*Please consult a physician before beginning a new program.
Join me for an effective, calorie-burning, muscle-building 30 minute at-home session! This session is great for those newer to kettlebell training. Becca show proper lifting and entry techniques for safe, functional kettlebell training. Be sure to start with a lighter weight while watching my demonstration and listening to my form cues to improve your technique before using heavy weight. I recommend tracking the weight you use, and doing this workout once per week. Gradually increase weight by no more than 10% as you consistently improve with your technique and strength with this great weekly workout!
This 30 minute session has it all: Balance, Mobility, Functional Compound Strength Movements, and Core.
Join me for this quick but effective session, designed to burn calories while building muscles with exercises that target several major muscle groups at once. A great session to do once a week and track your strength gains by increasing your resistance by 10%.
This is not a doom and gloom, scare people into action type of article. In fact, it’s the opposite. If you’ve given up on listening to climate change advocates because it’s depressing and overwhelming, give me one more chance to help your perspective! I have so much hope for the Earth, and I want to share that with you. You can make a difference. We, as a globe, have a chance to reverse the direction we are going and return to a state of sustainable living on planet Earth. No, this doesn’t mean limiting the number of people or mandating vegan diets. It means raising awareness and encouraging humans to reconnect with nature. Read on to find out what I’ve learned and changed in the past 6 months as proof that sustainability is not only a way to thrive, it’s a way to save the human species from the inevitable 6th mass extinction.
How I Got Started
I just learned how to effectively recycle (rinsing food from all plastics containers, removing stickers from containers, and separating correctly). I also recently learned how to effectively compost and why we should do it. I’ve grown most of our vegetables myself, and visited our local market once a month for local, organic produce. Finally, I began cooking 25-50% of our meals vegan or vegetarian and began making all of our soaps, cleaning products (laundry detergent and surface cleaners) and bread from scratch. Bread and shampoo are not expensive. Simply put: I can make soap and bread, so why buy it?
This all started as a time-filler. I don’t commute 90+ minutes to and from work every day, so I felt the need to fill that time with something productive. I had always been curious about my impact on the environment, but wrote it off as something I simply did not have time for. After a month or so of trying new DIY, gardening, and recycling projects, I started feeling better. Stronger, more resilient, more in tune with my body. Happier. Healthier. A passion to learn more about sustainable living grew each day. I began researching ways to live more sustainable. Soon I was checking out climate change books from the library, following activists online, and watching environmental documentaries.
I want to live in a world that doesn’t have an expiration date. At the rate we are currently using limited fossil fuels, destroying forests, and pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, we are only accelerating our projection towards extinction. We have the opportunity to shift our focus entirely to sustainable, renewable energy resources. Voting for leaders that are ready to make that investment will not only help our atmosphere, but it will unite us with nature while providing more abundant energy for people in all class systems- not just the wealthy.
I also want to contribute to the change we all have to make as a society in order for our species to survive. Being in nature is healing and healthy, we all know that. Can you imagine if we lived WITH nature, instead of manipulating it, sheltering from it… abusing it? You see, we’re in a bit of a redundant cycle with Earth. We drill, harvest, hunt, and burn, expecting life to go on as normal merely because everyone else is doing it. We travel long miles to see pretty landscapes and immerse ourselves in the few corners of the worlds that aren’t as inhabited, unknowingly pumping tons of carbon into the atmosphere in the process.
The oceans can’t absorb our emissions much longer, and the reefs are paying for our flippant actions. Every Instagram post of a friend snorkeling in the ocean is now shadowed by the knowledge that several tons of carbon were expelled to allow such a luxurious photo op. I calculated our home’s emissions. Even without air conditioning, driving an average of 3,000 miles per year, AND recycling/composting, our household of two emits close to 11 tons of CO2 per year, 5.5 tons each. If you would like to calculate your carbon footprint, click here.
As a globe, we should aim for each individual to emit 3 tons of CO2, total, per year or LESS. This includes our monthly home energy, travel, and waste emission totals. Ideally, we reduce our emissions to zero so our future generations can thrive. But…baby steps. Ideally, we just need to start by reducing emissions, instead of increasing.
