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The Blender Girl Smoothie by Tess Masters, a Book Review

Tess Master’s does it again! I have her first Blender Girl book and was very hesitant to get this one for fear it would be the same thing with just a few extras. Oh know, it is much more than I could have hoped for.

I am fairly new to the whole smoothie thing. New as in her first book was my initiation. This book, The Blender Girl Smoothies, starts out just like the first and that is a good thing. Tess gives you an education in all she writes. Chapter one “Smoothie Secrets” lets you in on a lot of information including what order you should add things to the blender. Who knew to put liquids in first to help solid ingredients liquefy more evenly? Or if you did powder last it would end up in the lid and not in the smoothie. Told you I was knew.

This first chapter is chock full of great info like push the probiotic, lift with citrus, and beat the bloat. She even has a six step outline for spectacular smoothies. My favorite thing in the first chapter is the build your own smoothie section. She lays it all out in easy to see and utilize style. She covers liquids, base, cream, greens, boosters and magic. This “magic” is all about the finishing touch or rather finishing flavor that also adds a health kick to it. You have choices throughout each section to make your smoothie “your” smoothie.

The recipes are amazing and there are a lot of new ones, a lot! Best part, to me, is that she tells you the health benefits of each smoothie. This makes it easy to choose what you need for that days smoothie. Whether it’s an immune boost, energy, detox, inflammation reducing, weight loss, protein rich, or alkaline recipe it is all laid out for you.

At the end of the book she writes the “smoothie pantry”. This contains the smoothie essential ingredients, tips for pairing flavors to help guide your choices when using the Build Your Smoothie chart. She has different things like Avocado oil, cayenne pepper and some things I have never even heard of like camu powder. I would like to say it is because I am currently living in another country as to why I have not heard of some of these powders but then again I have never been a healthy eater until I moved out of the USA. I had to Google them. It was worth the effort to do that because these “smoothie pantry” items are jam packed with health benefits. Tess Masters knows her stuff.

A little side note here. From previous reviews on this book it would appear no one else has noticed there is no chapter 3. At least in my book I have two chapter fours! Though in the contents section it does state there should be a three. A simple typo I am sure and it doesn’t take away from the greater fact of information. Just a bit funny.

This is a must have book for anyone wanting a bigger variety of smoothie with massive health benefits to them. Tess Masters’ book The Blender Girl Smoothies is one of the best additions to my kitchen and my health!

“I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.”


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Unafraid by Susie Davis, a Book Review

Susie Davis blew me away! I have read a lot of books in my attempt to overcome fear but this one surprised me. She is open and sometimes graphic with details. That was a big surprise to me. She was real. No sugar coating. I liked this so much even when she described in detail about the Lynx and the baby bunny. Let’s start with that one.

In Susie Davis’ book Unafraid she begins with a glimpse of where her fears began, with a school shooting she witnessed first-hand.  Though she skirts the details in the beginning she does end up giving intricate details. However, it is two stories in particular that stick with me. They both take place while she is at their cabin in Estes Park, Colorado.

In the section title “Easy Prey” she gives details of something she saw through the window at their cabin. A lynx sitting by the porch steps. Remembering that just the other day Susie had seen a Momma rabbit going back and forth from under there she knew there were babies under the porch. Susie understood what that Lynx was about to do. Just as she feared the lynx went down and came back with a baby bunny in its mouth. As she watched the lynx ate its meal head first then cleaned itself before walking off into the woods. I love Susie’s thoughts on this. “I couldn’t help but feel God gave me a picture of what the Enemy does with us. He sniffs out our vulnerabilities. Patiently waits until he finds just the right spot. Then quietly goes in for the kill. When he has us in his grasp, he intends to kill us by devouring our trust in God. The lynx ate the head of the rabbit first. I think the enemy starts there with us also. He makes a bid for our minds.”

It was the graphic details of this story that made the theory behind it stick. It was the next statement that lingers. “It’s when we agree with him in our minds-even in the smallest degree-that the Enemy takes us whole.” Just one more reason we should take Ephesians 6 seriously. We need the armor of God and we need to put it on daily.

