Stress: The Body’s Biggest Toxin?!


Trust it. Believe it.

I’m having a Flash 4-Day Sale on my Fall Clean Eating Detox Program, so I wanted to let you all know about it and take a second to discuss how this signature detox is not just about the food on your plate.  The greatest success at weight loss, at a boosted immune system, and at health, is achieved when you focus as much energy on your food choices as you do on evaluating the other areas of your life that are not serving you. This is a key aspect of not just my detox program, but also in how I approach all of my holistic health coaching clients (see my post on holistic health for a detailed picture of my health philosophy). In my program, I provide you with my personal unlimited support as well as an awesome Tool Kit that guides you through the steps to incorporating good self-care into your 11-day experience (and that you can take into the rest of your life)! It’s a pretty nifty package that my clients have loved!

Detoxing on an emotional level, as well as a physical one, will help you
truly begin to thrive again.

So many of us need to step back and take a little time for ourselves. In our go-go-go society, we’re always thinking about the next task, how to manage the next crisis, and how to side-step the one after that. We are so busy. In some ways, that’s great – I’m all for living a full life! – but at times, it becomes detrimental to our health and happiness.destress for the holidays

How often do you feel like you’re actually living in the present moment? Not 10 minutes before, not an hour from now, but JUST THIS SECOND? It’s hard to do, isn’t it?

When was the last time you did something to take care of you? Did you find yourself feeling guilty about it?

Our busy lives are often quite downright stressful. Did you know that stress is actually one of the biggest toxins that we fight? Stress finds its way into our daily life far too easily and far too often.

Stress ramps up our adrenal glands’ cortisol production, which over time, can lead to things like weight gain (and stubborn weight loss), chronic fatigue, and immune suppression.

No matter how healthy you pile your plate each day and how many time you hit the gym each week, if you’re experiencing chronic stress and not taking the proper time to de-frazzle yourself, it will be hard to look and feel good. I’ve experienced this firsthand on too many occasions – when my stress levels skyrocket and I “forget about me” – my digestion gets wonky, my body aches all over (you would not believe the knots I get in my back!), my skin breaks out, and I get irritable, especially when it starts affecting my sleep. It’s not fun. My body is essentially calling out to me that it’s experiencing toxic stress overload!

When I finally get the message, I know it’s time to regroup, break out a few more healthy meals designed to naturally cleanse my body, take time to journal, take a nice long soaking bath, and do something special to rejuvenate my body, mind, and spirit.

Enter the holiday season coming up. Talk about stress-central (unfortunately). I know it’s not supposed to be that way, but for many of us, including myself, it often is. It’s coming fast, but now is the perfect time to get a jump-start on them instead, and enter the holiday season stress-free, re-centered, de-frazzled, and feeling downright fabulous in your skinny jeans and new winter top!

Before the winter festivities hit full force, take a moment for you.
Honor your body and slow down.
Learn the tools to GET YOU IN THE GROOVE and GET YOUR BODY FEELING GREAT not only for the holiday season, but FOR LIFE.

You deserve it!

Revitalize Your Body with Clean Eating for 11 Days – NO fasting, NO juice cleansing, NO deprivation. Just lots of whole foods and simple delicious recipes that get you on track! Plus, I’m there to support you every step of the way!

ditch the diet forever and love every bite banner

FLASH 4 DAY SALE STARTS TODAY! JUST $39.95!
GRAB IT BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

Contact me for details (drsarah@holisticshapeup.com), and learn more and sign up here: http://www.holisticshapeup.com/revitalize-your-body-fall-program

Renew & Revitalize Fall Clean Eating Program

Take this moment, right now, to take stock of what might be holding you back when it comes to making positive changes to your lifestyle. Try to journal about your challenges and your obstacles. Get to the bottom of it. This is your opportunity to stop hiding behind your excuses and take action. There was never a better time than now. Enter this holiday season feeling your best ever!

   

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A How-To: Making the Perfect Green Smoothie

“A green smoothie a day keeps the doctor away!” 🙂20131018-195453.jpg

Whenever the topic of green smoothies comes up in conversation (okay, I tend to bring them up a lot..hey, I’m a fan!), I say that they are downright life-changing.

