This post is going to be a departure for me. As of late, as you may have noticed, I have been writing mostly about the “inner work” as opposed to the external “how to’s” when it comes to creating change in our health and our lives because that is the work I’m most drawn to at this point (and what I see to be most helpful for my clients). In my posts, I try to share my own struggles, challenges and realizations with vulnerability and I believe sharing our own human experience and knowing we are not alone in one of the biggest catalysts for creating BIG and beautiful change in our lives.
But hey! That doesn’t mean that it can’t be helpful to have some awesome tools and products to support the creation of change in our lives. So, I thought this week, it would just SHARE some of my favorite mind, body and soul products and resources that allow both my clients and myself to simplify and enrich our lives, all while feeling more knowledgeable and empowered. For my men out there, most of this will be helpful but there are a couple of products more focused toward women (so think about them for the women in your life), but a lot of these will apply to you too!
- Mark Fisher Fitness (for a Killer Workout & Big Heart Expansion)
All of my clients know that I am obsessed with this boutique gym with locations in midtown and lower Manhattan, and now that I am stationed outside of D.C., I miss them terribly. Imagine all the theater needs and misfits from high school getting together and achieving all their health and hotness dreams, swinging kettlebells, while 90’s music plays, glitter reigns from above, and a speedo and cape wearing trainer inspires the heck out of you. They call it the ninja clubhouse of glory and dreams and it is a truly magical place. While the emphasis is initially on fitness, it is really all about living your best life, so there are also tons of workshops on topics ranging from creating the business of your dreams to time management. They have a “Snatched in Six Weeks” program that many of my health coaching clients have gone through–creating major mind and body transformation in around a month and a half, all while having the time of their lives. I will be writing another post soon on why I recommend this place so highly but hopefully that was enough to get you to look them up.
Now I know everyone doesn’t live in New York, and MFF is coming out with more and more online programming. Right now, they have My Broadway Body (geared specifically toward performers but amazing for anyone) and Mark Fisher (the franchise himself) can lead you through various strength building weekly workouts while making you laugh for a super reasonable monthly cost (between $25-$30/month). If you can’t get in on the magic in person, this is a great place to start. This is also great if you are on the road a lot.
MFF is where I discovered my inner athlete and she is a bad-ass. I also fell in love with everyone who works out there and many became dear friends so this place holds a VERY special place in my heart. Check them out at www.markfisherfitness.com.
2. Platejoy (for Meal Planning Bliss)
Everyone knows that cooking and prepping our own food is awesome for our health, our waistlines and our wallets but meal planning can be a big headache for a lot of my clients. It can feel super overwhelming, it can be hard to get out of the rut with our regular go-to’s, and a lot of food can go to waste as we figure it out.
While Platejoy can’t help you set up HOW you food prep (if and when you choose to shop and prep), it does take a lot of the leg work out. You can choose the type of dietary plan you would like to follow. I usually choose Paleo (not because I follow that diet strictly) but because the recipes usually have a great balance of protein, healthy fats and high-energy carbs (like veggies, veggie starches and fruits) as opposed to refined carbs (like pastas or flour-based products) which can spike blood sugar. There are also vegan and gluten free options and you can specify based on food allergies, sensitivities and preferences. Then you will receive a custom made weekly meal plan WITH a grocery list. The kicker is that they maximize each ingredient (they are often in multiple recipes) so you don’t over-buy and have the food go bad in your fridge.
Last time I checked, the service was $14/month but it may have gone up slightly since then. Even so, amazing value to have the headache taken out of food prep and the recipes are SUPER simple and easy to make (most under 10-20 minutes) and this is a cheaper option than pre-prepped meal delivery. www.platejoy.com.
3. Sunbasket (for Pre-Prepped Meal Delivery)
There are so many pre-prepped meal delivery services out there and it can be really confusing. The goal here is to make your OWN food prep essentially effortless with everything but the actual act of cooking taken care of for you, and these services are growing more and more in popularity every day. Many people will choose the cheapest option first and I certainly tried a few. I found them all to be delicious but I was frustrated by the lack of dietary choices before trying Sunbasket. With Sunbasket, you can not only choose vegetarian, or gluten-free but there is also a Paleo option (which again, I love because they aren’t wasting space with refined carbs). When I ordered Blue Apron and Plated, I found the servings of protein and veggies to be rather small and larger portions of fillers like grains, pastas and potatoes (that didn’t have the same nutritional power pack) taking up a lot of space. With Sunbasket, I felt great because I knew the food was organic (which is particularly important to me with meat, eggs, and produce) and while it was slightly more expensive that the others, I felt like I was getting my money’s worth with the portion sizes of meat and veggies, where I didn’t with Blue Apron or Plated. Both my husband and I were super impressed with the recipes and loved how it got us out of our comfort zones and trying new flavors. www.sunbasket.com.
