Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Blogging for Books: Effortless Healing 9 Simple Ways to Sidestep Illness, Shed Excess Weight, and Help Your Body Fix Itself by Dr. Joseph Mercola

About the Book:

Do you have to tell your leg to heal from a scrape? Your lungs to take in air? Your body that it’s hungry? No. Your body does these things automatically, effortlessly. Vibrant health is your birthright and within your grasp; you just have to step out of the way. In Effortless Healing, online health pioneer, natural medicine advocate, and bestselling author Dr. Joseph Mercola reveals the nine simple secrets to a healthier, thinner you. The results are amazing and the steps can be as easy to implement as:

· Throwing ice cubes in your water to make it more “structured”
· Skipping breakfast, as it could be making you fat
· Eating up to 75 percent of your calories each day in fat for optimal health, reduction of heart disease, and cancer prevention
· Avoiding certain meat and fish, but enjoying butter
· Eating sauerkraut (and other fermented foods) to improve your immune system and your mood
· Walking barefoot outside to decrease system-wide inflammation (and because it just feels great)
· Enjoying a laugh: it’s as good for your blood vessels as fifteen minutes of exercise

Effortless Healing is the distillation of decades of Dr. Mercola’s experience and cutting-edge medical knowledge. With his wisdom and that of your body, you can optimize your health, your weight, and your life…effortlessly.

You can purchase a copy at Penguin Random House.

My Opinion:

I’m trying to get healthier and I know many rave about Dr. Mercola so having a chance to get this book for free to review piqued my interested. It was a very easy read – took maybe two days to fully read the book in it’s entirety and the concepts weren’t hard to grasp but it may take another reading and note taking to fully implement some of the ideas. I’ll admit some of the ideas I already knew such as low carb, good fats can aid in weight loss and health benefits, cutting out sugars and sodas and drinking water are all common knowledge. I don’t plan however to go out and purchase the reverse osmosis filters for my house or my shower – the expense I would occur is not in the budget of this widowed mom. Actually, I guess, now that I think about it almost everything in the book is common knowledge but Dr. Mercola explains why certain things have health aspects like why laughing for 15 minutes is a good exercise.

While you won’t find me ‘grounding’ anytime soon – with high arches, plantar fasciitis and heel spurs going barefoot for any length of time is enough to have my feet in pain the rest of the day. However, I’ve already eliminated using sunscreen on the children and I, although if we’re out say at the zoo I may opt for some once our skin starts to turn a bit pink. As I said most of the book is common knowledge, but I’d never heard of structured water before and not sure if I’ll ever get around to that, but I would like to find a way to make non-molding sauerkraut at home. The only part of the book that really bothered me is the part that talks about (briefly) the health benefits of sex, however it’s stressed as safe sex, not within the confines of being married or in a monogamous relationship – that was disappointing as quick hook ups have an emotional toll which can affect one physically. I think this book is a great idea started for those who need a quick way to get started on better health and maybe even weight loss and help with what may reverse some chronic health conditions.

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Tomoson Review: Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) Capsules

About the Branch Chain Amino Acids Capsules:


Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) are the building blocks of protein. They are used to support muscle growth, similar to protein powders. Our product is a 450-Capsules of Pure BCAA’s. It is in Veggie Capsules and contains no other ingredients. Many of our competitor’s products have ingredients like Magnesium Stearate, Silicon Dioxide, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Gelatin, Sucralose, and Titanium Dioxide. We have NONE of those ingredients. Our product is pure BCAAs in Vegetable Capsules. We are priced within 10% of all the major brands, our bottle is larger than all the competitors, and we offer the most pure product.

Please read the following article to see more info about BCAAs.


You can purchase your supply on Amazon.


My Opinion:


I was sent a 450 count bottle of Diet Standards Branch Chain Amino Acid capsules to review – BCAAs are shown to support muscle building and exercise recovery.  According to the label on the bottle there is 500mg of L-Leucine and 250mg of L-Isoleucine and L-Valine and the capsules themselves are made of vegetable cellulose, which means they are also safe for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet (I do not).  What I appreciated with these is that there are no binders, fillers, preservatives, artificial ingredients, wheat, yeast, egg (a big one for me as I’m allergic), soy, starch, gluten or sugar.  The recommended suggested use is that they are to be taken as a dietary supplement and to ingest 2 AminoHD 1000 Capsules between meals, 45 minutes before workouts and immediately after workouts.  Also of note is that since the body has need of protein and there may be times when the body isn’t getting that such as during a junk food binge (just kidding, but if you’re not getting whole foods) to help your muscles in getting proteins.