I started slurping “green monsters” back in May, and since then, I have made them into a daily habit, drinking at least one a day. Prior to taking the plunge into green goodness, I had seem them around on the internet, especially from my health coach colleagues and always wondered: Can that really taste good? How does it NOT taste like grass?!

Let me tell you, once you get the combination of ingredients right, they taste simply decadent. I swear.

Add their great taste to the fact that these gems are jam-packed with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals and yield tremendous health benefits, and I wouldn’t doubt that you’ll be making a green smoothie into a daily habit too!

So, what makes green smoothies so great anyway? Well, they are:

  • like liquid nutrition for your cells – because the cell walls of the greens are broken down by the action of the blender, the nutrients are more easily digested and assimilated into the body
  • fiber-rich, unlike juices where all the fiber/pulp is removed. Fiber helps keep your system “moving along,” keeps you fuller longer, stabilizes blood sugar spikes, and helps bind cholesterol and remove it from the body
  • an immune boost! With so many antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients from the veggies, fruit, and “extras” you can add (see examples below), a green smoothie like a gigantic multivitamin for your body.
  • a great “pick me up”: due to all the nutrients you’re consuming and the easily-digestible nature of green drinks (did you know that the act of digestion takes up the majority of our energy throughout the day?!), you’ll get a burst of energy that lasts.
  • they make you more VIBRANT from the inside out: you skin, your hair, your digestive system, and your mood..all due to that lovely liquid gold (or should I say green?)
  • a great alternative to salads, which for me, can get dull. So many leafy greens go into my smoothies that they contain more than my typical salad!
  • super detoxifying and cleansing for the body: our bodies build up a lot of toxins on a daily basis, even when we’re eating well (see my post on toxicity), but the healthy punch of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and chlorophyll in green smoothies helps to neutralize and get rid of that built up gunk that’s just bogging down your health, your weight loss, and your mood.
  • incredibly versatile, as you’ll see below, so you can mix up and switch up ingredients to your taste (I even have a great one for chocolate lovers!)
  • perfect for on-the-go! Just stick it in a travel cup, a mason jar with a lid, or whatever you have on hand, and take it with you. You can even make them ahead of time (but stick it in the freezer to save the optimum nutritional quality) and just grab it as you head out the door in the morning. Super portable!

Now, let’s talk about how to make the perfect green smoothie..

BLEND IT UP, BABY!

Tools you need:

  • a blender (I’m even using my great-grandmother’s ancient blender, so believe me when I say you do not need a Vitamix to make smoothies)
  • measuring cups and spoons; hands work just fine for measuring greens and fruit too
  • a glass
  • a rubber spatula (to scrape the blender sides, if necessary)
  • a straw for sipping, if that’s how you like to roll

The goods:

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  1. Step 1: Greens and Liquid
    2-3 cups/handfuls of organic greens (switch them up periodically so you get a wide variety of nutrients)
    1 cup “milk”: almond, coconut, hemp, rice, etc. Coconut water works here too!
    other veggies: cucumber, celery, etc.
    herbs: parsley, cilantro
  2. Step 2: Blend (blending the mylk and greens first will decrease chunkiness, especially if you have sub-par blender)
  3. Step 3: Everything Else
    fruit: 1/2-1 frozen banana, 3/4 cup frozen mango or pineapple (these fruits really help cut through the “green” taste)
    protein: 1 scoop protein powder of choice (I like Perfect Fit because it’s raw, organic, non-GMO, vegan, and sprouted brown rice protein…and it tastes amazing!); 1-2 tbsp. soaked nuts or seeds (I like chia or ground flax)
    Extras:
    – 1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries, peaches, grapes etc.
    – 1/2 avocado (for an extra creamy texture and good fats)
    – 1 tbsp coconut oil or unsweetened coconut flakes (for healthy fats and staying power)
    – dried fruit, such as: gogi berries or cherries
    – superfood powders like: raw cacao, maca root, spirulina
    – pumpkin puree
    – spices, such as: cinnamon, cayenne, nutmeg, ginger
    – ice 
  4. Step 4: Blend
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  5. Step 5: Pour, “chew,” and enjoy!
    * It’s important to sip, not chug, your green drink, for best digestion. Also, try to “chew” your smoothie because digestion begins with the activation of saliva in the mouth.
    *If the smoothie isn’t cold enough for your liking, just throw it in the freezer for a few minutes as you clean up the blender!

