List of Best Health and Fitness Books


OK so this post has been long awaited.  I have received quite a few requests for how I do my health research and which books and resources are my favorite.

First of all, lets talk about the different resources we all have access to.  I will do a part II to this post to just provide you all of my favorite websites.  There are many websites that provide reliable academic content that I gravitate towards.  The one thing you want to keep in mind when looking at your sources of information is if there is a bias at all.  Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the firestorm of media hype, look for solid unbiased facts.

The resource we will be talking about in this post is books. I have provided links to where you can purchase these books online but I find myself often finding fantastic books at my local library (which I highly recommend because the library is AWESOME) and you can also find them at your local bookstore.


The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises– This book is great, I used it a lot when I was first getting started with my fitness routines.  The pictures descriptions are very clear.  I loved using this book to piece together my own workouts tailored to my individual goals and needs.

Yoga Mat Companion – This is actually a series of books.  They are a little on the pricey side, but if you are looking for an amazing yoga book or series of books than this is the book for you.  I went through quite a few yoga books before I found this one and quite frankly I was by and large unimpressed.  This book has great illustrations and gives you multiple options and modifications to assist you with getting your postures with correct form.

You Are Your Own Gym: The Bible of Bodyweight Exercises– This book was a pleasant surprise. Mark Lauren does a great job providing creative bodyweight exercises to add to your arsenal.  I love to use this book as a reference when creating workouts on the road especially.
The Pilates Body: The Ultimate At-Home Guide to Strengthening, Lengthening, and Toning Your Body–Without Machines– The title says it all. A great reference book for pilates moves, no equipment necessary.


Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook– Fantastic book full of yummy, easy, recipes.  They do have quite a few recipes that include soy products which I steer clear of but I just substitute and modify those recipes to my own liking.

Vegan’s Daily Companion: 365 Days of Inspiration for Cooking, Eating, and Living Compassionately– A delightful little book filled to the brim with information about different foods, daily inspirations, positive thoughts, and recipes.  I LOVE this book.

Your Best Investment: Secrets to a Healthy Body and Mind– First of all, this is not a strictly vegan book (which is good because I know that all of you aren’t vegan and thats perfectly alright).  The nutrition promoted follows the guidelines of Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. The first half of the book provides fantastic academic information relating to food and some of the health challenges that we face as a society today.

The Science of Skinny: Start Understanding Your Body’s Chemistry–and Stop Dieting Forever– I don’t agree with 100% of what is in the book but generally her philosophy aligns with my own.  It is a great step by step guide to get you started.  This book is especially great if you are still looking for more direction on how to get started on your journey.

There are quite a few other books I can recommend in multiple categories and I will add to the list as I get the time to.  I hope this list gets you started.  Let me know if this is helpful for you and if you would like more!


Healthy Plum Compote Oatmeal Recipe

First off, for those of you who do not follow me on instagram, you should! My username is ‘electricfitness’ and I post daily inspiration to keep you going and motivated to be your best self.  Here is a recent before/after picture that I posted that I would like to share.  The weight loss that you see here is a mere side effect of a healthy and happy lifestyle change that everyone can make.  If I could do it, ANYONE can.


One question that I get quite a bit when people are contemplating making their own lifestyle change is “do you ever cheat?” or “don’t you crave bad foods once in a while?” The answer is no and yes.  No I don’t cheat and yes I crave a sweet treat once in a while.  Does this mean that I don’t listen to my body and give it that sweet treat when I am craving one? Absolutely not!! But you can have a sweet treat that is an approved part of your nutrition plan without “cheating”.  Part of making a lifestyle change vs. being on a diet means that when you have cut something out of your nutritional arsenal it is no longer part of what you choose to consume and you now have new creative choices for that sweet treat that are equally as tasty (or better if you ask me) and make you feel GREAT.

This recipe is one of those sweet comfort foods that I will make once in a while when I am craving a treat. It is one of my absolute favorites and I hope you like it too!