I’m not a doctor or medical professional so all I can do is say how they affected me – there were no side effects and I took as directed even on days I didn’t work out or do any exercise.  That said always speak with your doctor before beginning this or any supplement especially if you have a medical condition or may become or are pregnant.  These were shipped very fast to my house and packaged securely so there was no corruption of the packaging in transit.  As I said before I like the fact that they don’t have added ingredients which could be harmful or cause an allergic reaction, if it had egg I would have had to refrain from it.  It is also for adult consumption only – my oldest daughter wanted to take it too but I told her that I couldn’t allow that until we spoke with her doctor.  Overall, I’m very impressed with this product and hopefully will be ordering from them again in the future.


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Floss Flowers and Craft: Skin cooling organic skin care (review) #grow4christ

I contacted Jackie who owns an Etsy store by the name of Floss Flowers and Craft and has some lovely items that will cater to many people.  The one item that I was very excited about is the Skin Cooling Lotion and the Skin Cooling Cream – both which are great for dancers, runners, fast walkers, and other athletes. Using organic all natural ingredients means it’s safe for you to put on your body and for it to be absorbed.  These came packaged in a beautiful pink pull string back in which both the lotion and cream containers came in, for extra protection they were inside a small plastic zipped baggie and the cream came with a cute little spatula to use.

The Skin Cooling Lotion ingredients are:

Distilled water, Emulsifying Wax NF, Sweet almond (Prunus amygdalus dulcis) oil, Spearmint (Mentha spicata) leaf*, Aloe (Aloe barbadensis) Vera, Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) herb, Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) leaf*, Black pepper (Piper nigrum), Shea (Butyrospernum parkii) butter, Stearic acid, Menthol  Also has peppermint (Mentha piperita) and juniper (Juniperus communis) essential oils.
*certified organic

The Skin Cooling Cream ingredients are:

Distilled water, Vegetable glycerin, Emulsifying Wax NF, Shea (Butyrospernum parkii) butter, Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) oil, Mustard (Brassica juncea) brown seed, Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Peppermint (Mentha piperita) leaf*, Bay (Laurus nobilis) leaves, Black pepper (Piper nigrum)*, Stearic Acid, Menthol , Vitamin E (Tocopherol)  Also contains: black pepper (Piper nigrum), peppermint (Mentha piperita) and juniper (Juniperus communis) essential oils.
*certified organic

The skin cooling cream comes in a 2 ounce jar for $12.00 and the skin cooling lotion comes in 4 ounce flip top bottle for $14.00 – but they last a long time and a little goes a long way.  I have to say after a vigorous workout or a 5K when my muscles are screaming at me I have my children or my hubby rub some into my shoulders and I’ll rub some into my calves and the soothing begins almost immediately.  Even with the essential oils there is little to no smell, which I appreciate as I’m so sensitive to a lot of smells, so that makes this a product I can use without aggravating or bringing on a migraine or headache.

Jackie also offers several other items in her shop such as hydrating body lotion, body balm for very sensitive skin, cards that are cross stitched, ornaments and more.  I feel safe using the lotion and cream on my children who are into dance and martial arts and often times will get achy muscles and this helps to relax and calm them so that the muscle can repair itself for the next round of exercise.  She does add 0.6% Germall preservative to her creams and lotions so that they are safe and don’t spoil and there is also a use by date on the containers.  Jackie also has great customer service and will stay in contact with you the entire time of the process of your order – with Christmas around the corner these items would make great gifts for the athlete on your gift list.

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The 5K!!!! #86

Well I hope you all are just wondering how the 5K I walked last weekend went?  Have you been waiting all week?  Probably not, but I have to say completing the first 5K of my life left me feeling very satisfied and happy.  I never thought I’d ever do a 5K, and before someone says, “Well you didn’t run it” – trust me had you seen the path that the 5K was on you wouldn’t wanted to have run it.


I thought those who were running, were a bit crazy LOL it was cross country literally but if you check out the times, you’ll be surprised by the ages who finished in the top 3.


I wasn’t one of them.  I don’t care.


My shoe tag, this tracks your time – instead of having a bib – much nicer.


It was obvious that some of the people out there were ‘professional’ 5Ker’s and I can’t help but wonder where the people went who were behind my friend and I, but oh well.  I got the shirt 🙂



The 5K was actually 3.1 miles – and that .1 mile well that was the longest part of the 5K.  Here is where you can see all the results – Speedy Feet.  I placed 86th and my time was:  1:24:59.4  however we had to deduct some of that time because I dropped my iPod and we had to back track about 10 to 15 minutes to go find it.  I’m especially grateful my friend went back with me – although she didn’t have to.  Thank you M!


