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I have completely fallen off the blogging bandwagon since January. Let me tell you, I’ve thought about you and this blog many times, but transitioning out of the military, being a mom, and finding work (and working my Jamberry Nails business) have really consumed my every waking moment. Regardless, I am extremely thrilled to be back at Hillsdale College. This little community has really welcomed hubby and I back with open arms. Indeed, I’m tutoring Greek with the Classics Department and I’m offering a few classes both on campus and in the local area.

 

If you live in Hillsdale, Jonesville, Allen, Litchfield, Moscow, Quincy, and Coldwater, Michigan, areas, please check out my Pilates and yoga classes at the Goodlife Yoga Center (the new term has begun, so don’t miss out on lengthening, strengthening, and de-stressing!) and Hillsdale College (contact the school for details). I’d love to see you!

 

I am working on ideas to revamp my blog, as I feel it’s time to switch things up, and would love input. What would you like to see? Share your thoughts and opinions!!!!

May 2016 Bring You Joy!

January 6, 2016

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First off, Happy New Year! I hope that you find much joy in it. When things get hard, think about how far you’ve come instead of focusing on where things went wrong!

 

Second, I know I promised a third part to my major articles and links series in December, but life ate me. Seriously. It ate me. It swooped in like a huge pterodactyl and swallowed me whole. So that third post didn’t get done. Instead, I’m going to spice things up again and change up my posting this year, focusing on shorter but info-packed posts in order to accommodate my busy schedule.

 

Last, I’d love to hear from you! Tell me what you’d like to see from me this year. It can be anything from diet to exercise to mindfulness moments. I’m all ears!

I haven’t been on hardly at all lately. I’ve been caught between three giants that are taking all of my time:

  1. My family, because that’s just where it’s at 🙂
  2. Getting ready to move to MI in December–this is fast approaching!
  3. National Novel Writing Month because it’s awesome!

I suppose I should add Jamberry onto that list. It is taking my evenings and I’m having SO MUCH FUN doing it! I cannot get enough of this product or the company, and am so glad I signed up! Have questions? Ask me, please!

But on to the real reason I’m writing! I’m trying to play catch up this morning, so I’m going to leave you with all the links and articles I’ve collected over the past few months. I really need to share them with you and get them out of my mail box! Because I have so many, I’m going to share them in three installments. This is the first! Enjoy and please feel free to contact me! I’d love to connect.

Articles

Are You Wearing the Right Shoes?

What are the Benefits to Fasted-State Cardio?

Build Your Biceps Workout

Turkish Get Up

Improve Wrist Mobility

TRX Plank Variations for a Stronger Core

Pilates/PNF for Improved Balance?

15 Yoga Poses that Improve Balance

16 Poses for a Strong and Stable Core

A Yoga Practice that Won’t Bear Weight on Hands/Knees

5 Lessons Yoga Taught Me About Failure

But I Thought All Yoga Was Therapeutic

How to Incorporate Pumpkin Into Your Diet

Food Swaps for Increased Energy

The Encyclopedia of Chicken Stock

5 Ways Einkorn is Different From Wheat

Emerging Male Eating Disorder Tied to Supplement Use

Free Radicals: Antioxidants and Exercise

Using Essential Oils for Kids–What is Safe?

Choosing a Carrier Oil to Enhance EO Therapeutic Properties

Tisserand Institute Special Report: Undiluted Truth: Cinnamon Oil

Argan-Avocado Soap-free Face Wash

How Well Does Before School Exercise “Build Our Kids’ Success”?

Regular Exercise before Pregnancy Key to Minimizing Common Pregnancy Pains

Recipes

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

3 Vegetarian Recipes to Try

Chop Fall Salad

Paleo Chicken Tenders

Oatmeal Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Maple Cookies

Autoimmune Protocol Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend

I’ve had one of those weeks. The ones that drag you through the mud. In fact, today I’ve rather felt a little like mud. But that’s okay! Days like this can get you down but you don’t have to let them! One of the most valuable lessons I have learned is the power of positive thinking! It’s as simple as recognizing a negative thought, acknowledging it, and replacing it with something positive. It’s not always easy, but it is important! I hope you’ll give it a try. In the meantime, enjoy these articles and recipes!