Healthy Plum Compote Oatmeal Recipe

What you will need:

  • 1 lb of plums washed, pitted, quartered
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbs raw sugar or honey
  • 1/2 Tbs cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of water

For the oatmeal:

  • 1/2 cup oats (old fashioned or steel cut) cooked per manufacturers directions.
  • Toppings: 1/4 cup coconut or almond milk, 1 tsp cinnamon, sprinkling of coconut flakes, even a sliced banana if you are feeling frisky, why not?

*The plum compote portion of this recipe makes about 6 servings.  I like to use what I need and freeze the rest, this stuff is seriously delicious.


Place the water, lemon, sugar or honey, and cinnamon into a medium saucepan on medium heat.  Bring to a boil. Add the plums and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.

Make oats according to manufacturers directions. Top with coconut or almond milk, 1/4-1/2 cup of plum compote (depending on how much of a sweet treat you want!) and cinnamon/coconut flakes.  Everyone likes their oatmeal differently so sweeten to your own taste (for me the plums make this plenty sweet). ENJOY!


Green Raspberry Lemonade Detox Recipe


photo-7LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS this entire post is dedicated to this superfood that most people overlook for the more popular and hot superfoods on the market like chia or goji etc.  Not to discount these other great foods but sometimes they cause us to overlook the superfoods that may seem more common and less “fancy”.

Read here for the full article listing out a plethora of amazing health benefits that lemons provide, but here are a few of my favorites to get you started.

Lemons help to alkalize the body and detoxify the liver.  Whether you consume alcohol or not on a regular basis, your liver does need a little TLC every once in a while and increasing your intake of lemons is a great way to get you started.

Lemons help to strengthen your blood vessels which is great especially if you tend to have high blood pressure.

Lemons contain 22 cancer fighting compounds and have strong antibacterial properties.

This smoothie is packed with lemon and other amazing ingredients to provide you with all of the benefits that this superfood has to offer.  It is quite tart so if you have an aversion to bitter flavors, you may want to leave out some of the lemon skins that I just love putting in.  That being said, the lemon skin and pith (the white part) contain some of the highest density of nutrients in the whole fruit so if you can, try to leave them in.

I hope you enjoy this yummy treat — your liver and body will thank you!!

Green Raspberry Lemonade Detox Recipe – What you will need:


  • 3 large handfulls of kale or spinach
  • 3 whole lemons (I slice the peel off and chop it up to make the blending process easier)
  • 8 oz water (or green tea)
  • 2 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Stevia , honey, or pitted dates to taste
  • Ice to desired consistency

In a blender (I use this Blendtec I get a lot of questions about that) place your water or green tea, lemons and greens and blend until smooth.  Then place your fruit, ice, and stevia/honey/or dates into the blender and blend until you have your desired consistency.

Enjoy this treat often, it will provide an amazing boost to your day!

Homemade Coconut Oil Conditioner Recipe

photo-5Similar to my recent shampoo recipe post, I also created a custom conditioner recipe to promote strong healthy long hair.

This recipe is a bit different in that it only contains 3-4 ingredients and I throw it together in a single batch right before I jump into the shower.  The reason for this being that because it is simple and doesn’t contain as many natural preservatives as the shampoo does, and therefore I like to ensure that it wont spoil.

I know that when reading beauty recipes I automatically turn off when it is a recipe to be used right away.  Who wants to pull together a recipe before jumping in the shower right? I promise that this recipe doesn’t contain mayonnaise or eggs or avocado.  In fact, you wont even have to open your fridge to throw this together. I have made making this conditioner a habit and it literally takes maybe 2 minutes of my time (and it is totally worth it!)

Lets talk a little bit about the ingredients.  I have gotten quite a few questions about which products I have purchased for the recipe.  I have linked them to amazon below so that you can find them, they are all under 10 dollars and easy to order.  It is absolutely not necessary for you to purchase these exact brands or to purchase them from Amazon, I just wanted to give you the information!

Coconut Oil – what more could be said about this amazing product.  Everyone is gaga over it lately.  Using coconut oil on your hair will fix split ends, and moisturize your hair to the deepest level.  A little does go a long way and through my research I have seen it used in a myriad of ways on hair, as a leave-in treatment, placed straight into your hair as an anti-frizz, you name it.  In this recipe I have diluted the coconut oil reducing the risk of leaving the shower with a greasy mess.  Coconut oil comes in a solid form but easily liquifies at 76 degrees F.

