign up on the Healthworks website.

At exactly 11 a.m., and Sean comes strolling into the studio wearing a black warm-up suit and matching black sneakers with bright yellow bottoms.  He looks like a much larger, much more solid, much more intense version of Billy Blanks, but something about him is kind and sweet, in a “big-teddy-bear” kind of way.

Some of the women in the front row (who have already been warming up with squats and lunges) greet Sean with high-fives. I can tell just by looking at them that they’re the class regulars. They’re in great shape, and I wonder if they have Bosu Challenge to thank.

Sean pumps up the high-energy music (some of the best work-out remixes I’ve ever heard) and turns to smile at the class

“Okay guys! Get movin’!” he shouts as he demonstrates running on and off the Bosu.

After a quick warm-up, he gets right into the routine.  The next thing I know we’re doing mountain climbers, laterals, planks, leg-lifts, push-ups, burpees, squats, lunges, bicep curls, shoulder presses, and jumping jacks without stopping to rest in between.

Only 15 minutes have gone by and I’m already dripping with sweat.

The rest of the class is just as intense. During our last set of leg lifts on the Bosu, I am almost ready to give up as I desperately try to maintain my balance using my left knee while extending my right leg out to the side. I’m shaking uncontrollably when a smiling Sean comes up beside me, puts his hand on my shoulder, and says, “Great job, you’ve got this!”

I peak around the room and see all the other women in class shaking, grimacing in pain too. But none of them are giving up. I pull it together and make myself push through the pain threshold until I hear “3, 2, 1! You’re done! Great job guys!”

There is no doubt I’m more exhausted than I’ve ever been before after a fitness class, but it’s the BEST kind of exhaustion to feel. It’s the feeling you get when you know you’ve given everything, and not an ounce less.  I have no doubt in my mind that taking this class every week will make your muscles stronger, your body more fit, and your trouble spots firmer just in time for bikini season. After all, I feel like my backside has risen two inches already, and that’s just after completing one class!

No wonder those women in the front look so great. They keep coming back for more!