Articles

8 Hormones Involved in Exercise

Concurrent Training Can Jeopardize Strength Gains

The Effects of Alcohol on Muscle Gains

How to Dead Lift

Steady State vs. Interval Training

4 Moves to Help You Master the Pull Up

6 Effective Squat Variations You Need to Try

Heart-pumping Plyometrics Workout

Upper Body Explosive Training Workout

10-minute Core Workout

10-minute Glutes Workout

What You Don’t Know about Food Labeling Could Undermine Your Health

Post-workout Tips

15 Ways to be Kind to Your Adrenals

Citrus Oils and Breast Health

About Carrier Oils

Recipes

Zucchini Bread Baked Oatmeal

Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancakes

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Pancakes (vegan)

Caprese Avocado Toast

Greek Tacos

Grilled Polenta Rounds with Black Bean & Avocado Salsa

Chocolate Chip Blueberry Bars (w/flourless option)

Pineapple Mango Sorbet

Almond Biscotti (gluten-free)

Pie Crust (gluten-free)

Wow! I totally forgot it was the last week of the month last week, and so forgot to post these! Here are some awesome articles and recipes! Enjoy and stay cool!

Articles

A Girl’s Guide to Weight Training

6 Benefits of Using Weightlifting Machines

The Science of Suspension Exercise

7 Squat Variations

Master the Push Up

Summer-inspired Core Circuit

3 Exercises to Do Instead of Burpees

3 Arm Balance Secrets

4 Ways to Avoid Yoga Injuries

Hip Anatomy: Build Stability

The Science of Breathing

Fuzzy Thinking?

Should You Go Grain-free?

Women, Alcohol, and the Snack Attack

35 Homemade Spice Mixes

Natural Sunburn Relief

Recipes

Coconut Raspberry Bread

Cucumber, Chickpea, and Pita Salad

Fried Rice Recipe (with Cauliflower option)

Grilled Steak Fajitas

Indian Street “Burger”

Zucchini Cake

Peach Almond Crisp

Homemade Chocolate Pudding Pie (No Tofu)

No Bake Dark Chocolate Almond Cookies

Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

5 Green Smoothie Recipes

Holy smokes! This month totally got away from me! Here’s to getting back into a routine come July! Until then, enjoy these fantastic articles and recipes (yes, there are more than two this time LOL)!

Articles

Mental Toughness Techniques for Peak Performance

Reciprocal Superset Training Burns More Calories (Study)

The Secrets to Behavioral Change: Principles & Practice

Pregnant Instructor FAQs

Tips for Group Fit Instructors

5 Exercises Every Runner Should Do

6 Exercises for a Stronger Core

5 x 5 Workout to Improve Strength

15-minute Drill to Rev Up Cardio

Strengthening Techniques to Alleviate Muscle/Joint Pain

Which Physical Activities = Better Sleep?

How to Tell if You’ve Reached a Plateau

5 Exercise Mistakes that Could Get You Hurt

Become a Healthy Road Warrior

Best Approach to Recovery: Passive vs. Active

Stretching for Men

Plank Pose

The Art of Falling on Your Face

Pilates Practice and Cholesterol Levels

Help for Pregnant Women with Depression

Meditation and Healthy Aging

Mindful Tips to Avoid Technology Addiction

America’s Top 5 Diets

Navigating the Summer BBQ (Podcast)

What You Need to Know about Coconut Water

Sugar Shock: Why It’s Time to Get Serious about Taming the Sweet Tooth

Mindfulness is the Best Sweetener

Make Natural Bug Repellent

About Beautycounter Products

Recipes

Berry Quinoa Salad

Lamb Tacos

Honey Sesame Chicken (Paleo)

Healthy Chocolate Pudding

Raw Fudge Brownie Chunk Ice Cream

Matcha Chip Ice Cream

Best Iced Coffee You’ve Ever Had

I love essential oils! Truly I do. I think they’re a wonderful way to boost a healthy lifestyle. They smell good. They work how people say they’re supposed to. They have all kinds of properties that are just plain good when diffused or diluted.

So why am I giving up selling them?

A couple reasons:

1. The market is saturated with “experts” hoping to earn a quick buck off their customers. I’m just not like that.

2. As I’ve been learning more about essential oils and their properties, I just don’t think that some of the claims made by direct sales companies are entirely accurate. Oh, they have good products! Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got nothing against the products. It’s more of the generalizations of some statements. As I keep reading up on essential oils and follow Robert Tisserand’s newsletter, I’m just realizing that using EO’s isn’t that simple.

3. To tie in with reason #2, I frankly don’t know enough to feel good about selling EO’s to others and give them good, safe information. For this reason, I’m hoping to eventually get my arromatherapy certification so I can better understand EO properties and how they can help (or not) each individual person.