Here’s a recipe card of one of my favorite green smoothies ever. I especially love it post-workout since it has a great amount of protein (15g) for optimal muscle recovery. Save the image on your computer or print it out if you’d like!

Want to know more about eating healthy foods that actually taste good and make you feel awesome?!
Check out my Fall Clean Eating Program and join me on an 11-day journey to totally transform the way your think about fueling your body.
http://www.holisticshapeup.com/revitalize-your-body-fall-program 20130913-105229.jpg

It’s time to invest in you!
Grab my 11-Day signature Fall Program to reboot your body and revitalize your health!

I have a early bird special running now for just $49.95 (a $20 savings!) until Wednesday October 23rd! Get it now! 

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How to Ditch the Diet & Get Healthy for Life

Status

I’m really not a fan of fad diets. Sure, they’re interesting, and they may work to de-bloat and lose some weight fast, but I’m more about making healthy eating and obtaining a healthy weight into a routine that can last, into a lifestyle.

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I AM a big fan of eating. And eating real, whole foods, not packaged meals, meal replacement bars and shakes, or getting a lot of my nutrients from supplements. It’s just not my thing. I like to cook (in simple, quick, and/or low-maintenance ways). As silly as it may sound, I like to chew. I like to eat things that taste good. I think there are probably a lot of people out there that can agree. So, when I began my journey into healthy eating and healthy living, I knew that in order to make changes last, I had to be able to cook, chew, and eat. A lot.

And I can tell you, I wasn’t giving up chocolate either. or coffee.

Now that I’m spreading the message that “healthy is a way of life” to my family, friends, and clients, I’ve come up with 6 steps to get out of that yo-yo diet mode for good and grab onto a life full of healthy nourishment (and without deprivation) with both hands.

  1. Understand where you are right now and start from there. Don’t think about what everyone else is doing or compare yourself to them. You are on your own journey. Every person is unique, at a different place in life, under a different set of circumstances, and has different needs and goals for their body, their health, and their life. Find YOUR place here and now. Don’t dwell on the past. Start anew today.
  2. Follow the 80/20 rule. Who likes deprivation and denial? To feel guilty for eating the huge piece of birthday cake at your friend’s party? Not me. Besides, denying yourself is not a healthy habit, and it is rarely sustainable to be on a diet that says you “can’t eat this or that” – doesn’t that just make you want it more?
    This is where the 80/20 rule comes in: make sure about 80% of your diet each day/week is filled with wholesome, nutritiously dense choices, and then you have about 20% for wiggle room, that piece of pizza (or two )on Friday night, or that holiday cookie baking day when you decide to taste-test each batch, etc. No need for guilt. That’s not “failure.” It’s all good. Just focus on getting at least 80% of the good stuff each day.
  3. Learn to be a prepper. Yes, buying fresh produce, whole grains, and fresh meats usually means more work when compared to piling your freezer and pantry full of quickly-prepared packaged foods.
    My solution: prep ahead. When you come home from the grocery store, wash and cut up all of your produce so it’s ready to go when it’s time to whip up a quick stir-fry or to grab for lunch or a snack with some hummus or other dip. If the food’s cut up and waiting right there in the fridge for you, it’s much harder to ignore. Also, try to cook once, and eat twice (or three, or four times!): for example, cook a big batch of a whole grain on the weekend, and use it throughout the week for any meal. Grains will usually hold up in the fridge for at least a week.
  4. Get support. Tell your family and friends about what you’re doing and the goals you have. This not only helps to hold you accountable, but it can also help to create a support network for you on your journey to reach your goals.
  5. Love yourself up. Remember, slip-ups happen. We all have bad days, week, or even months. Life happens, but it’s all okay. This is about a lifelong change, not a quick fix. Always take time to take stock of just how far you’ve come. And keep going.
  6. Get direction and have a plan to get you going.When I first started changing my diet to become vegetarian, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I became the stereotypical junk-food-college-vegetarian real fast, and my health suffered. I had no direction, no real knowledge about going vegetarian, and no plan. Looking back, I realize how naive I was, but hey, I was 18, and I’m just glad I caught and changed my unhealthy pasta-tarian ways when I did. You really do need to be informed. There is so much misinformation out there, and it’s hard to cut through the junk. Read up, ask professionals, talk with others dealing with similar concerns or who are interested in adopting a healthy lifestyle too. Make sure to always talk with your doctor about any changes you are thinking about making.

