I hope all of you who celebrate had a wonderful Easter with family and friends and that, if you celebrate Passover, you’re gearing up for some exciting festivities in the month ahead. I’m soaking up the gorgeous weather this month and getting in as many outdoor workouts as possible as summer creeps up on us! I can’t wait to hear what you’re up to and share some exciting new workouts and recipes.

5 Benefits of Stretching Before Exercise:

Do you stretch before you move your body? Many of us do a few warm-up reps or a lap around the gym before we start our workout, but are we TRULY warming up our joints and muscles before we push them to their maximum capacity?

If this was the gut check you needed, I have some helpful information for you. According to California Rehabilitation, here are the top 5 benefits of stretching before exercise.

  1. It helps prepare your body for exercise: It warms up your ligaments, muscles, and joints to allow you better mobility when you begin your workout!
  2. It gives you a better workout. Because you’ll start your workout ready to go, you won’t struggle through each movement.
  3. Better overall health: Stretching is a great practice to get into for the sake of your overall health, even if you don’t workout right afterward!
  4. Decreases your risk of injury: Sports injuries are no joke, and stretching is one of the most well researched ways to prevent them.
  5. Stretching can relieve stress. Why start your workout filled with cortisol and still stressing about your to-do list for the day? If you want to ENJOY your workouts more, be sure to do some stress-busting stretches beforehand!

Spring Recipes for The Whole Family to Enjoy

Transitioning from processed to whole food can be challenging for anyone, including adults. However, it can be even more difficult for children with strong attachments to certain foods or meals. In such cases, finding common ground with your kids is the best course of action. Look for meal ideas that feel familiar or safe to them and gradually make them healthier. To help you with this, here are some healthy, whole food based alternatives to popular favorites:

Grain-Free Pizza Pockets

For the Dough

  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (or another hard cheese of your choice)
  • 1 cup arrowroot flour
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon Celtic sea salt
  • 1 large egg (or 1 gelatin egg for egg-free option)
  • 6 tablespoons water

For the Filling

  • ½ cup pepperoni, chopped
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or another cheese of your choice)
  • ½ cup crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and adjust the rack to the middle position. Place the cheese, arrowroot, coconut flour and sea salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the egg and water and process until the dough comes together.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the pepperoni, mozzarella, tomatoes and Italian seasoning.
  3. Dust a clean space on the counter with arrowroot flour. Place the dough on top and using a rolling pin, roll the dough until it’s ¼” thick. Using a round cookie cutter (I used the top of a large, 3-cup mason jar lid), cut circles out of the dough and place half of them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place about 1 ½ tablespoons of the pepperoni mixture into the center of each dough round. Fill a small bowl with water, dip your fingers in the water and then gently rub the water around the edges of the dough. Then, place a second dough round on top and gently press down on the sides to seal the edges. Repeat with remaining dough and filling ingredients.
  4. Using a fork, poke the top of the pizza pocket 3 times. Bake the pockets for 18-20 minutes until golden brown on the edges. Cool for 15 minutes. Serve alone or with marinara sauce.

Homemade chick-fil-a Nuggets (grain-Free, Paleo)

For the marinade
2 pounds of chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
½ cup pickle juice
½ cup buttermilk (or use ½ cup coconut milk and 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

For the breading

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup arrowroot flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Celtic sea salt
  • teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Dash of cayenne
  • 5 large eggs

For frying

  • 4 cups tallow or lard

Directions

  1. Place the chicken, pickle juice and buttermilk in a large bowl. Cover and marinate in the fridge overnight.
  2. Place the almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot, gelatin, paprika, sea salt, garlic power, black pepper and cayenne in a large baking dish. Toss gently to combine. Crack the eggs into a pie plate and whisk in 2 tablespoons water. Dip a few pieces of the chicken first into the flour mixture, then the egg, then the flour again. Set the coated chicken on a large plate while you coat the remaining pieces.
  3. Place the tallow or lard in a large pot or Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat to 350ºF on a candy thermometer (this will take about 10 minutes).
    Place a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 250ºF and adjust the rack to the middle position.
  4. When the tallow is at 350ºF, carefully place 8-10 chicken pieces in the hot oil. Fry for about 2 minutes, or until they’re golden brown on the bottom. Using a pair of tongs, flip the chicken pieces. Cook until the other side is golden brown, about 2 minutes. As you finish the chicken pieces, place them on the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Place the sheet into the oven to keep the chicken warm while you cook the remaining pieces. Serve hot.

Spring Cleaning: The Healthy Way

You guys know I love spring cleaning… but I DON’T love using toxic products in my home. Luckily, with doTERRA, I don’t have to! Their high-quality, naturally derived essential oils allow me to create effective (and perfectly fragrant) cleaning solutions that I don’t have to worry will hurt my pets, irritate my skin, or include hormone-disrupting chemicals. Here are some of the DIY cleaning blends I’ve been loving:

Glass Cleaner

  • 1 ½ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup distilled water
  • 8 drops citrus essential oils
  • Add ingredients to spray bottle. Shake.

All Purpose Cleaning Spray

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 25 drops Wild Orange essential oil or other essential oils of choice
  • Add ingredients to spray bottle. Shake.

Pine Floor Cleaner

  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 tablespoon liquid castile soap
  • 5 drops Douglas Fir essential oil
  • 5 drops Siberian Fir essential oil
  • 5 drops Cypress essential oil
  • 10 drops Lemon essential oil
  • Add soap and essential oils to bucket of warm water. Dip mop or rag in bucket and clean tile or linoleum floors. You can also use this same recipe as a countertop cleaning spray.

Stay Fashion Forward & Sun Safe with BloqUV!

I’m a huge advocate for sun protection as a key element of your wellness routine… but that shouldn’t come at the expense of your sense of style. That’s why I’ll be ordering the BloqUV Relaxed Scallop top. It provides the perfect coverage in all the right places and is pretty universally flattering if you ask me!

You can order yours the next time you’re in the studio- and I recommend ordering a few of the 5 beautiful colors!

Relax Into Warm Weather with Element Tree Essentials

Nothing helps me relax quite like a soothing lotion candle from Element Tree Essentials, and their Lavender Fields Lotion Candle takes relaxation to the next level. This scent perfectly encapsulates the new beginnings that spring brings us, and the scent of lavender is known to help the body and mind relax. You can order yours the next time you’re in the studio, or simply grab it here!

The Benefits of Laser Therapy for Podiatry

Laser therapy has been getting lots of buzz over the past several years, and for good reason! It has the potential to be used for numerous ailments, including foot pain. That’s right, folks: If your fitness journey has ever been held back by pesky pains in your feet, I have a solution for you! Our friends over at Lightforce Medical are highly skilled at using Laser Therapy to help you heal- just come and book your first appointment next time you’re at the studio!

Learn more about the benefits of Laser Therapy in Podiatry by clicking here.

April Happenings in Sarasota

The Sarasota Film Festival: From April 5th – 14th, join our community in celebrating the art of cinema, from documentary to family friendly picks and more!

The 38th Annual Run for the Turtles: On April 6, join us as we run, walk or crawl to the finish line to protect endangered turtles. Sign up here today!

Elizabeth Moore Sarasota Open: From April 7th – 14th, gather with the tennis community of Sarasota for this friendly annual competition. Stay up to date on the evolving schedule here.

I hope you have an incredible April, and I can’t wait to hear how your fitness journey has been evolving!

Warmly,
Michele

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