Me getting ready to head out – in my culottes, warm hoodie (it was freezing out!). It wasn’t no beauty contest!


I’m doing another walk – it’s called a fun walk as it’s only 2 miles – on May 18th and I’m collecting sponsors.  My goal is to raise $500 for the Women’s Center that gives care and support to pregnant women and their families and affirms that life is precious.  If you’d like to learn how to donate I’ve set up a Facebook event at Sarah’s Walking for Life.

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I’m sorry I haven’t given an update lately on my exercising and such – it’s been going well.  I went to the Dr last week and hope to have a call tomorrow or at the latest by Wednesday.  She told me based on my weight loss that the chances are good we can at least decrease my metformin.  The plan is if my A1C is in the low 6’s I can off of it completely but if it’s in the high 6’s she’ll keep me on the pill 1X a day versus two.  If that is the case I’ll get rechecked in a couple months.  My last A1C in July last year was 7.0 – not good.  Now I weigh 20+ pounds less, exercising daily and limiting calories and carbs.


Remember my post on Some Honesty and Progress?  You might want to take a look at those pictures BEFORE you look at the newest one.  Here is some more honesty – the skirt in the first post that my daughter took on 2/4/13 is a size 22W.  The other skirt in the post for Progress is a 2X.  They are both too big on me.  Not in a fall down around the ankles but definitely much looser!  So my hubby took us to Goodwill and here is my new skirt –


This is me, today 3/24/13, 12 weeks AFTER the first picture taken on February 4!


The skirt is a size 18!  I’ve never been a single digit girl, even when I was in the Navy I always ran between a 10 and 12 depending on the maker and cut.  The last time I wore single digits I was probably a single digit age.  My new blouse is still a 3X because I need to have my shirts larger.  I still have a bit of a mommy pouch but it’s getting smaller.  I’m so excited about my size 18 – I’ll still be wearing my 22 and my 2X skirts – who has money to replace a whole wardrobe but maybe soon I’ll be needing to purchase a belt!


I’m still measuring my food – I actually find it kind of fun – yeah, I know I’m weird.  I like knowing what exactly and how much is going in my body.  I’m now at only 1,410 calories a day.  My BP at the Dr the other day was 122/78 – it’s usually elevated in the office due to ‘white coat syndrome’ but she was getting worried – now she’s happy.  Me too.  My heart doesn’t feel like it’s coming out of my chest when I walk up a flight of stairs.  I’ve also submitted my registration for my first ever 5K!!!  I’m looking forward to walking this come April 20th – I’m EXCITED!!!  I’ve told hubby, next up is an ironman, well someday.


I have added in a daily multi-vitamin and I’m awaiting the results to find out if I need to add more Vitamin D and I recently read an article where people who exercise need more Vitamin C than usual because of the free radicals released from the physical activity.


Also, I’ve got to give credit where credit is due – the Lord!  Seriously, while others may see it as me being the one to exercise, watch my food intake, etc – it’s all the Lord.  He is the One who gives me the strength on the mornings that I don’t feel like working out or the days I just want to eat a whole pizza on my own.  He keeps me going and I know my temple is becoming the better for it.  I also want to say thank you to those who are continuing to encourage me, my husband, my children, my mom (my dad hasn’t seen me yet!) as well as all my friends on Facebook that I know IRL and virtually who build me up and give me encouragement.  I also love to hear that others are considering doing a 5K or getting moving in some way because of my story.


It may sound cliche but it’s hard – I didn’t put this weight on overnight or in a month or several months and it’s not going to be easy.  I haven’t hit that plateau yet – it’ll come – the Lord will get me over it and through it.  I cannot begin to convey through this blog post how GREAT I feel!!!!!  I feel like my mind works better, the winter blues I usually get have not been as bad as in the past, I just feel good.  The decision has to be yours and listen to the Lord – He is the one who ultimately woke me up in February and said, get moving!  He knew I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, He is guiding me and He will guide you too – we don’t have to be a prisoner to food, to our overweight bodies – that is a lie from Satan!



I’ve had many tell me I’m an inspiration and ask me what I’m doing to lose weight.  Honestly I don’t feel inspiring – I’m doing what I should have been doing all along – taking care of myself.  I’m thankful though that there are those who are reading my story and are finding it inspiring – I truly think it’s God working through me so that others can see it does work.  The picture below isn’t the best but you can compare it somewhat by looking at my post “Some Honesty”

Don’t mind the crocs LOL this is a picture I took of myself last week. I really need to have my oldest DD take a better one.

