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Jamie Montalto and Blaire Foster

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Many business professionals get caught in the daily grind, only thinking about their health outside of traditional business hours. Fitting in a work out before or after work or packing a healthy lunch seems like a chore. However, healthy habits can actually be incorporated into the workday in more ways than expected and yield positive benefits. Health and fitness related businesses in the area recently gathered for the Health Starts at Work event held at E|SPACES located at 1550 W. McEwen Dr., Ste. 300 in Cool Springs to promote healthy habits and behaviors among business professional during the workday.

E|SPACES is the brainchild of CEO Phil Gibbs who created the business in order to provide a meeting and work space for entrepreneurs, mobile professionals and small companies that normally work out of home

Whole Foods Double Green Smoothie

1 ½ cups unsweetened non-dairy beverage, such as almond, rice or soy

2 dried apricots or 4 pitted dates

1 banana

1 cup chopped kale leaves

1 cup spinach leaves

½ cup fresh or frozen berries

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Thai Rice Wraps by Whole Foods
- a popular treat at the event


Rice paper rounds

Rice noodles

Baked Thai-style tofu

Chopped lettuce

Chopped cucumber

Chopped avocado

Chopped fresh cilantro

Thinly sliced carrots

Crushed red pepper flakes to taste

365 Organic Peanut Sauce for dipping

Optional Extras:

Grilled chicken

Chopped roasted peanuts

Bean Sprouts

Cook and drain the rice noodles and chop all the veggies, then dip the rice paper rounds in hot water and lay out on clean surface. Fill wraps with all the above listed ingredients and roll up then slice in half.  Dip in the Thai peanut sauce or your favorite Thai dipping sauce and enjoy. Or go to Whole Foods Market and purchase these wraps at their prepared foods counter.

From YMCA Well-Being Tip Sheet:

Healthy Nutrition Tips

Pack veggies as a snack

Make a meal from “a la carte” items – salad, steamed veggies, fruit, etc.

Eat frozen grapes, blueberries, or strawberries for a refreshing snack

Try a fruit smoothie as a pick-me up

Double the veggies on your next pizza


offices and coffee shops, but need a place to meet with colleagues and clients and to work for periods of time. 

Dan Ryan and Phil Gibbs

Gibbs organized the Health Starts at Work event to promote a well-rounded healthy lifestyle among health conscious business professionals. Participating vendors including Whole Foods, Hot Yoga Plus, YMCA and Avalon light therapy company, provided demonstrations and ideas on how to incorporate healthy solutions into one’s workday. He said, “We realize that we serve a health conscious clientele who are looking for better ways to work. Their [vendors] customers are our customers. They are educated professionals who are concerned about their health.”

Whether it’s adding more healthy meals into the day, moving during the day for exercise or participating in a stress relief activity, many office environments are beginning to encourage workers to incorporate healthy behaviors by providing more wellness opportunities in and around the workplace.

A few of the vendors shared their tips on nutrition, exercise, and strategies for stress relief during the workday.


Dori Wilbert, Healthy Eating Specialist for Whole Foods in Franklin explained the four pillars of the Whole Foods “Health Starts Here” campaign, which is a “simple, mindful approach to health,” she said. The four pillars include eat whole, unprocessed foods, eat healthy fats, eat a colorful variety of plants, and eat nutrient dense food. Wilbert said, “Nutrition doesn’t have to be confusing. People don’t realize how powerful food

Tessa Oakley, Michael Martin, and Dori Wilbert at Whole Foods

is, and it isn’t just the junk that we eat that impacts our health but forgetting to eat the phytonutrients found in veggies and fruits. Food has the power to heal if we eat the right foods in the right quantities.” One of Wilbert’s favorite ways of incorporating phytonutrients into her day is by drinking a Double Green Smoothie, which contains fruit and vegetables. “It is so easy to make in the blender, and anyone can pack it in a thermos to take to work,” she said.

For more information visit www.wholefoodsmarket.com/healthstartshere.


Hot Yoga Plus shared a few benefits of working Yoga into the workday. Just like E|SPACES, Hot Yoga Plus is located in the six-story McEwen mixed use development building located on the 1st floor and just opened a few weeks ago. The grand opening will be May 12 from 4 to 6 with special offers on Yoga classes. They also have another studio located at 2214 Elliston Pl. in Nashville.

The studio offers early classes for workers on the go starting at 6 a.m. as well as lunch time sessions. Fitting in a Yoga class during the day can help ease mind, body and spirit. Yoga Instructor Jamie Montalto said, “People on the clock are very busy, rushing and sometimes their schedules can seem chaotic, so coming in for even a 30-min. session can help to calm the mind, provide a good workout and make you feel happier, healthier and lighter.” Manager Blaire Foster said, “Deep breathing and meditation can help to relieve stress throughout the workday at the office, and stretching exercises that involve reaching behind the body help. Because we always reach forwards, reaching backwards provides a different stretching movement.” For more information, please visit http://www.hotyogaplus.com.

The Cool Springs YMCA also gave suggestions for exercise and nutrition for office professionals. “Because many professionals sit in a chair much of the day, it helps to stand and stretch every hour to extend the spine. Workers can also do spinal rotations while sitting in their chair. Also, for professionals who type a lot, squeezing a hand gripper is helpful,” said Wolly Wolcott, personal trainer.

 Also, the YMCA can help aid wellness in the workplace by making office visits. Some businesses schedule a “Y Day” in which exercise activities are incorporated into the workday and led by a YMCA representative. Wellness Director Shellie McMillen said, “Office professionals seem to love it. They wear T-shirts and sneakers for the day, and we send a personal trainer on-site to plan exercise routines during the workday. It’s a great way to encourage becoming active.” McMillen added that it’s also important to participate in an exercise activity that is enjoyable because it is more likely that one will incorporate it into their day consistently.

Stress/ Pain Relief: Light Therapy

The Avalon Effect light therapy company participates in corporate wellness events and provides office seminars and light therapy sessions. Avalon Representative Kelley Nash said that employees usually love the experience and that it is great for the work environment. She said, “After a light therapy session, clients usually say that they feel so relaxed, calm and balanced. It also relives pain. It is more difficult to concentrate at work if you have pain. Light therapy is a natural, alternative way to support healing in the body whether headache or other ailment.”

According to the American Medical Association 85-90% of disease is related to stress. Avalon strives to relax overstressed individuals through light therapy. Avalon reports that light therapy has been shown in over 50 years of independent research worldwide to deliver powerful, therapeutic benefits to living tissues and organisms.

Both visible red, blue, and “invisible” infrared light effect at least 24 positive changes at the cellular level. The company offers 20-min. sessions at any workplace. Light therapy is thought to relieve pain and stress, increase circulation, speed the healing process, restore the energy in cells and rejuvenate skin. These benefits plus much more are considered to restore balance to the body at a cellular level.

For more information or to schedule a session visit www.theavaloneffect.com or call 615-601-2778.

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