It’s really that simple! If you’re looking for good places to begin learning more about essential oils, here are a few good starting points:

  • The Tisserand Institute (both the page and the newsletter)
  • Robert Tisserand on Facebook
  • Using Essential Oils Safely–both the website and Facebook page
  • Plant Therapy blog
  • Aromahead Institute (aromatherapy certification courses available here)

I’m still going to routinely share information about essential oils with you as I read up on them! I feel like the more informed people are, the better choices they can make for themselves! Just to reiterate: always do your own research! One of the best ways to learn about EO’s is to start smelling all kinds of brands. After a while, your nose knows which ones are good to use!

I’m finally getting back into the swing of things. It’s slow and sometimes I’m not going to get to blogging, but I’m trying to get back to this as often as I possibly can! I really love writing and sharing all the wonderful information I learn each month along the way!

A few small tips to take your fitness routines to the next level:

  • If you’ve not checked out Yoga International’s website, you should. They do free week-long mini-immersions that might pique your interest.
  • Recent studies state that cross-training is vital to overall health and the prevention of muscular imbalances in the body. Whether you’re a mind-body enthusiast or CrossFit pro, consider doing something completely different from your norm.
  • I’m a huge proponent for barefoot running (I love my Vibrams!) but I also know that barefoot shoes are not for everyone. Consider researching forward- and mid-foot strikes to minimize the extreme forces placed upon your joints and lower back from heel-strike running patterns.

I’m chuckling to myself because apparently I forgot to keep recipes this month! There are two tasty breakfasts for you to try, but most of this edition of articles and recipes is dedicated to strength training!

Articles

8 Ways Strength Training Creates Change

Train This, Not That: Legs

Complex Training: Strength and Conditioning

Strength Training for a Cardio Fan

9 Exercises You Didn’t Know You Could Do with a Barbell

Plank Variations for Core Strength

Resistance Training for Endurance Athletes

Outdoor Functional Training Exercises

Total Body Battle Ropes Workout

Which Comes First: Strength or Cardio?

Alleviate Muscle and Joint Pain with Self-myofascial Release (Part 1)

Alleviate Muscle and Joint Pain with Stretching Techniques (Part 2)

Uniform Movement is Injurious, Cross-training is Essential

The Easiest Mistake to Make in Backbends

Releasing Tension in the Psoas

Yoga for School Teachers (video)

Yoga for Strengthening Your Back (video)

Progressive Muscle Relaxation for Pregnant Women

Mindfulness Meditation Restructures Brain’s Gray Matter

New Findings On Alzheimer’s Risk

5 Tips to Detox Your Body and Get Back on Track

Eating More Whole Grains/Bran Tied to Lower Mortality

How to Get to Sleep When You Have a Cold (EO’s)

Heliochrysum and Lavender EO’s for Bruises

Essential Oils for Teething?

All About Hydrosols

How to Melt Shea Butter/Natural Oils for Body Care

Recipes

Raspberry Coconut Creme Brulee Oatmeal

Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Pancakes (gluten-free)

There are a lot of opinions out there on how to use essential oils (EO’s). So many, in fact, that it can leave you scratching your head wondering what way to go. Companies like doTERRA, for whom I sell, claim that many of their products can be applied directly to the skin without dilution, or neat; those that are considered “hot” need a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil. On the other side of the coin, many aromatherapists state that essential oils are such strong compounds that you should always diffuse them and/or use them with carrier oils. Then there are the age ranges, like how and when and how much to use on young children.

Truth be told, it gets overwhelming!

Even though I represent doTERRA, I fall on the side of caution for several reasons: 1) scientific research, while being done, isn’t finished yet on many/most EO’s; 2) diffusion/dilution of EO’s reduces the risks of sensitivity reactions and/or sensitization; 3) there’s a lot of reading I need to do on the various EO’s genotypes and any safety concerns that go along with them; 4) I typically believe in the less-is-more approach. Even Modern Essentials, the reference book many doTERRA wellness advocates regularly consult, suggests diffusion/dilution for a good many of the oils listed, and to not use any oil (except, perhaps, lavender) on children under the age of 6 neat, or even at all.

