Why Should I Eat Kraut?

By Stefanie Schapker

Did you know your stomach protects you from infections? The holidays are here which means more of the “junk foods” in general that produce endotoxins and cause inflammation. The stomach goes into battle mode and starts overproducing insulin which increases fat storage and weakens your appetite control and eventually leads to obesity. Consuming fermented foods like kraut are great detoxifiers and because they contain higher levels of probiotics than probiotic supplements, it helps to optimize your gut flora! Adding just one cup of fermented veggies in your day can have great benefits like lowering your risk for cancer, preventing acne, obesity, diabetes, and helps with mineral absorption! Check out our Garlic-Dill and Taco Kraut by Hidden Pond Farms at Livewell and make your gut smile!

photo (4)

Ideas on how to add kraut to your diet:

-Think of kraut like a condiment! You can add it to your favorite salad, meat, or simply as a side dish
-Add ½ cup of kraut to your salad then top with olive oil, lemon, and apple cider vinegar.
-Scrambled eggs in coconut oil and topped with kraut for a zing!
-Adding kraut to any sandwich can bring a nutritious yummy crunch.
-Green smoothies with a little kraut added in will increase the health benefits and give you a boost in the mornings or afternoons.


Team Spotlight: Jennifer Whitacre


What is your role at Livewell?

I am a CPT for the Flex 151 program here at Livewell. Occasionally, you will also see me out at the front desk preparing coffees and smoothies and answering any questions that our guests and members might have.   

What drew you to want to work at Livewell originally?

I was searching for a job that was related to my degree in health services and wellness. It was important to me that I found something within my field, but I also had to be passionate about my work. Livewell met these criteria better than I could have imagined and here I am going on a year as part of this amazing team and wellness community. I could not be more grateful.   

What is your favorite part about working at Livewell?

I love everything about Livewell, and it is sometimes hard to consider it work at all. If I had to pinpoint what I like most it would be the feeling I experience when my clients leave with a smile on their face [although they are smiling through a little bit of pain ;)] and the thanks I receive for the work I have done with them. Nothing is more satisfying or rewarding than helping these amazing people improve their health and wellness, and therefore their lives, and it makes my heart happy to be a part of that journey. 

What hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?

When I am not working I like to make the most of my time and do the things that I enjoy. I attend a great amount of concerts with my friends, traveling all over the country and visiting different venues. I also love hiking, camping, and setting up my hammock somewhere out in the trees, taking time to unwind and unload from a busy work schedule. I also have a passion for yoga and have recently started back with a regular practice. Nothing eases my mind, body and spirit more than a great yoga session..it is the perfect way to reset.  

What’s on your bucket list?

One thing that I absolutely have to do is make it out to Ireland. I would love to spend some time in a little cottage out in the middle of the country. I imagine myself going on a bike ride, listening to Mumford and Sons, and taking in all the green beauty that Ireland has to offer. This is most definitely my dream vacation.

Do you have a favorite quote?

I do not have a specific favorite quote; however, here is one that is simple, yet means a lot, and is all too easily forgotten in the fast paced world that we live in today: “The point of life is happiness.” –The Dalai Lama

People would be surprised if they knew:

I was born and lived on Air Force Bases until my father retired from the military when I was ten. I lived in Northern California, and then Oklahoma City before we moved to Newburgh, IN. The military lifestyle is very unique and because of it I have friends all over the country that I have reconnected with and keep in touch with to do this day. It was definitely an experience growing up that I would never change.

What is a Far Infrared Sauna?

by Shaun Angel, Owner, CPT

Today I want to roll out to you our newest addition to Livewell Rejuvenation Services, the Far Infrared Sauna.  

If you are like most people, you probably think of saunas as a form of pampering, maybe a part of a relaxing day at the spa.  Maybe you think of it as a group of people in a sweat lodge as is commonly practiced in many cultures, most notably Sweden and Finland.  You are about to find out why the sauna has its place firmly rooted in the health promoting arsenal of fitness and wellness freaks all over the world.  So, what do these people know that you and I do not?  

