Reviews

Superpower Your Breakfast Smoothie with LeanFit

Welcome back to reality folks. At least that rings true for me, and based on all of the Facebook posts I’ve seen in the past few days about people heading back to work after vacations, my school teacher friends getting their classrooms set up, parents getting ready to get their kids back to school, and I think many of you are feeling the same “it’s time to get back on a regular schedule,” feeling.

I’m always a bit nostalgic about September, even after being out of school for so many years. It always feels just as much of a new beginning as January first does, and that makes it a great time to refocus or get back on track after a few months of summer fun. Normally the summers don’t throw me off much, it’s pretty much the same ole, same ole, all year around but this summer in particular has really thrown me off my game. After losing both my kitties, and later on adopting two kittens, plus travelling and visiting and whatnot, I’ve been off. Completely. But summer is over for me, and starting today I’m working back up to my full class schedule (I’ll be back teaching 10 classes/week next week, this week it’s only 7), so I need to get back on track!

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new (academic) year = new day planner and goals journal

There are a few different ways I’m getting back on track, but today I’m talking particularly about my eating and breakfast in particular. It’s really important to me to eat a really nutritious breakfast because that way, regardless of what else the day holds I know I at least did one thing that will support my body. For me that means having a protein smoothie.

I don’t always use the same kind of protein powder, different times of day and different nutrient needs can call for different products, but I’m all about the all-in-one products at breakfast (and before bed if I’m having one then).

Lately I’ve been trying a new (to me) product: Leanfit All-In-One Complete Nutritional Protein Shake. I am really a big fan of all-in-one products that combine protein with a lot of other nutrition because it really makes eating healthfully easy even when you are rushed or don’t have access to your normal foods/meals (like when you are travelling).

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So what does all-in-one really mean? Well, instead of only being a protein powder, all-in-one products like this one include a lot of the nutrition your body needs each day in an easy to use product. Think of it sort of like a drinkable vitamin – but better! One scoop of Leanfit All-in-One contains:

For my gluten-free friends, you’ll be happy to know that the All-in-One is gluten free, it is also GMO free and hormone free, and as a Canadian it always makes me happy to point out that they are a Canadian company!

Because I normally have a smoothie for breakfast, and another one in the evening, I normally use a half of a scoop of protein powder. Partly because I don’t want to depend too highly on getting my protein in powder form, but also because I’m a bit precious and don’t care for the taste/texture of drinks or smoothies with a full scoop 😉 It’s a texture or taste or combination thing for me. But I know lots of my friends can mix a full scoop with plain water and be happy. I’m just not that person.

But when mixed into a smoothie – I’m a happy girl!

LeanFit All-in-One

Smoothies for breakfast are particularly great because you can make them the night before and grab it out of the fridge on your way out the door. They are super portable so you can have breakfast while on the go in the car, subway or bus – or even at your desk when you arrive at work. And because of the fibre and protein, you will feel fuller longer and will have a more stable blood sugar so you will be less likely to be searching for that 10am sugary snack to get your through to lunch.

What really stands out about this Leanfit All-In-One product for me is the flavour. It is a NATURAL vanilla, not french vanilla. It’s always been a bit of a sore point with me that every other protein product I’ve ever used had had french vanilla, and not natural vanilla flavouring. I love the taste of natural vanilla, and don’t dislike french vanilla, but given the choice I will always choose natural. There is just something about french vanilla that doesn’t do it for me. I was so excited when the package arrived and I saw that this was a natural vanilla flavour! I know what you’re wondering – can you taste the difference? I certainly can. Maybe not everyone would but it’s like the difference between vanilla ice cream and french vanilla ice cream. If you didn’t even know there were different kinds of vanilla, then you probably won’t care, but if you – like me – prefer natural vanilla you are going to love Leanfit! Anyway, I’m particularly enjoying the Leanfit in my plain smoothies with greek yogurt and milk (that’s how I roll), whereas with the french vanilla varieties I always add a little fruit in there to cover up the taste a bit more. Natural vanilla just feels like an even more blank slate so you can take your smoothie anywhere you like as far as the flavour profile, or keep it simple with the plain vanilla.

Where to Buy:

Leanfit Products are available on Amazon*, at Costco both online and some in store (I just saw the Vanilla Whey Protein at the Dartmouth Costco last week!) and select grocery stores. Visit leanfit.com to find a local retailer near you.

