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FAVORITE WORKOUT INSTRUCTOR:

I absolutely adore Jessica Smith and I use her exclusively for my own exercise program right now. I recommend Jessica as a trainer for several reasons:

  1. Her choreography is creative, simple, and easily modifiable (her 60-year-old mother is a background exerciser in many of her workouts).
  2. In addition to her professional DVDs, Jessica has a huge library of free videos available on her youtube channel, so there’s no financial investment to get started. If you’d like, you can check out her channel here.
  3. The biggest reason I love Jessica is because, for her, working out is not about getting a six-pack or pushing yourself until you drop dead. She encourages movement because it makes you feel good and strengthens you for daily life. It’s a philosophy I couldn’t agree with more.

If you’d like to check out one of her most popular workout programs, just click on the picture below. Or you can go here to look through my Jessica Pinterest boards where I’ve pinned my most-used workouts from her library (I have Cardio, Weights, Lower Body, and Yoga/Pilates Fusion boards, but she also has a ton of other options like barre, kickboxing, HIIT….whatever works best for you).
She also just barely released a really fun new program with 20 unique and varied workouts:


FAVORITE HEALTH & WELLNESS BOOKS:

I’ve provided the following list of references because these books introduced me to a whole new way of seeing things like dieting, nutrition, hormones, sickness, disease, and medicine. These authors share information that is almost never discussed in the mainstream media, and I believe it’s information we desperately need to have. (I promise you’ll never see a box of cold cereal or a can of soda the same way again!)

But by recommending these publications, that doesn’t mean I endorse every point the authors make or I’ve adopted every proposal they suggest. So if you read any of the works cited here, I beg you to do so with the Spirit as your guide. I believe only the Lord can show you what information applies to your personal situation and what doesn’t. I promise, if you let Him guide you, He’ll show you how to make small changes on a scale that your family and your finances can handle without becoming overwhelmed. Not only will He direct you to the information that fits your individual needs, but even better, He’ll provide the wisdom, strength, and discipline to follow any guidance you receive. Here’s the list:

**Top choices

**Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It, by Gary Taubes (New York, NY: Anchor Books, 2011). (I believe this is one of the most important books you could ever read on the subject of health and wellness. In this heavily researched and documented work, Taubes shows why the “eat less and move more” weight loss approach doesn’t work (and how the science has never been there to back it up). He also has a longer, more in depth version called Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health).

**The Case Against Sugar, by Gary Taubes (New York, NY: Knopf, 2016). (Another paradigm-shifting book by Taubes that shows how pervasive the sugar problem has become in our world today. As always, well-documented and chock full of evidence to back up all his points.)

**The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat, and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, by Nina Teicholz (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2015). (This New York Times Bestseller echoes Taubes’ conclusion that we have been fed the wrong nutritional information for decades. She especially takes issues with the low-fat diet and the idea that fat makes us fat. Incredibly well researched and well-written. I highly recommend it.)

**The Obesity Myth: Why America’s Obsession with Weight is Hazardous to Your Health, by Paul Campos (New York, NY: Gotham Books, 2004). (This book rocked my world. Let’s just say Campos helped me see nutrition and health in a whole new way, and it wasn’t the one portrayed by government standards or the mainstream media. Backed by countless scientific studies, he argues–rather convincingly–that thinner isn’t always better and you can be healthy at any size. It’s a drastically needed paradigm shift in our “get down to a size zero or die an early death” world!)

Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease, by Robert H. Lustig (New York, NY: Hudson Street Press, 2013). (Dr. Lustig also offers a great deal of evidence that it’s sugar and processed food–not fat–that’s fueling our country’s health epidemic.)

Sugar Salt Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, by Michael Moss (New York, NY: Random House, 2013).

Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal, by Melanie Warner (New York, NY: Scribner, 2013.)

**The Sugar Addict’s Total Recovery Program, by Kathleen DesMaisons (New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 2002). (Dr. DesMaisons has actually written several works on this subject, including one designed especially for children. You can find more info on her books here.)

**Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works (3rd edition), by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch (New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2012). (This book is designed to help you reject the dieting mentality forever and develop a more satisfying, healthy, and normal relationship with food. I’ll admit that, as a sugar addict, I had to adapt some of the principles (I could tell myself I “intuitively” crave chocolate all day long, but what I really needed was to heal my addiction). But aside from that, the wisdom the authors offered on giving up dieting, listening to your body’s fullness signals, and not eating emotionally really resonated with me.)

The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease—And the Statin-Free Plan That Will, by Jonny Bowden and Stephen Sinatra (Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press, 2012). (Please read this if you or anyone you love is taking statins for high cholesterol!)

Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health, by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, Dr. Lisa M. Schwartz, and Dr. Steven Woloshin (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2011).

Selling Sickness: How the World’s Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies Are Turning Us All Into Patients, by Ray Moynihan and Alan Cassels (New York, NY: Nation Books, 2005).

What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause: Balance Your Hormones and your Life from Thirty to Fifty, by Dr. John R. Lee, M.D. and Virginia Hopkins (New York, NY: Time Warner Book Group, 2005). (Dr. Lee was a pioneer in the world of bio-identical hormones. He also has a version of this book for women who are going through menopause.)

**Orthorexia Nervosa: Overcoming the Obsession with Healthful Eating, by Steven Bratman, M.D. and David Knight (New York, NY: Broadway Books, 2000). (This insightful book by a holistic physician shows that even healthy eating can become a dangerous obsession. That’s why I feel so strongly about finding BALANCE. If you’d like to read more on this idea, click here for some additional articles I’ve gathered on Pinterest.)

Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig (Washington, D.C.: Newtrends Publishing, 1999).

The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer, by Gretchen Reynolds (New York, NY: Hudson Street Press, 2012). (This book dispels many of the myths we often believe about physical exercise.)

**The 28 Days Lighter Diet: Your Monthly Plan to Lose Weight, End PMS, and Achieve Physical and Emotional Wellness, by Ellen Barrett and Kate Hanley (Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 2014). (Despite the title, this isn’t really a diet book. It’s an incredibly unique look at a woman’s monthly cycle. The authors explain how women can eat and exercise in a way that honors their cycle rather than ignoring it or fighting against it. It’s a really interesting read, although a bit PG-13 at times. Ellen is also a FABULOUS workout instructor. You can find her website here or stream her unique workouts here.)

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