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5 Things You Need To Know About Green Smoothies

Green Smoothies

Hello there soon-to-be smoothie lover!

Freshly pressed and blended or bottled, smoothies are red hot. You may have seen photos of celebs spotted after their sweat sesh in the gym holding a mason jar filled with green smoothie or your co-worker downing a glass and wondering why would any one drink that—ugh, greens. The “healthy eating” craze just got crazier!

But, can you blame them? With health issues such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and other chronic conditions on the rise, it seems like people will do just about anything for their health to be in tip-top condition.

We’ve all heard it, “what you don’t know won’t hurt you”, right? Wrong! There is no perfect diet for everyone but there are a lot of wrong ones—and you’ve got to know which is which.

In the crowded sea of fad diets and healthy eating tips and tricks, green smoothies are among some of the most popular must-eat/must-drink nutritional powerhouses on the market. Some people even go an extra mile and make their own from fresh fruits and veggies. Of course, eating a variety of foods is still one of the most important factors to consider for a nutritionally-balanced diet but with the right ingredients, these blended greens can surely put up a good fight for the “healthiest of them all” title that all these healthy eating regimes seem to compete for.

Smoothies vs. Shakes

So what are smoothies, really? And how are they different from shakes? Why can’t we just call them green shakes instead of green smoothies?

A smoothie is typically made with fruit—frozen fruit, fresh fruits, fruit juice, etc. It’s not a dairy affair but more of a fruit party, actually. While shakes, on the other hand, is a dairy-based treat usually made of milk, ice cream or both. The thickness of a smoothie or a milkshake does not change the name of the drink. As long as you can suck it up with a straw, it’s either a smoothie or a shake. When you start to need a spoon, then it becomes an ice cream or a sorbet.

What comes first to your mind when you hear the word vegetable? You probably pictured a green vegetable—a broccoli, maybe?

Even though there are other vegetables that are not green in color you probably thought of a green veggie. It may be because the color green somehow signifies good health. See that health bar when you play a video game? It’s green when your character is still “healthy” or alive. You get the point.

Now that makes sense! Since smoothies are typically made using fruits, green smoothies are “green” smoothies because they are mostly made of veggies—the green ones, usually.

But, why not call them veggie smoothies instead?

Sure, you can call it veggie smoothie or vegetable smoothie or whatever floats your boat (really), but for some reason “green smoothie” fits right. Its simplicity is quite catchy, don’t you think?

Health Benefits

A lot of people are going on a green smoothie rampage in hopes of keeping the doctor away and the stubborn weight gain at bay—two things that are almost impossible not to happen in a typical sugar- and salt-laden diet that most people have.

But why smoothies? Why not eat real vegetables?

Eating fresh vegetables instead of blended ones sounds ideal. But in this fast-paced life filled with deadlines and demands, convenience is everything. Not everyone has the time to eat home-cooked meals, let alone sit down and eat 3 servings of vegetables every day. And when you’re trying to be a “responsible” adult—taking care of your health by avoiding fast foods and opting for healthy food choices, you try (force yourself) to do the right thing: you eat vegetables.

World Health Organization (WHO)/ Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recommends a minimum of 400 grams of fruit and vegetables per day to prevent several micronutrient deficiencies and chronic diseases.

400 grams, wow!

If you’re not really a veggie fan then that may sound a lot. How do you include them in your diet—without choking? Enter green smoothies. A smoothie is probably the ultimate convenience food. You don’t even have to chew it. Still not convinced green smoothies are worth a try? Here are some more reasons why you should be on your way to buying a blender right now:

  1. You can up your fruit and vegetable consumption

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 16 million (1.0%) disability adjusted life years or DALYS (measure of the potential life lost due to premature mortality and the years of productive life lost due to disability) and 1.7 million (2.8%) of deaths worldwide are attributed to low fruit and vegetable intake.  It is also accounted for around 14% of gastrointestinal cancer deaths, 11% of ischemic heart disease deaths, and about 9% of deaths due to stroke globally.

When it comes to numbers (and not just numbers, I mean numbers pertaining to diseases and even deaths—yikes!) from a reputable source it’s really convincing to do what you’ve got to do in order not to, you know, contribute to these numbers. Green smoothies promise weight loss and loads of nutrients all in a single, gulpable serving. Drinking them makes it easier to get more fruits and vegetable into your diet, or that of your family.

