Since recently hiring a personal business coach and enrolling in a specialized course to expand my coaching business, I’ve been required to read a lot… and I mean, I’ve always loved to read, but right now I’ve got like 7 books bookmarked at the same time. My eyes are getting a real workout, ya know what I mean?

There’s something beautiful that happens to a person when they open a book. I’ve never been much of a TV person (loath and despise commercials and reality shows make me feel icky), and since I can remember, even as a little girl (I was a very early reader), I’ve always loved to create a world of imagination and paint pictures in my mind of what I would read in a book. Not much has changed, except the reading material… and now what I’m reading, I’m creating for real. Kinda sad story about the talking mermaids though… turns out you can’t think those babes into reality.

I’ve been diving into an incredible amount of personal growth literature and business non-negotiables. The part of me that feels more fed than ever is my soul. Since focusing on create healthy habits for my primary food in the forms of journaling, meditating, and praying daily… I’ve never felt more whole. After all, you know that there are two types of foods we eat, right? There’s that of the physical, and that of the mind and spirit… primary and secondary foods.

So let me ask you this… what have you been feeding your mind with lately? Something to think about.

Here’s a list of books I’ve been reading. All of which I highly recommend for making your life full of bliss…

1. Codependent No More by Melody Beattie

2. Leveraging the Universe by Mike Dooley

3. The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford

4. Think & Grow Rich (business bread and butter right here!) by Napeoleon Hill

5. The Science of Getting Rich (another business non-negotiable) by Wallace Wattles

 

Have you read any of these already? What were your takeaways? If you haven’t read any at all, pick up a used copy on Amazon!

 

To healthy heads and hearts,

Erika

 

image via Unsplash

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Guess what? Today I launched my new health coaching site!

Check me out here: www.erikasheffer.com.

 

And I have a SECOND announcement! I’ve launched a brand new program:

<<<  Thrive & Come Alive  >>>

HAY GURL! Feel free to dive in and get comfortable… but bear with me as we’re still making some changes and updating pages :).

This program is a 6-month health & body transformation program that is very near and dear to my heart.

In this program I’m really diving deep with my clients on what their desires and true needs are.

It’s come to my attention that in our daily lives we’re so bombarded with constant noise and chatter. Our thoughts are many times not our own, but instead something we read in a magazine or see on TV. We begin to shape these opinions and ideas of what our bodies are supposed to look or feel like, or what our lives should be based on what society tells us. By doing this, we are literally rejecting our own inner alarms, pressing snooze over and over and over and over…

But I’m here to take a stand for you and say enough is enough.

No more ignoring our bodies, our spirits or our minds. The time has come for women to become the heroine’s of their own lives; the time has come to take back control of our health and happiness. The time has come to get intimate with our health and understand our own bodies. After all, it’s the only place we have to live…

I spent so many years of my life in utter pain and despair, and you can read more about my story on my new site or here on my About page… but I look back and it breaks my heart to be completely honest with you. Today I see so many old Erika’s walking around… with chronic bloating, headaches, joint pain, allergies, adult acne, anxiety and stress. I look into their eyes and I see the past me, and these are the women I’ve stepped up to fight for. They reach out to me in e-mails, on Instagram and Twitter… I want you to know that I hear you, and I’m here to fight with you.

In those days, I was unknowingly desperate for support. I truly just needed someone to take me by the hand, love me, but challenge me to be better and put myself first. I hardly had an ounce of fight left in me, but it was the least I could do to not completely give in and whither away.

This is what I am doing for my clients. I’m holding these women to a higher standard because I know the women they will become once they understand how to get a handle on their health. I see the potential in them to create positive ripple effects in the world once they really take care of themselves and heal.

There’s so much more you can read about the program on my new site, but I wanted to tell you that I currently have 10 complimentary Discovery Sessions available to those who are ready to work with me. In these 45-minute calls or Skype dates, we’ll really discuss what YOU need and desire. And together we’ll create transformational healing. Schedule your complimentary Discovery Session here.

The woman who puts herself first, and invests in her health and life, will have the opportunity to create whatever life she desires.