Are you ready to the jump into a healthier lifestyle?

  • 20131010-111749.jpgDo you want to learn which foods are right for your unique body?
  • Do you need direction and support to get you going in the right direction?
  • Do you want to learn how to make changes that last a lifetime?
  • Do you want to slim down and feel better than ever this holiday season and be that one that everyone asks “WOW, WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING?! You look fantastic!”?

Yes. You are so ready.
Jump over to: http://sarah-schott.healthcoach1.integrativenutrition.com/revitalize-your-body-fall-program
and check out my 11-Day Fall Revitalize Your Body Program

spiralized zucchini pasta with red pepper sauce

**
+ Get the limited time special price of: $49.95 before October 23!
+ Grab a friend (yay buddy system!) and save an additional 10% total!

Click here for more information and to start your transformation: Revitalize Your Body Fall Program

What is YOUR Happy? Plus, My 5 Tips to Get Happy Now

“There is no path to happiness. Happiness IS the path.”

Gautama Buddha
~~~~

When was the last time you took a minute to really think about what makes you happy?

For me, the past two years included a lot of time spent contemplating life and happiness, as I began making my decision to stray from the traditional path most doctors take after medical school and instead build my own path to create a career that I want and that reflects who I am and what I love.

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So far, it’s been a scary but exciting process trying to knock down all the weeds, briers, (and even a few trees) that exist just off the smooth, paved road to residency and beyond (not that residency is easy by any means – believe me- my fiance is a first year resident! Nonetheless, it is a fairly well-laid out, step-by-step process). At times, I’ve even gotten really stuck, pricked, and down-trodden; however, I recently realized that those times tend to occur during a single mindset: when I lose sight of “my happy” – the picture of what I really want for my self and my life.

It’s so easy for us to get caught up in our day-to-day lives and just keep going with the flow, without much thought beyond what needs to get done and how much there is to do, that we forget to take care of ourselves in the process. However, if you never even make time for you, you certainly won’t be taking time to assess your goals, path, or happiness –> which is crucial to your health, well-being..and well, your happiness!

Along with getting caught up in the whirlwind of everyday life, it can sometimes be difficult to separate society’s version of happiness and what your life “should” be like from what you, at your heart and soul, truly desire. Society tends to project this image of happiness that is full of:

  • enormous wealth
  • unattainable beauty and body size
  • lots of expensive stuff
  • fame and attention and ego
  • power, and
  • often as having one talent or passion that basically defines you

Although I’ve gotten much better at recognizing when lose sight of adequate self-care and what I want vs. what society says I should want, it’s still quite easy to fall into that trap. This is one reason why I feel it’s very important for each of us to contemplate our own answers to questions like:

  • who am I?
  • what is my truth?
  • what is my version of success?
  • and what is my happy?

You need to define happiness on your own terms.

And while it’s vital to work towards your goals and toward future happiness, we still need be happy today. This is a lesson I’ve learned through the process of my education – on the pre-med and med-school treadmill, it became second nature to just keep my head down and worry about whatever came next, thinking happiness (and actually living) should just be deferred until I reached the end. Big mistake. I feel like I missed out on a lot of my early-mid-20’s. Besides, how do we know if we have tomorrow, much less years down the road? We each need to cultivate happiness now, in addition to working toward a smiling, content future.

Happiness has been said to be the key to life.

20130926-155756.jpg Here are five steps I’ve incorporated to find MY happy and cultivate it in my life each day:

  1. Write a “My Happiness Note” – take an active, participant role in your happiness. Take 10-20 minutes and write out the core things that make you happy and that you need (and even what you want to be able to say you did/lived for when you reach your later years).
    Mine include: constant world travel; a solid, close family life; a flexible daily/weekly career & routine to allow for my many (and always evolving) passions; a need for daily self-improvement…and helping others to do the same; and adequate financial security to allow me to help provide for family, get quality food, a decent roof over my head, healthcare and other essentials (like paying the essential bills), and to let me travel and see the globe.
