Reviewers Wanted: Help the Yoga Circles Community Grow!

YC cover

If you’re a yogi, I hope you’ve visited my other blog, Yoga Circles. If you have, you know I created Yoga Circles to bring yogis together in person and online, so we can share the experience of living a yoga lifestyle in the modern world.

If you haven’t visited the Yoga Circles site, and you don’t know about the book, please take a look! You can learn about the project on the home page, and visit the Yoga Circles blog for yoga-related inspiration.

A year ago, I published Yoga Circles, A Guide to Creating Community Off the Mat. Then, my mom became ill, and I got sidetracked from the project.

I’m back on track now, and I need your help!

If you’re interested in reading and reviewing Yoga Circles, I’d love to send you a free copy! It would be great if you’d download an excerpt of the book first (if you haven’t yet). It will give you an idea of whether you want to read and review it.

If you agree to review the book, send me a note and let me know.  I’ll send you a free copy of the book while my supply lasts!

If you like the guide and decide to create a Yoga Circle in your community, I’d love to feature your story on the Yoga Circles blog. If you’re not ready to share your story (I hope you will be soon), I’d love your suggestions and feedback.

Please help me grow our yoga community!

Om Shanti!

Do You Need an Editor? Here’s How to Find Support For Your Writing Project

meditation for writersRecently, a member of a Facebook group for bloggers posted this question: Who do you use to edit your blog posts? The answers ranged from some type of software to “my mother” to a seasoned pro. Why the disparity? I think because when people use the term “editor,” they tend to use it loosely. So, do you need an editor?

What is an editor?

An editor is not a proofreader. Sure, all editors will proofread, but that’s not the focus of their art. An editor is also not a ghostwriter, though many editors do ghostwrite as well.

Most editorial projects float among all three services: ghostwriting, editing, and proofreading. But even if your needs fall squarely within the realm of editing, you need to know what kind of editing you need. There is more than one type.

Most professional editors break services into three categories: light editing (which lives at the border of proofreading), moderate editing (also called line editing or copy editing), and substantive editing (which lives at the border of ghostwriting).

Do you need an editor?

Many people ask for proofreading or light editing when they really need something more. Being specific about what you need is not the same thing as being specific about what you want to pay for. If you ask for proofreading but your copy is still in the “rough draft” stage, you’ll need to rethink your strategy.  You wouldn’t hire a painter before you’ve had drywall installed, would you?

Think of an editor as more than someone who will check your grammar and spelling. Yes, you can probably use software for that, though even the best software will miss nuances that make your writing unique. Unless you’re writing academic or technical material, there’s little need to be so “correct” that your writing is boring. Trying to get all the red and green lines in your Word doc to disappear is usually a waste of time (though I’ll admit it is fun to try)!

For most writers, especially bloggers and authors who craft pieces to communicate something they’re passionate about, an editor should offer the following three things.

1. She should know more about grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. than your friend who was good in English. Ask which style guide she uses, and check out the resource she mentions. Ask what kind of training she has. (I have an eye for detail is not an adequate answer.) This is especially important if you’re writing a book that you would like to market professionally at some point. To give you an idea of the minutiae editors work with, note that the Chicago Manual of Style (the guide I use most often) is a full 1000 pages! (Yes, I do have to look things up!)

2. She should have an editorial process. Unless you simply want a proofreader, your editing project should involve several steps. You should understand how you will participate in the process, and you should be clear on what your editor will and will not do. (Hint: She will not change your voice or rewrite your content unless you ask her to, and she will not act like your high school English teacher!)

3. She should be familiar with your niche or subject. Search for an editor, and you’ll probably find hundreds in no time at all! The icing on the cake if you want the best fit for your project is knowledge of your subject matter. It won’t necessarily cost you more to hire someone familiar with your topic (unless it’s very technical), but you will get more for your money. An editor who knows your audience will serve not only as a grammar and style geek who can ensure that your copy flows well, but she will also stand in for your readers. She’ll understand what you’re trying to communicate, and she’ll be able to suggest when your message isn’t clear.