By limiting our travel, or traveling in energy-efficient ways, we can dramatically reduce our carbon emissions that are causing global warming, which could directly help decrease wildfires. California, Oregon, and Washington suffered an extreme loss of forest during this year’s wildfire season, and we’re only halfway through “fire season.” In Washington state alone, more acreage burned in one day than in the last 12 of 18 fire seasons combined. Over the past 10 years, there were an average of 64,100 wildfires annually and an average of 6.8million acres burned annually. For more statistics, please click here.
Unfortunately, the wealthy are responsible for a large portion of the world’s emissions. This is why climate justice would mean justice for the poor. By providing clean, renewable energy to poverty-stricken areas, we can help the globe AND those less fortunate. This would help, not solve, the racial injustice problem by providing more opportunities to minorities while eliminating close to 30% of the emissions the upper 10% are responsible for. We need to hold the wealthy accountable for their actions.
Farming methods can also be improved. The current method of tilling, planting, spraying, and harvesting is not sustainable. We are slowly killing our soil, and knocking down trees to make room for edible livestock. We are stealing the planet’s diversity to push things like chicken, beef, dairy, wheat, and corn. Insects are going extinct. Large fish are being eliminated from over-fishing, and rare animals are even harder to find as we destroy their homes and poach them. Have we already forgotten the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s? We tilled and tilled the land, which coupled with Mother Nature’s wind storms, giving us the first hint of what is to come if we don’t LISTEN to the Earth and LEARN from Her.
Deforestation is happening at an incredible rate. If we follow our current patterns of cutting down trees to make room for animals and crops, or for timber and paper production, by the time your newborn baby is YOUR age natural forests could be reduced to a mere 15%. In the past 50 years, we went from 66% natural forests remaining to 31%. That means by 2070, the world will look incredibly different. Your grandchildren will be wondering why we didn’t change sooner, when we could save forests and entire species from perishing instead of as a last resort. Good news: some countries have already turned the tide! Bad news: the US is not one of them. In fact, in the past few years we’ve only produced more emissions and waste.
The population is often brought up in climate change arguments. While people are causing the problem, people are not the problem. People can change. I am proof of that. All species have a ceiling, and I’m confident that humans will eventually level out in terms of population growth. Japan may be an example. The Japanese culture has developed rapidly, and experienced a notable decline in birth rates. This could be explained, in part, to limited job availability as technology advances. Robots are being used in place of humans, serving in restaurants for example.
Humans are still gradually evolving and adapting. The more informed, educated, advanced and equal our society becomes, the sooner our population can right itself and stabilize.
What You Can Do
Recycling is the first step. If you aren’t involved in a recycling program, I invite you to make a plan to start participating in one. This is an investment in our future. The second step is to look at your lifestyle and assess your emissions. It’s ironic that our cost of living goes down as we invest in sustainable options. Another idea: gardening! Growing plants is a great way to help our environment. Plants breath in carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. If you need help starting an indoor container garden, refer to my 30 minute DIY post. Hydroponic indoor gardens just may be the future of farming!
The way we eat has become a grotesque model of unsustainable consumption. It’s not just the single-use plastic packaging (which is awful in and of itself), but also the mass production of plants and animals. We are manipulating nature to provide for our growing appetite. Instead of diets and keto-fad diets, we could try simply taking a small step back. Eating vegetarian 3-4 times per week. Not every day, every meal…perhaps start with 25-50%. We all know dairy products are linked to GI issues, so limiting these items serves as a health benefit and climate benefit. We love a good steak, so now it’s a special monthly occasion instead of weekly. I enjoy making my own almond and oat milk, and swap coconut oil or avocado oil for butter when possible in baking and cooking. When possible, buy or grow organic.