Edited to add: It’s now available in select test Costco locations and on Costco.ca in a new Costco-exclusive size!

To shop on Amazon visit this link*.

In addition to the Leanfit All-in-One they also have Whey Protein, Whey Isolate and a completegreen Protein. That means there is a LeanFit product for a wide variety of lifestyles and nutritional needs.

The folks at Leanfit were kind enough to send me a bunch of samples of their all-in-one protein, so if you attend my fitness classes, leave me a comment below and I’ll randomly select a handful of people to receive a sample or two!
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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Leanfit All-in-One, however I truly like this product and am dedicated to sharing only products I think my readers would like and/or benefit from. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. This post also includes affiliate links (identified by an *), if you make a purchase through one of these links you will be supporting this site – thank you.

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June & July Book Round Up

It seems a little odd to be posting a book round up (or any kind of round up for that matter) before the month is actually over, but since I’m only sharing the health/fitness related books I’m reading and I know I’m going to be reading what I lovingly refer to as “fluff” for the next few weeks, I think it’s safe to post this a bit early. 😀

The first book I read was The Complete 1-Day Detox Diet Plan & Cookbook by Karen Barnes, MSc, ND.

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I’ve read a lot of different detox plans and books over the years, including those with a lot of scientific merit, to those which sounded more like a good way to make yourself ill than anything else, and I’m glad to say this book falls in the scientific category.

Even if you have no interest or intention of completing a “detox” this is a fantastic resource for learning about environmental toxins – what they are, how we are exposed, and what they can do to us, food allergies and sensitivities, and then the detox plan itself as well as 150 recipes (which take up approximately one half of the book).

I found the section on food allergies and sensitivities particularly interesting. I have a serious intolerance for MSG, something that many people scoff at and say that it hasn’t been proven that such a thing exists. Those are the people who haven’t witnessed me writhing on the floor in pain and then vomiting all over kingdom come after unknowingly eating MSG. In this book Karen has a whole section on MSG Toxicity Reactions and even sites research proving that it IS a thing (I don’t know why I seem to be diagnosed with so many health issues that people disbelieve actually exist, luck I guess…).

She even mentions a study that suggests MSG and aspartame (another substance my body reacts pretty negatively towards) may be linked to fibromyalgia pain, and that eliminating both from your diet has some potential for results with those with fibromyalgia. Interesting. Now I can’t really tell you if I feel an increase in fibromyalgia pain when I consume MSG or aspartame, but that I only because I’m too busy feeling like someone has ripped my entire abdomen into pieces and replaced it with an evil hot air balloon to notice. I do find it very interesting that two things I know to be an issue for me are thought to also disrupt fibromyalgia.

The other section I really enjoyed was the section talking about Oral Allergy Syndrome. I’m sure I’ve talked about my mysterious oral allergy here before. The one that pops up from time to time swelling up my lips and leaving me with a very sore rash all around my mouth? This has been going on for a few years off and on, and last summer I noticed it happened immediately after eating a raw zucchini and wondered if I could possibly be suddenly allergic to zucchini. Well, according to this book “Oral Allergy Syndrome is a reaction to certain fruits, vegetables and nuts that occurs due to a cross-reactivity between proteins in fresh fruits or vegetables and pollens in trees, grasses and weeds. In 50-75% of adults in the US who are allergic to birch pollen, oral allergy syndrome is present.” And the symptoms? An itchy mouth or swelling in the mouth when eating an uncooked food. Sounds familiar.

More interestingly is that I was diagnosed with seasonal allergies as a teenager, but was never sent for testing to find out what exactly I was allergic to. Under the heading for Late Summer and Fall Ragweed Pollen Allergy – zucchini. There are also foods in that list I’m not aware of causing me any issues (like watermelon and potatoes), so whether or not I have Oral Allergy Syndrome or not it was a very interesting read about something I had never heard of previously.

I don’t think you need to be interested in detox plans or recipes to find this book really interesting. I’ve already told you two small sections of this 300+ page book that I found interesting, and neither are things you would expect to find in a 10-Day Detox Book. I highly recommend this one, especially if you have food issues that you are still trying to sort out as it goes over many different types of allergies and intolerances.