The next section of Susie’s book that stays with me is “The Burn”. She talks about hiking with a group and coming upon a section of land that had experienced a fire. It had been a lightning strike and was allowed to burn before firefighters interceded. Seeing the devastation to such a large amount of area, the ash still layers deep, she thought it had been a recent fire. As it turns out it was years ago. It had happened in 1978. The same year as the school shooting. After all these years there was still evidence of the fires destruction and lingering effects. Just like Susie had experienced with the internal destruction of her youth and the lingering effects of fear. Yet underneath all the ash of this burnt place was new life springing up. She could see the evidence of new trees and greenery poking through the black ash. It was here that God spoke to her. “This is your soul. You experienced a burn.” It took her only a moment to make the connection. “Yes, I had experienced a burn in my life. That day in May 1978 when I witnessed the murder, a fire ignited in my soul. It created a burn. I felt the fire that made me doubt God. It made me wonder if he was trustworthy and made me question his character and his love. Yes, I had a burn in my life.”

There is so much more to this book, Unafraid, than these two parts that linger with me. If you struggle with fear whether seemingly small or overwhelmingly huge, this book is sure to help you discover new ways at overcoming them. And not just with Susie’s help but with God’s. Susie’s finger is always pointing you toward Him and never at herself for the answer.

I’m hopeful that by sharing the two segments above that it draws you toward the book and not away. It may seem like a spoiler by being detailed about them but this is less than 10% of the impactful insight Susie Davis has for you in Unafraid. It is a quick read but one that you will want to go back to time and time again to refresh yourself with all the little things that help us overcome the big thing…fear.

“I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.”

I’m hopeful that by sharing the two segments above that it draws you toward the book and not away. It may seem like a spoiler by being detailed about them but this is less than 10% of the impactful insight Susie Davis has for you in Unafraid. It is a quick read but one that you will want to go back to time and time again to refresh yourself with all the little things that help us overcome the big thing…fear.

“I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.”

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No More Excuses Diet by Maria Kang, A Book Review

I have been following Maria Kang on and off since the photograph of her with her three boys received so much publicity. She was pictured doing the plank position with her three boys sitting along her back. She received a lot of flak for it from all different women. Some felt she was proclaiming to the world that if you are not able to do this you are failing. Others felt she was neglecting her children in pursuit of the perfect body. While others felt she was promoting the impossible.  There were however a few on the other side of this. Those that felt motivated and inspired. Many felt hope that they too could achieve what Maria had. And then it happened. Maria Kang went viral. She ended up doing interviews on TV, for newspapers, and for magazines.

Personally, I was intrigued. How does this woman do it? She has a marriage to nurture, children to raise, a home business to run, and herself to manage among a number of other things. When her book became available I jumped at the chance to read more about what she does to juggle all of this, stay fit and healthy, and remain motivated to do it.

The No More Excuses Diet book has four sections. 1. What it’s all about 2. S.P.E.E.D. 3. S.T.R.I.V.E. and 4. S.C.O.R.E. In her introduction she explains a bit about each of these sections. “The S.P.E.E.D. cycle is your liftoff. Within the first three days of the program, you will create a game plan complete with goals, a timeline, a reward, and a map. This is when your motivation is high; you will develop a fitness and diet program specific to your body, your lifestyle, and the goals you want to achieve. With S.P.E.E.D., you are setting the goals, planning the journey, envisioning the outcome, executing the plan, and delivering the results on a weekly basis. The goal is to get to the finish line quickly and efficiently.”

I had fun with this section. I have never applied these aspects to my fitness program and that may be why I never stuck with it. I was able to look ahead to future events in my life that I would want to look and feel my best when attending. I made that my goal. The timeline would be about three months. The reward would be new clothes for this event including a party dress. I put all of this on a wipe and write calendar board so I can see it easily and am reminded often.

“The S.T.R.I.V.E. cycle is your operative phase. This is the period where you will not only be creating new habits for a healthier life, no matter what, but you’ll also be following a diet and exercise schedule that you’ve tailored to your specific goal. S.T.R.I.V.E. is not just about stepping up your lifestyle to attain a goal; it’s also about developing the technique to stick with the plan no matter what. Once the initial motivation dissipates, attaining goals becomes more difficult. This is natural to the process, so do not be discouraged by it. Instead, S.T.R.I.V.E. will teach you to push through.”