4. She should work for you on behalf of your readers. A good editor with experience in your niche is an ally for both you and your readers. She’ll help you when you’re stuck on a way to find the words for something you’re passionate about because she is passionate about the same thing! For example, my clients who are nutritionists, health coaches, life coaches, personal trainers, therapists, and yoga teachers are comfortable working with me because they know I’ve read hundreds of pages of content on these topics. I know what’s out there, how to make their project unique, and how to make sure it’s on par with content that works for other well-being professionals.

What does a good editor cost?

Again, there’s no simple answer to this question. A good place to start is the Editorial Freelancers Association’s rate sheet. You can find it here.

High quality editing doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but don’t expect it to be cheap either. You truly will get what you pay for. Look for someone reasonably priced, but understand that editing is not as simple as many people think. If you’re in doubt about what you’ll get for your money, ask for a free sample edit. Most editors will provide one.

If you’re lucky enough to find someone who values her own abilities as well as yours—in other words, if your editor is passionate enough about what you do to see beyond dollar signs, but also a consummate professional—you’ve found the right person. Respect for each other is the key to a professional relationship that goes beyond spell-checking and “correcting” your work.

So, do you need an editor, or is your project safe in your roommate’s hands? Only you can decide!

Not ready to hire an editor? Join my email list and receive access to my free guide that will help you start editing your own work today!

What Are Your Values? And Why Does It Matter?

values

A friend of mine is writing a graduate school admissions essay. You know the kind. You look at your life and explain why you want to get the degree or certification or credential in question. When he told me about the essay, we started talking about our values and how they align with what we do every day.

I thought I knew my values, but I was surprised once I started listing them that I have more values than I realized. If someone had asked me how many values underlie the things I pursue or the way I behave, I might have said four or five.

Of course, I saw an opportunity to write, so I started listing and describing my values. I came up with sixteen before I decided to stop (for now). After all, how much can I expect you to read!

Aligning Values with Actions

The things I do that align with my values include my work (writing or helping others write, mostly about the things I value as well as working with others to create more technical things), my yoga practice, my spiritual life, and being a sounding board for friends and family. (For the most part, I’m a good listener I’m told.)

I also enjoy things that align with my values: nature, animals, music, the arts in general, and baseball. I’m not exactly sure where baseball fits in, so I’ll put it with family. It’s been a way to connect with my dad since I was eight (though by no means the most important way), and in the beginning of our relationship, my husband and I bonded over our love for the sport.

I share my list with you not because I think you necessarily care what my values are, but because you may recognize something that resonates with you. If you want to share your list with me, I’d be honored!

My values are…

Spirituality – I value seeking and staying on the path to God or enlightenment (same thing in my mind). I’m not sure if spirituality is a value. Maybe faith in something greater than me is what I should call it. Or knowing who I truly am. I’m not sure how to explain this, even though it has been my primary value for as long as I can remember!

Silence – I believe that except when we have something useful to say, it’s best to be silent. It’s in silence that we learn to recognize truth.

Kindness – No one likes meanness. If you’re with people and you’re not helping them feel better about themselves, you’re better off being silent. That said, I recognize it’s not always meanness that prevents others from feeling good. Some people cannot accept kindness. They are the same people not likely to be kind. So, again, if your kindness is not received, be silent. The value of kindness is probably obvious. If you’re not sure what’s valuable about it, be still and notice what you feel next time someone is kind to you.

Simplicity – I think the more we have and do, the more crowded our minds become and the lower our vibration becomes. If you’re a spiritual seeker, you know that vibrating at a higher frequency is the key to transcendence and enlightenment. So, I don’t want a lot of stuff or too many places to be or too many superficial relationships. I don’t want a house full of things or a closet full of clothes. I want the energy to flow, and that requires simplicity.

Being organized – Clutter and chaos slow the flow of energy as well. I was born with the ability to organize, so maybe this is more of a trait than a value. It’s also another reason I value simplicity. It’s easier to keep things in order when you don’t have a lot of them!

Discipline Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today tends to be my motto. In my case, it might even be don’t put off until noon what you can do at 8 am. I know this makes me unusual, but it’s who I am. I’ve never been one to procrastinate.

Listening – You will learn much more by listening than speaking. You will grow much more by listening than speaking. And interestingly, you will help more by listening than speaking. If you have ears to hear (as Jesus said), do so. Listen. Hear. Reflect. And then you will know what to do.