Maracuja, Grapeseed, or Sweet Almond Oil– All three of these lighter oils provide various different vitamins and benefits but the addition they will act as a sealant and lock in the moisture as well as add shine.

Lavender Oil
– Part of having healthy hair is having a healthy handle on stress.  The addition of a lavender oil will help to calm and relax you as you leave your shower.


Combine all ingredients in a small airtight container.  As this recipe will be used right away, you do not need to be quite as strict about sterile manufacturing processes as you do with the shampoo recipe, but still make sure you are using a clean container and filtered water. Home made beauty products are amazing as long as you are mindful about sterilization.

After you are finished shampooing your hair, work this conditioner into your hair focusing on the ends.  I try to steer clear of my scalp completely.

**Please please please play around with the proportions.  Everyone’s hair is different and the coconut oil may feel like it is weighing down your hair to some and may be great for others. If the coconut oil is too much, try replacing it with grapeseed oil which is much lighter. Also, you can try using this conditioner prior to shampooing your hair which will be a great option if you feel as though the conditioner is making your hair appear oily at all.


Homemade Healthy Shampoo Recipe


For the past year I have scoured various beauty salons, shops, supermarkets, and even online in search of a shampoo that provided an ingredient list that was both non-toxic and also promoted healthy strong hair.  Finally, after much research, I decided to come up with my own shampoo/conditioner recipe perfectly designed for me.  I am in LOVE with the result and I hope that you will love this recipe as well.

Don’t let the simplicity of the recipe fool you.  It is a common misconception that our personal hygiene and beauty products require a long list of ingredients in order to be effective.  In fact, the typical long list of ingredients in your shampoo tends to contain toxic and harsh chemicals that will strip the natural oils of your hair.  The simplicity of this recipe will allow the natural oils in your hair to become balanced and your hair will flourish.

Because this is a deviation from the chemical soup we have been slathering in our hair for years, there will be an adjustment period when you make the switch.  Your hair will require time to balance the natural oils that you are no longer stripping with each wash.  For me, this adjustment period was 3-4 days, but I have heard that for some it can take up to 2-3 weeks.  It depends on the individual.

On to the fun stuff, lets talk a little bit about some of the ingredients included in this recipe.

Sweet almond oil – Used in ancient Egypt to promote hair growth (yes please) this lovely oil is affordable and can be used in a myriad of beauty products.  I use it in this recipe to promote hair growth and to make my hair shiny and beautiful!

Avocado Oil – I add a bit of avocado oil to this recipe to moisturize and nourish the hair.  Avocado oil boosts the moisture content of the hair as well as providing vitamins A, E, and D along with minerals such as copper, iron, magnesium, etc.

Peppermint Essential Oil- Helps to normalize the PH balance of your scalp keeping your natural oils in check and stimulates your scalp with tingly goodness promoting hair growth.

Tea Tree Essential Oil- has antibacterial and antiseptic qualities and assists in banishing dandruff (thank you!)

Sandalwood Essential OIl- Has a wonderful smell and moisturizes your hair and scalp.

THE RECIPE – Combine all of the following ingredients in a sterilized airtight container.

  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 1/2 cup unscented castile soap
  • 1 and 1/3 Tbs sweet almond oil
  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint essential oil
  • 1/4 tsp tea tree essential oil
  • 1/8 tsp sandalwood essential oil

If you tend to have an oily hair type, omit the avocado oil and sandalwood and in place of the sandalwood, use lemongrass essential oil.

Lather and tinse as normal.  ENJOY and let me know how it goes!

Pesto Zucchini Noodles


As summer is quickly approaching, I am finding myself less inclined to crave warm foods.  This has presented a unique challenge in attempting to get creative in my cooking beyond the typical salad.  There are many raw foodists out there who are able to come up with creative meals year round, so why couldn’t I?