“The S.C.O.R.E. cycle is your success phase. You’ve maintained your three day momentum, then spent three weeks developing healthy habits, and now you’ve reached the three month mark and have officially hit your target. This isn’t the end, though; this is the beginning of other goals to reach that lie just over the horizon.” I like this section. The S.C.O.R.E. cycle allows you to reflect on what made you successful and celebrate your journey. Then you can get to make new goals to help ensure you keep going forward with a healthy lifestyle.

Maria Kang is a very informative writer. Having had a background in fitness she is able to help you understand the body, nutritional baselines, body composition, the different segments in a workout and why each is important. She also give suggestions for fitting in cardio moves while doing everyday tasks like supervising your children.

The No More Excuses Diet book is packed full of important and motivating information. In the back of the book she has a posture quiz and stretches for better posture, strength-training exercises and stretching exercises that go with chapter six, and a grocery list.

If you are looking for a new perspective on workouts and lifestyle changes this book is for you. Maria Kang is very motivating and her examples are more than helpful. I have not felt this inspired to get fit in a long time. Having goals and knowing how to achieve them are key and Maria can help you get where you want to go.

“Blogging for Books provided this book to me for free in exchange for an honest review.”

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Effortless Healing by Dr. Joseph Mercola; A Book Review

After reading multiple reviews of the book Effortless Healing by Dr. Joseph Mercola I was hesitant to request it. Many said that it did not go into as much detail as his other books had. Since this is the first book of his that I am reading I was hoping to get a lot out of it. I decided to take the chance that the reviews may have been wrong or biased because they had read other books he had written.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. In fact I was happy that it was not too in-depth or overly scientific. One of the topics discussed in Effortless Healing was pure water. My original thinking was that pure water is what it says it is, pure. He went into good detail about fluoridated water, different purifiers and what they miss in the purification process, and what bottled water is the right one. Within this section he discusses how to break the soda habit as well as details about what the poisons are within the soda.

I really liked the way Dr. Mercola ends each chapter. He gives you an “Effortless Action Plan”. In this section he separates the “healers” from the “hurters” that were discussed in the chapter. This made it easier to see the important things he discussed within the chapter.

For someone that does not want to be bombarded with too much information this book is perfect. Dr. Mercola touches on some great topics. Many of which I never would have thought to investigate on my own. I certainly never thought there was benefit to walking barefoot or exercising less. This book definitely leaves you wanting more but I think that is the point. He stirs in you the desire to investigate and seek out more answers.

Effortless Healing by Dr. Joseph Mercola is worth reading. I cannot compare it to any of his other books but, on its own, I learned a lot.

“I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.”

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Be the Message makes for a fabulous devotional

Right off the bat on day 1 I was captured by the way this was written. I knew The Message Bible was in more ‘this day and age’ language but the parts that I read did not connect with me the way this devotional did. I love the way Kerry and Chris Shook have made this so intimate and personal. An example from day 1: “Are you ready to receive God’s message?” Ok right there. This book is asking me questions and making me think about how I interact with God.

Be the Message Devotional offers great segments that walk you through this time. 1. Open Yourself to a dynamic encounter with God. 2. Open God’s Word to hear God’s message. 3. Open Your Mind to understand God’s message then and now. 4. Open Your Heart to the divine whisper. 5. Open Your Life to God’s transforming power. 6. Open Your Arms to a world that needs to receive God’s incarnate message through you.

I am a very organized person and I love things laid out for me to follow. It is important to my personal God time to be able to have something guiding that time. Not everyone needs that or needs that much. I like it and this little devotional really helped me to connect with God at a different and more fulfilling level.

I found myself waking up and wondering what this book was going to ask me today. I looked forward to being inspired to dig into my Bible and see the relevance of the Scripture then and now. I loved how it inspired me to sit and listen for His leading and His prompting with what I was praying about. So often I read the Word and do not ponder it. Life gets busy! Kerry and Chris Shook really draw you in to wanting that intimacy with Him. They guide you along the way but allow you to run with it too.

This book has given me questions to utilize during my quiet times to start a conversation, to start an interaction, and to start a fire to push forward to make that quiet time amazing.

