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Shape Up Your Core with the Ultimate Plank Challenge: Forearm Plank

How are you doing in your Plank-A-Day-In-May Challenge? If you’re following along with Jennifer DeCurtins, author of Ultimate Plank Fitness, you could be on your way to a super-strength core! So, we’re all on Day 8 now of the #UltimatePlankChallenge, which means it’s time for a forearm plank.

Around the World Marching

Skill Level : Advanced

Modification : None

In this advanced variation of the forearm plank, both the arms and legs are in movement to create a true challenge of core stabilization.

Around the world marching plank by jenifer decurtins

Key Performance Points

  • Get into a straight body position from your head through your heels with your shoulders stacked over your forearms.
  • While maintaining forearm plank position, alternate reaching your right hand out, tapping the floor, and bringing it back to the starting position. Then reach your left hand out and back to the starting position. Then reach your right foot out and back to the starting position, and finally your left foot out and back to the starting position. This is one rep.

Common Faults

  • Sagging lower back
  • Butt lifted higher than the head and heels
  • Shoulders more forward than the forearms


The double movement of this plank introduces a massive stabilization challenge.



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A safe, challenging, and effective method of core conditioning, planking is one of the best ways to get fit and toned. Variations of planks are used across many fitness domains including traditional group exercise, personal training, home workouts, yoga, pilates, barre, CrossFit and more. Not only are planks perfect for crafting six-pack abs, they also target shoulders, pectorals, biceps, triceps, glutes,quads, and hamstrings. They increase the heart rate, offer calorie-busting cardio exercise, and create healthy muscle tone.

Ultimate Plank Fitness features 100 different variations of planks that can be used to customize your workout. Easily increase the difficulty of your core strengthening exercises by adding stability balls, gliders, and weights. Each exercise includes a step-by-step photo demonstration, points of performance, where to engage, along with common faults to detect ways to improve your fitness. Finally, CrossFit coach, personal trainer, and fitness instructor, Jennifer DeCurtins provides you with ten 5-minute workouts incorporating several planks that you can use to target trouble areas and build strength.

With countless variations of the exercise, ranging from traditional planks to side plank variations and planks using external weights or unstable surfaces, your entire workout can be programmed around the plank! Work your way to a healthy core with Ultimate Plank Fitness.

Keep an Eye on Diabetes – When to Check for Ketones

Infographic: A Snapshot of Diabetes in America Content source: Division of Diabetes Translation: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion - See more at: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/cdc-infographic.html#sthash.9dXBdSUp.dpuf

Infographic: A Snapshot of Diabetes in America
Content source: Division of Diabetes Translation: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
– See more at: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/cdc-infographic.html#sthash.9dXBdSUp.dpuf

The American Diabetes Association reports that over 29.1 million Americans have diabetes. It’s a disease that’s prevelant throughout the world, but that doesn’t have to stop you from living your life. There are so many ways that you can manage your diabetes and Dr. Paul Rosman and David Edelman, authors of Thriving with Diabetes, suggest that one way is to keep an eye on your ketones.