  1. Green smoothie makes a good post-workout meal

Blending breaks down the hard-to-digest plant cell walls and improves their digestibility, allowing your body to absorb the nutrients in your smoothie more easily. This is one of the reasons why a smoothie makes a perfect post-workout meal.

Your body uses stored energy in your muscles to power through your workout. It’s very important that you replenish the nutrients lost during your sweat sesh to maximize its health benefits. It is recommended to get a combination of carbohydrates and protein immediately into your body as this gives your muscles the ability to replenish glycogen (the stored energy you used) and allows them to rebuild and repair as they recover.

Smoothies are rehydrating and loaded with nutrients that can be easily absorbed by your body. Not to mention, they are refreshing, too!

  1. You get more fiber

Dietary fiber, also known as roughage, includes all parts of plant foods that your body can’t digest or absorb.

It is food mainly in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains and is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation. But foods containing fiber can provide other health benefits such as reducing your risk of diabetes and heart disease and lowering your cholesterol and sugar levels. It also aids in weight loss. Eating fiber-rich foods can make a meal feel larger so you stay “feeling full” for a longer period of time.

  1. No need to add the big “C” in your already complicated life

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, accounting for 8.2 million deaths in 2012. Annual cancer cases are expected to rise from 14 million in 2012 to 22 million within the next two decades.

How not to add to these numbers?

Antioxidants!

Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against cancer-causing free radicals. In general, fruits and vegetables are chock-full of nutrients and antioxidants that are essential for optimum health, but not all foods are created equal. Some fruits and vegetables stand out in terms of antioxidant concentration as well as antioxidant capacity per serving size more than others. Among other fruits, cranberries, blueberries, and blackberries ranked highest while beans, artichokes, and Russet potatoes top other vegetables.

  1. You can lose weight

How do you distinguish a fad diet from a diet that really works? Well, a lot of fad diets and weight loss programs promise rapid weight loss—which can be great, only if they don’t leave you starving and depressed. Weight loss is a journey. You didn’t pack on those extra pounds overnight so don’t expect that you’ll shed them off quickly.

Permanent weight loss can be dragging but what makes it worth the wait is the fact that it is permanent.  Fad diets claim that they know a “shortcut” to weight loss. The truth is: there are no shortcuts. The shortcut they will share with you often leads to starvation. Yes, you will lose weight and yes, it will be fast, but pretty soon the weight you lost will catch up and you will find yourself back to square one. You don’t want that. No one wants that.

Green smoothies are mostly made of vegetables. And we all know that vegetables are one of your weight loss BFFs. With the right combination of ingredients, green smoothies may be the key to having the hot bod you’ve always wanted.

DIY Green Smoothies

Are you ready to make your way to rich green smoothie goodness?

What blender to use

What you’ll need is a blender and a little amount of patience. If you’re a grab-and-go type of eater—oftentimes falling into takeaway traps and wants to take baby steps towards healthy eating, making smoothies is a good start.  It should take about 5 minutes to prepare. So try to sit back and relax while you let your blender do the job.

If you’re always on the run but doesn’t want to buy bottled smoothies, you may want to buy a blender that blends fast so you won’t feel as if making smoothies robs you off of your precious time. But this kind of blender is a bit pricey. In making smoothies, it doesn’t really matter what kind of blender you use as long as it serves its purpose. A blender that effectively blends your green smoothie ingredients is a good blender.

Ingredients

The ingredients that you will use in making your own smoothies are pretty obvious. Fruits and vegetables are must-haves in your smoothie business. Some of the green smoothie essentials that you need are kale, spinach, romaine, collards, non-fat milk, coconut milk, coconut water, almond milk, banana, mango, berries, apple, grapes, and avocado.

You can add other fruits and vegetables, too! No doubt they are chock-full of nutrients so don’t be scared. Experiment all you want! The smoothie that you make is only as effective as the ingredients you use. Substitution is the key. Do not be afraid to try new things.

