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Friday, December 19, 2014

Gifts for the Fitness Lover

I was provided products to review. No other compensation was given. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

You will probably find it hard to find a bigger fitness lover than me. Not only have I made it my career, but even when I am away from the gym, I love working out at home and everywhere else I can. I love everything about working up a good sweat and feeling those awesome endorphins as my body gets stronger and healthier.

If you know someone who is very passionate about fitness or is just starting their own fitness journey, I have two great gift ideas that will make you their new best friend!

GROOV3 is an awesome dance DVD that is perfect for the fitness beginner who doesn’t want to feel like they are exercising or for the fitness enthusiast who wants to incorporate more fun ways to stay fit. 

With GROOV3, you will get a 45 minute dance workout PLUS bonus choreography. If you want a shorter workout, you can break the routine up into sections. The creator, Benjamin Allen, has a fun, energetic personality that will keep you smiling the whole workout long. There is a great laid-back, positive vibe to the whole DVD that you will love! Plus, the original music is fantastic, and I caught myself singing it even after the workout was over.

If you are familiar with my Tabata workouts, you know how much I love HIIT - high intensity interval training. When I received the BurstFit Fire program, I could hardly wait to lace up my shoes and get started!

Dr. Josh Axe and his wife, Dr. Chelsea Axe have created this awesome program, which uses HIIT to sculpt, tone and shred body fat quickly, safely, and effectively. With three DVDs that contain 7 workouts plus a warm up and cooldown, they provide workouts that are only 20 minutes long, get your body burning fat very effectively, and keep you from getting bored.

I love that each workout gives you three different levels, so you can push yourself as you get stronger! At 40 weeks pregnant, I am now doing the easier version, but when my baby is born, you can bet I will be pushing myself with the hardest version! I cannot wait!

You will not have to worry about complicated moves or owning a bunch of equipment. In fact, you can actually do the workouts with no equipment at all, if you choose. Of course, if you are like me and you want to really get your muscles burning, you can add hand weights to get really sweaty fast! I also love that each move is timed out, so you can see how much longer you have until the next move and even until the end of the workout.

I think this program is a must-have for all the fitness lovers on your Christmas list this year! If you are a fitness lover yourself, you might want to get an extra copy for yourself!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Gifts for the Gardener

I was provided products to review. No other compensation was given. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

We love gardening in our family! I think that if we would all have a garden of some sort, even a little potted garden, we would all be that much healthier...and happier. Growing your own food has so many benefits, so if you are not already a gardener, maybe these awesome gifts will inspire you!

Most gardeners have a trowel or a hand spade to move potting soil and compost from the bag to a planting container. Unfortunately, those tools are too small to efficiently get the job done and the soil spills everywhere. Now there’s a tool specifically designed for scooping—the stainless steel potting scoop from Joseph Bentley Tools.

Made of polished stainless steel and contoured oak, this useful tool is beautiful and well-made. The scoop is 6 inches long and 4⅓ inches wide, and it’s deep, with high sloped sides that capture the soil and keep it from spilling over. This added size holds a lot of soil that stays secure until you’re ready to pour it into your container or garden plot. The steel scoop is polished to prevent the soil from adhering to the sides, and it is attached to a handle of FSC certified, responsibly harvested oak. The entire tool measures 15¾ inches long, making it the perfect size for filling window boxes, hanging baskets and large containers. The convenient leather strap makes it easy to slip the scoop onto a tool belt or hang it on the potting bench.

What I love most about this scoop is how sturdy and well-made it is. This is truly a helpful tool!
Find it for $15.99 in fine gardening stores and online at and

Sometimes you need a digging tool that’s longer than a hand tool but shorter than a long-handled tool. That’s when the Joseph Bentley Stainless Steel Midi 3-Prong Cultivator really comes in handy. Designed as a combination rake and fork, this tool digs, aerates, weeds and combs the soil. Whether you are cleaning up the vegetable patch in autumn or transplanting seedlings in spring, this tool does it all.