Now is your time to say “YES” to you, and finally live the life you want. I can’t wait to work with you!

XO,
E

PS - I’m working on an e-book right now and also a video series that will be available to all, so stay tuned!
PPS - What does this mean for Style Activist, you may be asking? Everything here will remain the same, and it will function as a blog as it was meant to. My coaching business will be over on www.erikasheffer.com, and you’ll notice that the “Work With Me” tab in my nav bar will take you directly to that site. You’ll also notice that most of my social media platforms will switch over to just my name, but no need to panic or change a thing! I feel this is the best way to serve both my readership and my clients. Thank you all for understanding!

juicecleanse

I’ve been searching for a very long time for a company that could support my idea that juice cleansing and detoxing doesn’t have to mean starvation. I see so many women jump on the juice cleanse train with motives that only include losing weight and shrinking the number on the scale. Please throw away your scale already…

I want to encourage you to change your mindset behind cleansing. So many of you have e-mailed me about starting up a post-summer cleanse. So let’s get something straight: this is not about weight loss or dropping a pant size. In all honesty, you may lose a pound or two, if anything, and it will all come right back when you start eating whole foods again… but this is not what it’s about. Cleansing is about loving your body. It’s about going into all the rooms and clearing out the junk, and allowing for radiant light to rush in. Your organs, blood, lymphatic system, and skin are the rooms. Organic, whole nutrition is the light. When you truly cleanse with the right intentions, you cannot help but feel lighter on the inside, and empowered on the outside. Love has to be the ultimate reason behind the clear-out.

I recently went through my entire closet… all 8×8 of it. The energy I would spend just finding something to wear was incredibly exhausting at times. The majority of what my closet contained did not make me feel beautiful, and if I’m honest with myself, I probably hated 70% of my then wardrobe. Old, ratty pieces, pants too big, shirts too small, stained pieces, pieces I marked “take to the tailor” 3 years ago… I finally came to a point where I said enough (!!!!!!) and then I filled four large trash bags of everything that I didn’t love. If it didn’t make me feel absolutely beautiful, in the bag it went. Byyyeeee. Oh, the relief I felt watching those bags go out the front door was liberating.

Imagine the energy your body spends maneuvering around all the junk housed in our bodies. We fill the closets, cabinets, and rooms with crap over the years… processed junk foods, sugar, refined carbs, clogging fats… We’re exposed to toxins every single day. Whether it’s in the plastic water bottles we drink out of, polluted air in the city, tap water, aluminum deodorant, pesticides, insecticides, and the list goes on. Our rooms become constipated and we wonder why our skin breaks out, or why the bloating never goes away, or why our minds are foggy, and our moods ever-changing.

Cleanse the negativity. Cleanse the gunk. Cleanse the toxins. Cleanse with intention. Cleanse with love.

This is not about being obsessive or neurotic. It’s about adapting strategy and thinking smart. You have the keys to all the rooms, it’s time to clear out the crap and cobwebs.

If you’ve never done a cleanse, and are looking to try one, or if you DID do a cleanse in the past, and watched it fail miserably the second you had the go-ahead to jump back into your old routine again, I’m here to help. I’ve been there. (Secret: one time a few years ago, I did a mail-ordered 3-day juice cleanse, and as soon as it was all over on the last day, I went out to dinner with Kyle and ate sick amounts of bread and butter. It wasn’t pretty.)

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TAKE ACTION! Here’s my approach to hitting the reset button & cleansing…

1. Decide why you want to cleanse. Is it your skin that seems to be breaking out real bad lately? Or is your bathroom schedule totally out of whack? The truth is, we ALL need to cleanse on a regular basis. The need for it will never end. But understanding your intentions first will really help you get in the right mindset before you begin.