The best part about this meal is that it wasn’t planned.  I didn’t go to the grocery store with a list, I simply got creative with what was in the fridge.  I could have grilled up the zucchini as I normally do but I wanted to enjoy this dish RAW.  I hope you enjoy this wonderfully clean vegan and raw recipe.  I know that my entire family did (even those who are historically not excited about eating my “super healthy” food).

Raw zucchini provides unadulterated benefits that run the gamut most beautiful green foods provide such as preventing cancer and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol but zucchini is uniquely high in manganese.  Manganese is great for your metabolism, strong bones, and protecting against oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress is a large term that often gets thrown around along with free radicals, but what does that really mean? Free radicals are all around us, pollution, chemicals, etc. its enough to drive one mad.  The good news is that mother nature has provided us a way to fight back, so don’t stress! Whole foods, fruits and vegetables contain anti-oxidants that reduce and counteract the free radicals that we are exposed to on a daily basis.  It is important to make a concerted effort to ensure that our diets are rich in these anti-oxidant dense foods.  Sometimes this takes a bit of creativity and planning, but can be accomplished and with great benefits to you and your family’s health!

Make this lovely delicious recipe that not only your taste buds but also your body will enjoy and thank you for!

What you will need:

– 2 large zucchinis

-2 cups fresh basil

-1/4 cup almonds (raw or dry roasted)

-Juice of 1 lemon

– Salt and pepper to taste

1. Peel the zucchinis into ribbons using either a mandoline or a vegetable peeler. I used a vegetable peeler and it worked great.  Set aside.

2. Place the lemon juice, basil, almonds, and salt & pepper into a blender or food processor and pulse until it is a pesto consistency.

3. Mix the pesto on the zucchini noodles and enjoy on their own or place on top of a bed of romaine for a heartier salad!



The Best Roasted Tomato and Red Onion Soup



Jet lag.  There are few things in this life that I dread more. Perhaps because I travel quite a bit or perhaps my body just responds quite drastically to being thrown in a pressurized cylinder between time zones.  I recently returned from a trip with a four hour time change and I was left feeling tired, sick, and in a major funk.  I equate this to other similar experiences as a cold that you can’t quite kick or a recent life experience draining your energy and affecting your normal fitness and nutrition routines.

In response to this general feeling (feel free to relate this to any experience in your life, we all get into a funk from time to time) I came up with a simple recipe that is both nourishing and possesses stimulating and healing properties to help get you back on track.  Introducing my roasted tomato and red onion soup.

First and foremost, there is a reason that when we are feeling sick or down we crave soup. There is something about a bowl of steaming liquid in your hands, there for your leisurely sipping pleasure with the steam wafting into your face that is very comforting (not to mention the effect of the steam actually does aid in decongestion).

This soup also has a great spicy kick to it which provides a stimulant effect.  This will not only assist you in your efforts to boost your energy levels but it will also begin stimulating your digestion/metabolism which, depending on what got you into your funk, could be thrown off as well.

The garlic in this soup could merit its own blog post altogether.  Garlic has far too many health benefits for me to list all of them here but what appealed to me when writing this recipe was that garlic has a natural antibiotic effect as well as provides a strong support to your immune system.

Last but surely not least, cilantro possesses powerful detoxification compounds. Also, I love that because I would be blending them anyways I was able to use cilantro stems and save the leaves for my other recipes.  I love finding new ways to reduce waste!

So, make yourself a big pot of this soup and drink in the goodness.  Cheers to your health and renewed energy!

You will need:
1 lb of fresh tomatoes (I used smaller tomatoes slightly larger than cherry tomatoes.  This will enhance the roasted flavor)
1 large red onion
7-8 cloves of garlic still in their skins
1-2 Jalapenos (depending on how spicy you like it!)
2 cups of water
1/2 cup cilantro stems roughly chopped
2 14-oz jars (or cans) of diced tomatoes
Juice of 2 limes
3 oz tomato paste
1 cup coconut or nut milk (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Place the tomatoes (sliced in half), red onion (quartered), garlic (still in their skins), and jalapeno on a baking sheet and in a 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes periodically checking on them to ensure they are roasting but not burning! The only ingredient you really must watch closely is the garlic.
2. Remove from the oven and transfer to a soup pot (removing stems from the jalapenos and the skins from the garlic) along with 2 cups of water, 1 jar/can of diced tomatoes(with juice), tomato paste, cilantro stems, and the juice of the limes.  Season with salt/pepper and place on stovetop on medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Blend soup in either a standing blender (in batches) or with an immersion blender until the soup is smooth.  Return the blended soup to the soup pot and add the second jar/can of diced tomatoes and the coconut milk.  Season with salt and pepper to taste again and place over medium heat.  Simmer for 30 minutes.

Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding



I have been seeing “Chia Pudding” popping up all over the place recently.  I have not had much of a desire to try the concoction until a great friend of mine recently sent me a recipe for a tropical chia pudding.  In honor of her I wanted to come up with a new and different recipe to add to her arsenal.

First of all, lets go into what “Chia Pudding” consists of.  Chia seeds are a small round seed that have been touted all over the place as a new superfood.  The truth of the matter is that Chia has been a superfood for a very very long time. The Aztecs and the Mayans used the chia plant as an energy booster.  Chia is rich in antioxidants and omega 3s!  There have been studies regarding the seeds ability to act as an appetite suppressant, however, these studies are inconclusive and let’s be honest, there is no magical weight loss pill or fix just good nutrition and a lot of moving that body!  Regardless, chia is nutritious and a good addition to your arsenal and this recipe is the perfect way to begin incorporating it into your diet.

It is no secret that I love chocolate.  Raw cacao is one of the most antioxidant rich foods you can find! Check out my recipe for health chocolate for more information on the benefits of raw cacao.  So, when coming up with a recipe for chia pudding I decided my best bet was to combine these two antioxidant powerhouses into  a chocolate coconut chia pudding that will absolutely knock your socks off.

The trick to chia pudding is to make it the night before and leave it in the fridge in a sealed container (I use a mason jar) overnight.  Chia seeds posses the ability to absorb almost 10x the liquid of their original size! When left in liquid overnight the liquid takes on a gelatinous consistency similar to a pudding that is delightful.

What you will need:
2 Tbs Chia Seeds.
2 Tbs Raw Cacao.
1/4 Tsp Cinnamon.
1 1/2 Cups Unsweetened Coconut Milk (or Almond Mik).
Stevia or Honey to taste.
Sprinkle of unsweetened coconut flakes.

Place all ingredients in a mason jar and seal the lid on the jar tightly. Shake shake shake until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Place in the fridge and wait ten minutes, shake the jar again to avoid any clumping of the chia seeds. Leave in the fridge overnight and wake up to an amazing surprise!

I topped my chia pudding with a sprinkle of coconut flakes but you can top yours with just about anything (banana slices also sounds yummy to me)
This will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days and the recipe technically makes 2 servings but… I typically eat the whole thing.

6 Workout Moves to Add to your Next Hike


In each of our journey’s to optimal health and wellness a large part of the equation is our fitness routine.  This routine will differ with each person but there are consistent principles that we should try to adhere to in order to be successful.  One such principle is to make a conscious effort to mix up your routine once in a while. We all have our favorite workouts, but when we add in a workout not consistently in our routine we shock our bodies and allow ourselves to cross barriers and get past that dreaded plateau! Whether you add in a swim, hike, cross country skiing, 200 burpees, it doesn’t matter as long as it is an activity that you know will shake things up a bit.