Constructed of stainless steel and sustainably harvested oak, this durable tools measures 24½ inches long, with an 18-inch contoured handle that feels comfortable in your hand and results in less fatigue during a long day of gardening. The curved, pointed prongs are 3 inches long after the bend, so they can dig to a depth of several inches in the soil. These sharp points are great for piercing stubborn soil and cutting furrows for sowing, while the shape of the blades enables them to snag and lift weeds, tangled roots, and other debris from the soil. The 18-inch handle lets you work the soil in a big sweep in all directions.

Another very sturdy, well-made tool! Since we till our garden by hand, this is a great tool for getting our soil ready for planting or weeding big chunks of empty space. In the past, we have had shovels and other garden tools break while we use them, but I do not see that happening with this cultivator. This tool sells for $18.99 in fine gardening stores and online at and

Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday Gluten Free Entertaining Tips

I received products to review. No other compensation was given. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

As you know, we are gluten-free eaters in our household. This certainly does not mean we eat tasteless, boring food. Our meals are delicious, and let me share with you one of my secrets. I love using lots of spices and sauces full of flavor. San-J, known for their premium gluten-free Tamari soy sauce and Asian inspired cooking sauces, is one of my favorite brands to go to when I am in need of a great sauce. They have a ton of gluten-free products to choose from to make your holiday cooking that much more delicious!

Enjoy these great tips for how to make gluten-free cooking easy and tasty this year!

Holiday Gluten Free Entertaining Tips
(Thanks to Carol Kicinski at San-J for these great tips!) 

  1. If you are hosting a party and will have people attending who are gluten free, don’t try to master the art of gluten free cooking and baking overnight. Plan your menu around easily found, naturally gluten free ingredients such as fresh poultry, cheese, vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
  2. Prepared gluten free sauces and salad dressings such as San-J’s cooking sauces and dressings are a huge time saver and take the worry out of preparing gluten free recipes that are packed with flavor and safe to eat. It also saves you from having to buy a lot of separate gluten free ingredients.
  3.  It is much simpler to create a whole holiday meal that is gluten free than to try to prepare two separate dinners. It is also safer as you don’t risk contaminating your gluten free dishes with gluten.
  4.  Serve dishes that can be made ahead and can simply be re-heated just prior to serving or can be served at room temperature – it’s less stressful and allows you time to enjoy your guests.
  5.  If you are serving food containing gluten and gluten free food at your party, try to keep them separated – place them at opposite ends of a buffet table.
  6.  On a buffet table, make labels that state which dishes are gluten free and place them by each dish.
  7.  Make sure you have plenty of serving utensils so that the same utensils are not used for foods that have gluten and gluten free food.
  8.  Cornish game hens are a beautiful alternative to preparing turkey for your holiday meal, they cook in much less time, require less watching during cooking, and everyone gets their own drumstick!
Happy Cooking!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Fun: Our Christmas Letter To You

Living healthy natural lives is not always the easiest thing, which is why I started my blog - to inspire and help others live their best life healthfully and naturally. Friday Fun is my way of sharing a bit of my life with you, and this post I am going to share a little of what has been going on in our lives this year. Merry Christmas!

In our lives this year...
Our biggest event was finding out we were going to have our fourth child! Woohoo! That was quickly followed by a lot of nausea, migraines and overall fatigue. Now, we are in the last week or so of this pregnancy and hoping to see our new baby soon! No, we do not know the gender, so that will be a great surprise as well.

Our next biggest event was that Adam became a published author!! His book, I Was There When The Giant Fell came out the first day of November, and it was a huge accomplishment for him. After three years, his first book is done and hopefully making a difference in many lives. You can find out more about it at his website:

In other news, Malachi is excelling in first grade. Going to school has been a real blessing for him, and as always his hunger for learning amazes me! I think he knows more about many topics than I do! Kailana and Brynn enjoy having girls days with me almost every day. Kailana just turned 4 yesterday, and she is my biggest helper! Brynn is funny and crazy and loves playing with her big sister.

I am working almost every day as a personal trainer and fitness instructor at the Maplewood Community Center, as well as writing for you all on this blog and helping others stay healthy through Shaklee.

We were inspired by...
all the amazing blessings we receive every day from God! We have been really trying to focus on being thankful every day. Still a work in progress...