To those that know us from the Flex 151 side of Livewell, you may have noticed that with Flex 151’s program, we try to refrain from sweating while working our muscles.  Is this because we do not value sweating?  Absolutely not!  When your muscles are contracting and lengthening to produce force, the muscle fibers are very rapidly vibrating and rubbing together, thus causing heat.  This heat creates lactic acid.  Not a bad thing…we all love the ‘burn’; however, if we want to enjoy the time efficiency and 6.5 x more efficient workout than that of conventional resistance training…there is a requirement and that requirement is muscle failure.  We want the tuckered out muscles to be fully depleted of energy by the end of the set through the sequential recruitment of slow and fast twitch muscle fibers, a process called inroading.  With our heavily researched anaerobic workout, we burn more sugar and hold off lactic acid longer by also not contributing to our failure through early heat and premature lactic ‘burn’.  So, that crazy diaphragmatic breathing technique we ask you to do is actually a way to expel heat through a respiratory means (like a dog who helps regulate body temperature through panting) and the cool room helps to counter the heat your body creates while doing your first set.  With that being said, proper sweating can be a great health tool for our bodies.  So, what IS the role of sweating on our health? 

What is a Far Infrared (IR) Sauna?

An infrared sauna is a type of sauna that uses bio photonic light to create heat. These saunas are sometimes called far-infrared saunas — "far" describes where the infrared waves fall on the light spectrum.  An infrared sauna heats our body directly without warming the air around us.  The traditional sauna is electric, wood or gas fired and uses heat to warm the air, which in turn warms the body. Preheating to 150-200 degrees is required for large sweating. The intense heat is difficult for many to tolerate.  On the other hand, far-infrared heats the body, but the air remains cool. Sweating begins quickly and the experience is rather pleasant. According to research, far-infrared is more cleansing than traditional saunas. The deep penetration of the infrared energy allows the cells to eliminate better.

So, the difference between an infrared sauna and the traditional Finnish-style saunas is that the latter heats us up from the outside in, like an oven. The infrared sauna heats us from the inside out.  The appeal of saunas in general is that they raise core body temperature and cause profuse sweating and increased heart rate, similar to those reactions caused by moderate exercise. An infrared sauna produces these results at lower temperatures than does a regular sauna (20-30 degrees cooler), which makes it accessible to people who can't tolerate the heat of a conventional sauna.

Why Far IR Sauna?

Everyone today is exposed to heavy metals and toxic chemicals.  No matter how well we eat or how much we exercise, we cannot evade chemicals in our water, air and soil.  Hundreds of chemicals affect the skin from lotions, soaps, creams and deodorants. Others are cleaning solvents, detergent residues and chemicals from bathing water.  Eating organic where it counts and a large proportion of our diet raw, getting adequate sleep, staying hydrated with clean water, reducing stress, reducing sugar, moving daily and exercising regularly goes a long way to keep our systems clean.  Yes, the body detoxifies through the liver, urine and poo, but the skin is the largest organ and wants to be a big eliminator as long as sweating occurs.  A very good method to place the detoxification process of the body ‘on steroids’ is through using a far-infrared sauna. Its dry, warming energy is highly compatible with the human body. It heats the tissues several inches deep, enhancing natural metabolic processes, increasing circulation and helping to oxygenate our cells. Your skin is a major organ of elimination, but many people do not sweat on a regular basis. This may be due to our modern sedentary lives, comforts of all-season climate conditioning, wearing synthetic or tight clothing that does not breathe, and even from sun damage.  Repeated use of the sauna slowly restores skin elimination, which can help reduce your toxic load quite significantly. But not only will it help rid your body of heavy metals and chemicals at the deep cellular level, it will also help kill off viruses and other microbes—even cancerous cells.   