Gratitude If you want to be happy, be thankful. I learned about the power of gratitude gradually, mostly from my yoga teachers, who speak about it often. They do this for a good reason. Gratitude has the power to fill your life. The less you think you have, the more you’ll gain from being grateful. I’m serious.

Following through – If I say I’ll do something, I do it. And I do it by the time I say I’ll do it. In my work, I never miss a deadline. Of course, because I value being reliable in that way, I’m also careful not to commit (or appear to commit) to things I’m not sure I can do.

Learning – In the past, I would have said education. I come from a family of educators. I earned a master’s degree but didn’t think that was enough. I wanted a PhD. I now realize I wasted a lot of time in school meeting requirements when I could have been out there actually learning something. I don’t think I’ll ever stop wanting to learn.

Integrity – Integrity is a kind of honesty that isn’t so much about conveying facts versus fiction but honesty in intention and staying true to my values when I make choices about what to do or what to say.

Care of Creation – I try to value all of creation. It all deserves to be treated with awe and respect. This includes inanimate objects in my care, such as books, my home, and my yard.

Helping others – This is certainly a value, but I mention it with a caveat. We often think helping others means bending over backwards to do everything for anyone who asks, even things that don’t align with our natural gifts. Our natural gifts are ours for a reason. We have them to serve. When we align with them, helping others comes naturally too.

Animal rights – One of my favorite quotes is Gandhi’s quote about animals. The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. The more I explore this idea, the more I see the truth in it. We can learn a lot about life from animals and a lot about compassion and kindness from people who treat them well. Unfortunately, we also learn a lot (mostly about greed and selfishness) from people who mistreat them.

Family –  Here, I expand the definition of family to anyone—whether related by blood or not—who you love and who loves you as close to unconditionally as humans are capable of and who is as committed to your well-being as you are to theirs. And by that definition, of course, biology is no guarantee that you are a family.

Health of body, mind, and spirit Here is another way my work aligns with my values. I should also say that my interest in health is mostly holistic. Mind, body, and spirit are intimately connected, and I’ve explored that from every angle for decades.

Humor – Without a sense of humor, life would be much more boring and difficult than it needs to be. I sometimes think talented comedians do the most good in this world.

Creativity – I don’t have a great way to explain why I value creativity, but if I value creation, then I guess it makes sense that I value creativity.

I encourage you to think about your own values, and maybe make a list (be prepared for it to keep growing). If you do this, you may be surprised by how much bigger your life feels and how much more sense it makes.

If you don’t feel that, it may be because you’re not living in alignment with what you value.

Don’t Hire a Social Media Manager for Your Well-being Business

social media

If you visit my website and read about my services, you’ll see one of the hats I wear is social media assistant. So why am I telling you not to hire a social media manager? Here’s why…

Social Media Marketing is About Relationships

If you are a yoga teacher, health coach, massage therapist, or other wellness service provider, your business depends on the relationship you build with students or clients. That means you need to participate in your social media marketing campaign. At least some of the posts need to come straight from you!

So, when I say don’t hire a social media manager, I mean don’t hand the reins over to someone else and disappear. Of course, you can hire someone to help you. I often post on my clients’ behalf, but I cannot take their place when it comes to building a relationship with their audience.

The exception is clients who sell products—yoga apps, clothing, aromatherapy products, etc. In those case, the awesomeness of the product doesn’t depend too much on a relationship between the person who created the product and the people who buy it.

So, yes there is a place for a marketing manager. But if your business is about service, your followers want to see you! They want to see your face on your website and read your words on social media.

How to Start the Conversation

Social media marketing is all about the conversation you have with your followers. And it does not work overnight. It also doesn’t work on its own. It’s only part of a marketing strategy, so take the time to decide if and how much you need to use it. The truth is, you won’t get far with organic traffic. In other words, if you want people to find you on social media, you’ll need to pay for ads or to boost your best posts.

Ask yourself where online your audience hangs out, and how often are they likely to be there. In my experience, people who buy wellness services like yoga classes, health coaching, aromatherapy, etc. like information, inspiration, and images. They go to blogs, which can be shared best on Facebook and Twitter for information. They go to Pinterest or Instagram for images. They go to all social media sites for inspiration!

Ideally, after someone reads your blog or sees an image you post, they’ll have something to say about it. Better yet, they’ll want to share it. They may even have a question for you!

