Archive | September, 2014

We Never See Our True Beauty

29 Sep
Are you ready to feel amazing?

Are you ready to feel amazing?

I was 17, the summer before senior year, watching a PBS documentary on ballet dancers. I, a dancer myself, was in awe of their beauty and grace. About 10 minutes into the documentary, I had an awakening.  Let me back up…

Like many females, I have wrestled with body image issues since I was young. I was called a “dog” more times than I care to admit and have been ridiculed for being too skinny, too flat-chested, too dorky, too everything! Unfortunately, I chose to believe those comments and soon found myself staring at my body and face in the mirror with hatred and disgust. All I could see was a homely girl with frizzy hair, glasses, a flat chest and a big butt. I even created a mantra in high school, “I’m glad I’m not pretty, because I actually had to develop a personality.” I used that mantra a lot.

But then came that PBS documentary. As I was watching the ballerinas, I realized they were small-chested like me; had a muscular butt and thighs like me. I went numb processing that discovery. For once in my life, I felt like I belonged. I felt like it was finally okay to have the body I have, regardless of what anybody else said.

We never see our true beauty…

I’m not over my body issues. I’ve used food to cope with loneliness and to “fix” me; and I’ve believed that when I’m prettier with a better body, I will finally deserve happiness. I worry because I work in the fitness industry—an industry notorious for placing emphasis on how an individual looks, rather than how healthy and happy they feel—and who wants to train with a fitness coach who has a (gasp!) flawed body?! Through a lot of practice, I’ve become more mindful, more aware that I don’t have to wait until I’m “fixed” to live my life fully. There’s nothing to fix.

Breathe that in… there is nothing to fix.

Whether we’ve been teased for being too fat or too thin; too tall or too short; red hair or blond hair—it hurts all the same. I work with amazing people who struggle daily with losing weight, feeling energetic and healthy, knowing what to eat and thinking that their life would be better if only they looked like this month’s magazine cover girl. I can relate. So, here’s a thought, let’s work on loving ourselves, on embracing our beauty, showing compassion towards others, being mindful of our own needs and celebrating each other for our intelligence, humor and grace. Let’s encourage each other to have strong, healthy bodies; let’s compliment each other; let’s be ridiculously gorgeous without apology; let’s cook healthy amazing food and feed it to our friends and family; let’s be the person our loved ones can be proud of—that we can be proud of. Let us just BE… and embrace all that that is.

If you would like to feel truly nourished and create self-acceptance and body freedom, join me for a 6-week course beginning October 21st, 2014. Please email or call for more details. 402-819-8970 or stephsbell@yahoo.com.

Advertisements

Fats Won’t Make You Fat and Carbs Aren’t the Devil

22 Sep

IMG_1197The Diet World is confusing. A quick Internet search lists so many fad diets, you don’t know which one is right for you. Should you do high carb or low carb, Atkins or Vegetarian, Slow or FAST?

 

Before you decide how you want to eat, let me throw in my two cents. How about not dieting at all? What about just eating food—real food that tastes amazing and works with your body type and needs (such as diabetes, thyroid disease, food allergies, weight loss, etc.)?

 

While I’m not going to give general recommendations in this blog as to how many vegetables, starches, fruit, fat and protein grams you should eat (because I believe that is highly individualized and who the heck knows what a gram of anything looks like, let alone want to measure it), I do want to talk about what real food is made of (macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fat) and how it builds and sustains our health. While I think knowing examples of what a carb, fat and protein are is important, I also think it is crucial to remember that we eat food—not macronutrients—and that each food almost always contains all three macronutrients.

 

Carbohydrates. A lot of people villainize carbs, but here’s the catch—vegetables and fruits are carbs too, so eliminating carbs is certainly not the answer to vitality. Carbohydrates are compounds composed of sugars (not to be confused with processed sugars that truly hinder your health) and come from plants. They are a primary source of energy, fiber and a structural component of cell walls and plasma membranes because they contain all sorts of stellar vitamins, minerals, water and secondary nutrients like antioxidants. Carbohydrates include vegetables, fruits and starches (grains, beans and potatoes).

 

Protein. Protein consumption is essential for building and repairing all tissues in the body such as muscle, bones, organs, hair and skin, not to mention neurotransmitters, enzymes, hormones and a source of energy. There are 21 amino acids (for the chemistry aficionados, these are the individual compound strands of protein) and our bodies can make most of these all on our own. However, there are 8 essential amino acids that can only be obtained through direct consumption of fish, fowl, meat, eggs and dairy. These amino acid building blocks are necessary for our bodies to function optimally.