Beyond Detox:  Further Sauna Benefits

Anti-Aging and Skin Rejuvenation:  I am developing disdain for the word “anti-aging”…it is tossed around in the skin lotion, makeup and supplement industry like a ‘turn back your years pill’ is something you can grab off a shelf.  We all are aging!  Things like reducing sugar, eating large amounts of veggies (preferably 1/3 raw), hydrating, moving, sleeping and exercising..when performed well over the long haul…with consistency…usually helps us to weather our age much better. Hopefully, we won’t have to mask it so much later in life if we consistently practice wellness initiatives.  But, studies do show that far infrared saunas increase circulation, largely through capillary action, which promotes revitalized, cleaner skin with reduced pores and stimulated collagen.  Many users brag about their ‘glow’ after a session.  Basically, the movement of moisture through the skin from the deep sweating flushes bacteria from the epidermal layers of the skin and sweat ducts.  Furthermore, this movement of fluid to the skin delivers more nutrient and mineral-rich fluids and also helps to fill spaces around the cells, increasing firmness and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

Weight Loss:  A single 30 minute session can burn 200-600 calories while you relax!  Core body temp will elevate.  As the body is trying to cool itself, there is a increase in heart and metabolic rate, which furthers calorie burn.  Research also shows increased insulin sensitivity, lowered insulin and a significant reduction in blood glucose levels post sauna sessions. Don’t pay attention to the scale right after, as that will largely be water weight.  Make sure to hydrate before, during and after your session!  As long as you hydrate and don’t engage in compensatory eating as a result of this higher thermal caloric burn post sauna, enjoy the assist!  

Immune Boost: Feel like you are getting sick?  Infrared heat will stimulate circulation, rev up the production of white blood cells (read study here in the Journal of Human Kinetics) and rally your immune system’s response to invaders.  Think of what your body is doing when you have a fever:  raising your core body temperature slightly to make your body a much less hospitable environment for germs to grow – and to fight off these foreign invaders (many germs and viruses are not tolerant to heat).  Even if you’re not on the verge of coming down with something, the increased circulation that comes with regular sauna use is a great way to keep the immune system strong.  It opens up your sinuses and allows drainage.  Further studies have found that sauna and exercise together results in even a greater immune system response…go figure!

Stress Reduction & Stress Resilience:  Yes, sweating is relaxing for the mind and body, especially if you do as I do and ‘upgrade’ your sauna sessions with meditation and/or deep breathing.  Stress builds up tension in the body, manifesting as various aches and pains, which the gentle heat serves to dissipate.  That one was easy, but what about  stress resilience?  This benefit is a bit counter intuitive.  By stepwise increasing the heat stress to your body with sauna Far IR heat, what Dr. Rhonda Patrick refers to as ‘Hyperthermic Conditioning’, your body begins to tolerate and build resilience to this heat stress by acting HSP’s, or Heat Shock Proteins.  That’s right, your body literally becomes more efficient at staying cooler under heat.  When the sauna heat stresses the body to the point it wants to protect us from protein breakdown and muscle loss, it triggers the production of heat shock proteins (HSPs).  These HSP’s are used by your cells to counteract potentially harmful stimuli, including environmental stress from pollutants, toxins, heat, cold, exercise stress and more.  Like it or not, we humans were built under adversity and hardship to become stronger…and why author Nassim Taleb recommends environmental stressors to make us “AntiFragile”.  Here is how it works:  Whenever a cell is exposed to an unfriendly environment, your DNA “separates” in specific regions and begins to read the genetic code to produce new stress proteins, including these HSPs. What this means is that exposure to sauna heat can induce a hormetic response (a protective stress response), which promotes the production of HSPs that are crucial to stress resistance, prevention of free radical damage, support of cellular antioxidant capacity and repair of damaged proteins. Learn more about how saunas affect HSP’s, Muscle Hypertrophy, growth of new brain cells and more ultra geeky sauna stuff here with Dr. Rhonda Patrick: 

Recovery, Muscle Build, and HGH:  Infrared heat can benefit sore and damaged muscles by penetrating the muscle with heat, which increases circulation, reduces lactic acids and allows the tight muscles to relax and repair.  This rise in circulation is also good for those suffering from arthritis and pains.  The good news for Flex 151 clients is that high intensity exercise is a big driver of human growth hormone (as is intermittent fasting, which I do several days per week).  What most people don’t know is that regular sauna use is well documented to increase human growth hormone (HGH) as well, which is in decline as we age and prevents muscle loss through above HSP’s.  Basically, we need to retain our HGH to avoid muscle loss, promote muscle growth and defend against accelerated ageing.        