Unfortunately, getting people to comment on posts is difficult. My advice is to focus on creating content that at least engages people’s thoughts. Give them reasons to notice you and think about you. When they’re ready for your service, they get in touch!

Always Be Authentic

The important thing is that you’re giving them something that is authentically you. If you hire an assistant—because keeping up with social media is a lot of work—find someone who understands what you do. An assistant can curate and post content that keeps you in front of your audience regularly. It’s good to be seen regularly!

Just remember, you will not gain a huge following simply by having a Facebook page or Pinterest account. You also need a great website/blog and other ways to stay in touch with your tribe, such as an email list and newsletter.

I’ll tell you more about why your website and email list may be more important pieces of your marketing puzzle in another post.

How is your experience with social media marketing? Have you noticed a change since you started? Remember, it’s all about sharing, so let me know!

Love is Never Having to Define Love

need self-loveAfter my mom passed away, I wondered: Can I still love her? After all, doesn’t love imply some type of action?

Well, that depends. Is love a verb?

As a child, I loved my mom by doing my chores, being a good girl, and doing my best to get along with my siblings. As an adult, I loved her through our conversations, trips to the mall when she didn’t want to go alone, and daily visits when she was ill.

No what can I do?

Thinking about this led me to consider the question no one can really answer: What is love? The word is probably the most over-used, misused, and possibly meaningless word in our lexicon.

Here are just a few of the ways I’ve seen the word love used:

Love is the opposite of fear.

God is love.

Love is a decision.

Love is extending oneself to nurturing one’s own or another person’s spiritual growth.

If you love someone, set them free.

Love is never having to say you’re sorry.

I’m in love with my husband.

I love coffee.

To love another person is to see the face of God.

Love hurts.

All you need is love.

Be love now.

Looking back over the list, I can see that some of the statements involve action (extending one’s self, deciding, setting someone free) while others are more states of being (God is love, or love is the opposite of fear). Still others involve feeling good in some way (about my husband or drinking coffee). In one case, it even feels bad (love hurts).

So, what is love?

Part of the problem in defining love comes from the fact that it’s not a concrete thing. I can’t define love—or describe it even—the way I can tell you about a tree or a candle flame.

Is love an emotion? Is it a behavior? Is it a state of mind?

Maybe we need more than one word for love. Or maybe we should forget about the word entirely. We do have more than one adjective to use with it, as in agape love, romantic love, Divine love, etc. In each of these cases, though, we assume the word love refers to the same thing.

Another Definition of Love

A definition of love that works well for me is love is the driving force that propels beings toward union with their source. So, for me, God is love, be love now, and love is the opposite of fear are the most useful descriptions. If I live in union with God, I become love, and I am no longer afraid.

My behavior can change based on my ability to experience love. I can make decisions or extend myself or enjoy someone or something once I’m in tune with my true, higher Self.

For a while, I had no idea why anyone would make a statement like “love is never having to say you’re sorry.” Then I realized the beloved, not the lover, was the one who needn’t apologize. Love means forgiving our loved ones when they act in ways that are not so loving.

Love is Beyond Words

Love, like God really cannot be defined. No one knows for sure what it is, but most of us believe to some extent that it exists and that it matters.

Maybe there are as many ways to love as there are ways to describe it. Rather than settling on a single definition of love, I think I’ll just work on getting better at it.

 

Will You Have Great Content to Share on Social Media This Year?

 

 

One of the services I provide is social media assistance for clients in the well-being niche. Specifically, I find and share blog posts, quotes, and other content to that inspires yogis and other well-being enthusiasts. You’d think this would be easy. After all, there are so many yoga and wellness blogs out there, right?

Well, yes. There are a lot of yoga blogs and websites, but I have a surprisingly difficult time finding “go-to” sites that are sources of shareable content.

Do you have one? Send me a link! I’d love to read it!

Not sure if you have one? Keep reading, and maybe I can help you decide.

Obviously, you want to be sure you have well-written posts, but it doesn’t stop there. If you want your content to be shared, there are a few other things you need to do.

Let me give you an example. I did some ghostwriting for a client’s yoga blog a while back. So, I know I like the content, but I rarely share it. Why not, you ask?

