The Medicine Cabinet Series was created to give you a unique look at the everyday lives and wellness routines of a diverse group of women from around the country. Dive in for a candid approach to wellness unlike any other.
Jackie Strand is a LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) working in the heart of New York City as a psychotherapist. Originally, she grew up just outside the city in Westchester County, and spent the majority of her twenties in Los Angeles.
BINTO: What's the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
The absolute first thing I do is a quick stretch to wake up my body. It takes only a couple minutes of movement, but can really shift my mood. Some people meditate, and this is my moving meditation. I feel more grounded and in touch with myself afterwards, and I’m able to carry this feeling throughout the course of my day.
This is always followed by my morning routine: contacts on (I’m basically blind without them), teeth brushed, and a vitamin C serum that I gently massage onto my face. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that my face tends to be pretty puffy in the morning, so I’m trying to learn techniques to help sculpt and release tension and fluid like gua sha. I always have a huge glass of room temperature water! Hydration is a must all day long!
BINTO: Tell us about your eating habits.
I’ve been a pescatarian for 4 years now, and my body really loves it. When I lived in California, I fell in love with vegan cuisine and farm-to-table eating. I can't live without avocados, seeds of all kinds (pumpkin, flax, chia), and berries!
I try to eat a lot of whole foods: lots of greens, vegetables and fruits, and minimize my processed food intake when I can. But I’ve also learned never to deprive myself. If it’s REAL food, I enjoy every bite and every craving, and never feel guilty.
I’m not perfect and am still working on eating a balanced diet without overdoing it. For example, I have a huge sweet tooth, and last night I ate an entire pint of Van Leeuwen’s mint chocolate chip vegan ice cream… well my husband helped me a little!
BINTO: What workouts do you enjoy? Which do you not enjoy?
I’ve always been an active person, participating in dance and team sports throughout my childhood. However, once I went to college, exercise seemed more like a chore instead of something I enjoyed doing. All that changed when I moved to Los Angeles and fell in love with yoga! I started going because it felt like my own personal dance class, and I haven’t stopped since.
While I love mixing it up with Pilates, HIIT, and strength training, yoga continues to be my home base. I’ve really come to enjoy working out regularly and have learned to love some activities that I never used to enjoy. (Here's a simple yoga routine for stress relief from Nurse Suzie.)
For example, as a kid I hated to run! In the last few years, I’ve really learned to embrace the challenge of running and now it is something I love to do! I’ve run three half marathons in three years, and if you would have told 14 year old Jackie that, she would never have believed it!
BINTO: What was the defining moment when you realized you could take your health into your own hands?
I think as children we tend to take our health for granted. Health issues seem like "adult problems" that you’ll never have to experience. But what we don’t always realize as kids, is that healthy habits are the key to a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to do things that will make you feel good, and checking in on what your body is saying and feeling is important.
I used to have terrible acid reflux as a child, but I didn’t think much of it because it was my normal. It was only once I started to eat a little differently did I notice my body reacting differently. Limiting processed foods and especially dairy has done wonders on how my body feels. Taking the time to check in with yourself and how you feel is so important! What may work for one person may not work for another, and that’s okay.
BINTO: How has your wellness routine evolved over the years?
I used to think that living a healthy lifestyle meant that I had to be perfect. I thought I had to always eat clean and do a hard workout every single day. This mindset is of course, not healthy at all. Life is about enjoying the moment, and finding harmony and balance.
Also, taking care of ourselves, checking in on our mental health, and the use of alternative medicines are becoming more accessible and normal — and I’m ALL ABOUT IT! Try things out, and see what works for you, but remember there is no one size fits all! If you don’t like yoga, don’t do yoga; if everyone is celery juicing and you can’t stand the taste, that’s okay too! Find the stuff that you love and work it!
BINTO: Do you use Binto? If so, what kind of changes have you experienced as a result?
I’ve always been super picky when it comes to which vitamins and supplements I use. I just started using Binto, and I feel confident about the product because it’s customized to what MY body needs. There is no one-size-fits-all method, so a business run by women who understand this is amazing!
BINTO: What other product can’t you live without?
Sunscreen! Sunscreen! Sunscreen! I want my skin to stay healthy, so zinc oxide sunscreen is the one product I use every single day!
BINTO: What is your biggest challenge in terms of health or wellness right now?
My biggest challenge is to continue to create the time to check in with myself. I’ve learned so much about my body over the last several years, but I can’t stop there. We’re constantly evolving and growing as people, so I can’t assume that something that has worked for me in the past, will continue to work for me in the future. As our lives become fuller, and day to day life gets busier and busier, it’s easy to overlook ourselves and stick to what we’re used to doing. I know that creating time for myself is important. I need to sit with myself, and really ask “how is my body and mind feeling today?” By consistently doing this, we create more space for healthy changes.
BINTO: How do YOU define wellness?
Wellness is about understanding yourself, creating time for yourself, and doing whatever makes you feel good. It’s not only about your physical health but your mental health as well. As a psychotherapist I work with a lot of people struggling with anxiety and depression. It’s important to know you’re not alone, so please don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it's reaching out to your support system or a professional counselor, make sure to check in with yourself about how you’re feeling.