My goal isn’t to lose weight, it’s a nice side effect, but really my ultimate goal is to be off my diabetic medication.  That was my goal last year but I got sick and quit working out.  It’s now been a month, or close to it of 6 days a week working out and eating 1,550 calories or less a day.  My goal just got lowered to 1,430 calories a day since I’ve lost 10 pounds.  I use MyFitnessPal to track my food, exercise, water, etc and it does work.  As of 7:30p.m. on 2/27/13 I still have 815 calories remaining – it’s hard for me to eat all the allotted calories for the day – I’m not getting hunger pains like I used to as I keep up with drinking my water and that helps to relieve any fake hunger pains I may feel.

I’ve been asked what am I eating or not eating?  Quite truthfully my diet hasn’t changed, yes, I’ve cut out soda (I will drink Zevia when it’s on sale), no more snacking on potato chips, etc but honestly I’m still eating what I’ve always ate.  The difference is the fact that I’m not having three bowls of soup, or two plates full of food – I’m measuring everything – if it can’t be measured I won’t eat it.  Some may think that’s extreme but I’m only a month into this so I need that visual – there will come a time I can let the crutch of measuring go but for now I need that.

A soup I made the other night.

Do I still have ice cream?  Yep.  I found some ice cream bars that are low calorie and low carb and no bad artificial sweeteners so I can still enjoy a treat every now and then – of course gone are the days of having three in one sitting.  I now enjoy and savor each little bite so that when I’m done I feel satisfied, the same with my meals.  I made spaghetti bolognese last night and I could have 1 cup of whole wheat pasta and 3/4 cup of the sauce – out came the measuring cups.  Once I ate and let my brain and stomach catch up to one another (it’s really not a cliche) I felt full with just that.

I’ve also been asked if I take any supplements.  No, the only thing besides my metformin (for now) is a pro-biotic called Florajen – and while it doesn’t help you lose weight it has curbed my cravings for all things sweet.  I used to look at chocolate and not resist and now I’m okay if I don’t have it but if I do,  I no longer desire the whole bar.  I didn’t start taking Florajen for this reason though, it was another health issue that led to me taking it, but this is just a wonderful ‘side effect’ of the pro-biotic.

I’ve been using a variety of methods for exercising – specifically my Wii Fit Plus, Leslie Sansone Walk DVD’s, Shapely Girl DVD and also adding in hand weights.  I’ll add in hand weights whenever it’s feasible and that helps burn more calories as well as produce muscle so I can tone.  I aim for between 20 to 30 minutes a day at this point and want to work up to an hour a day.  I also have a kettlebell but haven’t started implementing that yet, I’m going slow and steady so I don’t burn myself out.  I do want to invest in some heavier women’s weights, a rebounder and an exercise ball to add in more variety to cause muscle confusion.

I served my meal on a salad plate, which is tinier, it also made me think I was getting more compared to had it been on a large plate I would have thought I’m not getting much. This was quite filling at its portion size.

I know what I’m doing is working – I had a yearly check up today and the dr told me I had lost 20 pounds since I was in last year!  That is huge, for me!  I go in on March to have my A1C re-checked and I believe that it will be normal or very close to it – my blood sugars after meals have been great, even lower than recommended, while my fasting is a bit high for my liking.  I chalk it up to not checking within 8 hours of taking my metformin which means I’d need to wake at 3 or 4 in the morning to check my fasting.  So far the effects of exercise and diet change have been a tremendous amount of energy!  To read a book takes more concentration because I want to be moving, to write this blog post is taking me longer than normal because I could be up and doing the dishes.  Physically I feel better, mentally I feel better and just feel much more happier.


Some honesty

I’ve posted before on losing weight, watching what I eat and usually I just fall flat on my face.  I’m working on things again and I really am working towards my weight loss goal – but not just weight loss but health.  Even though I was never obese in my younger days – I may have carried around a few extra pounds but I wasn’t obese, like I am today.  I don’t hate myself but I do hate looking at pictures of myself – which is a shame because I’ve missed out on plenty of photo ops with my children and husband.

I’m continuing to use my ShapelyGirl DVD’s as well as my Wii Fit – which is a fun way to lose weight but my legs will tell you it’s not all just games!  I also don’t want to see my children go down my path.  I’m using MyFitnessPal to track my calories of which I’m allowing myself to have 1,550 a day – if in a couple weeks I’m not losing I may restrict even more, we’ll see.  If you want to follow me on MyFitnessPal feel free to send me a request.  I also started using Nexercise which seems like fun.

So without further ado – I took a picture of myself (well my 8 year old did) to show you what I look like today:

Me, taken by my 8 year old via my iPod on 2/4/13


Real Food, Real Frugal by Susan Godfrey (review and giveaway!)