As mentioned before, eliminating or decreasing wasteful travel and clothing purchases is another effective way to reduce your emissions and save money. Travel by train if possible, or by electric car. We have family in Hawaii, and would like to travel to see them. Until energy-efficient flights are available, I have committed to flying roundtrip to Hawaii once every other year, instead of 1-2 times per year. Production, like new Lululemon pants or Gucci bags, requires energy and materials. Where do those come from? You guessed it: Earth. Buying clothing second hands skips the emissions from production AND eliminates the waste of used clothes. Confession: Almost all my name-brand clothing (yes Lulu!) and home décor/kitchen wares have come from second-hand stores. One man’s trash is truly another man’s treasure, at least in our household. You’ll save money and Mama Earth, how can you say no?!
When it’s time to replace your car, think about investing in electric. We are making a plan to phase in solar power options, as well as eliminating our two vehicles to eventually invest in one electric car. Yes, solar panels and electric cars are more pricey than natural gas and diesel cars. In the long run, we will save money and *HELLO* the planet! I have to believe my nieces, Emma (5) and Lydia (3), are worthy of a clean future, so this will be my investment in them. If you are a parent, I hope you begin to see the impact of climate change in such a way. You may also consider improving the economy of your home by lowering the temperature of you home in the winter by a degree or two, and the inverse in the summer to save electricity. Swapping out energy-efficient light bulbs is another trick, as well as setting devices like computer to energy-save mode.
Lastly, VOTE for leaders who will take climate change seriously and act to equalize the distribution of wealth by providing sustainable, renewable energy. We can learn from countries like Costa Rica, Morocco, and France. These countries once suffered from deforestation, contaminated water, average temperature hikes, and drought. After their country leaders to action, these countries flourished where they had suffered. Morocco is now exporting energy produced by their solar farms to other countries. Costa Rica, largely powered by renewable energy, has seen its forest double in the past 30 years. France has worked to provide a clean, public water system. The Paris Agreement, formed in 2015, is our best hope at reducing emissions as a GLOBE. The goal of the Paris Agreement is to allow the global temperature increase below 2*C by reducing emissions. Sadly, President Trump withdrew from the Paris agreement upon taking office and the Unites States per capita emissions are among the worst globally at 16.2 tons, compared to a global 4.8.
Encouragement to End
Here are some encouraging articles where climate action is showing beneficial, economical gains:
You see, it IS possible for us to change. The proof is right in front of us. We just lack the desire, or perhaps the group effort, and leadership. It starts with educating yourself. Cleaning up your household, reducing individual emissions, and living a sustainable life, one without an expiration date, is as liberating as it is resilient. I’d be thrilled if you calculated your yearly emissions, and/or googled your next flight emissions. It’s incredibly humbling.
Eventually, the choice won’t be there. Eventually, we will drain the world of fossil fuels. Eventually, Earth will be a barren desert, burnt up from carbon emissions. But, if we act now, we can start going back towards a thriving, diverse planet. Your children deserve a thriving future. By 2050, the world will look vastly different if we continue on this destructive path. Vote for leaders who will take us in the right direction. Think about an electric car when it’s time for a new vehicle. Consider more economical energy options. Buy second hand when possible. Eat vegetarian once or twice a week. REDUCE travel, clothing purchases, and plastic use. REUSE items before throwing them away (repurposing is SO fun!). RECYCLE and compost!
You can do it. Email me with any questions you may have. I would love to hear from you!
In Good Health,
“We can’t just consume our way to a more sustainable world”
Whether you’re struggling against the weather (no pun intended!) or looking to burn some calories while watching your kiddos, this indoor sweat session will get your heart rate pumping with a blend of functional exercises! Safe for all levels, this 30 minute session starts with a warm up before a challenging and diverse main set. Wrap things up with a 5 minute core sequence that’s sure to leave your abs burning! Enjoy!
“No more bad news, please.” Elliot, my husband, says flatly. We’ve shared coffee and breakfast almost every morning since the pandemic pulverized our “normal” routine several months ago. What started as a luxurious adaptation became a downtrodden dose of reality, and soon our coffee chats slowly became saturated with the latest news headlines. In addition to the news and bleak reality of Covid-19, my family was struck with an unexpected loss when my sister lost her son, Titus Daniel, in an emergency C section at 37 weeks. We were at a loss for how to move forward. I don’t blame him for saying enough is enough, at least for today.
