5 Summer Reads to Boost Your Health

Recommended Books for Your Wellness Journey

I divide the books I read into two categories – brainless and brain fuel. The brainless ones are purely for entertainment – action, romance, drama, fantasy, etc. In other words, I don’t have to think too much because they do all the work for me. The brain fuel ones are books that educate me and help me to expand my mind and my life. That may sound a bit heavy for summer reading, which is why I’m a strong advocate for mixing in both. If summer is your best chance to read, by all means make the most of it! Use it to entertain and educate.

To help with the brain fuel type, I wanted to share some recommendations that are very personal to me. These are the books that helped to start me on my integrated wellness journey or have been pivotal along the way. I share them with you in hopes that they’ll help to boost your health and wellness as well. Enjoy!!

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Eating with Intention

How to Let the Energy of Your Food Fuel You

Grabbing something to eat, running through the drive-thru and throwing something together. All phrases that certainly reflect our lifestyles and all too often, our approach to food. While doing any of these every now and then is fine and can even be done in a healthy way, letting these phrases describe our overall attitude toward food means that we could be missing out on some of the huge benefits of what the food we eat can really do for us.

Transformational and Energy Medicine Specialist Jean Atman works with people on aligning their energy in every facet of their lives, including through the food they eat. In this Q&A, she explains how eating with intention can change your entire relationship with food and how its energy can fuel you.

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Strength Training for Women

Why It’s Important for Even Women to Build Muscle

Many women say their ideal image of what healthy looks like includes long, lean and toned muscles. But if you ask those same women if they’d be willing to do strength training, many of them would say no, because they don’t want to get “big and bulky.” The problem is, to get long, lean and toned muscles, there has to be strength training of some kind involved because that’s how we get those types of results and ultimately, that’s a key factor in how to be the healthiest version of ourselves. That’s why I went to fitness expert, coach, writer, entrepreneur and mom Karen Smith to talk about strength training for women, why it’s important for us to build muscle and how it can involve a gym membership but doesn’t have to.

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Karen Smith, fitness expert

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Healthy Mother’s Day Gifts

10 Ideas for Keeping Mom Happy and Healthy

Mother’s Day is coming up, and if you’re looking for some new ways of saying thank you to that special lady who’s done so much for you, you’ve come to the right place. Or, if you want to drop hints for gifts that you would truly love, this is for you as well. The 10 ideas I’m featuring here are healthy Mother’s Day gifts that are appropriate for any age and will help keep Mom happy and going strong for a long time to come.

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

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Container Gardens for Healthy Living

Tips from a Pro to Help Get You Started

Growing your own food is about as intentional as it gets when it comes to connecting your mind, body and nutrition. There’s just something about planting a seed or a starter plant, caring for it, watching the vegetables, fruit or herbs emerge from what you planted, harvesting and then eating it that’s about as fulfilling as anything you can imagine. I grew up with a Dad who only knew how to garden the Texas way, which meant that we always had a HUGE garden that could feed us plus our neighbors if needed. While I can’t say I appreciated picking beans out in the hot summer sun as much as I probably should have, as an adult, I’ve certainly gotten back to my roots and truly understand the value of what he was doing for us and teaching us to do for ourselves – even in my little slice of suburbia as compared to the farm I grew up on.

While my entire property isn’t as large as my dad’s garden was, I have learned that it is possible to grow food in whatever space you have – whether it’s a backyard, a patio, a deck or a screened-in porch. That’s where container gardens come in. They make it so that growing our own food – at least to some extent – is something we can all do no matter our income or space limitations. Because Bountiful Backyards specializes in edible landscaping, I went to Operations Manager Keith Shaljian to find out how we can fuel our health with container gardens and to get some tips on how to get started.

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Courtesy: Bountiful Backyards

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Spring Cleaning for Your Health

8 Tips and Tricks to Make Spring Cleaning Easier

It’s Spring! And that means it’s time to breathe some freshness into our homes and our lives by getting the winter out and letting the spring in. This is important for the cleanliness of our homes as well as for our physical health and mental wellbeing. But for many of us, spring cleaning is one of our least favorite tasks to do. That’s why professional organizer Jenna Fischer with The Arranged Abode is offering some tips and tricks to make spring cleaning easier and more enjoyable. Yes, you read that right – enjoyable.