I’ve recently had the pleasure of reviewing another of Susan Godfrey’s books – I reviewed The Titus 2 Woman earlier this year.  Susan has so much information and she is an inspiring godly woman who wants all other women to use her knowledge to help them in their lives.  Real Food Real Frugal is a great book to have on hand especially if you are wanting to know more about real foods and how to cook with them to make you and your family healthier.  Susan does acknowledge that she is not a doctor and includes a disclaimer at the front of her book – but using information gleaned from other sources such as Nourishing Traditions and the Weston A. Price Foundation lends a great deal of credence to her writing.

Susan’s writing is very personal and conversational so the book is easy and fun to read.  She goes over what real food is and what kinds of real foods we should be including in our diets – using processed items very minimally and only when truly needed.   The first part of the book goes into what is not real food such as artificial sweeteners like Splenda, aspartame, MSG, soy, and others.  I know that I can’t have fake ‘sugars’ as they cause severe migraines as does MSG but I am now going to be more careful because I had no idea how food makers hide MSG under other names!  Soy is one of things I already avoid and if you want to know why you must grab Susan’s book which is available for Kindle, Nook, and PDF.  The Kindle and Nook versions are available for $3.99 and the PDF version (which can be easily loaded to the Kindle) for $1.99.

Most people when they think of feeding their family real food become scared because honestly, it can be very expensive to feed our families healthy food.  I can say that as much as I’d love to be able to buy organic meats or grass fed dairy – I can’t but I can do more fresh veggies and fruit.  Susan will tell you how make real foods affordable for you and your family as well as providing you with recipes for some of her tried and true real food recipes, including breads, appetizers, dips, soups, sides, main dishes, sweets and more.  I haven’t tried the recipes yet but by looking at the ingredient lists they are feasible and should fit in great with my grocery budget and not take hours to prepare (another scary thought when it comes to preparing real food – hours of prep and cooking).

She also lists numerous other resources that will benefit her readers in gaining more knowledge in real food education.  I can definitely say if you’re not sure where to start or are overwhelmed by other books on the market, Susan’s book is a good place to start – big on information, quick read and simple, easy to begin making recipes.  Of course, this could also be used by those who are veterans to the real food movement and just want a simple refresher or some new recipes to add to their repertoire.  Regardless, this book should be on anyone’s reading list who wants to do what is best for their family.

**Disclaimer:  I was provided a Kindle copy of Susan’s book from Susan Godfrey in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.

If you’d like to win your own copy of Real Food, Real Frugal visit An Ohio Reviewing Mom for the Rafflecopter form – 11/16/12 to 11/26/12.  I am giving away 2 copies.



After several tries and several different SCOBY’s I’ve finally, successfully brewed my first batch of Kombucha.  If you don’t know what Kombucha is there is a good article at Keeper of the Home as well as doing your own research – but Kombucha has many health benefits and it really does taste yummy.


So I started this successful batch last Sunday so it’s been brewing about 9 days and it’s just right.  A friend told me to try it after 2 to 3 days to see if I like it better.  I’m brewing quart jars right now – hopefully I’ll get a big enough SCOBY to do a gallon at a time or multiple quart jars as I know this is going to become a daily drink for me if it keeps being this successful.


So here are the pictures from this week’s batch:


The top view – my friend says that the white stuff is the new baby SCOBY growing 🙂 so that’s good, I was thinking it might have been mold at first.


The front view. Isn’t it beautiful? Once I filtered out the SCOBY you could see the bubbles fizzing but I didn’t get a picture of that.



I started my new batch tonight, another quart sized jar, and I’ll test it in 2 to 3 days to see if I like it better and the children as well.  None of them really wanted it but my son did taste it.  I’m not sure if I want to mess with adding juice as that raises my blood sugar so we’ll see.  My friend did mention a double ferment which I may try once I get a good supply established and make sure my SCOBY keeps going 😀

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Why I’m so tired….

I still don’t know.  LOL.  My new GI doctor has order a lot of lab work including to see if I’m anemic due to blood loss.  I’m going to get that done tomorrow.  I’m also going in on Tuesday for a procedure to see if we can get some answers.  I have found out that there is a history on my mom’s side of Crohns disease and diverticulitis – not fun.

After my very fun appointment my mom (who so kindly drove me) and I decided we were hungry and after checking in with hubby and making sure Christian wasn’t sick and needing rushed to Urgent Care (he didn’t, he was sleeping, and is now on the path to recovery after a nasty ear infection) we stopped at a cute little restaurant, where I can’t eat unless my mom is treating.  I ordered the Reuben with cottage cheese and raspberry iced tea.  It was all very delicious.  The picture does not do it justice.

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