I am certainly not the first person to take to writing as a form of sad, frustrated expression during these times, and I won’t be the last. I do not have the answers. I do not have a special solution or magic “fix it” button. I do, however, have a knack for finding silver linings and I hope to share that with you.
As a kid, people used to say, “Do you want to hear the good news first or the bad news?” I always chose bad news always first. Let’s start by getting very real, and work our way into positive coping strategies from there.
We’re smack dab in the middle of a global pandemic, thousands dead with new cases climbing daily, and no vaccine in sight.
Both American presidential candidates have demonstrated utterly childlike behavior to the world in an embarrassing opening debate, and the future of this country could not be more divided or uncertain.
Racial inequality rages in our faces – a problem that has existed since humans have walked the earth, if you ask me.
I’ll throw in sexual inequality for those fighting for equal rights in the LGBTQ community
The entire West coast is on fire, burning more each year as a direct result of global warming. Coral reefs are dying, hurricanes are more frequent and destructive, and we’re seeing animals go extinct as forests are being destroyed.
… is reflecting the devastation of a deadly virus. Thousands are jobless, homelessness is growing, and there are no signs of stimulus until the virus and testing are in a better place.
As I mentioned earlier, we’re all fighting our own little battles and experiences trauma on top of the world’s devastation. Perhaps you have lost a loved one, lost your job, or are just fed up with dealing with Zoom online schooling.
Alright, now that we’re nice and cozy, lets figure out what the hell we can do to survive the rest of this year. Most importantly, you have every right to be afraid, worried, angry, anxious, sad, and/or any other emotion you’ve experienced. That’s one hefty list of awful things. Honestly, I’m not here to change your political viewpoint, or even to harp about the need to wear a mask, or the importance of recycle and flight reduction. I’m here as a fellow human being, desperate to shine light on my fellow man and woman.
I’ve listed some though process and words of comfort that have helped me during this time. Before you get into them, however, I want you to know it’s ok to have a moment, an hour, a day, or even a week where you just don’t feel like yourself. It’s fine to feel the weight of reality, as long as you don’t let it crush you.
Coping with reality:
We’ve been here before.
Perhaps not Covid-19 and such specifically, but as a globe we’ve overcome some harsh adversities. Surprisingly, I’ve taken comfort in the idea that the world has almost always been in some state of turmoil. I’ve watched movies reliving the civil war, listened to relatives recall the AIDS, Ebola, and SARS outbreak, read books detailing the inhumanities of WWII and Vietnam. My point is: YES, this sucks, but there is so much hope! There is the ability and resilience of humankind, the same humankind that rallied to overcome all the terrors of the past.
If our ancestors can do it, so can we.
Invest in deep, meaningful conversations.
Share your emotions with a friend or family member. Disarm the power of these uncomfortable feelings you have by speaking about them. Letting emotions rage internally can severely affect your quality of life. If you’re uncomfortable opening up, or aren’t ready to just yet, try journaling.
Live In the Moment.
We all have an End Date. The world does, too. Regardless of your religion, we share the knowledge as a society that we will not live forever. It is not easy to hear, but this is one constant that has not changed despite the wild roller coaster of 2020. This is as true today as it was on December 31, 2019. We still have no idea when our last day is going to be, so why not find joy, love, and happiness right now? Live in the moment, THIS MOMENT.
Simple, but oh so challenging. I know… I like to travel and give hugs and high fives and go to Costco without something covering my whole face, too (although I could get used to hiding blemishes or the dark circles under my eyes on tired days!) Listen, I like everything pre-2020 just as much as you do. I miss it, and I hope it comes back. But you know what I’ve committed to? The idea that IF life doesn’t get back to “normal” I’m not going to waste the upcoming minutes, hours, days, months, and years wishing it was “the way it used to be.”
