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Healthier Life, Happier You in 2015: Roundup of Essentials

2015essentialsFor the new year, I know a lot of people are looking to make a change for their self and their family, but that change can be overwhelming. Where do I begin, what will I need, what should I be reading, who can I trust? Well, for those of you who are looking for a starting place, I’ve compiled a short list of products and books that I have found absolutely essential in my last year of regaining my health. Below, I’ve included my review of these products, why they are important to me, and also a link for each product for you to purchase yourself!

Ninja Master Prep Professional Blender: This is my pride and joy. I use it literally every day, usually more than once a day. I can’t emphasize enough how instrumental it has been in my journey to start eating cleaner (although you will note how often it comes up in my recipes). From green smoothies, to banana ice cream, to pesto, to hummus, this guy gets me through a day of cooking. I can’t say enough about it. Powerful, SUPER easy to clean (my greatest peeve about most blenders– but this one is upside down so to speak, which means the motor is on top and the blades just slide in, rather than having to twist and untwist and risk horrible maiming), and so versatile. Worth every penny and then some in my opinion. Note: I have the “Professional” version. Again, worth the money and the extra, smaller bowl.

Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle by Diane Sanfilippo: While I don’t categorize this blog as a strictly “Paleo” blog, much of my attitude toward food corresponds with the Paleo way of life. Even if you are not interested in “Paleo” at all, which is fine, this book is absolutely still worth buying due to the extensive yet easily understandable physiology information. If you want to know more about the physiology behind grain-free living, this is THE book. I bought it thinking it would be predominately new recipe ideas, but in reality it was the book that first opened my eyes to what is actually going on inside our bodies when we eat certain foods. As someone who really enjoys anatomy and physiology, not only did I find Diane’s writing interesting, but also very clean and clear and easily understood. I would recommend this book as one of your first steps!

The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth About What You Should Eat and Why by Jonny Boden, PhD, CNS: This book was one I got a while back, just wanting to be healthier in general. I didn’t know much about WHY foods were healthy, I just knew which ones had good reputations. I can’t say I agree with every food in this book based on my own research, but the majority are spot-on. Plus it’s really helpful if you’re looking to find out the macro and micro nutrient ins and outs of certain foods. Some will definitely surprise you (or at least surprised me at the time), like how for example strawberries are a better source of vitamin C than oranges, and kiwis are pretty much one of the best things on the planet that you can eat! I actually predominately use this book to figure out what I should put in my smoothies to make the greatest powerhouse green smoothie possible!

Crock-Pot Cook Travel Serve 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker: This is the slow cooker I own, and I couldn’t make it through the week without it. As someone who works full time, and weird hours at that, sometimes I don’t get home until close to 9pm. At that time of night, I don’t want to do any work cooking, I just want to eat. These are the nights when the Crock Pot saves my life. I throw a (frozen) piece of meat in with some spices and maybe some chopped veggies right before I head out the door and it’s good to go when I get home. This one has a timer, and cuts into “warming” mode once the time it up, so the food is still warm but not burned when I get home. It truly has made all the difference while trying to eat healthier, because I can guarantee you that without it, I would be much more apt to reach for a convenience meal instead on those late working evenings.

Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is THE staple ingredient to have as you transition into a healthier lifestyle. The benefits are extensive. There’s actually an entire book written about it (called the Coconut Oil Miracle). From cooking, to skin care, to personal uses, the uses for this stuff are only limited by your imagination. If you only add one new item to your pantry, this should be it. I like this particular brand because it is organic, cold-pressed, non-GMO, and virgin, which makes it the highest quality possible.

Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson: This book is filled to the brim with information. Not only does it teach you health benefits of different fruits and veggies, but it teaches you how to shop to maximize the benefits. What type of apple does more harm than good? Onions can be incredibly beneficial, but you have to know what you’re looking for. How do you store fresh greens to preserve their nutrients? And how should you cook broccoli so you don’t drain away the benefits? All of that and more is in the book. There’s actually so much information in this read, that I had to take notes while reading through it. But if you’re looking to maximize your shopping trips and eat on the wild side, this book is your new best friend.

Please note that some of the links in the above post are affiliate links that will take you to an page. If you choose to purchase a product featured in this post using an affiliate link, you will be directly supporting You’re An Animal. Thanks!


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