One great opportunity we have to shake things up a bit is at the changing of the seasons. During the summer, you may hike every weekend but you aren’t trudging through the snow regularly during the winter! In honor of the impending first day of spring (less than a month away), I have put together a workout that will shock that booty right into spring. By combining an activity not regularly performed during the winter months (unless you live in CA/AZ/TX etc.) with a few high intensity plyometrics, this workout is a perfect way to reign in the warmer months.
Hiking is a fantastic workout.  While some view this activity as simply walking uphill, it is so much more.  Granted the intensity of the workout will vary greatly depending on which trail you choose, but hiking has the potential to torch fat and have you utilizing muscles rarely used in other activities.
Choose the right trail for you: assess your current fitness levels and abilities.  Choose a safe trail that matches your abilities and preferences.  The trail I hiked in this workout is called the Aiea Loop in Hawaii, it was 4.8 miles long over rough terrain, giving me the opportunity to shock those muscles climbing under/over trees.
Here is a site you can use to help you locate a trail to hike in your area:
Prepare and be SAFE: It is important to be prepared. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and provisions in case of an emergency.  Make sure that you are not hiking alone and also be sure to let a third party know where and when you will be hiking as well as when to expect you to return. This is important so that in case there is an emergency  there is someone who will alert the appropriate people and will know exactly where to tell them you are located.
Drink in the Outdoors: There are many health benefits to spending time outdoors, drinking in the fresh air.  The natural surroundings can lower stress levels, provide quiet reflection, and reconnect you to nature.  Take advantage of these benefits, maybe even leave your music behind and let the birds sing your way through the hike.
Once you have your destination in mind, map out your workout.  This workout includes six basic moves that will boost your heart rate and help build muscle along your hike. When I say map out your workout, I mean choose at which intervals during your hike you will stop to complete each workout move.  This can be a time interval, like every ten minutes, or a distance interval like every quarter mile (this option usually works best if the distance is clearly marked on the trail).  I chose to stop every 15-20 minutes since the trail I was hiking was fairly long and strenuous.
Move 1: Lunges
Complete 50 lunges each leg.  Find a fairly flat and even piece of ground and make sure that you are not bending your front knee over your ankle.  Make sure to lunge deep with your back knee only about two inches off of the ground.  Increase the intensity by placing your hands on your head or, as pictured, finding a long stick to challenge your balance.
Move 2: Bear Hug Pull-Ups
Complete as many reps as possible.  Find a strong and sturdy tree branch that is a hight in which you can reach up and “hug” the branch as pictured.  Perform as many pull ups as possible.  As a modification, find a lower hanging branch and utilize the ground to assist you in pulling yourself up.  This move is great for your back muscles and your biceps.IMG_2235
Move 3: Tricep Dips
Complete 50 reps.  Find a sturdy rock or tree root that is about 1-2 feet above the ground.  Begin in a seated position with the palms of your hands on the rock or tree root, fingers facing you and elbows straight.  Bend your elbows straight back, lowering yourself until your are almost touching the ground and then straighten your elbows back to start.IMG_2229IMG_2925
Move 4: Step-ups
Complete 50 reps each leg.  Find a rock or portion of the trail in which there is a difficult step up that you can safely repeat the step up for each leg in turn.  When you reach the top of your step up intensify the move by squeezing your glutes and intensify the move even further by challenging your balance once again utilizing the stick as pictured.
Move 5: Elevated diamond push-ups
Complete 50 Reps.  Find a tree branch or rock that is about 3 feet off of the ground.  Place your hands close together with your elbows straight and your body straight with your feet on the ground in an elevated plank position. Bend your elbows and lower your body until your nose is almost touching your hands.
Move 6: Calf Raises
Complete 50 reps, or as many reps as possible.  Find a tree root or flat rock a few inches off of the ground.  Place your toes on the rock or root with your heels hanging off of the back.  Raise your heels until you are on your tipi-toes then lower and repeat.IMG_2251IMG_2250
That’s it! Remember to stay hydrated and most importantly to have fun.

Perfect Brussel Sprouts


I am in LOVE with this Brussel sprouts recipe. Both my husband and I have historically hated Brussel sprouts but now he regularly requests that I whip up these bad boys. They are amazing.

Perfect Brussel sprouts:

  • 1/4 cup diced red onion or shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups shredded Brussel sprouts (or buy 1 lb and shred them on your own
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
  • salt & pepper

1. Prepare the Brussel sprouts by chopping them as pictured

2. On high heat place the onion and garlic in a sauté pan and sweat the onions until translucent (about 5 min)

3. In a cup place the warm water, balsamic vinegar, and salt & pepper. Set aside.

4. Put the shaved Brussel sprouts in the pan and caramelize for about 5 mins.
5. Add the sundried tomatoes and pour in your liquid mixture, cover and cook stirring occasionally until the Brussel sprouts are tender.


Xoxo- reverent lion