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FIXATE COOKBOOK REVIEW

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This cookbook was created and designed by Autumn Calebrese, best known for her Beachbody Programs, 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme and soon to be released The Master’s Hammer and Chisel.  The cookbook was created to be helpful to those doing the 21 Day Fix programs and has become very popular so I decided to go ahead and purchase it to see what all the fuss is about! Although I am a Beachbody coach, I don’t automatically endorse everything that comes from them (shocking, I know) so after making quite a few of the recipes from the book, I thought I’d write a review and share my opinion. Read on for the Good, the Bad and the Verdict:

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THE GOOD:

  • There are 101 recipes in the book with options for vegan, vegetarian, paleo-friendly and gluten free diets.  All are clearly labelled at the top of the page with either V, VG, PF, GF or a combination thereof.
  • The cookbook has a neat layout, nice design, and beautiful pictures of each completed recipe.
  • The recipes are easy to make and will appeal to anyone looking to eat healthy.  Recipes like Chicken Noodle Soup, Easy Pizza, Raspberry Filled Cookie Bites, and Mexican Taco Meat aren’t likely to scare away people who have never been “healthy” eaters.
  • Simple but extremely useful kitchen tips for those who are new to making healthier food choices.
  • Fantastic Sauces and Dressings Section.
  • Container measurements so you can easily incorporate the recipes into the 21 Day Fix program, as well as complete nutritional information if you are doing your own thing.
  • The beginning of the book has some interesting personal info about Autumn, and while normally I might find this annoying in a cookbook, I found it rather interesting and fun to read.  Autumn is a genuine and likable person, who is never condescending or holier than thou in her wording and approach to healthy eating.
  • Autumn quickly corrected any Nutritional information mistakes found in the book with this updated list in .pdf format.

 

THE BAD:

  • I wasn’t too happy to see recipes that had dairy and soy as part of the ingredient list.  That being said, there weren’t a lot of them and dairy ingredients can always be substituted with non-dairy ones.  On page 22, Autumn explains why she included these ingredients in her cookbook.
  • Several recipes in the book include her grandmas homemade tomato sauce (page 81) to be made from scratch.  The truth is, any organic tomato sauce brand will do and be less of a hassle.  The recipe itself was fine, but not so extraordinary that it needed to be included as part of a few recipes.
  • Some recipes are too simple, to the point of being ridiculous.  Tuna salad scooped into a tomato, Poached egg on a slice of toast with a layer of steamed asparagus or Spreading hummus on a sliced cucumber and rolling it up with sliced red peppers …… Do we really need instructions on how to make any of that?  I suppose if you’ve never stepped foot into a kitchen or really can’t think outside the box, those recipes will be helpful but I felt it was completely unnecessary.

 

THE VERDICT:

Fixate is not a cookbook with recipes that will make you “ooh” and “aah” over all the amazing food but what it does have is healthy, doable and tasty recipes with a clear indication of portions per recipe using Autumn’s 21 Day Fix Food Containers.  Incidentally, if you don’t want to do the fitness program, but are interested in the cookbook, you can purchase the containers separately HERE.

Overall, I would say for the $20 it’s a worthwhile purchase, especially if you are following the program and need new ideas.  On the other hand, if you are an experienced healthy eater it might not be worth it for you.

Recipes I particularly enjoy and make often are the: Quinoa and bean salad (page 63), Toasted kale salad (page 69), Banana oat pancakes (page 95), Vegetable egg cups (page 119), Italian meatballs (page 153), Turkey sloppy joes (page 171), Zuchinni chips (page 203) and Chocolate chip cookies (page 211).  I haven’t made nearly all the recipes, so I am sure there will more to add to the list at a later date.  Share below what you like or dislike about the cookbook; I would love to read your comments and opinions. happy

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HOLISTIC NUTRITION AND SUPPLEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS

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“I have been getting these headaches lately, what can I take?” Or, “I don’t know why, but my stomach has been bothering me lately I need a supplement to fix it.”  These are a couple of examples of the questions I get asked on a daily basis.  Many people are under the assumption that a Holistic Nutritionist can offer a quick fix to their health problem or a band-aid solution to whatever ails them.  Then again, maybe I should feel honored that people believe I can cure them on the spot!  Unfortunately, it’s usually not as easy as that.  You see, while there are a number of supplements and remedies that can offer quick relief of symptoms, typically the issue has been going on for a while and we need to uncover the cause of the problem in order to find a long-term solution .