 

Fat. Before you run for the hills, please understand that you need to eat fat. Fat is composed of glycerol and fatty acids and their asso­ciated organic groups. Fat is a source of energy, a building block for cell membranes and hormones, aids in nerve conduction and helps absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. It also helps with maintaining healthy weight due to its satiating nature. It is essential to consume high quality saturated and unsaturated fats to maintain optimal health, especially the essential fatty acid omega-3. Fabulous fat examples include olives, coconut, avocados, nuts and seeds.

 

For an individualized nutrition program and to create body and food freedom, please contact me at 402-819-8970 or stephsbell@yahoo.com.

 

Hearty Chicken Soup with Basil Oil

15 Sep

IMG_1956Soup is the ultimate comfy cozy food. This healthy take on an old-fashioned favorite, Chicken Noodle Soup, is Danielle Walker’s recipe (her recipes and her story are amazing, so please check her out). I added more vegetables and topped it with basil oil for dimension. When I’m in a time crunch, it helps to buy a rotisserie chicken and let it cool before shredding it (which is a perfect time to chop the carrots, celery and onion).

Chicken Soup Ingredients:

1 roasted free range chicken or 3 chicken breasts, hormone and antibiotic free, cooked and shredded

8-10 celery stalks, chopped

8 carrots, chopped

1 small white or yellow onion, diced

6 cups low sodium chicken broth (I like Pacific Foods brand)

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp dried thyme

2 tsp dried oregano

1 bay leaf

2 lbs zucchini

 

Basil Oil Ingredients:

2 cups basil, tightly packed

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

 

Directions:

1. Shred cooked chicken into bite size pieces or cubes and place in large stock pot. Then, add cleaned and chopped celery and carrots, diced onion, chicken broth, sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, thyme, oregano and bay leaf. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer for 25 minutes.

2. While pot is simmering, use a mandoline slicer to julienne cut cleaned zucchini (you can peel the zucchini prior to cutting if you want it to look more like noodles). Set zucchini “noodles” aside.

3. Now make the basil oil, adding basil, olive oil, salt and garlic to a food processor. Blend, place in an air-tight container and set aside.

4. Once the 25 minutes is finished, add the zucchini and continue simmering for another 8 minutes.

5. When soup is finished (total of 33 minutes on the stove), remove the bay leaf, spoon soup into the bowls, drizzle with basil oil and feel all warm and cozy!

Serves 6-8

Spice-Roasted Acorn Squash

9 Sep

IMG_1952Just 1 cup of this cute little pumpkin (including all other winter squashes) is loaded with Vitamin A (60% of DV), C (26%), 5 grams of fiber and plenty of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Winter squashes are also shown to reduce inflammation and regulate blood sugar levels…. so how do you cook this delectable veggie? Well, while I love to use butternut squash in soup, I find simply roasting acorn squash in spices and herbs to be warm and comforting too!

 

Ingredients:

1 acorn squash

1/2 tsp coconut oil

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

***you can also skip the spices and use herbs such as thyme, oregano and parsley with the sea salt

 

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 375°. Wash acorn squash thoroughly and pat dry. Cut off stem and bottom of squash, then slice in half and scoop out the seeds. You can discard the seeds or roast them. The skin is edible, so I don’t peel it, but you can if you want or if you’ve purchased a non-organic squash.

2. Cut the halved squash in half again, then cut into 1/4″ wedges (I follow the natural grooves of the acorn squash) so they resemble steak-size fries.

3. In a mixing bowl, combine coconut oil and spices (or the herb options with sea salt).

4. Place the acorn squash wedges in the coconut mixture and coat well. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes.

Serves 2-4

Your New BFF: Best Food Friend

2 Sep
Homemade or store bought, this food is a health powerhouse!

Homemade or store bought, this food is a health powerhouse!

Remember when your mom made chicken soup for you when you were sick? Well, moms are awesome and this is solid gold proof. Bone broth is the bee’s knees of food. My evening isn’t complete without a cup of bone broth and tea. Whenever you decide to drink yours, these benefits will be yours…

1. Heals the Gut. Gelatin found in bone broth protects and heals the lining of your digestive tract. If you’ve ever heard of leaky gut syndrome and/or suffer from food sensitivities, bone broth is your new best friend.

2. Gives you Happy Joints, Skin, Hair and Nails. Glucosamine, collagen, gelatin, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus found in bone broth helps stimulate new collagen, bone and hair growth; repairs damaged joints; strengthens nails; and reduces pain and inflammation.

3. Helps You Rest Easy and Detox. Glycine, an amino acid found in bone broth, is very calming to the body and it helps detoxify the liver–BONUS!

4. Better and Cheaper than Supplements. Bone broth is simple and inexpensive to make. (You can also buy it prepared as pictured above.)