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Understanding the Dangers of Belly Fat

4 Keys to Taking Control of Your Waistline and Your Health

As women, we often tell ourselves and have often been told that belly fat is just part of what happens to us as we start to get older. Another thing we hear is that it’s a superficial issue, and we should learn to accept ourselves the way we are – that only teenagers don’t have a little flab around the middle. While fitness instructor, nutritional expert, mind-body serenity coach and author Adita Lang says that she’s all for women loving and accepting themselves, it’s false to think that belly fat has to be an inevitable and relatively harmless fact of aging. In fact, Adita is 52, and she doesn’t have extra weight around her middle.

Yes, she is a fitness and nutrition expert, but it just goes to show, it’s not something that has to happen or even should happen. It also goes to show why we want to take our advice from someone like Adita, who not only knows and teaches about health and wellness, but who also truly lives it as well. That’s why I went to her to better understand the dangers of belly fat and to find out how we can all take control of our waistlines and our health.

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Breaking Your Caffeine Addiction

8 Steps to Recovery From a Former Addict

A pot of coffee a day and two sodas. That was my daily caffeine fix for most of my early adult life. Sometimes I could even be found with a cup of joe in one hand and a diet coke in the other. That’s 1,040 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day or much more than twice what’s considered to be a safe amount. When I was in my late 30s, I cut back to two cups of coffee in the morning and a soda to get me through the rest of the day. But after more than three decades of drinking more caffeine than should ever be consumed (yes, I started with a regular soda habit when I was very young), the damage had already been done. I was wired!!! I couldn’t function without the stuff, there was no doubt that I was addicted, I was definitely feeling the health effects of it, and it was time to get caffeine out of my life.

I made my decision one day and stopped cold turkey with coffee and soda the next. It was surprisingly much easier than I thought it would be, and while I can’t say I went into it with a plan, the way I did it definitely worked and apparently included several recommendations from medical experts – although I didn’t know it at the time. That’s why I want to share what I’ve learned about caffeine addiction as well as the steps I took to free myself in hopes that it might help make the journey for others as relatively painless as mine was.

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Natural Ways to Care for Your Lips So They’ll Care for You

Tips on which ingredients to use and which to avoid

Our lips – one of the most important areas of our skin but among the most neglected or taken for granted – until something goes wrong. Then, they become everything. I should know. In recent months, my lips have consumed much of my attention. They became dry, crusty and seemingly insensitive. I was miserable and was afraid that I had somehow ruined my lips forever. If you had told me there was a crazy expensive magic pill that could give me my lips back, I would have paid it in a heartbeat. No questions asked.

I thought I was trying everything, but as it turns out, I was trying all the wrong things and most of them dried my lips even more. I was desperate! I finally found a natural solution that helped get me through the worst of it, but I also knew that I needed to change my approach to my lips. I think most of us do. Fortunately, Naturopathic Doctor Jennifer Ito is helping to answer our questions by offering natural ways to care for our lips so they’ll care for us. She also shares tips on which ingredients to use and which to avoid.

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A Realistic Guide to Staying Healthy During the Holidays

How To Fit Good Nutrition and Exercise Into a Busy Holiday Schedule

As wonderful and exciting as the holidays are, let’s face it, they can also be busy and demanding. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does put even more constraints on our already packed schedules. Navigating them and all of the extra decadent food that’s sitting around without losing sight of our health and wellness can be tricky at best and overwhelming at worst. It’s tempting to say that we’re going to put all thoughts of exercise and eating healthy on the back burner until after the first of the year, but that’s really not doing us any favors and may actually take away from our enjoyment of the season.

Caring for ourselves while doing everything else that needs to be done and that we want to do is a fine line to walk. That’s why I asked American Council on Exercise (ACE) Director of Product Development and personal trainer Lauren Shroyer, MS, ATC,  for some advice that can help all of us. In this Q&A, she offers a realistic guide to staying healthy during the holidays as well as tips for fitting good nutrition and exercise into a busy holiday schedule. She even offers a sample workout that can be done quickly and with no equipment.

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