Strong Process Forum - Recap and Reflections
Last weekend, I had the absolute pleasure of attending the first annual Strong Process forum in Boston. I wanted to recap the event for you all, because something tells me that they are going to continue in the upcoming months. Spoiler alert - this wellness-based event was so unique and absolutely amazing. You will definitely find me at whatever event comes next! All photos in this post were taken by the talented Hannah Cochran.
Yoga and breakfast: What better way to start a wellness-focused day than a wake-you-up yoga session, with the founder of Bare Bones yoga, Karen Fabian. I really appreciated the opportunity to center myself and get my heart pumping (in a good way!) before the day of panels ahead. After an awesome savasana, we wrapped up yoga and made our way into the room next door, where a delicious breakfast of chia seed pudding and a gluten-free/dairy free muffin was provided. Both were SO good and I also appreciated that they were conscious of such a variety of dietary needs.
Sponsors: The sponsors for the day included Inside Tracker, Itz Spritz, She Geeks Out, Dig Inn, Tru Provisions, Lose It, 88 acres, Health Ade, Morning Glory Farms, Lifeway Kefir, Klean Athlete, True North Business Management, R.e.d.d, Under Armour, Pixi, IQ Bar, Revere, GoMacro Bar, Fawen, Equinox, SLT, Just Us Gals Boston, Splitfit, Fre, Waku. WOW, what a list, right? Especially for the inaugural year of this event!
With full bellies, we got started with the MOVE panel. This panel was moderated by Bojan Mandaric, co-founder of November Project. The panel featured the following group of amazing Boston individuals:
- Rachel Millstein, PhD, MHS, clinical health psychologist at the MGH Cardiac Psychiatry Research Program
- Brandon Yates, MS, Senior Clinical Research Coordinator for Harvard Medical School’s Football Players Health Study
- Ame Wren, MA, founder and director of the Boston Yoga School
This panel focused on the research behind how certain levels of exercise can dramatically improve lives. Rachel and Brandon tackled the subject from a research and science-based perspective, while Ame provided a spiritual perspective on her yoga practice that deeply resonated with me. I loved that in between sessions, Bojan (in true November Project spirit!) encouraged the Forum attendees to hug, high five, and just interact. My takeaways were that exercise is (really) important and especially as we continue to get older, and also to not confine ourselves spiritually. Things like yoga, gardening, and running can become a spiritual practice in the modern age to disconnect from the constant stream of technology and reconnect with ourselves.
We then jumped right into the EAT panel, which was my favorite of the day (although it is very hard to choose!). Julie Starr, who is a nutrition expert and owner of Starr Yoga, moderated this panel which featured:
- Michelle Miller, aka “The Farm Babe”
- Jenny Splitter, science, food, and health writer
- Rachel Pojednic, PHD, MED, and the found of Strong Process Forum (yay!)
I really enjoyed how scientific this panel was. We learned about the importance (or, as the panelists argued) non-importance of buying organic vs. non-organic fruits, veggies, and meat. I think that in the wellness world, it's really easy to get bogged down and honestly a little scared and the next thing you know you're buying everything organic and the vast majority of your paycheck is going toward Whole Foods. I appreciated the honesty, and in the wise words of Rachel Pojednic, where we will see the most nutritional and wellness impact is by "Eating the banana and not the Twinky." Touché!
Lunch: After the EAT panel, I definitely was getting hungry. Lunch was provided by Dig Inn and someone please tell me why I haven't eaten here before! I loved the options to mix together into my bowl, and I also really appreciated that it wasn't a salad. I combined sweet potato, rice, a meatball (lol), and some veggies in a bowl and thoroughly enjoyed it.
REST Panel: After lunch, we moved right into the third and final panel of the day. Melinda Davala Sarkis, one of Boston’s renowned fitness celebrities, moderated this panel which was made up of:
- Dr. TJ Hagan, chiropractic consultant to the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, and Harvard University Sports Medicine
- Christine Spadola, PhD, research fellow with Harvard Medical School/Brigham & Women’s Hospital
- Hassan Dashti, PhD, RD at the Center for Genomic Medicine’s sleep & circadian lab
We learned about the true importance of rest and recovery, including SLEEP! I think that in the wellness world, where oftentimes many women I know treat their passion as a "side-hustle," rest can take a back seat to connecting on social media, blogging, and networking. This panel provided critical insight that getting enough sleep is the key to being our best selves.
After we finished learning for the day, it was time for cocktails/mocktails, and a little mingling!
Cocktails & Mocktails: These were provided by Itz Spritz and Health-Ade and were amazing! I had the opportunity to mingle a little bit more before taking off for the evening and wrapping up my Sunday with a little rest and relaxation.
Overall, I can't stress enough how much I enjoyed this day. Let's be honest - I wouldn't give up my Sunday for just anything, and Strong Process delivered. I'd highly recommend for anyone who is in the greater Boston area to check it out next time they come around!