When you go the Doctor, his or her main job is to get you out of your discomfort or pain and to make sure you don’t have a serious illness.  A Holistic Nutritionist works in a completely different manner.  Of course, we also want to make sure you don’t have a serious illness, but since we are not trained to determine that, (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked to “diagnose” things) it is always best to consult with your Medical Doctor if you are concerned about a persistent symptom.  On the other hand, if you have had the same symptom(s) for years OR you have already received a diagnosis of your condition, that’s where we come in.  For example, your Doctor may tell you that you have gastric reflux or chronic migraine headaches or high cholesterol, and he/she will want to give you prescription medicine to take every time your “issue” comes up, or even daily to prevent the problem in the first place.  Unfortunately, too often those medicines simply block the problem from surfacing and don’t really “fix” anything; many times, they actually make the problem worse in the long run, or cause new health issues to emerge, as in the case of antacids, corticosteroids, blood pressure lowering medication and others.

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So why are so many people tempted to go this route?  Usually because (a) it will get them out of their discomfort quickly, which is certainly understandable so I’m not diminishing that fact; and (b) for some reason I’ve never been able to understand, they are terrified of not listening to the Doctor or trying a healthier alternative before resorting to harmful prescription medications.

Unlike some others in my field, I’m not opposed to Doctors or medicine when required.  Obviously, if you have a raging infection and need antibiotics right away, or are in a tremendous amount of pain or you simply don’t feel comfortable with natural medicine, then you should absolutely follow the treatment plan your Doctor provides.  The issue I have is that more often than not, unnecessary medications or repeated antibiotics are prescribed for chronic health issues when a much simpler treatment plan will correct the imbalance with time.  And that’s the important part: the process can take a while, since it took time for your body to get so out of whack in the first place!  It involves changing your lifestyle, your diet, determining which foods you might be sensitive or allergic to, finding the type and level of toxicities in your environment and the food your ingesting as well as dealing with any emotional factors or hormonal problems that may be contributing to your problem.  This, along with the appropriate vitamins and supplements – which often need to be reviewed and updated every month to ensure progression towards better health – generally takes a lot longer than the the quick fix pill your doctor will provide.  Eventually you will feel better, have more energy and not get the symptoms making you feel like crap in the first place, but it certainly won’t be overnight.

All that being said, in acute mild illnesses or discomfort, such as a cold or sore throat, sinusitis, acute digestive upset, stress due to a particular event, etc., herbal, homeopathic redmedies and essential oils can provide fantastic quick relief in most cases without suppressing the bodies natural functions the way OTC medications do, but when those very same colds or sore throats are chronic, the underlying cause has to be dealt with.

I hope this helps clear up your understanding of Holistic Nutrition and Natural medicine.  Contact me HERE  and I will be happy to help you any way I can. happy

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TOP 10 REASONS TO OWN A FOOD DEHYDRATOR

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I thought about getting a food dehydrator for quite a while.  The reason I waited so long is because they are quite expensive and I thought I needed the 9 tray (shown at right) to get the most bang for my buck.  I also wanted the one with the timer, until I realized that it’s a silly extra for another $75 and completely unnecessary.  After a lot of internet research, I recently purchased this Excalibur 5 Tray Deluxe Dehydrator and I’m extremely happy with it.  Excalibur is known to be the best dehydrator out there, although if you aren’t sure and don’t want to spend the money, I have heard that many people are happy with the Nesco Dehydrator as well.

So why did I finally cave in? Well, for all the reasons below:

1) I love dried fruit but they contain sulfites in order to preserve the original color of the fruit.  Unfortunately, sulfites have a distinct unpleasant taste and have also been shown to possibly cause headaches, asthma attacks, and allergic reactions such as flushing, redness, and itchiness. Definitely not fun side effects of trying to enjoy some dried fruit.  You can of course purchase organic unsulphured dried fruit from any local health food store but, frankly I got tired of spending $7 Cnd for a tiny bag of dried pineapple.  Since purchasing my dehydrator, I’ve made dried apple, pineapple, and banana, and they all came out delicious.

2) I am obsessed with kale chips but it is almost impossible to find Kosher-certified kale chips, and when you do, a tiny container costs a fortune!  While you can make them in the oven as explained here, now that I have done them both ways, I can honestly say there is no comparison to how yummy and crispy they turn out in the dehydrator.

