Saturday, November 22, 2014

Batch and Freeze (aka leftovers)

One of the obstacles to healthy eating is not planning ahead, not having the right foods on hands and enough "ready to eat" items nearby. It's so easy to set good intentions. I know I do. I plan on packing a lunch or some healthy snacks to take with me as I head out the door, but somedays I find I'm rushed and don't take the time or  I don't have the necessary food in the house.

So, instead, I end up stopping at the nearby market, grabbing a coconut water, some "healthy" energy bar (okay, not really healthy, but I at least pick the one with the least sugar) and maybe an already prepared fruit salad or watermelon, if it's in season.  Not a balanced lunch at all.

So like the good ole' Boy Scouts, that "Be Prepared" motto of theirs is really good advice. There are many things that can help with this, like meal planning, for instance.  But sometimes it's not always practical or we might not want to figure out what were going to eat for the next week.

I have found one easy solution for this problem is to do what some people refer to as "batching" or as it was probably referred to in the "old days," making enough to have leftovers. Cooking once and eating twice (or many times). It takes approximately the same amount of time to bake one potato as it does to bake six, right? And now, with the fall and winter season upon us, we tend to spend more time in the kitchen anyway.

So many things lend themselves to "batch" cooking. All forms of potatoes, soups, stews, breakfast bars, oatmeal, roasted vegetables, rice, to name a few. Next time you steam some broccoli, cook a chicken breast and make some rice, double that recipe or plan on making enough for leftovers. Or find some batch and freeze friendly recipes here. Having all of these cooked and ready to eat items in the refrigerator makes it much easier to put something together for the next days lunch or tomorrow nights dinner.

And if you're like a lot of people that get bored eating the same thing day after day, go ahead and cook like you're cooking for a small army and then freeze it. There are so many different kinds of food that do well frozen, any kind of batter, mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower (one of my favorites) soups, stews and cooked vegetables  (if you're not sure a food item will freeze well, just Google it and you'll find the answer.)  Such a great time saver, great for your wallet and let's not forget, a real plus for your good health.

For more information about health coaching, click here to visit my website ~

Monday, November 17, 2014

Cut yourself some slack (and a small piece of pie)

While it is admirable to commit to a healthy diet and live a life of clean eating, it can also become an obsession with some. And obsessions of any kind can actually be unhealthy.

We've all heard of anorexia, but there is also an eating disorder called, "orthorexia" ~ this is an obsession with eating "pure." It actually starts out with the good intention of wanting to be healthier, but gets taken to an extreme.

When we have such strict rules and standards set for ourselves, we can become guilt-ridden if we get off track, we beat ourselves up, and consider ourselves failures. We basically become unbearable, and frankly, a bore to be around!  Our righteous obsession with eating "whole" can sometimes turn us into believing that we are "holier" than others around us, the ones who haven't quite joined the "only whole, unprocessed, real foods bandwagon."

Depriving yourself of all treats, sweets and foods that aren't necessarily the best for you, simply isn't sustainable. And the holiday season makes sticking to this way of eating even more challenging. If we can give ourselves some slack, and instead eat by the 80/20 rule, it is a much healthier, and sustainable approach to healthy eating and living, in general. The rule goes that you choose to eat healthy foods 80% of the time, leaving you 20% of the time to eat your favorite foods, family favorites or treats. This is especially important when holidays or special events are upon us, and we all know what a big part food plays in these festivities. You can then partake without feeling that you need to go to confession afterwards or spend the next few days on a water fast. (You don't have to overindulge, but it sure won't hurt to have a small piece of pumpkin pie.)

While it is good to have discipline and be able to stick to your guns, with fewer restrictions, it is much easier to implement long-term healthy changes and life can be just a little sweeter.

For more information about health coaching, click here to visit my website ~

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dear Sir, I write to you today concerning a large sum of money

Stress is one of the biggest factors when it comes to the state of our health. As I've said before, you can eat the healthiest diet, exercise regularly, but if your mind and body are being assaulted by stress, it is pretty much a guarantee that your health will be compromised.

In today's world with all of the gadgets, inventions and technology that we have, designed to make our lives easier, it sure can cause us to "lose it" when it isn't working properly. Like, for example, when your wifi goes down and you can't get online, or the garbage disposal backs up on Thanksgiving after the big meal, or heaven forbid, the cable TV goes down and the latest episode of House of Cards is about to start, and instead you spend hours on the phone with some customer service rep in another country.