You can purchase The Complete 10-Day Detox on Amazon here.

The second book I want to talk about today is The Art and Business of Teaching Yoga by Amy Ippolitit & Taro Smith, PhD

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It’s not often you find a book that talks specifically about the business of teaching yoga – or fitness in general, so I was really interested to see what this title had to offer. I know that I am part of a minority as someone who started off with a strong business background who moved into the work of teaching fitness.

It’s nice to have my business training to fall back on, knowing how to do accounting and marketing and all of that have been really helpful for me over the years, and then when I moved into blogging that gave me hands on experience with web design, social media, etc. That’s not to say that I went into this book thinking I know it all, I generally like to assume I know nothing, that way I am always ready and looking to learn. And I can honestly say that I did learn form this book. Teaching yoga is such an individual thing that I believe every instructor who reads this will take different things away from it, but I do think that anyone who teaches fitness classes could benefit from reading it. While there are certainly parts that direct specifically to yoga, much of the book can be used as a guideline for any type of fitness instructor.

What’s more, is I feel like the ideas presented in The Art and Business of Teaching Yoga helped me to reconnect with the reason I started teaching yoga in the beginning. It is so easy to lose your why in the daily shuffle of life, so I really appreciated that I was able to bring that back to the surface and the forefront of my mind moving forward.

If you are an instructor – especially of yoga – whether you run your own classes or teach through a gym or studio, I feel certain there is still a take away for you to be found within these pages, or through the offerings on their website 90Monkeys.com, I definitely suggest checking out at least one or the other!

That’s it for my reading roundup for June & July. Summer tends to be when I do more “enjoyment” reading versus learning reading, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this was my last round up until fall when I get back to the book learning 😉

Disclosure: I received both of these titled from their publishers free of charge. The above reviews are honest and entirely my own. 

Your Holistically Hot Transformation Book Review & Giveaway

I have been saving the books I’ve read so far this month for another round-up at the end of June, but wanted to write a separate post for Marissa Vicario’s new book “Your Holistically Hot Transformation” for a couple reasons.

Number one – if you have the Kindle app, right now until Wednesday, June 15th, 2016 you can pick the title up for FREE (click here for Amazon.ca and click here for Amazon.com) and because Marissa was kind enough to offer one of her books (hardcopy – not via Kindle) to one of my readers so keep reading to the end to enter to win!

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In reading through Marissa’s book, so much of what she suggests and recommends is completely in line with what I believe and recommend when coaching people so I felt an instant connection with both her and her book. There is so much information out there with today that it’s easy to get swamped in information and be left without any idea of what to do or where to start when it comes to making healthy life changes.

Change doesn’t have to start with some huge flourishing move, a small change in the right direction is not only more manageable, but more sustainable long term anyway. Through her book Marissa tells you how she transformed her life, and how you can begin to change yours too.

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And you might be surprised at how easy it really is.

Challenging – but easy.

Probably my favourite thing about Marissa’s approach is that she believes as I do – that every person’s body reacts differently to different foods and because of that there is no one eating style that will work for every person. Period. There are things that will work for everybody like choosing water over processed drinks, and eating fewer processed foods and more natural ones, but overall each person must be their own detective to figure out what particular foods work best for them.

Another thing I really enjoyed was the small “Put It Into Action” steps she sprinkles throughout the book. These are ideas and tasks you can start right away to start to make positive changes without turning your entire life upside down.

Marissa also explains other alkaline versus acidic foods, super foods, shares recipes, information and lists on stocking a healthy kitchen and more making this a well rounded easy read for beginning (or continuing) on your healthy living journey.

The Giveaway:

As I mentioned above, Marissa has been kind enough to offer one of my readers a hardcopy of her new book. I find “real” books are easier to use when trying to go back and reference them, so even if you’ve taken advantage of the free Kindle promotion, you are still welcome to enter this giveaway!

To enter: Leave a comment below telling me what is one change you’ve made in the past year that has lead to you living a healthier, more holistically hot life! A winner will be chosen on Monday, June 20th.

Update: Winner has been chosen!

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Congratulations Catherine!

For me, the answer would definitely be taking more time to relax and trying to work smarter not harder. Stress is so bad for your health and learning to take better control of my work load has really helped me to stress less (usually, but not always 😉 ).