3) Sundried tomatoes add a delicious flavor to many dishes – and I prefer the taste of these freshly dehydrated tomatoes to the store-bought variety.  I can also store them in organic olive oil and add the herbs that I prefer for extra flavor.  Alternatively, make them a little more crispy by dehydrating for a longer period of time, store in a container and enjoy as a snack.  That might sound weird but you have to try it to see what I mean!

dehydrator tomatos4) Dehydrated food stays fresh for quite a while so if you have a garden it’s a great way to preserve extra fruits and vegetables.

5) Make your own fresh dried herbs and spices; I haven’t tried that yet, but I plan to in the Summer when I grow an abundance of oregano and cilantro in my little garden.

6) The Excalibur comes with this book which shows step by step instructions on how to properly make every conceivable food item turn out perfectly in the dehydrator.

7) There are a lot of cool things you can make that are super easy – using Paraflexx Sheets, you can have fruit roll ups without chemicals or added sugars – yum! – and also flax crackers like these shown below:

Dehydrated flax crackersTo be honest, the kids weren’t a fan of these particular crackers;  On the other hand, the hubby and I absolutely loved them and ate them all in one sitting – dipped into my favorite store bought hummus of course!

8) While I haven’t tried it yet, you can apparently make your own yogurt using the dehydrator.

9) The dehydrator is the perfect place to rise dough by simply removing the trays and setting to the lowest temperature.

10) If you are so inclined, you can make your own Kosher beef jerky.  The only problem is, you would then need 2 dehydrators if you are strictly kosher.  Yikes! Much to my 14 year old son’s disappointment, I will not be making beef jerky anytime soon. sad

Best of all, using the dehydrator is fun and easy – and the kids love to help!

What are the cons of owning/using a dehydrator?  I’d love to say “none” but there are a few things to consider:

1) It’s quite large and my kitchen isn’t big enough; there is simply not enough room on the counter.  I tried putting the unit in the living room, but it was a real eyesore, so I nixed that idea.  I know some people use their laundry room, but since mine is in the basement, it’s not very practical.  In the end, I settled on my family room near the fireplace which seems to be working well so far.

2) Some foods dry at different times and temperatures than others so if you make 2 trays of one type of food and 3 trays of another, you will have to check it periodically and remove the trays that are ready.  For this reason I am finding it a lot  easier to make 5 trays of one type of food rather than to try to mix and match.  5 trays seems like a lot but when the food is dehydrated, especially if you have a family, it gets eaten a lot quicker than you might think.

3) Initially, there is quite a bit of an investment especially if you don’t already own Mason jars to use for storage, a Mandoline slicer – evenly sliced food makes drying times quicker and more reliable, an apple corer or a pineapple slicer & corer if you plan to dry those food items. I also recommend getting the Paraflexx sheets mentioned earlier in this post if you want to make your own fruit leather/fruit roll-ups or flax crackers.

4) It takes time for the food to be ready so you have to be patient.  This was definitely hard for me at first and I was eating some of the food in the middle of the cycle. I’ve gotten better though. winking

All in all I am very happy with this purchase and I hope this helps you decide if this would be a worthwhile addition to your kitchen appliances! I would love to hear if you have one, what type, if you are happy with it and what you have made in it.

Please note:  The links above, as many on this site, are affiliate links of which I receive a small commission from sales of certain items, but the price is the same for you. If I post an affiliate link to a product, it is something that I personally use, support and would recommend without an affiliate link and I have not been compensated in any way for review of this or any other product recommended on this site.

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LEBERT EQUALIZER BARS

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I’ll admit, I love getting new fitness equipment – to use personally or with my Personal Training clients – the way some women love buying shoes.  Maybe it’s weird, but new and innovative ways to exercise are very exciting to me!  That being said, some fitness equipment designed for home use are downright ridiculous – I won’t list them, but let’s just say *cough* Shopping Channel *cough* has some products that make me laugh; I sometimes watch the sales pitches late at night for pure amusement.

The good news is, my latest addition, the Lebert Equalizer Bars is a serious piece of fitness equipment that can get you real results. Actually, it’s 2 peices, as the product comes with 2 bars that you can work in a variety of  ways. I put off purchasing this particular item for a while because I thought, really, what can this do that free weights/TRX Suspension/Rip Trainer/Resistance Bands, etc., can’t?