Well, when my client designed his website and posted the pieces I wrote, he didn’t make the content easy to share.And that’s unfortunate, because it’s not too difficult to make content shareable!

 

Five Simple Ways to Be Sure Your Content is Shareable

1. Write well. I know I said this already, but it’s important. I’m not suggesting you need to be an award-winning writer. Just be sure you organize your thoughts concisely and minimize typos and grammatical errors. One or two mistakes won’t hurt (you’re human after all), but I promise your readers will get a subconscious message if your writing is riddled with errors or difficult to read.

2. Use short paragraphs, headings, and numbered or bulleted lists. I still come across blog posts that are just a few long paragraphs with no headings or other way to break up the text. That may work if you’re writing a print book, but your online readers will get tired quickly if you don’t give their eyes a break.

3. Use social share buttons, and be sure they work! Be sure, too, that it’s obvious which icons are for sharing your content and which are for connecting with you on social media! It shouldn’t be a surprise that content is easier to share with a simple click of a social share icon. The alternative is to copy the link, go to Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest and share from there. I don’t do that often, and my guess is other potential ambassadors for your work won’t either.

4. Include an eye-catching image. You’ve heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, right? I’d take it a step further and point out that a thousand words are also worth a thousand words. The picture and words together are worth much more than the sum of their parts. There’s no replacement for prose—for dialogue with your reader that encourages, inspires, or informs. But images enrich prose by appealing to more of our senses. They also call attention to content in an undeniable way.

5. Make sure your image can be shared easily. That means that someone clicks the social share icons I mentioned earlier, they will be able to share the post and the image. People are much more likely to notice, click on, and read a post if they are attracted to it by a colorful image that helps tell the story.

So, now that you know what makes your content shareable, you may have a bit of tweaking to do. I hope you’ll do it, because the easier you make it for like-minded folks to share the love, the more likely they’ll do so and help get your message out there!

Need help with content creation or social media? Contact me anytime for a free brainstorming session!

The Trumpet Shall Sound: Daring to Live in Awe of Mystery

trumpet shall sound

In 1983, my dad took me to hear Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall in New York City. It quickly became a holiday tradition, and he and I have attended a performance of the Handel’s masterpiece almost every year since. Many years, my mom came along as well, and when I met my husband, he also began to join us for the annual tradition.

This year we weren’t sure we’d get there. My mom was very ill as the holidays approached, so we put off buying tickets.

A few weeks after Mom went home to God, we decided we’d go ahead and attend the performance. I’m glad we did.

The Magic of Messiah

Handel composed the music for Messiah in an astonishing 24 days. If you’ve heard it, you know what an awesome feat that was! I’ve never doubted, as many who love this music will agree, that the composition was divinely inspired.

A tuned-in listener can’t help but feel comforted, hopeful, and full of faith when hearing this music. That same listener might also feel challenged in a way. It is, after all, the story of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, beginning with the prophets foretelling the birth of a Savior.

You’re probably familiar with at least a few of the choruses or arias (solos). Most people have heard the Hallelujah Chorus, for instance.

There is one aria that has always held me captive, but this year it did so with a special emphasis. That solo is “The Trumpet Shall Sound.”

Toward the end of the performance, the we hear passages from the Acts of the Apostles about the resurrection of the dead. The lyrics are taken from 1 Corinthians 15. The bass soloist sings a recitative:

Behold, I tell you a mystery.

We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye

At the last trumpet.

And then, the magnificent aria. If you haven’t heard “The Trumpet Shall Sound”—or even if you have—take a few minutes to listen to it here.

Then come back, and I’ll tell you my story.

Did I Really See That So Clearly?

Remember I said this year, I was captivated with a special emphasis? You can guess, of course, that it had something to do with my mom’s passing. And there’s just a little more to the story.

As a multi-focal contact lens wearer of a certain age, I’m rarely able to make out details like performer’s faces or the details of instruments when I attend a concert. Things were no different on this occasion…until the trumpet sounded.

When the bass began to sing, I suddenly realized I could see him very clearly. I thought, Wow. Why can I see that so clearly?

And then I thought about what I had just thought.

Perhaps you think I’m grasping for meaning in a time of grief. Maybe I am, but that is what I experienced.