What are some things you CAN do, right now, that bring you purpose and joy? Refer to last blog “Simple, Inexpensive, 30 Minute DIY” if you need a little guidance or a creative jumpstart. We’ve begun utilizing our local library, informally starting the Kawaoka Book Club, and I’ve enjoyed making soaps, lotion, crafty household items and breads, too!
Get off social media
I’m always flabbergasted at the total time I spend on my phone, especially social media. If I have X number of minutes to live, why would I waste it trying to impress other people? I’m happy to go online and share my resources, experiences and knowledge while attempting to stay moderately up to date on my friends and family, but I have set boundaries on both my followers and following. I have personal time limits for my cell phone, and I’m not afraid to shut my phone off or delete my Instagram app for as long as I need so I can process my emotions without the influence of anyone. I encourage you to separate yourself from trolls, negativity, and the pressure to influence whenever that burden is too great. Just click “OFF” and retreat to those in your inner circle.
Fight for your rights
As one who is deeply convicted by the wrongdoings of society, I find I feel peace when I’m doing something about it. This could mean peaceful protest, calling Senators, educating yourself, getting into DIY, and voting. I understand that it can be emotionally and physically exhausting to engage, so fight the fight but rest, guilt-free, when needed.
I’m going to adapt, live in the moment, invest in my relationships, and have hope for mankind. I’m challenging you to speak up, turn the phone off, find something you enjoy doing, stop worrying about the future or wishing for the past, and remember that we, as a globe, have been through turmoil before and we just may get through it again. If you need someone to listen, you are welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am not a therapist, but I am a person who can listen. I do not know what you are struggling with, but I know you should not struggle alone. We are all going through changes, trials, and deep emotional distress.
An effective training program starts with stability: core stability, lower body stability, and upper body stability. From there, one can build mobility, flexibility, strength endurance, and eventually power. Start your workout program right with me as I train from the inside out, from the bottom to the top.
Total Body Stability is a great 20-minute routine that can be done daily if desired. This workout is essential for high performance athletes and Mom and Pop looking for less injuries. Use this as a warm up or warm down from a key run, hard workout, or stand alone bodyweight strength routine. A light weight, towel, or canned good is recommended.
Winter is coming, and with COVID-19 restrictions on travel and entertainment what better time than now to get craftier? The projects listed below are all sustainable, meaning they’re helping the environment by:
Reduce plastic use, and your carbon footprint.
Re-using items commonly thrown out (like glass jars and milk containers)
Many ingredients call for ingredients that may be made of recycled materials. The ingredients listed also make several future batches, thus reducing consumption.
Healthier products: no added sulfites, preservatives or chemicals!
You may save money! We’ve put almost twice as much into savings per month than we did prior to Covid due to sustainable living habits and minimal travel.
Below you will find some of my newfound favorite DIY crafts that you can get done in under 30-60 minutes. I’ve noted the ingredients needed for each item so you can find something you have on hand. If you see something you’d like to make, order the items ahead of time for pick up or on Amazon so you may make them on your next day off.
Oat Milk (oats, dates, water)
Place 1 cup of oats in a blender with 4 cups of water and 1 date, pit removed. Blend on high for 30 seconds. Wet a cheesecloth, thin towel, or old t shirt, squeeze the excess liquid out, and place over a large bowl. Strain liquid into jar through shirt. Gather the edges of the towel and squeeze remaining liquid through into the bowl. You may leave it overnight to strain as well. Transfer to a large Ball jar or repurposed container. Refrigerate and use within 5 days. Shake well before enjoying. Makes great oatmeal, delicious over cereal, in smoothies, and even in coffee.
*Almond milk variation: Soak 1 cup almonds in 1-2 cups water overnight. Drain and blend with 4 cups water and 1 pitted date for 1-2 minutes. Strain in towel and store up to 5 days in refrigerator.