Yes, it can taste terrible. But, hey at least you can learn something from it. After all, a mistake is only a mistake if you don’t learn anything from it. Most of the oh-so-good smoothie recipes you see on the Internet stem from brave attempts of making different fruit and vegetable combinations work. You bet most of them taste beyond terrible, but a little tweak on the ingredients can make a big difference.

Start blending!

You may think that making a smoothie is as simple as putting all the ingredients in your blender. You’re right! It’s as simple as that! But if you want to get the best out of your nutrient-packed smoothies (of course you do!), you may want to consider doing them the proper way.

Start by blending 2 cups of leafy greens and 2 cups of liquid base together. If you’re trying to lose weight, you may want to use non-fat milk as your liquid base instead of coconut milk. Or better yet, use water. But the good thing about using milk is that it adds to the creaminess of your smoothie, making slurping a little bit more fun. It can also hide the distinct “green taste” of veggies. It really works wonders!

Next, add 3 cups of ripe fruit and blend again until the texture of your smoothie is well, smooth. And voila! Enjoy your smoothie!

Life is about making choices—choices that make you happy. Making smoothies is pretty much the same. In the end, what will be most effective is a diet you enjoy!

Resources:

World Health Organization (WHO)

Promoting fruit and vegetable consumption around the world

http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/fruit/en/

Cancer

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs297/en/

American Heart Association (AHA)

Fiber

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Whole-Grains-and-Fiber_UCM_303249_Article.jsp

Tell me more about your experiences with smoothies in the comments section below!

Author Bio :

Leanne Thompson is an author and a blogger who has contributed to some of the most well-known Health, Fitness and Nutrition blogs. She has struggled with her weight in her teenage years, which has driven her to undertake a Bachelors of Nutrition degree in the renowned Iowa State University, mostly to study the needs of a human body and how to make the most out of her life. She has made it her life goal to spread awareness about the importance of healthy weight loss and the well-being of people she has contact with. Visit her nutrition & health blog to find out more information!

Soccer training gets you fit .. really fit!

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There’s no doubt about it – if you train properly to play soccer, you will get fit. What’s more – you’ll get fit in great all-round way. But don’t worry – you don’t need to kick a ball!

 

Soccer is the world’s most popular sport by quite a distance – and it’s getting ever more popular in the US. But whether you’re interested in the actual game or not – the fitness training specifically for soccer really pays off.

 

However – if you can get at least a little interested in the sport, this will help you stay interested in the fitness side of things and you may even find yourself yearning to kick a ball or two for real.

 

In the rest of the world, soccer is, of course, “football”, and if you’re into football betting on the big games – this can really help stimulate your interest in a game in which you might not otherwise be interested.

 

Otherwise, simply watch a few games, then just think for yourself how fit the players need to be and in what ways.

 

In particular, modern soccer demands a specific type of cardio-vascular fitness, as well as strength and flexibility. In today’s game, a player can run up to eight miles during a 90 minute game – and a lot of that running will be in bursts of fastest-possible sprinting.

 

This places very big demands on the players’ bodies and they have to train accordingly. There is a huge emphasis on running, obviously, both long-term slower paced training and short burst work.

 

Soccer training must always incorporate a lot of interval training into its program, involving both high and low intensities of activity. So when training, jog at low speeds over long distances – but punctuate that roadwork with short sharp bursts of around 50 yards or so as often as you can manage it.

 

Similarly, do a lot of core strength work. This means hitting the gym to do high reps, with lots of control. But don’t overdo the machine work. Instead, concentrate on non-weight exercises. Your overall strength-training program should also include movements including step-ups, pushups, lunges, squats, dips and chin-ups. It should also balance strengths in opposing muscle groups.

 

Most of the exercises you do ought to be ground-based. These use your own bodyweight and/or free weights for resistance, and they ought to involve the movement of the entire body.

 

Overall – try to train all your major muscles with particular emphasis on your lower body and your core strength.

 

As long as this is the basis of your soccer training program – then design your own based on the kind of soccer fitness program you can find online. Do this and take in a few games on TV or for real, and you may even find you want to have a go for real with a large round ball – and that really will get you fitter than you ever thought possible!