Living in Awe of Mystery

Let’s face it, the story of the resurrection—not just the resurrection of Jesus but the idea that we too shall be changed—is awe-inspiring for many. Many others doubt it or flat-out reject it. But no matter where you stand on the validity of this story, can you find a way to live in awe and mystery? Do you believe only what you can explain, or do you accept that there is something more?

Without belief and trust in what we cannot understand, we are small, pathetic creatures indeed. But when we dare to take leaps of faith and connect with mystery—with the idea that there is a greater truth and a purpose for our existence—we embody the meaning of the Christmas season: The awesome became accessible to us if we choose to accept it.

A Sign From Mom: The Mourning Dove and the Cross

dove and cross

My mom loved to tell the story of a memory she had from when my nephew Matt was a toddler. Mom and my dad cared for Matt—in fact for all four of my sister’s kids—while my sister and brother-in-law were at work.  She had a favorite memory for each of them.

Her memory for Matt was of a day when a mourning dove was cooing in the yard. Mom pointed to the sky and told Matt to listen for the sound of “the owl.” (Eventually, she realized it was not an owl, but a dove.)

The dove cooed, and Matt asked, “Grammy, if I point to the sky will it do that?”

The night before my Mom passed away, Matt, now 19, had a dream about an owl. Or maybe about a dove. The next day, as our whole family sat with her during her final hours on Earth, my sister told Mom the dove would be our sign.

“Send us a sign,” she whispered in Mom’s ear.

Mom passed away peacefully with her husband, children, and older grandchildren by her side. We’re heartbroken, and as I write this, it’s hard to imagine the pain will go away. But I lean on the words of my dear friend who told me that despite the pain and stress, this experience would also bring us the key to a new kind of love. He is right.

Our Sign

After Mom’s funeral mass, as we left the church and got into our cars for the drive to the cemetery, my sister said aloud, “Mom, you were supposed to send a sign!”

At that moment, she looked up and saw a mourning dove in the sky, “sketched” from clouds.  (“Mom really couldn’t draw,” she joked, though later when she sent me a photo of a mourning dove in flight, I thought it wasn’t such a bad sketch after all.)

mourning dove in flight

A mourning dove in flight

And that wasn’t all. Next to the dove was a giant cross. It followed our cars all the way from the church to the cemetery. Another sign, we’ve decided to believe, that Mom is okay and with God.

Our Mom’s Christian faith was the cornerstone of her life along with her love for her family, friends, and students. So, it’s fitting she’d use the cross along with the dove as our sign. The days ahead will be difficult, but we choose to believe that not only is she with God, but that both she and God will always be with us.

 

 

 

Uplifting Essential Oils: Using Aromatherapy To Lift Your Mood

essential oilsI’ve been a fan of aromatherapy since I learned about essential oils in a workshop at my local yoga studio awhile back. I’d been using scented candles and those plug-in air fresheners to keep my home smelling good, but I was wary of the ingredients in those products. Aromatherapy with pure essential oils solved that problem. The benefits turned out to be more than I expected, especially when I discovered uplifting essential oils.

Diffusing essential oils does more than keep my home smelling great. Each oil has specific benefits as well. I learned that certain aromas have a direct effect on specific brain centers. Aromas travel through the capillaries in our sinuses and trigger nerves that send direct signals to the brain. Many of these signals have to do with emotions.

A number of uplifting essential oils can be used to boost mood and even alleviate depression. And you can go a step further to target specific kinds of depression. For example, do you tend to feel tired when you are feeling down? You can lift both your mood and your energy level with geranium, lavender, peppermint, basil or rosemary. Anxiety can be calmed with clary sage, frankincense, patchouli, ylang ylang or chamomile.

How to use uplifting essential oils to lift your mood 

There are many ways to use essential oils. Start by simply opening the bottle and inhaling the aroma! Some other great uses include:

Diffuse them. Place a few drops in a room diffuser and the aroma will last for hours. There are many types of room diffusers on the market.

Bathe in them.  Add your favorite oil to warm bath water and soak your way to good mood. Scented water is extremely relaxing and very therapeutic.

Use them in lotions or bath products. You can make aromatherapy products yourself by adding essential oils to unscented bath products, or you can buy them already made.

Spray them in your room or car. Essential oils can be added to pure water in a spray bottle and used sprayed anywhere to instantly fill your space with pleasing aromas.