Bring 1-2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan to make a double boiler. Place ¼ cup shea butter, 3 T. coconut oil, 1 T. avocado oil and optional 1 T. beeswax (I’ve made it with and without beeswax. Beeswax will help it harden slightly) in a small saucepan and place over the medium saucepan of boiling water. Stir until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 T. aloe vera juice and 7-10 drops of essential oil. (rosemary is recommended for hair) Pour into a wide, shallow Ball jar (or repurposed jar of appropriate size) and let cool for an hour (it will solidify slightly depending on your house temp) Use 1-2 teaspoons (this is stuff is powerfully conditioning) by massage into roots of hair after shampooing. Leave in for 5-10 minutes and then rinse thoroughly for soft, shiny, healthy hair.
Bring 1-2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan to make a double boiler. Place ¼ cup shea butter, 1/4 T. coconut oil, and 2 T beeswax in a small saucepan and place over the medium saucepan of boiling water. Stir until melted. Whisk in essential oil and pour into a wide, shallow Ball jar (or repurposed jar of appropriate size) to harden. Use a small amount of lotion to moisturize. *This recipe can be made without beeswax.
Pictured with Beeswax Candle (easy to make together) *Moisturizer: my version of lotion w/o beeswax
Bring 1-2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan to make a double boiler. Place 1 cup beeswax and 1 cup of coconut in a small saucepan and place over the medium saucepan of boiling water. Stir until melted. Whisk in essential oil if desired. Pour into a medium sized glass jar with a 6” wick placed in the middle. It may move around a little while you pour it, but you can recenter it once you’ve poured the liquid in as it begins to harden.
Air Freshener (fresh herbs, a lemon, vanilla, water)
In a small saucepan, bring 1.5 cups of water to a boil. Slice your lemon and place in water along with a sprig of rosemary. Simmer until you can fragrantly smell the rosemary. Pour into a wide, shallow jar or repurposed jar of appropriate size. Stir in a teaspoon or so of vanilla.
Place 2 gloves over a large disposable cup. Then, pour about 3 cups of quick mixing cement ($15 at Lowes) into an old, disposal mixing bowl. Add water slowly until the mixture resembles thick, smooth pudding. Pour into gloves and tie off the ends near the wrist of the glove. Arrange both gloves in a large bowl and weigh the palms down with a small dish filled with weights (like some rocks). Allow to harden 1 hour, then carefully remove the weighted dish and peel the gloves off the cement. Be careful, the fingers break easily! Sand any rough edges. These are fun to spray paint or use as a succulent planter. Let set for 24 hours before using.
Rinse your container thoroughly. If using an almond milk container, cut the nutrition facts side of the carton out. If using a plastic milk jug, cut the handle (top) portion out. Keep the pour spout intact. Make sure the lid is on tight, or secure with duct tup. Fill with soil and plant seeds based on planting instructions. Water enough to keep soil dry but be cautious not to overwater container gardens. Place in an area that receives good amounts of sun, or under an LED grow light.
“We can’t just consume our way to a more sustainable world.”
– Jennifer Nini
Most of these products are easy and somewhat cheap to buy. You might think why wouldn’t I just buy an eco-friendly brand? The answer is because its still creating waste. Instead, why don’t we go one step further and invest in the sustainable ingredients to create the product ourselves? Plus, it’s exciting to gain confidence in your abilities when making these things, and far better for our bodies. No preservatives, added sulfites or chemicals, organic. Have fun and let me know how it goes!
A 20 minute guided stretching routine appropriate for all levels. Have an accessible wall, chair, and hand towel ready to enhance your workout. No equipment is needed. In this video, I demonstrate stretches for all levels, from basic to advanced. Unwind with this series 2-4 times per week!
Another low impact, seated session ideal for those who have lower body limitations, seniors, or those looking to target upper body mobility and endurance! Enjoy a variety of options with voice over cueing, and a special intro with my furry friends!
Back by popular demand, I lead a creative, dynamic, functional workout that requires absolutely no equipment! With precise, encouraging voice-over audio, I will guide you through this fun workout in just under 30 minutes. Cheers!