 

Time for a Roll in the Hay

Time for a Roll in the Hay, or sex as most of us call it.   Did you know that sex is good for your health?   I am sure you have probably heard that a time or two, from your partner as they are being funny and trying to get you in the mood.  LOL!   Well, it is true.  Take a look at this great infographic that was shared with me from Evoke.ie . After you read it, maybe you should grab your partner and go have a roll in the hay ;)
Evoke-IG-May-Health-Benefits-Sex

Workout Gear: Necessary Investment or the Fashion Industry Trying to Make a Buck?

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Workout Gear: Necessary Investment or the Fashion Industry Trying to Make a Buck?

These days it seems like you need a specific coordinated outfit for each individual type of exercise you plan to do; God forbid you wear your yoga pants on a jog or your football jersey to the gym!

The truth is that there is some gear that has been invented for very specific and workout-helpful purposes. For example, you shouldn’t wear the shoes you wear during a race around a track while jogging on a treadmill (or jogging anywhere, really). So that made us wonder: what, exactly, do you actually need to wear when you are working out?

The Right Shoes

While we want you to read the rest of the article we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that you can wear just about whatever clothing you like while you work out and you’ll probably be fine. Your feet, though, are another matter entirely. It is incredibly important that you have the right shoes for the type of workout you’re going to do. The reason you shouldn’t wear track shoes on a treadmill (or a sidewalk, for that matter) is that they are light weight and don’t offer a ton of support.

Furthermore, they are equipped with spikes that are meant to dig into a track and give you traction while you sprint. Those same spikes force your foot to bend upward slightly when you wear track shoes on non-track surfaces and could cause damage if worn for long periods of time.

Compression Wear

Compression clothing has long been used to help people heal after illness or injury and to prevent problems like improving blood circulation and preventing blood clots during long trips (like a cross country flight where you might not be able to get up and walk around a lot). Compression clothing is created to have some give (to accommodate swelling) while also maintaining its shape and structure. Some people have sworn that it helps improve their performance and speeds up the muscle toning process.

Where compression gear can be really helpful is after a workout. Specifically crafted athletic compression gear from companies like Therafirm is great for marathons or lengthy training sessions because it helps keep blood circulating and alleviates the pressure that builds up and causes swelling.

Comfort, Health and Safety

Beyond shoes and compression, what you wear is largely up to you. You can wear that ratty old cotton t-shirt and pair of shorts to the gym if you want. What would be more helpful, though, is choosing at least a couple of things that are built specifically for exercising. Here’s why:

Clothing meant for sports and exercise is usually built from materials designed to wick moisture (aka sweat) away from your skin instead of simply absorbing it into itself. Cotton is very absorbent but leaves you with a wet shirt hanging all over you. It also allows moisture to pool in inconvenient places. Those pools can lead to problems like fungal infections (think athlete’s foot where you really don’t want it) and staph infections. Yuck!

Clothing built for sports and working out is usually built to fit snugly against your body while still allowing you to move. You might feel self-conscious at first (it puts most of your shape on display, which can be uncomfortable) but you’ll feel more self-conscious when you accidentally trip over your those loose and flappy legs of your sweatpants or accidentally punch yourself because your arm got tangled in the loose and flapping hem of your t-shirt.

So: make sure your feet and muscles are supported, that you can move and that you keep moisture from pooling in inconvenient places. Beyond that, it’s up to you!

 

You CAN Workout Every Day

Think you can’t fit a workout in today?  Think you are just to busy, don’t have any free time, or just not sure when or what to do?  Check out some of these fun, quick, easy, and effective ways to get a workout in any day of the week no matter what you are doing or where you are.  I totally understand not having time to hit the gym every day.  Sometimes it’s hard to find that 1 hour time slot to commit to a gym or fitness class.  But, there are so many things a person can do every day to just squeeze in that little workout every day.
A great list of things compiled by me and Theresa Roemer

1.      Sit up straight at your desk engaging your core muscles.  If your upper and lower abs are working, its like doing light crunches as opposed to sitting hunched over, which means no muscles are engaged and they are literally like Jello. 

2.      While up and straight, squeeze your glute muscles, pulsing up and down in your seat.  These are mini-squats in your chair.  Do three reps of ten each, you should feel the burn. 