But one of the things that can wreak havoc on our lives, and can be more than just a mere nuisance, is Spam. It can turn your life upside down.  And while it seems many of us are getting rather Spam savvy, a lot of us are still confused and scared by what shows up in our inbox. 

Spam is coming at us from all directions, our emails, on Craigslist, on home rental sites, just about everywhere. It seems that the Spammers can't really be monitored so the only solution I see is to educate ourselves. 

So, first and foremost, when you get ANYTHING from institutions like your bank, the IRS, credit card company, or PayPal via email stating that they need account info from you, or any other Urgent message, disregard it. If you look closely at any of these emails, something will be off.  Like their spelling. Or punctuation. If there is truly an account problem you will receive a phone call. And, if you think that possibly the email is valid, do not respond, but instead you should call whatever company is emailing you directly. And not to the number on the email, if there is one, but to the correct number that you have in your records or that you can locate legitimately. 

I mean seriously, are you kidding me? I keep getting this email from, what they would like me to believe, is PayPal. I love the use of the word "here" in the body of this email. But many people won't even see that ~ and they will panic and respond immediately to the Update Your Info button.

Your Account Will Be Limited.
Dear customer,
Your Account Will Be Limited , Until We Here From You . To Update Your Info . Simply click on the web address below (or copy and paste the link into your browser):
Update Your Info

So what I am asking all of you, is to look closely when you receive these types of things and share this information with others you know, especially older people who aren't quite as tech savvy and have a strong sense of "doing the right thing" ~ they are extremely vulnerable and the Spammers know it. Heaven knows, we don't need this kind of bulls*#t causing us any more stress in an already stressful world.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

I'm not goin' all chia seed porridge on you ~

I’ve always admired athletic people. The ones that I see riding their bikes up the steep mountain grade or the loyal followers of yoga, with mats rolled up under their arms, entering the studio for their 6:00 am class. Not being able to make simple commitments has always been one of my biggest challenges. I don’t know exactly why, but I’m working on finding out. It just seems that the minute I make one, I feel like my freedom has been snatched away and now there is one more rule to follow. And this is even when the commitments are good for me.

The funny thing is that I am finding that most of the people I am health coaching are the same way. Maybe for different reasons, but many of us seem to have an aversion to too much regulation, too many “musts” ~ even the good stuff.

So instead of asking or telling you that you need to get up and get in a 30 minute workout, give up your coffee, and eat chia seed porridge (which by the way, I actually love) I’m going to give you something much simpler to start out your day. And yes, it is a bit of a commitment, but one so simple that you just might find yourself wanting to do it on a regular basis!

Begin with a good stretch
 ~ take a cue from your cat or dog.  Notice how they wake up. With a stretch ~ and it feels so good. Spend a couple of minutes stretching. This, you can even do while still in bed.
Now, get up. Follow this with a few “holding up the sky” stretches. Reach as high as you can with both arms, keeping your hands flat as though you are holding up a tray. Hold the stretch for a count of 10, then let your arms and head hang down toward the floor.  Repeat this a few times. And now, maybe a few, "touching the earth" ~ gently bend forward reaching for your toes (or maybe your knees). Do those a few times and then finish up with some waist twists, letting your arms swing.
If you’re anything like me, you are anxiously heading to the kitchen to turn on the coffee pot about now.  So, while you’re waiting for the annoying buzzer to let you know that the coffee is done, you can take a seat and sit with your eyes slightly open (which shouldn’t be hard, since you just woke up!) Sit on the chair with your back straight, feet flat on the ground, and hands in your lap. Take a few deep breaths and wish the world well—whomever and whatever enters your mind at this time, simply think, I wish you well.

Continue to breathe quietly and deeply, paying attention to your breath. If you find yourself worrying or grouchy about something just tell yourself, It’s OK and go back to breathing.  A great morning mantra is “My life is amazing. Thank you, *God.” (*universe, world, whatever works for you.) I say this several times a day, and especially when I'm feeling the opposite! It kind of brings me back into a more grateful state. 
Giving thanks helps set the tone for the rest of the day. You can always find something to be thankful for upon waking. This should be fairly easy. There are a few obvious choices here: you woke up, you have a chair to sit in, and maybe even a delicious cup of coffee/tea/lemon water. Finish this morning practice off with another few deep cleansing breaths.

This way of starting each day can loosen up the knots in both our physical and mental bodies. These simple, feel good baby steps can often turn into big leaps, and who knows, you might just find yourself enrolling in a yoga class soon or joining a bike team, or hey, maybe even able to touch your toes. Sounds crazy, but one never knows.