I was pleasantly surprised that you can do an entire body workout using this product.  Depending on the positioning of the bars and/or your body placement, you can make the exercises easy if you’re a beginner or more advanced if you are looking for a real challenge. But what I really love about them is they weigh about 8 lb. each and can easily be taken to the park for a fun outdoor workout, or stored out of sight when you are done using them.  The weight of the bars also makes them useful for some traditional weight training exercises – initially I thought it was a little strange to be using them for bicep curls or shoulder press, but I realized it worked the muscles in a unique way that I think people will find enjoyable

Check out this cool video showing several different ways you can use the bars:

Some of the exercises shown in the video can obviously only be done if you have more than one set of bars or in a group setting, but even when working out alone there is a tremendous variety in the movements you can do.  If you’ve been looking for a simple, inexpensive piece of home fitness equipment that won’t take up a lot of space, then this one is definitely for you.

Here are the Product Specifications:

As I mentioned Each Equalizer bar weighs about 8 pounds.  The bars come in 3 colors – yellow, pink or lime.  While I have a hard time using fitness equipment that is pink (shiny silver or black are my go-to fitness equipment colors), the yellow was the least girly of the 3 so I went with that.  But hey, if you want to go pink and matchy-matchy with your workout outfit, please be my guest – if you feel good, you will use it, right?

The dimensions are 28-1/2 inches high by 25 inches wide, although you can purchase the “Lebert Big Boy T-Legs” separately to make the bars a few inches taller if you are over 6 feet tall.  I am 5’10 and do not have an issue with them as is, but I can see if I was any taller I’d want that extra height.  It has been tested to support up to 400 pounds of body weight so this isn’t some flimsy piece of garbage that will break, even if you have a lot of weight to lose!  The Equalizers can easily be stacked together, taking up little storage space.

Package includes 2 Elebert equalizer barsqualizer Bars, a Beginner/Intermediate Workout DVD with Marc Lebert (the creator of the Lebert Bars, among other useful fitness products) and a laminated poster depicting proper form for some of the more popular exercises.

Click HERE to purchase or if you just want to learn more about what the Lebert Equalizer Bars can do for you.

 

Please note:

  • The links above, as many on this site, are affiliate links of which I receive a small commission from sales of certain items, but the price is the same for you.
  • If I post an affiliate link to a product, it is something that I personally use, support and would recommend without an affiliate link.
  • I have not been compensated in any way for review of this or any other product recommended on this site.
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THE BEST NATURAL ORGANIC BEAUTY PRODUCTS

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Beautiful young woman applying organic cosmetics to her skinI love beauty products as much as the next woman.  What I don’t love, though, are all the chemicals, preservatives and other garbage added to a majority of these products on the market.  We put so many toxins into our bodies on a daily basis through the food we eat, the beverages we consume, pollution, and electromagnetic frequencies, why add to that level of toxicity with the stuff we put ON our bodies?  There are so many awesome, natural brands out there these days that there is really no reason to spend a fortune on department store brands…..especially when most natural organic brands are a LOT less expensive and the results you get are the same – if not better – than their unhealthy counterparts. It takes time finding the products that work best for you. I recently saw an article where Miranda Kerr shares her favourite KORA Organics products in an interview, which I thought was extremely interesting and worth a read! I have found that when buying products like the ones I will discuss with you, it is important to take time out to read the reviews that other people have written about them. If you get google reviews coming up for the products you are looking at, it gives reassurance that the products you are looking at are real and you can start to find out about other peoples experiences.

Now…it’s time to ditch all those toxic skin, hair and body products and try these instead.  Here are my favorite natural product companies and why I love them so much*:

PACIFICA – While I have not tried their makeup or skincare, I absolutely LOVE their amazing smelling  perfumes and body washes.  You will not believe that these are all natural – until you realize you don’t have the blinding headache you get from the commercial stuff anymore.  You will also be thrilled with the low prices!

What to try:

  • Hawaiin Ruby Roll-on Perfume for a delicious, fruity scent.  Don’t blame me if you look weird sniffing your wrist all day.
  • Kona Coffee Body Scrub – the scrub you will literally want to eat in the shower, it smells like the best coffee you ever had!

WELEDA – For those of you who love moisturizing body washes and body creams, this one is for you.  Rich smelling, lathering body washes and lightly scented creams feel and smell amazing.  Weleda also has some of the best skincare products for babies.

What to try:

  • Skin Food for ultra dry skin on knees, elbows and hands; has a light citrus scent.
  • Arnica Oil for massaging in to tired, achy muscles; take it with you when you get a professional massage and tell them to use this instead!  Sounds weird, but I do it all the time and even got a massage therapist to start using it in his practice.
  • Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash for baby – a little more expensive than Johnson’s, but SO much better.