Ketones can appear when you have high blood sugar or low blood sugar. Their presence in the urine or blood indicates that your cells are starving for energy from a sugar source. Perhaps the sugar levels in the blood are low, or there’s insufficient insulin to bring sugar into the cells. Or the insulin levels are too high, so cells process fat instead of the sugar they need, producing ketones as a byproduct.
This is a normal response. However, if too many ketones build up in your blood, it becomes acidic and can lead to nausea, vomiting, dehydration, coma, and death. Prior to the discovery of insulin, this was the typical cause of death in people with type 1 diabetes.
People with type 1 diabetes should always have easy access to (unexpired!) ketone sticks. If you have type 1 or type 2 and suspect you may be having low blood sugars while sleeping, you can check for ketones in the morning. Their presence is a strong hint that you have had a low blood sugar overnight. These sticks are easy to use. Just apply a small amount of urine to the stick and it changes color based on the presence of ketones.
Hydrate to Remove Ketones
If your ketones are caused by high blood sugars, call your doctor. The typical treatment when sugars are high is insulin to get your levels back into the normal range. This turns off the creation of more ketones by enabling sugar from your bloodstream to move into starving cells. Treatment also includes taking fluids, either by drinking or intravenous injection, to remove ketones from your blood through your kidneys. Frequently, people with ketones in their blood are dehydrated. Ketones can occur especially quickly if you are dehydrated from flu, food poisoning, or other illness.
As long as you can drink fluids there is a chance to reverse the problem by taking insulin for the high sugar and drinking fluids which contain a balance of electrolytes, like potassium. Time is essential here if you want to avoid a trip to the hospital. If ketones in the urine are present in moderate amounts or more and you are vomiting and cannot drink fluids, you’ll need intravenous liquids to turn the situation around. The sooner you get to the hospital, the more likely it will be that you’ll be home within a day—as long as another illness like pneumonia or flu did not cause the problem.
Dangerous Ketones in Type 2 Diabetes
While ketones are created most often in people with type 1 diabetes, there is one situation where those with type 2 diabetes may accumulate ketones and be in life-threatening danger. Elderly people with a long history of type 2 diabetes who are not obese or overweight may lose their ability to make insulin when they are ill. Ketone measurement in the urine can be helpful for these people to determine if cells are starving in their body. If so, seek urgent medical care.
You Can Influence Your Blood Sugars
Let’s return to our premise that you are the person best able to understand your body’s needs. A book can’t tell you how much insulin or oral medication to take, the optimal settings for an insulin pump, or the most appropriate diet for your goals. This is your responsibility, in consultation with your doctor, nurse, or a registered dietitian who is a certified diabetes educator (RD, CDE).
We hope you’ll free empowered to lead a discussion about whether a medication that has been prescribed for you is the right choice. Go ahead and ask about the risks, side effects, and benefits or risks of other options, including increasing your activity levels or adjusting your diet. People with type 2 diabetes are usually producing more insulin than they realize. The right mix of exercise, food choices, and medications can be very influential in decreasing the amount of medication required.
Many people with type 1 diabetes also produce small amounts of insulin. There are medications that may help augment this natural production. This is a new concept in diabetes research, and worth talking about with your doctor. You might ask for a C-Peptide test to help determine if your body is producing insulin or not, even with a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.



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Work with your body and learn to manage your diabetes for a healthy and happy life.

Thriving with Diabetes empowers you to take charge of your diabetes, so you don’t just deal with your symptoms, but change the way you think to improve your health, happiness, and quality of life. Through a simple four-step process, people with diabetes learn how to intuitively understand their blood sugars and what causes both good and bad numbers. This proactive approach results in the ability to manage diabetes personally, not just by a set of notes from the doctor.

Written by Dr. Paul Rosman and David Edelman, co-founder of Diabetes Daily,Thriving with Diabetes is not just about eating joyful, satisfying, and diabetes-friendly meals (although that’s certainly part of it!), but also about managing the daily challenges of physical activity, stress, pain, sleep patterns, and other life events that have a major, but underappreciated, impact on blood sugar trends. You’ll also pinpoint your favorite meals and activities and use them as multipliers of success–focusing on the positive rather than the negative. The result is immediate and satisfying improvements to total health, both physically and mentally!

Use Einkorn and Reap the Benefits of this Ancient Grain

We are off to the Mother Earth News Fair in gorgeous Asheville, North Carolina tomorrow! To celebrate, we’re going to share some important information of the health benefits of einkorn from The Einkorn Cookbook today. Tim and Shanna Mallon (of Food Loves Writing) will be at the show on Saturday with us in booth 2500. Be sure to come by and get your book autographed… and try some of their delicious sourdough bread.

And since not everyone is able to make the show, we thought we’d host a giveaway online. Enter to win your own copy of The Einkorn Cookbook on THIS PAGE. Good luck!


einkorn2aEinkorn may not be a household name today—but that wasn’t always the case. An ancient grain with origins dating as far back as 7600 BCE, einkorn has been around as long as wheat has been cultivated. In fact, einkorn wheat is simply the earliest variety of cultivated wheat, also known as triticum monococcum L., which is why it’s sometimes referred to as “original wheat.” It has a more developed root system than modern wheat, which enables it to uptake more nutrients— lutein, iron, phosphorus, potassium, thiamin, and vitamins A and E, to name a few.

Why Cook with Einkorn
There are many reasons we love cooking and baking with einkorn. First, as we’ve talked about, einkorn is the most nutritious of the wheat varieties and easier to digest than others. It naturally contains more protein and has a different gluten structure than other varieties of wheat. It is rich in beta-carotene, vitamin A, lutein, and riboflavin. What’s more, it lacks the D genome present in modern wheat, a factor that is of note since significant, potentially harmful structural changes to the gluten in wheat were introduced through the D genome. In addition, a 2006 study in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology showed einkorn lacked toxicity from one component of gluten, based on biopsies of the intestinal lining of celiac patients. Beside its health advantages, we simply enjoy the taste of einkorn (and other ancient and heirloom varietals). Growing up, neither of us was exposed to many different types of grains or seeds, and now we find that these ancient and heirloom varieties are not only some of the most nutritious options available on the market, but also they are incredibly delicious. By using these varieties, we can better nourish our families, raise awareness about food diversity, and help preserve traditional foodways for future generations.