2. Arm yourself with plenty of alkaline pH water, stock up your fridge with your preferred cleanse or reset program, and have on hand cleanse-approved snacks for hangry moments. I chose (and LOVED) the Metabolism Kit from Urban Remedy because it included smoothies with plenty of fiber AND real food  like no-oatmeal cookies, spring rolls, and DELISH salads that I added organic raw nuts to for extra fuel. I even added some a la Carte Meal Replacement Shakes to my order because I knew I would need the extra calories. On a given day, I consume a lot of food because I am so active in Crossfit and my daily life (see: mom of two pit bull puppies). Not eating is simply not an option for me because I have programmed my metabolism to burn at a very high rate. But cleansing is also a top priority for me. I believe as an athlete, you can have the best of both worlds. During my three day cleanse I had yummy Nosh snacks on hand to get me through the day and keep my metabolism going, without spikes or crashes.

3. Practice mindfulness. This is incredibly important, and unfortunately probably the most overlooked. So many of us mindlessly put food in our mouths, while simultaneously driving, texting, or watching TV. We’re eating without paying any attention to what is going on inside our bodies. During your reset, pay attention. Open your eyes. Own up to your decisions. Your life is here and now, and the sooner you begin to understand your body, its triggers and pain points, the better your life will be. Trust me, this is huge. I’ve gotten to the point where I can tell if the food I ate at a restaurant had an unlisted ingredient that disagrees with my body. I can literally feel the difference and the effects of sugar in my body versus a wholesome, balanced organic meal almost instantaneously. This took years of practice and trial-and-error, but I’m so grateful now for my persistence.

4. Relax. Read. Get outside. Listen to relaxing music. Lay in a hammock. Get a massage. Meditate. Chill out. And check out Urban Remedy’s site on how to end your cleanse the right way here.

Let me know if you decide to try a reset or cleanse program now that summer’s coming to an end and the new season approaches. Now is as good a time as any!

 

 

I was graciously gifted my Urban Remedy kit, but they didn’t pay me to say all these nice things about them. All opinions and copy are my own. Don’t get it twisted ;)

680_kitchen

The idea of supporting local farms is something I am very passionate about. I used to do the majority of my food shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s but we’ve slowly transitioned over to shopping at local family farms, in addition to foraging from our own gardens and gathering pastured eggs here on our own farm. The reward is so great! Not only do we find that the flavor profiles are insanely different (read: exploding with flavor), but supporting a local family, and our local economy, is something that makes us so happy! Living on a farm, we now understand the work that goes into caring for organic gardens and happy livestock. And since we choose to eat grass-fed or pastured meats and eggs, knowing where the cows, pigs, and chickens have grazed, and spent their lives, is very important to us, as is knowing the farmer who raised the animals. We make it a point to only support farming that is humane, free of chemicals and hormones, and of course free of pesticides and GMO’s. Sure, you can find these types of products at Whole Foods or other health food stores, but handing over that check directly to the farmer feels like a statement of support. I guess we’re hoping more people will forgo shopping at major grocery chains, which supports industrialized farming and Big Agriculture yada yada… and instead shop at local farmer’s markets or go directly to their local family farms.

The majority of us don’t realize how easy it is to locate local farms or farmer’s markets in our area – hint: it’s soo easy!

  • Please check out Eat Wild to search for local farms, or farmer’s markets, in your area that raise, produce and sell meats, cheese, milk, butter, fruits and vegetables, honey, coffee, eggs, and so much more that is all sustainably raised, grass-fed, organic, pastured or otherwise all-natural and humane. The site includes a US map with farms across the country ready to be found.
  • If you’re part of a big family, something like Philly Cow Share, might be of interest to you. These types of share companies connect responsible farms and butchers with urban communities who are looking to simply eat well. Depending on where you are in the country, you can do your own research to find something like this local to you.
  • Local Harvest is another directory that allows you to find local organic food, farmer’s markets, family farms, and sustainable farms in your area. This is an incredible resource that I refer to all the time.
  • If you’re looking for grass-fed beef, Mark’s Daily Apple has put together a little list of farms in almost every state for you to contact. Check it out here.
  • The American Grassfed Association also has an extensive list of grass-fed farms and products listed by state on their site.

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My mom and I are working on putting together some Farm to Table events for our local community in collaboration with our neighbors who have this gorgeous refurbished barn that is used for weddings and such. We are so excited about getting our community involved and bringing awareness to the importance of supporting local, and sustainable, farming. Our first event will take place late October and I’ll be sure to fill you in on details as we plan our events and source local farms, food and wine!