Better sleep:  A sauna experience will release those ‘feel good’ endorphins.  As endorphins are released into your body, they create a soothing, nearly tranquilizing effect that can not only help to minimize chronic pain caused by arthritis and other muscle soreness but also stimulate deeper sleep.

Improved Cardiovascular Functioning:  Heating the muscles with infrared rays produces an increase in core body temperature, which causes the blood vessels near your skin to dilate, thereby increasing blood flow similar to that seen during exercise (up to twice the normal rate).  This makes the heart pump faster, lowers blood pressure and helps circulation as the body is trying to regulate your body temperature.   

What to Expect in your First Sauna Experience

Saunas are safe for most people providing one follows a few simple rules.  Make sure to check with your doctor first before diving into a sauna, especially if you have multiple sclerosis, hyperthyroidism, hypertension or serious heart conditions. Your session will be no longer than 30 minutes; however, most people will only want to tolerate 10-15 minutes until they work up to 30 minutes. 

  • Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after the sauna. 
  • Most people prefer sitting on our towels in their favorite bathing suit bottoms while listening to music, a podcast or simple ‘zoning out’ or meditating.  Your call, but infrared rays are lessened through clothing. 
  • How often, how long and when?  Sauna benefits are best noticed with consistent use.  I aim for 1-2x per week, but Ethan has experienced some amazing results with daily use!  Just remember that sauna use should be like your clean eating and exercise goals…consistency is best, whatever your frequency.  Best time of the day would be upon arising and at bedtime if time permits. Evening is probably best if you use it once a day. If ill, however, the morning is better when energy levels are higher. Less often is also acceptable if beginning or to maintain your health. If you are very debilitated, begin with once a week. Work up to more frequency as you are ready, but listen to your body!  You will know if you crave more sessions or are weak from too many. 
  • Most people should start off around 10 minutes or less and gradually build up.  You will know when you are done; your heart rate will be elevated like you have been doing aerobics and you will be ready to stop.  Listen to your body.  That is plenty of time.  Your acclimation will improve, resulting in longer times soon enough.  Just like Flex 151, more is not better at this point.  
  • Drink at least two glasses of water before entering the sauna, preferably mineralized.  Add juice or minerals (we sell high quality ionic minerals at Livewell) to your water if it is mineral-free. Ask me for why next time you see me, this is kind of complicated, but VERY important for proper detoxification. 
  • Use a small towel to wipe off the sweat. It is not recommended to talk or work in the sauna.  Enjoy some downtime!
  • Some days you will sweat more than others.  It is common to not sweat much the first few visits, especially if you don’t sweat much on a daily basis.  Your body is acclimating to the heat.  In a few sessions, you will be amazed at how much you sweat! The body dissipates heat more efficiently and fewer cellular toxins are there to be removed.  Congrats, you are becoming healthier! 
  • With far infrared heat, more temperature is not better.  You will be experiencing your session in 100-110 degree heat on the thermostat, but remember infrared heat is different than Finnish sauna heat and detoxification is better at a lower temp.  Don’t get confused and enjoy the relaxing experience without suffocation!    
  • After the sauna drink a glass of water. Sit or lie down for at least 10 minutes.
  • When you are home, take a shower, warm or cool but not hot.  This would be an excellent time to search out chemical free soaps, shampoos, lotions and deodorants!  Remember, your skin is your largest organ, so lowering chemical load enhances the detox you just received.  Also, skip most lotions and creams unless you know what are good versus bad ingredients. These also contain harmful chemicals.  Ask us for recommendations.
These simple steps allow your body to reap the full benefit of the sauna experience.