ANDALOU – Beauty products with 70% organic ingredients, I especially love their facial skincare products.  Very inexpensive, this product line is great for teens or those on a budget.

What to try:

  • BioActive 8 Berry Fruit Enzyme Mask – Who doesn’t want to smell like a bowl of berries while relaxing with a facial mask?
  • Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask – this one stings a little but in a good way because you know it’s working! It makes a tired face glow, so if you’re a Mom like me you might want to have a few of these on hand. happy
  • Chia and Omega Scrub – my husband’s favorite facial scrub, he keeps accusing me of using it up, but I’m partial to my Yum scrub (see below) so I’m innocent, I swear!

NATURES GATE – Another company with a long list of natural products, I really enjoy their shampoos and conditioners.  Some of them do not smell all that great, so definitely try before you purchase but the ones listed below are excellent and do not have that problem.

What to try:

  • Lemon and Clary Sage Volumizing Shampoo is fantastic for very fine hair and/or hair that lacks volume.  I use this on my youngest daughter who has fine hair and have really noticed a difference.
  • Pomegranate Sunflower Hair Defense Shampoo and Conditioner is excellent for color-treated hair.
  • Aloe Vera Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner is perfect for thick hair or normal hair that gets washed often.

YUM – For real beauty aficionados, this gourmet organic skin care line is simply put, the best that money can buy.  I love the high quality look, feel and results you get with these products.  Note: for customized recommendations and excellent pricing, purchase this line directly from Rina Deutch, my esthetician at Eizeh Yofi.

What to try:

  • Adzuki Blueberry Exfoliant, as I mentioned earlier in the post, is my all-time favorite facial scrub (I mean “exfoliant”, pardon me! winking ) Your face will feel smooth as silk from this product.
  • Bilberry Leaf Matte Moisterizer is excellent for normal to oily skin – just the right amount of moisture, without the shine or the weird “too matte” effect.
  • 23 Karat Intensive Eye Treatment does double duty as treatment for lines and dryness as well as having a subtle sheen that wakes up tired eyes.  Yep, I’ll need a case of this, please. tongue

HUGO NATURALS – This company makes their products with with 100% natural ingredients and no toxic chemicals whatsoever.

What to try:

  • Grapefruit Liquid Hand Soap – Wash your hands effectively but gently, without any harsh chemicals or strong detergents that dry them out.
  • Vanilla & Sweet Orange Shower Gel – a subtle scent with a rich lather, you won’t miss those chemical body washes.

UNDA – Not quite a beauty products line, Unda is the company behind many formulas used for Biotherapeutic Drainage.  However, I included them in this list as they have several beauty products I could not live without.  Note: Unda products can be purchased HERE.

What to try:

  • Homeofresh Chlorophyll Toothpaste – while I’m generally not a fan of the taste of non-commercial toothpastes, this one is the best by far with a refreshing flavor that mimics mint.  This toothpaste was designed for people taking Homeopathic remedies as mint can be an antidote for some, but it is widely used in Europe due to its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and ability to halt tooth decay with it’s natural plant extracts.  Personally I alternate this with regular toothpaste to get the best of both worlds.
  • Calendula Cream contains Calendula, an ingredient known to heal skin conditions and promote tissue repair.  This product is water soluble and can be used anywhere on the body.
  • Cicatrican cream is a natural alternative to antibiotic creams such as Polysporin.  Made with botanicals, it can safely be used as often as needed on all types of  cuts, burns, insect bites and minor skin infections.

GODDESS GARDEN – the best organic, all natural sunscreens for babies, kids and adults; protects from sunburn without the addition of toxic chemicals.

What to try:

  • Sunny Face Natural Facial Sunscreen – finally, a facial sunscreen that doesn’t feel icky or smell weird.
  • Sunny Kids Natural Spray Sunscreen – stop chasing the kids around to rub sunscreen on them and just spray them while they’re arguing with you that they don’t need it – yes, they still have to rub it in, but they’ll have no choice once you got it all over them.  You’re welcome happy

There you have my top natural organic beauty picks but keep in mind that there are many many more organic, plant based beauty product companies out there.  I’d love to hear about any brands or specific products that you have tried and what you thought of them!

*Please note: I have not been compensated in any way for review of the above products.  Website links to brands mentioned are non-affiliate; other links are options to purchase online directly from Real Health and Fitness.

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