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performance

By now you all know I’ve been paleo for a good 10 months. My body is loving me, and I’m like, so freaking full of energy all the time I could run up a wall. Wahooo! But seriously, never felt better, healthier or happier. Being an extremely active person who trains almost everyday, if not 2x a day, I need plenty of fuel and nutrition to keep my body running nicely. Our bodies are machines, and the food and supplements we put into it is the fuel for it to run off of.

My simple rules for keeping my performance up and my body and mind strong: keep it clean, lots of water, plenty of rest and move more. This is my lifestyle, and while I know it’s not for everyone, here are my essentials for those of you who want to 1) keep it paleo, and 2) increase performance. Aspiring ninja’s welcome.

 

1. Bulletproof coffee. MCT oil + butter in my coffee? You better believe it. I have never been a coffee drinker in my entire life (until 2 months ago), and always felt sluggish and sickly after drinking a cup o’ joe. Turns out bad coffee is to blame. Read about Bulletproof Coffee on their site because they explain it better than I can. And learn about grass-fed AKA good butter vs. bad butter and why grass-fed butter is awesome here. I start almost every morning with a cup of BPC with my breakfast then workout 90 minutes later. My performance and brain power has increased significantly and I love it. #ninjastatus

2. Yams + starchy vegetables . My one issue with the paleo diet is the tendency, or choice, to be super low-carb. Carbs are not the devil; rather the opposite, it’s just about choosing the right carbs to fuel your body, build muscle, replenish glycogen stores and feel fueled. A lot of people who go paleo will immediately drop significant weight due to the removal of all breads, pastas, cereals, starchy foods, etc. Then they hit a plateau and have difficulty losing remaining fat, or “leaning out”. Carbs are vital for athletes and highly active individuals, but should be consumed at the right time. I came from a place of low-carb eating slash severely damaged metabolism so adding a lot of high quality complex carbs was terrifying. Once I realized my depletion and lack of energy was related to my low-carb diet, I upped the carbs and now notice a nice hum in my metabolism. I eat plenty of yams, squash, zucchini, and even red potatoes if I need the extra carbs surrounding my workouts or at night before bed. An example of what this looks like is: slow-digesting carbs before a workout (yams), fast-digesting carbs post-workout (banana and/or berries blended in a recovery smoothie), and then 1 cup homemade paleo coconut milk ice cream or grass-fed greek  yogurt before bed. I usually go to bed pretty full, and wake up with abs. I still eat plenty of healthy fats and protein, and keep it all in balance. It’s about balance, people.

3. Glutamine + BCAA’s. Essential for recovery, muscle repair, soreness, fat loss, metabolism and everything nice. To read about BCAA’s you can go here, or for L-glutamine, here. I get mine on Amazon! Optimum Nutrition BCAA Capsules and Optimum Nutrition Glutamine Capsules are my favorite.

4. Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance. While you can’t actually eat this, you can consume it in other ways. The buzz surrounding Kelly Starrett’s book was deafening in the CrossFit community, and for good reason. I picked it up last week and have used it everyday since. For any ache or ailment, there is a mobility prescription to fix you. Flexibility and mobility is ESSENTIAL for healthy muscles and performance. Go buy the book! No need to thank me.

5. High quality protein. We are big on grass-fed and pastured meats and eggs. We love our protein, but understand that there is a significant difference in grain-fed meat vs. grass fed. The nutritional profiles of the opposing groups is crazy! We are omnivores, but make it a point to seek out high quality foods if we are going to eat meat. Being in the countryside of Southeastern Pennsylvania, the local farms are in abundance. We love that! We eat grass-fed beef a couple times a week, organic + pastured chicken and eggs regularly, pastured pork and bacon, and bison when we can find it! And as for whey protein supplements? We love Progenex and Formulx. Read more about the importance of grass-fed beef here. And buy your own here.

Cheers to being better humans! I’m back from a long summer vacation, and an actual vacation in Florida. Time to kick things up a notch.

 

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