Our favorite thing this year was...
Well, I am betting our favorite thing this year is going to be seeing our new baby for the first time and finding out if it is a boy or girl.

What's working/not working for us...
Working -We are blessed beyond what we deserve - that is for sure! Both Adam and I have jobs that we love and that take care of our growing family. Malachi is doing really well in school, which calms my missing-him heart. Kailana and Brynn love learning at home with Mommy and going to Story Hour every week. Also, I do not know what I would do without my slow cooker. Since I work in the evenings, I use it all the time to make healthy meals for our family.

Not working - I would like for us to be able to have more family meals where everyone is present. Right now, there are several days a week where Adam or I is working, and we miss dinner with the family.  We would like to spend more time as a family just playing together and relaxing, but it seems we are often busy or on the go doing something.

Questions/thoughts We have...
What gender will our baby be? What goals will we accomplish in the New Year? What exciting things await our family?

We're reading...
Adam has been having his morning devotions, but in the last couple weeks he has also started reading a little for fun. I am reading lots of Christian fiction books. I am also reading Created To Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl, Encouragement for Today by Proverbs 31 team, and still reading through one chapter of the Bible a day, now I am in Acts. As a family, we are reading through Jesus Storybook Bible for our Bible time every night. Malachi loves reading! He reads about a chapter book a day, I think. Right now, he loves Magic Tree House books, and has read some of the books many times over!

I'm cooking...
We are still eating gluten-free and mostly Paleo. It has worked great for our family. We eat LOTS of vegetables, and also plenty of eggs, meat, fish, and fruit and healthy fats. This year, we also added in high fat butter oil, fermented cod liver oil, coconut oil, and skate liver oil into our daily supplement routine. Sounds yucky, but it is a great way to keep strong healthy teeth, brain health, skin health and so much more! For some of my favorite recipes from this year, make sure to check out my recipes.

We are grateful for...
warm heat during this cold winter, two cars that are currently running well, another year of great health (no doctor visits or any serious sickness!), living near family that loves us and making great memories, a successful backyard garden, the support of so many family and friends as Adam published his book, a midwife we love, our Savior and his love and forgiveness, and hopefully soon a healthy baby!

Merry Christmas!!!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share... 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gluten Free Stocking Stuffers

I was given products to review. No other compensation was given. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

I love leaving my kids a little treat in their stockings around Christmas time. Since they do not often eat sweets, it is something they look forward to! Since we are gluten-free in our family, this year I thought a great treat would be delicious Gluten-Free Bars. For gluten-free friends and family, delicious food and snacks that agree with their diets can be the perfect stocking stuffer!

Of course, these bars are mommy-approved, not only because they are delicious, but because they are made of wholesome ingredients. From toasted cashews and Virginia peanuts to certified gluten-free oats, crisped brown rice, and dried cranberries, the bar’s wholesome ingredients and creative flavors are treats for the taste buds!

They come in 6 delicious flavors, which were created by a pastry chef: cranberry toasted almond, chocolate peanut butter, peanut butter, coconut cashew crunch, dark chocolate coconut, and oatmeal raisin.

They are made in-house at the company’s dedicated gluten-free facility. You can be assured they contain no fillers or additives, and the bars are made with all-natural and GMO-free ingredients, 70% of which are certified organic. They also provide a good source of fiber and a complete source of protein. 

You can see these are the perfect treat, because they treat your body good and they taste like something indulgent!  

Stay up to date with Gluten Free Bar on Facebook. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Healthier Holiday Drinks

 I was provided with products to review. No other compensation was given. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.
 With all the extra calories being consumed around the holidays, how about a few drink ideas that will slash some of those calories and give you a health boost? Two-for-one goodness!
First up, let me address all those cocktails you will find at holiday parties or at your own home. Instead of calorie and junk laden drinks, try this Red-Nosed Reindeer Cocktail instead! 
Make merry with this delicious pomegranate mojito without putting on the calories! Super easy and yummy!
Red-Nosed Reindeer Cocktail
·     2 parts LO Pomegranate Mojito Juice
·     1 part vodka 
·     Splash crème de menthe
·     Shake all with ice and strain into a glass