Hopefully, you can see only some of the incredible benefits to this very passive form of health and wellness improvement, the far infrared sauna.  Results are much better when saunas are part of an integrated program to your wellness.  Eating unprocessed foods that ‘rot’ and are as locally produced and grown as natural as possible (making sure many of these foods are veggies and raw), getting adequate sunshine, moving 10,000 steps a day, obtaining brief intermittent exercise, sleeping well and practicing stress management techniques all work hand in hand.  Don’t forget positive mindset and loving yourself…it is hard to give to others what you do not have.  Basically, think ‘process’, enjoy your journey and Livewell! 


Read more about saunas and see sources cited in article in these links:




How Flex 151 Made My Goals Easier To Achieve

By Molly Angel, Owner, CPT, CHC

I haven't always been the owner of a wellness center, a personal trainer, or a health coach.  Around 5 years ago, I was just a client of Flex 151 - looking to get back in shape after having two babies.  Before kids, I was in the gym almost every evening after work.  I would take a lot of group bootcamp-style and yoga classes, lift free weights, and run on the treadmill.  Two kids and a husband with a job that put him on the road most days of the week changed that ability to be in the gym and left me with no time to take care of myself.  

Luckily, we found out about Flex 151 and began the program.  I immediately fell in love with it because I finally had a workout that fit into my lifestyle.  I wanted to be with my kids and my husband - not in a gym.  I got my workout done in fifteen minutes, eliminating the guilt that I needed to be at the gym and away from my family.

Now, as a personal trainer at Flex 151, I enjoy taking that guilt away from my clients, also.  Busy professionals are able to come on their lunch break in their regular clothes.  They don't have to worry about sweating, mirrors in the room, or being intimidated by others watching them workout.  They can head back to work, or busy moms can head back home to their kids (I enjoy this extra time to cook healthy meals for my family!).

So, I invite you to try our free Flex 151 workout and consultation.  You can talk to one of our many great trainers about your goals and how we can fit your health goals into YOUR lifestyle.  We don't have to take time away from your work, family, or other things you enjoy.  Click here to learn more or to schedule your free consultation.  We look forward to meeting you!

Team Spotlight: Stefanie Schapker


What is your role at Livewell? Certified Personal Trainer/Product Specialist! I not only train clients, but have taken on the responsibility of ordering our products that you see on the shelves!

What drew you to want to work at Livewell originally? Livewell was a place that I was drawn to immediately! I am inspired and motivated by anything focused on health and wellness. What started out as a part time job has ended into working full time doing what I love and surrounded by people who are all on the same mission as I am!

What is your favorite part about working at Livewell? My favorite part about working at Livewell is easy....EVERY PART! The clients make my day so enjoyable because they count on us for not only a great workout, but health advice as well. The staff make working at Livewell a great work environment because everyone is so helpful and team players. Molly and Shaun make working at 
Livewell so enjoyable because it isn't everyday where you get to truly bond with your bosses. I am truly blessed that everyone I meet while at work has a huge impact on my life and brings a huge smile to my face.

What hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?  I am an avid crossfitter. I enjoy competing and being surrounded by others with that same competitive drive. While I am at home, I love to cook and bake healthy yet delicious foods! I also enjoy any activity outside! 
What’s on your bucket list? I have traveled to so many beautiful places but I would love to go to South Africa! I also would love to go to Fiji, only to stay in one of those amazing little huts on top of the crystal clear water. 

Do you have a favorite quote? I do not have a favorite quote because I find inspiration in many different quotes for many different reasons. It just depends what is going on at that moment of either my day or my life to what feeds my soul. 

People would be surprised if they knew: I worked for 10 years traveling the world as a professional singer. I started my career playing characters such as Snow White, Cinderella, Elsa, Alice in Wonderland
and Belle!

Healthy Summer Chiller Smoothie

Savor these last few hot days of summer with Molly's easy Summer Chiller recipe. This kid-friendly smoothie can also be made into a protein smoothie or artificial-free Popsicles. Enjoy!

Healthy Summer Chiller Smoothie


1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen cherries
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
scoop of ice
1 cup of water
Optional: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides


Blend all together and enjoy as a slushie! Add the Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides to add a punch of protein to it. Can pour into popsicle molds and freeze for all natural, dye-free cool summer treats!