Then, for many of us who use Dr. Google to find out more information on a particular topic of choice, there are the internal disagreements in the EO community, both between traditional aromatherapists and corporations, and between corporation and corporation. I’m not one to bash any company or way of using EO’s. I merely promote doing your own research. Therefore, I’ve dug around and come up with a starter list of good places to go when you want to know more (regardless of any company affiliation):

  • Using Essential Oils Safely (Facebook group): where education is the primary focus, not sales or support of brands, and moderated by a group of trained aromatherapists who, in my opinion, give good advice on EO use. They also have a list of good websites to go to for more EO information under their files.
  • Learning about EOs: a website run by an aromatherapist trained through AromaHead Institute, one of the leading aromatherapy schools in the USA.
  • The Tisserand Institute: Robert Tisserand is, perhaps, the foremost expert on EO’s, their constituents, their uses, and their safety concerns. He also sends out a newsletter, to which you can subscribe, and also wrote Essential Oil Safety, a huge compendium of his lifelong research in the field.
  • Essential Oil Blogging: run by Plant Therapy, a company that I’ve heard recently began working with Tisserand, and whose blog is extremely friendly for those who aren’t into scientific terminology.

I’ve deliberately stayed away from websites linked to big corporations, like doTERRA and Young Living, merely because my primary goal here is to educate rather than sell (though I do list the monthly promotions in each month’s EO blog post), and because there is a lot of contention between companies that, frankly, I’d rather not get into as it makes my head spin. I think that the EO community is better off with good, solid information from non-biased sources (or as non-biased as I can find currently) rather than any propaganda aimed at undermining a competitor. Where you go to purchase quality therapeutic-grade oils is entirely up to you, as each person will swear by what works for them–and what works for them isn’t necessarily what will work for others. (DoTERRA has worked well for me, which is why I chose to become a wellness advocate in addition to how they source their oils and work to give back to the distillation communities. Likewise, a friend of mine swears by her Young Living oils. It all comes down to personal preference and what works for you.)

So how do you use EO’s safely?

  • Read the Latin name of the oil being used–this is really important so you aren’t using the wrong type of, say, lavender.
  • Check out material safety data sheets, if available, or another source (like Tisserand) to find out what safety concerns there are.
  • When in doubt, dilute, diffuse, or avoid all together.
  • Always consult your physician before starting a new regimen (even an EO regimen) and/or an aromatherapist for details on EO’s that will benefit you.

The biggest part of using EO’s safely is to read, read, read, and talk with those who have experience in the field. If you aren’t certain that the information you received from a company sales rep is accurate, look for good, non-biased EO sources that can just focus on what EO’s and their blends are about without regard to brand name and the bottom line. In my own personal experience, the more I research, the more I am considering becoming a certified aromatherapist so that I know what I’m selling better in order to give the very best advice to those seeking to use EO’s.

For those who are interested, there are many good aromatherapy training options out there. Check out the Alliance of International Aromatherapists and the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy for lists of approved schools. Those that cross over in both lists are, it seems, the most highly recommended.

See more on EO’s here and here.

Speaking of how doTERRA sources, here is a spotlight on the process they go through on sourcing their lemon and bergamot essential oils in addition to a closer look at lemon oil.

March 2015 Specials

Visit www.mydoterra.com/leahrnovak for more information

Visit http://www.mydoterra.com/leahrnovak for more information

Visit www.mydoterra.com/leahrnovak for more information

Visit http://www.mydoterra.com/leahrnovak for more information

I’m about four weeks out from my delivery date with Bumpkin 2, which means a lot of waiting and taking care of last minute things. I honestly can’t wait for the pregnancy part to be over 🙂 Until then, however, I’m trudging on and wanted to leave you with some health and fitness articles and recipes for you to try! Enjoy, and hope your March is nicer than your February. (I know a lot of you have been slammed with snow!)

Articles

The Essential Link Between Emotional Intelligence and Behavioral Change

Lack of Exercise Deadlier than Obesity?

All About Overtraining

Targeted Training vs. Functional Fitness

4 Core Movements for Beginners

Increase Mobility/Strength with This Bodyweight Circuit

A Beginner’s Guide to Yoga: 5 Widely Practiced Poses

Yoga Beginner Series (Part III)

Prenatal Gentle Flow (yoga)

Vets and Chronic Pain

How to Fall in Love with Whole Foods

Clash of the Food Titans

Flavonoids for Healthy Aging

Artificial Sweeteners and Gut Microbiota

Aromatherapy for Muscle Tension: Make an Inhaler

DIY Mustard Bath

7 Ways to Remove Toxins From Your Life

Recipes

4 Green Smoothies to Kick-start the Day

Italian Hot Chocolate

Banana Pancakes

Yeasted Belgian Waffles

Homemade Greek Yogurt

Herb-roasted Chicken with Herb-infused Gravy

Flourless Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Homemade Samoas (grain-free)

Orange Poppyseed Bundt Cakes (grain-, nut-free, Paleo)

24 Rhubarb Recipes