    You can also include other things like activities or hobbies that make you feel good – for example, I know I need to make time each week for exercise and to relax by myself in order for me to stay sane and centered.
  2. Accept yourself, in all your flaws and amazing-ness. You are who you are meant to be and where you are meant to be in this moment. Stop thinking you “should be further” than you are. Tell yourself that you are enough (because you are).
  3. Ask a question. When you’re struggling to make a big decision or with not having something you want, ask yourself: Will getting that thing (or saying yes/no to that decision) make me happy? Then ask yourself: Can I be happy if I don’t achieve/do/have that?
  4. Practice gratitude. You will be happier. By focusing on bringing a sense of gratitude into my life each day, I realize just how much there is to be thankful for. Try keeping a gratitude journal – I like to keep mine by my bed and write down a few things I’m grateful for each day before I go to sleep.
  5. Share it. Others want to see you happy and will actually feed off of it. Have you ever noticed how much happier you become when you hang around others who are joyful and smiling? It’s probably the best thing that’s contagious.

So, as we begin to fully transition into autumn, now is a great time to reflect on the seasons past and assess where we are now. Take some time for you this weekend to get yourself feeling refreshed, light, and grinning from ear to ear. You deserve it.

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What is YOUR happy? Do you have any tips to cultivating a greater sense of happiness in your life? Share below!

Are Toxins to Blame for Your __(Insert Health Concern Here)_?

The unfortunate news? We’re all a little bit toxic.

Toxins in Personal Care Items.
(Image source: taramillernutrition.com)

Each one of us has varying levels of toxicity in our bodies. We live in a world surrounded by things in the environment that are “poisonous” and harmful to our health – pollutants in the air, water, and soil; pesticides on our food; some ingredients actually IN our food; chemicals in our personal care products; and certain molecules in our some of our plastics and cookware.

We all know this, but did you know that these kinds of toxins (and their buildup in our bodies) are not only linked to allergies, headaches, and stomach aches, but also much more serious illnesses, like:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • cancers
  • fertility issues
  • nervous system disorders

as well as more ubiquitous signs, symptoms, and health concerns (many of which surprised me and I didn’t know until fairly recently!), including:

  • early aging
  • blood sugar issues
  • Fibromyalgia
  • brain fog
  • acne and other skin issues
  • hormone imbalances
  • cravings
  • weight gain
  • depression

It’s actually quite shocking how many of the common health complaints seen and experienced today may actually have links to the toxic load in our bodies!

When we absorb toxins from whatever source, they can end up affecting our digestion, metabolism, hormones, and our nervous system! And although we have mechanisms and organs built into our bodies to naturally take care of toxins for us (like I discussed in my previous post), our liver, lungs, and kidneys often become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of toxicity that makes its way into our system today. Once these natural detoxers get overloaded, toxins build up, get backed up, they can get pushed throughout the body; this then leads to things like weight gain, skin eruptions, gut issues, and various other health issues like those mentioned above.

Did you know that one of the body’s natural protective measures for toxin exposure is to store them inside adipose (fat) cells in order to keep them away from our vital organs? Unless we give the body a way to adequately get rid of that toxic waste, our bodies are not willing to let go of those fat cells (2)!
Talk about some stubborn pounds!

So, what can we do about it?
I’ve personally struggled with fully answering this question (and even with feeling I have little control of what toxins are getting into my body) – it’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible, in my opinion, for most of us to truly limit our exposure to toxins down to zero. However, I am trying to do what I can, and there are numerous things each one of us is able do to decrease the toxic burden we place on our bodies each day. Here are some of my tips to combat your toxic exposure today:

6 Simple Steps You Can Take TODAY to Decrease Your Toxicity