4. Thrive Market (For Non-Perishable Organic Food)
This site is committed to making healthier, non-GMO foods cheaper and therefore more accessible to everyone. The site focuses specifically on non-perishable foods (you won’t see any spinach on the site), bath and body products, even pet food. From MCT oil to nut butters, to snack bars, ghee, bone broth, grain-free granola and quinoa pasta–you will be able to buy your non-perishable staples and out of the box products (that you may not find at your standard grocery store) at a cheaper cost than Whole Foods or the health food store. I find this a great place to purchase things like snack bars and your pantry staples and they seem to have a running deal where you get 20% your first three orders and they deliver straight to your door. Click here to check them out.
5. Think Dirty App (For Cleaner Self-Care Products)
A client recommended this to ME actually a few years ago, and I use it all the time.
Although I had dallied with letting go of toxic self-care products for years, I wasn’t fully on the band wagon until I became pregnant with my first child and it was recommended by my OB to avoid products that contained certain chemicals. I thought “if it is not okay for my baby, it shouldn’t be okay for me.” Since then, pregnant or not, I have really committed to cleaner self-care products. If I’m going to put special effort into what I’m putting in my body, then taking care of what goes on my skin (my largest organ) is also important as it absorbs everything we put on it into our bloodstream.
With the Think Dirty app, you can go to a store and scan the barcode of any self-care item and it will let you know on a scale of 1-10 how “dirty” that product is and will also tell you why and give you recommendations for safer brands and choices. I have scanned products that were marketed as natural that wound up being a 10 on the dirty scale because they contained synthetic fragrance (hormonally disruptive), so I have found this very helpful. This way, I don’t have to remember why all the scientific sounding chemicals are harmful necessarily. I have something identifying it and letting me know it is present and helping me to make a new choice. I dig that.
6. Erin’s Faces Micellar Water (for Makeup Removal/Post-Gym Clean Off)
I have been using Erin’s Faces makeup for years as it is natural, vegan and cruelty free. All of her stuff will rate pretty low on the “Think Dirty” app. Erin is a friend of mine and after years as a makeup artist and in the beauty business, she started to create her own product line. The makeup is absolutely gorgeous (I can attest) and super reasonably priced (which can be hard to find for natural, non-toxic products). She also has a deet-free mosquito repellant that just got a shout out in Marie Claire magazine and healthy sunscreens. I am a special fan of her micellar water because it can be hard to find makeup remover that doesn’t have mineral oil or toxic elements. It cleans the skin as well, so it is awesome to use right after the gym when I feel gross and sweaty. Check her out at www.erinsfaces.com.
7. LuLu Lemon Tracker Short IV
My dear friend got me a pair of these shorts and I am completely obsessed, so I bought a couple more. This is my first ever LuLu Lemon buy and I was really excited about them. They are the workout shorts I have always been looking for! They are super comfortable, no draw string, wick away moisture and their cut is flattering and slimming to the leg. I bought them when pregnant so got them a couple sizes bigger than I normally wear and they still fit perfectly right up until the end (right under my belly). This is awesome because it was next to impossible to find “pregnancy” workout shorts that were high quality, and I know I will also be able to wear them postpartum as my body recovers. Buying an extra pair was worth the $58 as I wear them a lot. So, whether you are pregnant or not or even female or not, I highly recommend checking LuLu Lemon out for their workout shorts.
8. Knix Wear 8 in 1 Revolution Bra
I ordered this bra when my regular bras became uncomfortable during pregnancy due to rapidly growing breasts (a fun little side effect of pregnancy). I needed something that didn’t have an underwire (it has naturally molded cups), was comfortable and flattering. I was over the moon when this bra arrived, which is double-sided (for more color options), moisture wicking, anti-odor, anti-microbial and can transition from workouts to work easily. The straps are removable and adjustable so you can wear it eight different ways, and it is super easy to breastfeed with. I will absolutely continue to wear it beyond my pregnancy (although I may be ordering it in a smaller size then). I am obsessed. Check it out here.
9. The Real Grocery Book (To Cut the Grocery Store Confusion)
Back in the day, when living in NYC, I would give store tours of Whole Foods in TriBeca to help people cut the confusion and overwhelm and learn how to navigate the grocery store with ease; what to focus on, what to look for, what to avoid and why, and my clients loved them. Sometimes they would go twice! Now that my program offerings are shifting and changing, I came across another book by a fellow health coach, Maria Marlowe and plan to give it to all my future health coaching clients. She breaks it ALL down so you can feel more confident at the grocery store and understand how to make the high leverage decisions for yourself, even with a limited budget. It has tons of helpful information, so I recommend reading first but then also bringing it with you to the grocery store once you have your bearings. Check it out here.