Team Spotlight: Andrew Geiger


What is your role at Livewell? I'm a Personal Trainer and Front Desk Personnel

Why did you want to work for Livewell originally? I've worked for several type gyms in the past, and this is the first time, in a long time, that I have been part of a gym to where they REALLY care about their clients.  They take time to get to know who you are as a person (employee or client).  The first time after sitting and speaking with Shaun and Molly Angel, I knew that I wanted to be part of such a great team... I'm very lucky and honored to be part of Livewell and Flex151.

What is your favorite part about working at Livewell? The amount of of fun I have with my clients and staff...It really is a huge family at Livewell!

What hobbies and interests do you have outside of work? Hunting, Fishing, Camping, Dirt-biking, Working-out, Bonfires, and Relaxing With My Friends And Family!

Whats on your bucket list? To be honest... I don't have a "Bucket List". I have a great life (its simple.. but its mine), I love my family and friends, and I'm ok with "The Man Upstairs". Thats all I really need!

Do you have a favorite quote? "Jam Up & Jelly Tight"... I have no idea what it means. but my Grandpa said it for years, and at 98.. he still says it (always makes me laugh when he says it).. I think he may have heard one of his old war buddies say it!

People would be surprised if they knew? Well.. If I said it, people wouldn't be surprised anymore!!!


Team Spotlight: Alexandra Levine, Health Coach

I wasn't always healthy and happy.  A few years ago I was a sick, overweight smoker who was stressed and tired of feeling tired.  I knew I had to change my life, but I didn't know where to start or who could help.  After years of research and experimentation, I developed a mantra that is now my simple coaching model: we are all capable of making empowered and smart choices about we treat our bodies, minds, and souls.


Alexandra is now taking clients as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach! Her studies in Positive Psychology, Bioethics, and Women's Studies has mixed with her passion for health and wellness to make an exciting approach to coaching! Mention this post and enjoy 50% off ANY service with Alexandra. Stop by the office for a health evaluation, Zyto digital biosurvey, or a motivational session. Want to go beyond the office? She's also offering pantry makeovers, shopping trips, cooking lessons, and cleanse preparation sessions! Contact Alexandra for more information at 855-843-3539 or via email at alevine@mylivewellonline.com.

August Product & Recipe of the Month: Charolais Beef

By Molly Angel, Owner, CPT, & Certified Health Coach

10592743_714322728616246_4359326899314931176_n (1)

Our grass-fed and finished Charolais beef is raised by Dave Deisher, owner of Foxglove Acres in Southern Illinois. The cattle are happy, free range and roaming and experience ethical herd management. The meat is processed locally by a USDA facility with no preservative or additives. They are not fed grain, antibiotics, or growth hormones. They feed only on natural grasses that are free of pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers. According to eatwild.com, grass-fed beef contains 2 to 4 times more heart and brain healthy omega-3 fatty acids than meat from conventional, grain-fed meat along with many other benefits.

Give some a try today with one of my favorite chili recipes that contains an antioxidant-rich secret ingredient - cacao powder!

Molly's Favorite Beanless Chili

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons cacao powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
2 14.5 ounce cans of fire-roasted, chopped tomatoes (Muir Glen is my favorite brand!)
2 cups beef or chicken broth, or water

1. Heat a large, deep pot over medium-high heat, then add the coconut oil. When the oil is melted, add onions, stir with a wooden spoon and cook until they are translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and as soon as it’s fragrant, about 30 seconds, crumble the ground meat into the pan with your hands, mixing with the wooden spoon to combine. Continue to cook the meat, stirring often, until it’s no longer pink.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so the chili enjoys a gentle simmer. You can serve when heated through, but the longer it simmers, the more the flavors will develop! This recipe also works well in the crockpot. It freezes well, too.

3. Serve with your favorite toppings. Mine is guacamole! Olives, diced onion, or some shredded Steckler Farm cheese are some other suggestions.


by Carrie Rice, RYT, RYCT

Santosha, or contentment, means keeping