The key here is the LO Fruit Beverage. One ten ounce serving of LO Fruit Beverage contains the same amount of calories (35 – 45), carbs (8 – 11 grams), and sugars (7 – 10 grams) as found in one whole fruit. Additionally, LO Fruit Beverage is a certified low GI (glycemic index) product, as clinically test by Glycemic Index Laboratories, kosher, vegan, and gluten free. Look for it in your in the Chilled Juice Aisle at your local grocery stores, Walgreens, Meijer, A&P, H-E-B, and Rite Aid. 
How many of you are fans of Egg Nog or other sweet drinks with those yummy holiday flavors? If you want a healthier option, I really  recommend substituting  Lifeway Foods for those traditional drinks. You will be cutting out a lot of junk and adding in a lot of good. They have a delicious line of holiday kefir, rich in flavors of Cranberry, Pumpkin Pie, and Egg Nog that are filled with probiotics and contain only 150 calories and 2 grams of fat per serving.
These are very delicious, and a perfect way to help your body stay healthier this holiday season. Learn more about the benefits of kefir, and enjoy your drink while you get a ton of benefits at the same time!

Another great idea for keeping your body energized for all those upcoming parties and healthy through this flu season is adding green drinks to your daily routine. I drink one every afternoon, and they sure do my body good!

My new favorite superfood powder is made with two dark-green leafy vegetable superheroes that detoxify, alkalize and energize. Green Duo provides just the right balance of the right kind of food that people of all ages need for healthy, happy, active and vibrant lives. Just one rounded teaspoonful of PINES’ Green Duo powder, dissolved in water or juice or blended into a smoothie or yogurt, provides the same amount of nutrition as a serving of deep-green, leafy vegetables. And, since 9 out of 10 of us are not getting enough veggies per day, the Green Duo Superheroes of Nutrition are ready to save the day!

How about this delicious recipe for powering through your afternoons?
As you can see, these really appeal to all ages. My kids love to drink this mixed with water and a little juice or in a delicious shake like the recipe above. Make healthiness a family affair with the Green Duo!

So, which drink is more your style? Are you more of a cocktail, creamy drink or green drink type of person? No matter what you are craving, I hope you enjoy these recipes and drinks!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Benefits of Moringa Powder

I received product to review. No other compensation was given. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Have you heard of Moringa powder? If not, you do not know what you are missing! This stuff is fantastic!

Moringa contains more vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, amino-acids and proteins than any other plant! How is that for credentials?

Moringa comes from the Moringa tree, which is also called the “Miracle tree”. It’s one of the most nutrient dense plants on our planet and has caught the attention of scientists around the world. The tree’s use as a remedy for many health issues and as a great source of energy can be traced back centuries. Check out some of the impressive facts about Moringa:
  • 90 different types of Nutrients
  • 46 Antioxidants
  • 36 Anti-Inflammatory agents
  • 18 Amino Acids and 9 Essential Amino Acids
  • One serving of Moringa provides 125 percent of the recommended daily intake of calcium and 61 percent of the recommended daily intake of magnesium.
  • It nourishes and strengthens your immune system
  • It supports healthy glucose levels 
  • It has natural anti-aging benefits 
  • It promotes healthy digestion 
  • It boosts energy
  • It provides anti-inflammatory agents 
  • It promotes healthier and smoother skin
  • It provides relief from acne 
So, where do you get Moringa and what do you do with it? 

I personally recommend buying it from Green Virgin Products. I have long been a fan of their products, and their Moringa powder is very different than most.

Their Moringa Ultimate Micro-Fine Powder is what I have been using, and I have been very pleased with it. It comes in a little package, and you can just scoop out about 1 teaspoon to add to your water, juice, or smoothie.

The thing that makes their powder the best is that Green Virgin Products is the only US company that packs Moringa is oxidation free packaging, to give you the full nutritional value in each scoop. Plus, with this super fine powder, you do not get a lot of clumping in your drink. It mixes in quite smoothly.

Adding Moringa powder to your daily routine is such an easy way to get the energy and nutrition your body needs! Enjoy!