For a bonus entry tweet the following (then leave a separate comment with your twitter handle and telling me you tweeted):

Pick up Holistically Hot for FREE on Kindle until June 15th, 2016 click here for Amazon.ca and click here for Amazon.com

Good luck, and enjoy!

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I was provided with a free copy of Marissa’s e-book (which you can get too by following the links above before June 15th), and wanted to share it with you as well as give you the chance to win a copy!

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Get Your Skin Summer Ready

June is well underway, and we’re finally seeing some nice hot summery days here in Nova Scotia. The first of which were back at the start of May when I was road tripping to Moncton. During the trip I wore a sundress and shorts and realized just how sad my skin was looking. Number one, I’m so pale I nearly glow in the dark at the best of times, and secondly my skin was so so dry and scaly I looked part reptilian! Clearly some summer skin prep was in order before shorts and sundresses became a mainstay in my wardrobe!

Ureadin by Intega Skin Sciences is your dream team when it comes to relieving stubborn skin irritation and dryness

I’ve written numerous times in the past about my dry, itchy skin. I’ve read numerous times that there is a correlation between fibromyalgia and itchy skin, but I don’t really know if that is my issue, or if I just plainly have chronic dry skin. This past winter I had been using a shea butter on my legs because it is thick and moisturizing. While I really enjoy shea butter, but I do find it takes quite a long time to absorb, and since I normally moisturize just before going to bed I fear some of my moisturizer was treating my sheets more than it was treating my legs.

Fortunately for me, just prior to my trip I had received a trio of products from Intega Skin Sciences’ Ureadin line to try out on my dry, itchy skin to help me get my skin summer ready and looking it’s best!

Ureadin by Intega Skin Sciences is your dream team when it comes to relieving stubborn skin irritation and dryness

The three products I received were:

Podos: A hydrating gel moisturizer for your feet that repairs and hydrates dry and cracked feet, with the first results noticeable in as few as three days! It uses ingredients like shea butter to help improve roughness. It also exfoliates with lactic acid and provides intense hydration for 24 hours without leaving a greasy texture on your feet.

Ultra10 Lotion: This is their maximum strength, intense hydration lotion which repairs and hydrates very dry and flaky skin. It helps to relieve itching and irritation, provides intense hydration and protects the skin’s moisture barrier and can be used to aid in the reduction of scaling, roughness, redness and cracking.

Lotion Spray: A spray lotion suitable for all skin types, which absorbs instantly keeping your skin smooth and moisturized all day long. This is a light lotion with the HydroISDIN system, hydrating and protecting your skin while providing an antioxidant effect (learn more about the HydroISDIN system on their website)

Ureadin by Intega Skin Sciences is your dream team when it comes to relieving stubborn skin irritation and dryness

Because my skin was so parched, I started out by diving into the Ultra10 Lotion. While at first glance you’d expect any lotion with a name like “Ultra10” to be really thick, this isn’t. You know how some lotions are so thick it seems like they take forever to absorb? This isn’t like that at all. When you pump it into your hand you can tell that it’s different from your run of the mill drugstore body lotion. It feels more like an oil lotion if that makes sense. It absorbs really quickly and while you certainly can feel you’ve applied lotion, it doesn’t leave a lotion-y film on your legs. Have you ever put lotion on, then scratched your leg and ended up with a bunch of the lotion under your fingernail? No? Just me? Well it’s annoying, and Ultra10 does not do that.

I immediately felt a difference on my skin, and after only a couple days the scaliness went away and I was left with my still super-glow-in-the-dark-white skin, but at least it once again looked like human skin and not that of a lizard!

Once I’d crossed the initial hurdle of dryness, I started using the Ultra10 just at night, and using the Lotion Spray in the mornings/after my bath or shower. Because it is lighter and absorbs even more quickly, it is great for when you are in a hurry, and I absolutely love lotion spray like this because you can turn them upside down and any direction you need to apply them. So super handy. This is my go-to for post bath/shower because I find thicker lotions have a more difficult time absorbing into my skin when it has just been exposed to water, and this absorbs quickly.

I wish I were able to get a decent before and after shot for you, but because a lot of the difference is in how my skin feels, and less in how it looks, it’s hard to capture that in a photo. In person the skin on my legs especially is so much more hydrated in appearance, and feels so much better (no more constant itch), but you’ll just have to take my word for that.