Sleep with them. Put a few drops of essential oil on a tissue or piece of cotton that you slip under your pillow case. You can even put a drop of relaxing oil inside each nostril at bedtime. If you choose to latter, make sure to choose oils that will not irritate your skin. The labels on most essential oil bottles will indicate if you can use them directly on skin.

Use them for a relaxing massage.  You can make your own massage oil by adding essential oils to unscented massage oil. Another option is to buy aromatherapy massage oils infused with essential oils.

Once you discover the benefits of aromatherapy with essential oils, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!

A Complete Protein Supplement for Vegetarians and Vegans!

CTP

Originally published in 2013. 

I recently learned about a product unlike any I’d seen before. It’s called Complete Truth Protein Powder, and it is a raw, plant-based supplement designed primarily for active women.

Now, I’ve never used or seen the need for protein powders since I’m just an average active woman, but this supplement intrigued me. When I read about it, I learned it could be used for baking, and this discovery could not have been timelier. I’d been looking for something easy to carry with me when I need to eat breakfast on the road. I like a moderate amount of carbohydrates with my breakfast, but I don’t want to go overboard. In other words, I don’t want a bagel or any other kind of commercial bakery product.

At home, I usually have something like scrambled eggs and a slice of sprouted grain toast or a bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter for breakfast, but obviously those are not foods I can throw in a baggie and take with me to eat in the car! So when I came across CTP, I thought this might be my answer.

The Truth about Complete Truth

While it’s labeled a “protein supplement,” CTP is really much more than that. It’s a whole food; it’s raw, and it’s 100% vegan. It also provides a good source of nutrients like magnesium, iron, and zinc. These are not qualities that are easy to find in a single package.

If you’re a health-conscious vegan or vegetarian (yes, there are unhealthy forms of these diets), you know you need to pay attention to the way you combine plant foods to be sure you get all the essential amino acids (protein building blocks) your body needs. If I asked you to name a plant that provides a complete source of protein, you’d probably say soy. But soy can be problematic for some for several reasons, such as allergies or the desire to stay away from the hormone-like phytoestrogens soy contains.

If you’ve made the decision to eliminate or reduce the amount of soy in your vegan diet, what do you do for protein? You may wonder if there are any other options out there that provide a complete source of this important nutrient. Well, there are: quinoa and hemp, which happen to be the only two ingredients in Complete Truth Protein Powder.

What’s so great about quinoa and hemp?

You probably know that quinoa is a high-protein grain, but did you know that its protein is complete? I love quinoa as an alternative to rice, so I was pleasantly surprised to find a protein powder with quinoa, not soy, as one of its basic ingredients.

The other ingredient, hemp, is also a complete source of protein, this time in a seed. And hemp’s got some other benefits as well, most notably its omega 3 content. In fact, both hemp and quinoa qualify as super foods in my book.

If, like me, you are a vegetarian or vegan who enjoys a moderate amount of carbohydrates but wants to balance them out with protein and healthy fats, few foods on the planet are better choices than quinoa and hemp.

Finally, a Complete Protein Breakfast Muffin!

Drew Taddia, the fitness expert who designed Complete Truth Protein Powder, says he created the product after searching for a whole, raw, plant-based source of complete protein that did not contain long list of added ingredients he couldn’t pronounce. Not surprisingly, Drew couldn’t find such a product…so he created one himself!

Maybe if I searched long enough, I could find a whole food, high protein breakfast muffin that has all of the essential amino acids and also a good amount of omega 3 and other nutrients. But why look? Now I can make one myself!

My Complete Truth Protein Banana Muffin

There is a recipe book that accompanies Complete Truth Protein Powder, but since I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand for any of the recipes, I decided to try CTP in a banana muffin recipe I often make with oats and whole wheat flour.

All I did was substitute Complete Truth for the flour, and in about 30 minutes, I had a healthier version with a complete source of protein! I can store the muffins in the freezer and take one (or two) out whenever I need something to carry with me for breakfast on the run.

I’m guessing you can do the same with anything you bake – muffins, cookies, breads, etc. But if you’re not a baker, you can also add CTP to yogurt, oatmeal, shakes, and smoothies to make those foods more balanced and healthier.

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