  1. Switch up your cooking and food storage containers – get rid of any scratched Teflon pans and purchase stainless steel, glass, or ceramic cookware when you can; switch to BPA-free reuseable water bottles and plastics. Also vow to never heat up your plastic containers of leftovers in the microwave again.
  2. Sweat it out – exercising helps rid your body of toxins! Just another reason to get your sweat on every day!20130917-123151.jpg
  3. Get off the sugar – sugar has been labeled by many in the health community as a toxin in and of itself – it wrecks havoc on our blood sugar and can lead to diabetes, weight gain, and digestive issues.
  4. Stay clear of the center aisles (and pick your produce right) – processed foods, often found in the middle of the supermarket, usually contain chemical-laden, fake, manufactured ingredients that harm our health. It’s best to limit these “foods” from our diets as much as we can and stick to foods naturally found in nature. I like the adage “if your great grandmother didn’t recognize it as food, don’t eat it.”

    With regard to pesticide exposure and buying organic produce, if your budget is tight but you still want to reap the most benefits you can by buying some organic fruits and vegetables, try to stick to the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists – I’ve found that printing out this image and keeping it in my purse helps me to remember which items are much better for me to buy organic and which are okay to eat conventionally grown (because of the way they are grown and/or how they metabolize toxins, the items on the Clean 15 generally don’t concentrate too many toxins).

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    COOLA: A safer alternative to some common personal care products.

  5. Go natural, beauty! – opt for more natural beauty and personal care products that don’t contain ingredients like parabans, PEGs, sodium laureth (and lauryl) sulphate, petrolatum, coal-tar dyes, BHA, BHT, DEAs, dibutyl phthalate, perfume, siloxanes, triclosan, etc. These chemicals are suspected or have been shown in studies to either cause cancer, function as endocrine disrupters or reproductive toxins, and/or contain heavy metals (1). Since your skin is your largest organ and can absorb a lot of what you put on it, I’m working on transitioning all of my cosmetic, personal hygiene, and house cleaning products to natural versions of the standard conventional brands.

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    I love Lunette! A safe alternative to feminine hygiene products.

  6. Detox safely – a good detox helps support your body’s natural detox and cleansing processes, reduces inflammation, and decreases the toxic load in the body. It does so gradually, so as to decrease a lot of those negative detox feelings (like headaches and fatigue) that arise as toxic waste is being loosened up in the body. By detoxing, we reduce the sugar addiction and work to “crowd out” foods that don’t serve us or enhance our health and well-being. By detoxing and removing toxicity, you can more easily:
+ Lose stubborn weight
+ Have more energy
+ Kicking cravings to the curb
+ Boost focus and productivity
+ Have clearer, younger-looking skin
+ Improve digestion and nutrient assimilation
+ Increase immunity
+ Balance hormones 

Apple in Hand

“ Toxins from food and the environment can make you fat. Toxins may come in the form of medication, bacteria, industrial chemicals, and heavy metals such as mercury. These pollutants can damage or block the signals that control your appetite. You can detoxify your body with the right balance of protein, fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phyto-nutrients found in plant foods.”  – Dr Mark Hyman

For more information (PLUS THE TOOLS YOU NEED!) on how you can reduce your toxic burden to help you: improve your sleep, boost your mood, pump up your energy and your digestion, jumpstart your metabolism, and completely recharge your body…

Check out my 11-Day Revitalize Your Body Fall Detoxsquash pic

You will learn how to eat to naturally fuel your unique body

You will gain the tools needed to feel refreshed, lighter, and more energized

You will be eating meals filled with scrumptious whole foods created specially by a chef to leave you feeling satisfied and nourished  (and never hungry)

The program is easily adapted to your unique dietary needs (paleo, vegan, grain-free, vegetarian, etc.) and is allergy friendly and gluten-free.

 

Click here to find out more: http://sarah-schott.healthcoach1.integrativenutrition.com/revitalize-your-body-fall-program
& take advantage of A SPECIAL LIMITED TIME PRICE – a savings of almost $120!
to see how you can get yourself REVITALIZED in just 11 days!

___
References:
1. Colquhoun, James and Laurentine Ten Bosch. Hungry For Change. Harper One. 2012. pg 86-7.
2. Snyder, Kimberly. Beauty Detox Solution. Harlequin. 2011. pg 5-6.