Ureadin by Intega Skin Sciences is your dream team when it comes to relieving stubborn skin irritation and dryness

The Podos might be my favourite of the three products. As I mentioned above, it’s a hydrating gel oil and comes in this tube with a tiny little applicator. Basically you apply it to your feet and rub it in, then apply a bit more to the extra dry, tough or cracked areas. I have a pretty thick callus on the side of my big toes from all the lateral movement I do teaching classes and dancing. When the Podos arrived, I stopped using any other foot creams, lotions, scrubs, (including my pumice stone)  to see how this would compare.

A few days after I started using it I noticed one night in the tub the side of my toe (where the callus is) looked a little odd, I rubbed my finger on it and a piece of the callus FELL RIGHT OFF. What!? I checked the other side, and was able to easily remove another piece just by rubbing my thumb once or twice along the side of my foot. Since then, that happened yet again. And while I certainly still have a callus on both of my big toes, they are each a lot smaller than they once were. I knew that  Podos was suppose to boost exfoliation, but I wasn’t expecting that kind of results! The thing with calluses is, while in my case they are necessary, they can also be painful, so removing even part of them has made my feet so much more comfortable. And that is something I’ve found difficult to accomplish with all my other potions and lotions.

I did get before an afters of my feet, so below I’m showing you the side of my toe(s) before, an after, and a second after which was taken immediately after I’d applied Podos. I don’t like it when you can clearly tell in an after photo that the person has just put moisturizer on because I don’t feel it paints a “real” picture of the condition of the skin, so I decided to show your my feet both ways.

Ureadin by Intega Skin Sciences is your dream team when it comes to relieving stubborn skin irritation and dryness

Ureadin by Intega Skin Sciences is your dream team when it comes to relieving stubborn skin irritation and dryness

I apologize that the lighting is clearly different between the before and after shots. I took them in the same place with the same camera settings to try and create the same lighting, but obviously the afters were taken on a sunnier day. But hopefully you can still tell that my feet are clearly looking a lot better in the afters!

What you may not know about me is I am really not a fan of looking at feet. Like I refused to wear sandals for a good 10+ years because I hated looking at feet. And I still don’t want anyone to touch me with their feet, ick. Anyway, because of that I really try to keep my feet in the best condition I can – all considered. Knowing that, and knowing that I have exclusively used the Podos for over a month now, it should tell you that I really like this product and am happy with how it has been helping my feet! Over the past month I’ve moved from sneakers to sandals in day-to-day wear, and I’m so pleased that the Podos helped me get my feet sandal ready!

Learn more about Ureadin prodcuts by Intega visit http://integaskin.com or http://www.isdin.com.

They are still preparing to launch their online shop, but in the meantime you are able to contact them regarding purchases directly through their website (http://integaskin.com/isdin/ )

 

If you are having problems with dry, itchy skin, or dry cracked feet and want to feel comfortable and confident in your skin all summer long, I hope you’ll check out Ureadin and the whole line of products from Intega. I’m certainly going to be sticking to these products all summer long!

Disclosure: I am part of the Intega Influencer Campaign and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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May Book Round Up!

This isn’t something I often do mostly because I tend to read a lot of “fluff” and YA books that I don’t feel are really appropriate to share here, but this month I’ve found myself reading a lot of health and wellness books and thought I’d share those with you. books

I am a book nerd for sure, so I love checking out cookbooks, fitness and lifestyle books so that’s what you’ll be seeing in this round up post!

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First up is 200 Best Smoothie Bowl Recipes by Alison Lewis.

I’ve seen lots of smoothie bowls on the web 😉 but had never really had one myself prior to getting this book. I didn’t understand why you’d want to eat a smoothie out of a bowl instead of drinking it…but now I get it. Smoothie bowls are make to be a thicker consistency so that it’s easier to eat it like a soup rather than drink it. Plus when you make a smoothie bowl you get to add all these fun toppings and make it look pretty!