3.      Alternate your glutes queeze, one side and then the next, rapid-fire for two minutes straight.

4.      Work your calve muscles by toggling your back and forth (up on your toes and then in a flex), in sync.  Put emphasis on the stretch forward and back, feel the muscles on the backs of your legs push and pull.  Do three reps of ten.

5.      If you have a chair with arms, lift your body up doing arm push-ups and hold your body weight up just two inches from the chair for 10-20 seconds before releasing.  You can also pulse in place doing three reps of ten.  This is great for the lateral muscles in your arms. 

6.      Leave your desk and go for a brisk 10-minute walk anywhere you feel comfortable.  This could be up and down a set of stairs in your building, or around the block.  As long as the walk is brisk and your heart rate goes up, you’ve achieved the goal. 

7.      If you have an office or can hop in to a private conference room, just 60 seconds of jumping jacks will do wonders for your heart and brain. 

8.      If you have a private space, do 5-10 pushups, or hold a plank for 10-20 seconds.  This will strengthen your core and improve your overall strength, while also speed up your heart rate.

9.      Stand about three feet from a wall, facing the wall, and place your hands on the wall shoulder width apart, chest high.  Lean forward and do push-ups off the wall, three reps of ten.

10.     If you are going somewhere and need to park, park far away and walk.   Just the extra walking to and from the entrance of the store will give you those few extra steps a day to help with your cardio.

11.     Do squats while you brush your teeth.  Might sound funny, but I do it every morning.  I have an electric toothbrush and get in 60 squats in, every morning and night.

12.    Take the dogs for a walk.  Kill 2 birds with one stone (as they say).   Exercise for you and your dog is a win win.  You most likely have to take the dog for a walk so they can go potty, right.. so why not get exercise for you both.

13.    Do counter push ups when cooking.  I do this all the time.  It is easy, like doing a pushup against a wall, but using a counter.

14.    Play with your kids.  A good session of playing catch, Frisbee, tag, hula hoop, or any other fun activity.

15.    Whatever you do, make it count and enjoy it.   Life is to short, and your health is too important.

Do any one of the above, or a combination of any of them each day and you will notice a difference in your attitude, performance, and overall strength.

Yoga For Beginners

yoga Copyright: andresr / 123RF Stock Photo

Yoga for Beginners ~ What to know

Have you tried yoga?  Do you do it at home in the comfort of your living room or do you do it at a local gym or community center with others.  Regardless of if you do it, or where you do it, these are some great tips to help you with your decision on how and where to try yoga.  Kendal Perez has covered every angle, I hope you enjoy her tips as much as I do.

1. Research Studios & Classes
Learn about the opportunities for yoga in your area. In addition to studios, check out gyms, wellness centers and community recreational facilities for classes. Even if your town doesn’t have a designated yoga studio, your local fitness club or rec center likely offers a class or two.

2. Get Free or Discounted Newbie Passes
Most yoga studios offer a free introductory yoga class, week of classes or deeply-discounted rates so you can test their facility and instructors. Take advantage of this by visiting as many studios in your area as possible for free or cheap. It’s a great way to learn about the different styles and teachers without busting your budget!

3. Read Up on the Styles
People do yoga for a variety of reasons, so determine your goals and find a style that helps you achieve them. If you sit behind a desk for a living and want to sweat, consider a Power or Vinyasa class. Gentle or Yin yoga classes are great if your day job leaves you stressed and out of breath. For more information on yoga styles, check out this article from Gaiam.

4. Talk to Instructors
Let teachers know you’re a newbie and ask if they offer variations for beginners. Most do, but some classes are targeted specifically at intermediate or advanced practitioners, and instructors can point you to a more appropriate class or style of yoga for your needs. Know that teachers are the key to a yoga class — once you find one you like, you’ll feel more motivated to practice consistently.

5. Try At-Home Practices
I got my start with yoga using a “Yoga for Dummies” DVD. It may sound silly but I found it hugely helpful when I stepped onto my mat for the first time in a studio setting. The instructor calls out postures like “Mountain Pose,” “Warrior Two,” “Downward-Facing Dog” and the like, and knowing what these look like ahead of time made me feel better prepared.

