My Favorite Things: July 2018

 ghee, exercise, workouts, workout videos, hand blender, immersion blender, Grace & Frankie, Netflix, Instagram, Celeste Barber, Fem Fusion Fitness, 4th and Heart, butter, dairy, casein, smoothies, comedy show, pelvic floor, physical therapy, core, abdominal exercises, yoga, glutes, HIIT

This month's list is a mish-mash of favorites ... no neat patterns or categories ... just stuff I'm loving at the moment.

1) 4th & Heart Ghee Butter

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Ever tried ghee? If you've never heard of it, ghee is clarified butter. Ghee is made by melting regular butter. The butter separates into liquid fats and milk solids. Once separated, the milk solids are removed, which means that ghee has less lactose than butter. It is also casein-free. This makes it relatively allergen-friendly, even for those with dairy sensitivities. 

I LOVE my coffee in the morning, and I enjoy drinking a "fatty" coffee. I don't often eat breakfast right away, and drinking a fatty coffee helps keep my hunger at bay and keeps my body running on ketones (and burning fat) instead of sugars. 

I have been drinking coffee with coconut oil for years, but lately I decided to try adding ghee instead. This one by 4th & Heart is Madagascar Vanilla Bean flavor, and it is DELICIOUS! I have to be careful not to surpass my two-mug limit ... it just goes down so smoothly.

You can also use ghee for cooking. Think sautéing vegetables, swapping out butter for it as a spread, using it as a replacement for cooking oils, using it in place of coconut oil for baking, or drizzling it over roasted vegetables. 

Ghee is a very stable saturated fat and isn't damaged at high temperatures. Of course, you'd want to use unflavored ghee for most recipes and dishes. 4th & Heart has "original" flavored ghee for these purposes. But if you're looking to be a little adventurous, they also have chocolate, Himalayan salt, and garlic.

2) Mueller Ultra-Stick Hand Blender

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I'd wanted to try an immersion blender for some time. They just look so cool and versatile. But I wasn't sure how to use one or what I'd use it for. Then one day, I had an epiphany. You know that morning coffee blend I mentioned? Maybe I could blend that up into some frothy goodness? Turns out, yes you can!

I ordered this hand blender from Amazon for $29.99. It has various speeds, but for my morning beverage, I just use it on the lowest setting. It comes with a beaker that you can mix your ingredients in and easily pour them out. 

Another cool tip is that you can make smoothies without having to buy an expensive blender. Just put your smoothie ingredients into a large mason jar or even a bowl. Place the blender into it and within seconds, you have a creamy smoothie!

This is great for pureeing steamed vegetables and for mixing up soups right in the pot. The newest version even comes with a whisk attachment. So, you can toss your old hand mixer, too. Great for mixing up cake batter, eggs, or whipped cream.

3) Grace and Frankie

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I'm usually late to the game with TV shows and movies, and this is really no different. This show has had four seasons and was renewed for a fifth. However, if you have Netflix and haven't watched the comedy TV series Grace and Frankie, I highly recommend it. Jane Fonda stars as proper Grace and Lily Tomlin as eccentric Frankie. These two unlikely friends are brought together after their husbands announce that they are in love and plan to get married. Their soon-to-be ex-husbands, played by Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston, are funny and equally as charismatic. The entire cast has great chemistry. Probably the thing I like the most about this show is that the main actors are all in their 70s. It's such a refreshing change from many modern day programs, and it showcases that, even with age, great actors will always be talented. 

4) Celeste Barber

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Here's another refreshing change. This lady is downright hilarious and laughs in the face of stereotypical societal expectations of beauty. Celeste is a comedian, actor, and writer. She has a huge instagram following (over 4 million), mainly because of #celestechallengeaccepted, a fun experiment to see what it would look like for an average person to photograph herself doing rich people things. Every time I scroll through her instagram feed, I literally cry laughing. When I need a good chuckle and mood booster, this is where I turn. Because I really can't describe the hilarity, here are a few photos so you can see what I mean. 

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5) Fem Fusion Fitness

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Dr. Brianne Grogan is a doctor of physical therapy. She's also a women's health and nutrition coach. Her YouTube channel Fem Fusion Fitness is described as "the home of core + pelvic floor friendly fitness,” and is loved by her viewers for her down-to-earth, compassionate approach.

I think this channel is beneficial for any and every woman. As a mom who has experienced core and pelvic floor weakness post-partum (even three years later), I was looking for effective exercise videos that would help me strengthen both. She has a host of videos, however, ranging from "floga" (fitness + yoga), yoga, abdominal exercises, upper and lower body workouts, HIIT, and a "Glute Camp" which tones the backside, thighs, and hips without heavy lifting. All of her videos have safety in mind. She doesn't include any exercises that might injure you on any level, but they are still very effective. Discovering her channel has helped me cater my fitness routines to a 40+ year-old body.

Dr. Bri also has videos about nutrition, digestion, pain, and sleep. She is so knowledgeable and has such a sweet demeanor. I've reached out to her with questions, both through YouTube video comments and via email, and she always responds. Her channel is definitely worth checking out.

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