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(my topping game still needs a little work)

As a very frequent smoothie drinker, now understanding the hows and whys behind smoothie bowls has opened up a whole new side of smoothie making! I even find myself looking for toppings when I’m grocery shopping to decorate them. Alison’s book is a great how-to guide on not only smoothie bowls, but smoothies in general. With delicious recipes like Bananas Foster, Upside-Down Apple Pie, Chilled Tiramisu, Peach Paradise and so many more my summer smoothies are going to be amazing!

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The second book I read this month was Juice Guru by Steve and Julie Prussack. I’ve been juicing off and on for years, but it’s always fun to check out a book like this to help reinforce why juicing can be so great. Juice Guru is packed full of recipes/juice combos and really walks you through why juicing can do for you, how to choose a juicer and all of the specifics. Generally speaking I find myself going for smoothies more often than juice, and that is a lot to due with how annoying the juicer is to clean. But when I’m having an IBS flair or a general upset stomach, I find juices a much easier way to ensure I’m getting some nutrition without upsetting my system.  It just so happened that this book arrived when I was in the middle of an IBS flair up so it definitely came in handy and helped to keep me feeling nourished while on a pretty bland diet of toast. :/ If juicing is something that you are interested in, but have no idea where to start Juice Guru would be that place. It seems crazy that you can start to transform your life by adding one juice a day, but not only is that true, and this book gives you a 21-day plan that kick start you on your way to healthier you!

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Changing gears a bit here, the next book was Cure Back Pain 80 Personalized East Exercises by Jean-Francois Harvey, BSc, DO. I know, it doesn’t sound like a very light read does it? But as someone with scoliosis, and who teaches fitness for a living, making sure I know a lot about the spine, how it should and shouldn’t move, what is safe and what isn’t is very important to me. And knowing what is safe for one person, doesn’t mean you know what is safe for another. Understanding different spinal problems and knowing when it is okay for me to give someone a few stretches or exercises to resolve an issue, versus knowing when to refer them to someone else is even more important. Cure Back Pain offers a complete range of tools to help make our backs feel good, regardless of what shape we are in. Jean-Francois draws from pilates, yoga and physical therapy and based on the principles of osteopathy, biomechanics and kinesiology to bring a holistic approach to good posture and a healthy back.

Of the books I read this is my favourite. It hits so close to home and what I do on a daily basis it’s hard for me not to love a reference book like this. I don’t know anyone who couldn’t benefit from the information in this book. Even if your back/spine/posture is perfect, the more you know and understand about this critical body part, the better off you’ll be in the long run. From basic exercises, flexibility, mobility, breathing, posture, strengthening, balance, and full routines this book has it all.

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The last book is one I finished just last night. On The Verge: Wake Up, Show Up, and Shine by Cara Bradley is a book about learning to be “on the verge” in those moments when you are not quite in the past, and not quite in the future. It’s about learning to be more – not do more. Cara is a mental strength coach and author who has over 35 years experience teaching fitness and yoga. She wrote On The Verge to teach readers how to have more energy, enthusiasm, clarity, and confidence on a daily basis by learning to shift beyond their busy minds.

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I related to this book so much. I definitely suffer from a busy mind, and easily find my fingers taking me places on my phone and on the computer I don’t need to be. I have a hard time turning my mind off at night so that I can sleep, and it’s easy for me to get caught up in “busy” <– whether it’s true or not. I am trying to get better at all of the above, but it’s a work in progress.

After taking us through the principles of living On The Verge, Cara goes one step further and sets readers up with verge practices to help us calm our busy minds and tune into our natural state. I found this title to be an easy – but empowering read, and really enjoyed going through all of the principles and practices. Some of them were things I was already familiar with and do from other trainings, but there were some new ones in there as well that I’ve already started to play around with incorporating in my day to day life.

There is really so much I could say about this book, I found myself nodding my head and agreeing with so much she said throughout the book. I could go on and on, but I want you to go pick up a copy for yourself. Just in the few days since I first picked it up, I already see so many small ways I am learning to live On The Verge. And I like it!

As I mentioned above I just finished On The Verge last night, and it inspired me to get back to my meditation practise. Something I’ve let slip terribly over the past few months. If you are like me and suffer from a very busy mind, you should check out this book (you can also find Cara on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for daily doses of inspiration!

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You can find all of the titles above by clicking the links below:

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, thank you for helping to support this site. The titles above were given to me free of charge, however these are honest reviews – I do not review books I don’t enjoy.

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