6. Check Online
These days, online yoga videos are prolific at sites like YogaDownload.com and YogaSessions.tv. The site YogaJournal.com also offers free videos based on practices designed for their monthly magazine subscribers. Even YouTube offers some video tutorials, but be careful not to make this your exclusive method of practice. Going to a studio will help you better learn and internalize the right form for postures so you stay safe and avoid injury.

7. Go Basic for Gear
Lululemon dominates the yogascape in many studios across the country. Their pieces are cute but hard on the budget, and definitely not a necessary investment for beginners! As a frugal shopper, I use the Coupon Sherpa coupon app to save on yoga gear from Sports Authority, or hit up TJMaxx and Marshall’s for discounts on brands like Nike, Under Armour and New Balance.

8. Accessorize for Comfort
Most studios have props for student use, including blocks, straps and blankets. Take advantage of these items to help strengthen your practice or make challenging postures easier. For example, using a block during Half-Moon pose can help you balance better and focus on extending your lifted leg. Similarly, a strap can help you deepen the stretch in a Seated Forward Bend when you wrap it around your feet.

9. Don’t Skip the Variation
Teachers speak often about listening to your body and leaving the ego off the mat. This can be tough for competitive types, but beginners should definitely heed this advice. Variations are instrumental in creating a strong foundation for your practice, so drop that knee or use your strap as needed. Achieving the peak posture will feel all the sweeter and far more stable if you’re confident in the foundational steps.

 

Disclosure ~  I was given the ok to post these great tips from Kendal Perez for my awesome followers to enjoy.

Sunday’s With Shana Schneider – Office Workout

Sunday’s With Shana Schneider – Office Workout

 

Have you heard about the latest 7-minute workout that combines 12 simple exercises and boasts great positive health and fitness benefits? Check out this video to see what it’s all about. Why not try and put those random minutes between meetings to a good use!

Sunday’s With Shana Schneider – Morning Workout Part 1

Sunday’s With Shana Schneider – Morning Workout Part 1

Mornings can be hard sometimes, and exercise seems to be the last thing on most people’s minds.  But, Shana says ~ Don’t feel guilty about hitting that snooze alarm in the morning. Try out these easy exercises you can do while still in bed! This is part one of a series that will get you feeling fit before you even leave the house.

Sunday’s With Shana Schneider – Look Thinner

Sunday’s With Shana Schneider – Look Thinner

 

Every girl in the world wants to look thinner.. at least all the girls I know do.    Shana shares a great tip on how you can look thinner in seconds, and it’s easy to do ;)

 

Join the Buti Yoga Revolution

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Buti Yoga Join The Revolution DVD Set

BUTI is all about empowering females as a lifestyle brand. They fuse together yoga, tribal dancing and plyometrics in their approach to wellness. The word Buti is derived from the Marathi word meaning the cure to something that is hidden or secret. This is perfect because the goal at Buti is to make sure that women are guided towards their goals through movement, nutrition and wellness so that they can be transformed from the inside out. Wellness is not always about the physical. It is as much about the mental as well.

They have movement styles that are trademarked such as BUTI®, BUTI® Sculpt and HOT BUTI®.

Their BUTI® and HOT BUTI® classes go from 60-90 minutes long and are taught in a room that is either room temperature or hot. You’re going to sweat it out. It is all about spiral movements and unlocking the Shakti Spiral in the hips to release energy. BUTI® combines styles of Hatha yoga with tribal dance sequences that are sure to keep your heart rate up and pumping. You will also free your spirit and form a bond with those you workout with. The trainers and empowerers at Buti want to not only lead and train you but they want you to dive deep into practicing this and form a sisterhood and love yourself in a way that can empower you to do more.

This is a very energetic, fun, and will make you sweat and beg for the video to be over because you will be feeling every muscle in your body scream !   I love it!!

Check out the teaser ~

 

 

Found this on the DVD:

The Transformation Series is a 3 DVD box set complete with a 30 day workout schedule. The schedule is divided into Beginner, Moderate and Advanced workouts that scale to help you get the best results. This DVD set is perfect for all skill levels.

Purchase on Amazon

Check out Buti on YouTube

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Disclosure ~ Living Smart Girl received product to facilitate a review.