What’s in a Name?
Thanks to its rich history, einkorn goes by various names. Among them are farro piccolo (Italian), shippon (Hebrew), and le petit épeautre (French). In English, an einkorn “berry” refers to the whole kernel, or grain (similar to “wheat berries”).

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If you haven’t heard of einkorn yet, get ready to get excited. Easy to digest, less likely to cause gut inflammation, tolerable for those with gluten sensitivity these are just a few reasons why the ancient grain known as einkorn is quickly becoming one of the most popular grains/flours on the market–not to mention its sweet flavor and silky texture. How does one prepare this ancient grain?

Popular food bloggers, Tim and Shanna Mallon of Food Loves Writing, bring einkorn right to your table with this beautiful whole food cookbook that includes over 100 recipes, all featuring the world’s most ancient grain. Recipes are broken into sections including breakfast, appetizers, breads, main dishes, and desserts, and include such hits as: Vegetable Quiche with an Einkorn Crust, Kale Salad with Einkorn Berries, Einkorn Cranberry Walnut Bread, Einkorn Cinnamon Buns, Acorn Squash and Caramelized Onion, Einkorn Salad, and Mexican Chocolate Einkorn Cookies. Get ready to embrace einkorn, not only for its health benefits, but its wonderful taste. Once you try The Einkorn Cookbook, you’ll never go back.

Make Your Own All-Natural Dry Shampoo

We’ve heard from stylists and skin experts that skipping a shampoo is beneficial to your hair’s overall health. Some of us can go days or weeks without sudsing up our locks, but a sometimes we need a little help. Dry shampoos are a great alternative to washing your hair every day, and this all-natural alternative to the commercial sprays is super easy to make.


how to make dry shampoo

Dry shampoos: These make brilliant “quick fixes” for dirty hair. Dry shampoos are waterless and contain dry ingredients such as cornstarch, arrowroot powder, clay, and even rice powder. A small amount is sprinkled over the scalp and either massaged into or combed through the hair to soak up oil, remove dirt, and even boost volume. Dry shampoos are regularly perfumed with aromatic essential oils to eliminate odors. They can be used daily.

Make a Basic Dry Shampoo:dry shampoo

Powdered, dry natural ingredients, such as rice powder, arrowroot powder, cornstarch, oat powder, tapioca starch, kaolin clay, cocoa powder, horsetail powder, orris root powder, and baking soda can be combined with small amounts of essential oil to cleanse the hair without using any water in order to make the hair appear thicker and fuller.

• 1⁄4 cup arrowroot powder
• 1 tablespoon baking soda
• 20 drops essential oil
Makes approx. 31⁄2 ounces
Place all of the ingredients into a blender or food-processor, and process until well combined. Transfer to a sugar shaker with a lid.
To use: Sprinkle a teaspoon-sized amount into your hair. Use your fingers to massage into the scalp and roots. Use a bristle brush to comb through your hair evenly. Style as desired.


200RecipesforNaturalBeautyMany of today’s beauty products contain harmful chemicals and other additives that most of us don’t even know about – and if we did, we wouldn’t use them–no more. With 200 Tips, Techniques, and Recipes for Natural Beauty you’ll learn all that you need to know to make your own organic beauty products. Create delightful lotions and potions in your own kitchen, using all-natural, holistic ingredients like herbs and flowers. Discover conditioning carrier oils, sumptuous butters, and aromatic floral extracts that will nourish you head to toe. Also, use some of the recipes for your overall health, including curative herbal extracts and therapeutically effective essential oils. With step-by-step photographs, clear instructions, and expert tips, each recipe is easy to follow. Give them as gifts or keep them for yourself. Regardless, you’ll never want to buy beauty products from the drug store again!

Shannon Buck is an Herbalist, natural-beauty expert, and author of the popular natural beauty blog, Fresh-Picked Beauty. She enjoys creating home-spun skincare and beauty products in her kitchen near Seattle, Washington and is currently training to become a Certified Aromatherapist.Read Shannon’s blog at www.freshpickedbeauty.com


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The Science of Mindfulness

It’s not easy to stay in the moment and make conscious decisions. Sometimes we can get caught up in emotions like anger or sorrow which can cloud our judgement of how best to move forward. Recently, people have been paying attention to the notion of remaining present in the moment and recognizing what is happening, when it’s happening. In the new book Mindfulness for Life, authors Dr. Stephen McKenzie and Dr. Craig Hassed can help you do just that. Here’s what they have to say about the science of being in a mindful state and what it can do to benefit your way of life:

Preventing and managing chronic illnesses and the symptoms associated with them isn’t something that our conventional healthcare system does really well, with examples including asthma and chronic pain. It’s one of the main reasons why people in the West are increasingly turning to complementary and alternative medicine. Take depression as an example. Depression is predicted to be far and away the greatest single burden of disease — that is, it will create greater disability than any other condition — in developed countries by the year 2030. This trend has been gathering momentum over the past 60 years. The causes of mental health problems involve many factors including our coping style, upbringing, lifestyle (for example, poor diet and lack of exercise) and environment, but inattention may be a much more important factor than previously thought. Unfortunately the biomedical approach to managing depression has placed far too much emphasis on medications and far too little emphasis on all the other factors. The pharmaceutical treatments for depression aren’t as effective as many doctors and patients assume they are. Some recent reviews of the evidence suggest that antidepressant drugs are only as good as placebos (sugar pills) for mild to moderate depression. For severe depression, patients start to get an effect that can be attributed to the chemical action of the drug; up to that point, the effect is based on a person’s belief in what the drug will do, not the chemical itself.

That doesn’t mean that there’s nothing a person can do to manage their depression — far from it. It’s just that the best approaches in the long term need to include training people to use their mind better. This is where mindfulness comes in. It’s probably the research on the use of mindfulness for depression that has created more interest in mindfulness than any other single area, and this has stimulated a lot of other research.

Spirit of water (2) (3359598340)

Does paying attention matter?

Although we may think that we’re happiest when we’re thinking about all the wonderful things we did last summer or what we have planned this coming weekend, according to a study from Harvard University we’re happiest while our minds aren’t wandering from what we are currently doing.4 This was tested by giving people an iPhone and phoning them at random times during the day and asking them three questions. One: At this moment rate your happiness from 1 to 100. Two: What are you physically doing? Three: What is your attention on (unpleasant, neutral or pleasant daydreams, or were you paying attention to what you were doing?)? It seems we’re happiest when we’re paying attention to what we’re doing. The authors concluded that the ‘human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. The ability to think about what’s not happening is a cognitive “achievement” that comes at an emotional cost.’ Why? When we’re inattentive our mind is most vulnerable to slipping into its habitual low gear — rumination and worry — which are central to depression and anxiety. Clinical applications of mindfulness The list of applications of mindfulness in healthcare and education keeps growing year upon year (SEE LIST BELOW). The research into preventing relapse in depression has probably caused more interest than any other single application.

Some clinical benefits of mindfulness-based meditation:

Mental health

  • Depression-relapse prevention
  • Reduced anxiety, panic disorder and stress
  • Better emotional regulation
  • Greater emotional intelligence
  • Management of addiction
  • Better sleep
  • Helping manage psychosis
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Better control and less avoidance


  • Structural and functional changes in the brain
  • Preservation of brain cells and generation of new brain cells (neurogenesis) particularly in the memory and executive functioning centres, which is important for preventing dementia
  • Reduced activity in the amygdala, which is associated with aggression
  • Enhanced attention and self-regulation


  • Pain management
  • Symptom control
  • Coping with major illnesses such as cancer
  • Reduced allostatic load (long-term stress response)
  • Metabolic benefits
  • Hormonal changes
  • Improved genetic function and repair and possibly slower ageing
  • Reduced incidence of illnesses associated with ageing and poor mental health
  • Facilitation of healthy lifestyle change

Improved performance

  • Sport
  • Academic
  • Leadership


  • Deep peace
  • Insight
  • Oneness
  • Transcendence

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Mindfulness is a form of mental training that has been widely practised for millennia, however it’s only recently that science and clinical practice have discovered the profound potential of mindfulness-based practices for increasing our wellbeing.

Our tendency to not be fully present in life has vast implications. Being unmindful means wasting our lifetime, missing important information, increasing our risk of physical and social accidents and communicating more superficially with other people. Importantly, it makes us unhappier than we realize and vulnerable to stress and poor mental health. By focusing on what is rather than be distracted by what isn’t mindfulness can make us much calmer, happier and healthier beings.

Mindfulness for Life is the only book you will ever need on mindfulness. It shows you how to apply mindfulness techniques to your own life whether you need help with medical conditions, personal development or spiritual development. Chapters are included on: stress and ageing, anxiety, depression, addiction, attention deficit orders, pain, weight management, eating disorders, heart disease and stroke, cancer, dementia and sleep; lifestyle, education, workplace, parenting and sporting enhancement; and self actualization, happiness and enlightenment development.

Mindfulness for Life is written by two experts in the field who bring the medical perspective of an international authority on mindfulness and the psychological perspective of a researcher. The result is a book that translates the scientific principles behind mindfulness into a simple, practical and accessible manual to applying mindfulness – for life.