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The Burn by Haylie Pomroy; A Book Review

Haylie Pomroy does a great job of laying the groundwork and spelling out her ideas in the book The Burn.
I was excited by the reviews I had read. I am always trying to find ways to eat healthier and, for the most part, maintain my weight. Now that winter is here I have gained a few pesky pounds I can’t quite shake. I wasn’t motivated for some wild difficult diet. I was hopeful it would be just a matter of a slight diet change. This booked pointed out a lot of stuff that needed to change for overall health and a healthy weight.

Haylie has it divided into three categories. 1. The I-Burn: This targets the body’s inflammatory reactions to food and flushes out toxins and subcutaneous fat, producing prominent cheekbones and a glowing complexion in three days. 2. The D-Burn: Unblocks the body’s digestive barriers and torches torso fat to create a flat belly and tighter waistline. In five days. 3. The H-Burn: Addresses the hormonal system. This 10 day burn reshapes lumps and bumps into gorgeous curves, sleeker hips, and thinner thighs. Upon reading these descriptions all I could say was, “Really.”

I read The Burn cover to cover to get the whole picture for each plan.  I will say that Haylie knows her stuff and she presents it in such a great way that you feel like you just got an education. I enjoyed the stories she shared about clients who have done these plans and even her first one, The Fast Metabolism Diet, and keep coming back for more.

I do not believe Haylie Pomroy leaves anything to chance. She gives detailed information on each plan, guidelines to follow, shopping lists, menus and alternatives. She stresses the need to commit a 100% for whatever plan you choose to get the maximum results. She also asks questions so you can determine which plan suits you best. She did say that there are times you may need all three (not at the same time or even in a row) but to choose the one that closest fits the outline of the plan and get started. This is what I did.

I believed I needed the H-Burn and so began that one. Of course she did caveat the beginning of the program with “I want you to get your calendar, mark those days, and keep them sacred.” Well I thought I was prepared to do that until our neighborhood had an impromptu party.

It wasn’t a total wash, I lost 3 pounds. I wasn’t hungry though I was running to the bathroom every 5 minutes (it felt that way) the first few days because of the marked increase in water. This being the 10 day plan and I had the neighborhood hiccup after only 3 days, I did lose my moment. That is when I understood one of her points on being all in for the duration. Once you lose momentum you may have to start all over.

My favorite information in The Burn are all the things I can do daily to help my health. Then when I have need to shed a pound or two I can reassess her plans to determine which one I need at that moment. And get back on the saddle again.

This book will not sit on my shelf for the rest of its days. It will be reviewed often.

“Blogging for Books provided this book to me for free in exchange for my honest review.”

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The Chai Cookbook by Janie Hoffman, A Book Review

Wow, right off the bat I am going to admit just how clueless I was about Chai. I thought this was simply a tea at Starbucks. Yeah like I said, clueless. What intrigued me about this book was all the talk about Chai being some kind off super seed. Online talk was that Chai is high in this and high in that. Hmmm could a tiny little seed replace a supplement or two? I wondered.

Janie Hoffman’s book The Chai Cookbook is not just a cookbook. Her story at the outset really peaked my interest. She shares her challenging journey to better health and how Chai seeds entered her line of sight. She explains all the different things she tried and that Chai seeds were not really on her radar until a friend mentioned them. Then low and behold they became the focus of her better health pursuit.

Janie gives great background information of these little seeds. All the way back to the days of old these seeds were known to give energy and stamina to warriors. She continues on with what these Chai seeds are packed full of….Omega 3’s. Yet my favorite little tidbit is that the “Chai seed is chameleon-like: the seeds take on the flavor of whatever you pair them with.” Now that’s cool and like she states in the book, you can put them in or on everything!

In the Chai Cookbook you also get the low down on buying Chai, storing it, nutritional profile of them, how much to use, using them as a flour or egg substitute, and how to make a gel that can be used in drinks and meal recipes.

I can honestly say that after reading this book I am very eager to try out the recipes. They all look easy and delicious. Unfortunately, where I am right now, I have to wait for my Chai seeds to arrive in the mail. Once that happens I fully expect to do a follow-up review with the results. I plan to start a Chai revolution in my kitchen and help my family ring in the New Year with Chai health.

“Blogging for Books provided this book to me for free in exchange for my honest review.”