10. Lily’s Chocolate and NibMor (Low-Sugar & Natural Dark Chocolate)
I am a huge fan of dark chocolate for a treat or satiating a sugar craving, and also encourage my clients to choose 80% cacao, because that means powerful antioxidants are involved, and at that percentage, most brands are naturally vegan. Why is that important for dark chocolate? Because dairy blocks the absorption of those heart healthy antioxidants. I specifically love Lily’s chocolate because it uses Stevia, so it is even lower in sugar than other brands and is still rich and delicious. NiBmor doesn’t use refined sugars (focusing on natural sweeteners like maple syrup) in its chocolate. It is Non-GMO, Organic and Fair-Trade Certified. I specifically love the crispy rice variety. Look for varieties that keep it under 8 grams of sugar per serving. You can find both of these at Whole Foods or online at Amazon.
11. Conversation Starters by Danielle LaPorte App (To Spark Deep Conversation)
This app created by one of my personal idols, Danielle LaPorte is super simple but super impactful. I speculate it could actually be really helpful for dating, to get past the surface level questions and to the deeper conversation that help you determine if someone is right for you. There are over 130 questions in the canon of this app, and you can pick your favorites and save them for future revisiting.. My husband and I have used it when we noticed our conversation tended to focus on the day to day rather than our internal experiences of our day to day and using them has helped us connect on car trips as well (when it is easier just to stare ahead and listen to a podcast). This questions help you unlock and elaborate what is going on underneath the surface, or if you are just getting to know someone, understand them more quickly and cut to the core of what matters to them, while still being fun and without being super intimidating.
12. Flo Living
This is for my ladies out there! As I’m learning more and more about our menstural cycles, the more I am actually in total awe of them, and the more respect I have for what is happening hormonally in our bodies and what is also happening mentally, emotionally and spiritually during the different phases. A lot of times, extreme physical responses like our cravings, water gain, headaches and cramps can be alleviated naturally through diet, self-care, and movement. The problem is, most of us don’t understand how to take care of ourselves optimally through these phases. For instance, if you work out intensely during certain points of your cycle, you are actually working AGAINST your metabolism and weight loss.
The site is created by Alisa Vitti, author of “Woman Code” and her very affordable programs really help women step into alignment with our incredible female bodies from a place of empowerment. You can also use her app to track your symptoms, understand the phase you are in and what to focus on to naturally alleviate unpleasant symptoms by syncing yourself with your cycle instead of working against it. There is POWER in your menstrual cycle and this app and creator teach you how to tap into it. https://www.floliving.com/
13. You Need a Budget (For Budgeting Bad-Assery)
When it comes to finding empowerment with your finances, it will come as no surprise that the deeper work is going to set the foundation for success; looking at beliefs around money, and money mindset, investigating the emotional relationship with money and how we operate with it is crucial. No budgeting software is going to “fix” the deeper (and ofen) complicated relationship with money. However, if you are seeking that support or gaining awareness in that area, tools like YNAB can certainly help support that internal foundation. My husband and I used this around five years ago when we are finally ready to start taking action and getting serious about our finances, and it was KEY in helping us get months ahead in our finances, get super clear on where and how we were spending our resources and starting to have a proactive rather than reactive relationship with every dollar coming in. YNAB links to your bank account to make it very simple, but it is has a learning curve. It took me a couple hours to learn their system and how to use it in a way where I wasn’t just continuing the same patterns I had previously (and judging myself when I went into the red). The whole goal is to get you a month ahead so you can start getting intentional and proactive about where your money is going. There is a yearly membership cost but last I checked, it was only $60. We use YNAB and check in with it now weekly and discuss where we are, where we are spending unconsciously and how to get more strategic with our goals. Ultimately, it has brought my husband and I together in conversation about our finances and with a comprehensive picture of what is happening in reality. S. We have recommended this to almost everyone we know. www.ynab.com.
14. “The Work” App (For Questioning Your Stressful Thoughts)
When working with clients, a big part of our process is starting to peel back how our thought processes and belief systems originated and investigating whether or not they are currently true, or whether we are relying on a whole lot of assumptions and conditioning. This is a huge part of the deep internal work that allows us to believe something new is possible for us, and much of the process I used is based on the work of Byron Katie. She is a best selling author and in my opinion, an incredibly enlightened being, but her approach to questioning our thought process is really remarkably simple and can provide a ton of clarity.
She has an app that helps you follow her simple process of questioning stressful thoughts in your life. Just this morning I had a stressful thought pop up that was really affecting my day, and I used the app to start to process and peel back the layers in a simple way. It is awesome for when you notice you are being triggered and living in a state of anxiety, fear of “negative emotion.”
Before getting the app, for context, it may be really helpful to read her book, Loving What Is so you can understand why the questions can be so helpful.
Additionally, I always recommend when you are triggered by someone or a situation to let your body process it before hopping on the app. Notice what you are feeling, and allow your body to move through it before trying to process it cerebrally. That is the only way to start to let it go. After you have fully felt it, however, and you feel it starting to dissipate, hopping on the app for five minutes can help you process what has just happened and gain new perspective. Best $0.99 I have ever spent.
I hope you find this helpful! I will be coming out with these every once in awhile to make sure you have resources supporting you (in addition to insight). Next up…my favorite podcast picks!
Rock On & Be Well,