Tag Archives: healthy

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

12 Jan

ghost-crab_w725_h476Have you ever heard of the Crab Theory? It’s pretty interesting. Here it goes: if you place one crab in a pot, it will easily crawl out, but if you put multiple crabs in a pot, they will pull anyone down who tries to escape to ensure they all meet the same fate.

There are many theories on the why: jealousy, resentment, equal the playing field, feel better about themselves… kinda sounds like human nature, huh? Have you ever attempted to make a positive change, like cutting down on cookie consumption, only to have your spouse restock the cookie stash (after you asked him/her not to) or your best friend telling you you’re “no fun” since you don’t want to go to the coffee shop that sells your favorite cookies? Yep, that sucks and makes doing something good for yourself feel like a drag.

Social support is critical when making positive change. So until your new change has become a habit, try spending a bit more time with people who build you up and a little less time with those that tear you down. While you build your new power posse (the friends and family that will go on a walk with you and enjoy eating healthier foods), try communicating the importance of why you are changing to your other friends and family and how much you’d appreciate their support. You can even assure them that while you want to be healthier for your grandkids, you will not guilt or pressure them to do the same. Who knows, if they don’t feel judged or feel scared that you’ll leave them behind, they may even warm up to ditching those cookies too.

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Thrive During Change: The 5-Step Anti-New Year’s Resolution Plan

29 Dec
Set your sails and avoid the rocks along the way.

Set your sails and avoid the rocks along the way.

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. It isn’t because I don’t believe in growth and bettering one’s self–I’m totally down with that. It’s because the “New Year’s Resolution” thought process that we’ve known sets us up for failure. Too lofty (“I know I haven’t exercised in 15 years, but I’m going to start going to the gym…”), too much (“… every single day at 5am…”), too dependent on societal cues  (“…because losing weight will help me get that date!”). So let’s thrive in 2015 and look a little differently at how we can start our positive lifestyle changes on a path of success!

1. How Do You Want to Feel? Danielle LaPorte writes in her phenomenal book, The Desire Map, that we spend a great deal of our time seeking goals or things to make us feel a certain way. For example, do you think having the perfect body will help you ditch your toxic partner and find a better job? It won’t because the perfect body doesn’t exist (without Photoshop)… but doing things that make you feel happy, sexy and courageous will help you realize your inner awesomeness, build confidence and you will become aware that you DESERVE (yes, you darling!) to be in a healthy relationship and a job you enjoy.

Action Step 1: Ask yourself, “How do I want to feel?” and make a list of words that resonate with you. Then, write down simple things (aka wearing my favorite perfume makes me feel sexy) you can do on a daily basis to feel that way.

2. Expect Challenges. Going through the transition of change can be painful. Anyone remember puberty? I know my awkwardness shined brightly throughout all those middle school pictures. Todd Herman, sports psychology coach, has the answer to stick to your changes. He says that the reason why we start off like a rock star during our New Year’s resolutions is because our brain temporarily floods our body with feel-good neurotransmitters to tell us good job and that it loves the fact we are treating our body awesome with exercise and healthy foods.

After about a week, we feel the resistance, the un-motivation. This is because our neurotransmitter levels went back to normal (and good thing, otherwise we’d literally go crazy). We think we’re just lazy and that it’s too hard to change; however, our cells are having a party transforming into healthier cells for us! They just need a little bit more time to reshape themselves (longer than our neurotransmitter support can give us).

Action Step 2: Celebrate when you feel resistance because it means you are making positive changes and your body is LOVING it! Push through the awkward puberty of change by: 1) breathing, 2) reminding yourself why what you are doing is important, 3) say it out loud, “I’m changing.” and 4) read the next step…

3. Make Small Corrections. So you missed a workout. It’s cool. Our life isn’t a typewriter. We don’t have to throw it all away just because we made a mistake. We are on a journey and can course correct, making small adjustments so we don’t hit that huge rock in our path again.

Action Step 3: What do you need to make this change successful? Is it packing your workout bag at night and having it in the car? Is it keeping almonds in portioned bags at work for emergency snacks? Whatever it is, do it. And if it doesn’t work, change it.

4. Start Small. You’ve decided you want to be healthier and exercising more is how you want to get there–hooray! Rather than going from zero to seven days per week of gym time, start slowly and build your confidence that this new positive change is easy peasy.

Action Step 4: Choose a number that sounds too easy. Maybe it is exercising one day per week for 30 minutes or focusing on swapping out one non-healthy snack with 25 almonds. Whatever it is, practice it. If it doesn’t work, re-read Step 3 and change it.

5. Think Outside the Box. Anyone who wishes to better themselves is a stellar human being in my book. So, as stellar human beings go, make the transition as enjoyable as possible. If you want to move your body, dislike running and love dancing, then for the love of guacamole dance–don’t run–to your mp3 player and “Shake It Off.”

Action Step 5: Okay, you know how you want to feel and what will help you get there. Now, make a list of the most enjoyable things you can do to achieve it. So, if you want to feel energetic and exercising is how you want to feel that way, but you dislike gyms, then make a list of everything you can do that you like outside of a gym (bodyweight exercises at home, yoga dvd, hike, dance, etc.). Choose your favorite, start small and rock out!

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

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.)

Negative Self Talk: A Love Story

18 Aug
IMG_1126

Sometimes you feel like you are struggling to get to the top, until you realize just how beautiful the journey is.

One day Negative Nancy met Negative Ned at the grocery store. Which, of course, never really happened because they were both so caught up in their own head that they couldn’t even acknowledge each other. Thus Negative Nancy and Negative Ned continued being negative.

Then one day Negative Nancy was checking out the strawberries because, as she told herself, “I’m so fat. I need to eat better, because this,” she grabbed her stomach, “is so disgusting.” Negative Ned was two feet away at the supplements aisle checking out the protein powder because he thought, “I need to get ripped. No woman wants to date some scrawny loser.”

Negative Nancy placed her strawberries in her cart and glanced to see an attractive man looking at supplements. That same man she saw two weeks ago. They made eye contact. She immediately looked down, slouched her posture and thought, “He’s so handsome. He can’t see me–I look horrible. Get out of here!”

As Negative Ned turned towards the fruit stand to buy some berries for his protein smoothie, he made eye contact with a beautiful woman. That same beautiful woman he saw two weeks ago. “Say something, smile. No,” he told himself, “she’d never talk to you.”

Negative Nancy and Negative Ned stole glances from time to time as they continued shopping. Finally, Negative Nancy stopped in an aisle and took a few deep breaths. “Okay. You can do this. You are a smart and caring person. Any man would be lucky to have you. Now stand up straight, and if you are lucky enough to run into him again, smile. You can do this.”

One aisle over, Negative Ned was doing the same thing, “C’mon man. You’re funny, you’re a good guy,” he told himself, “say hello and ask her a question. You got this.”

Once again, Negative Nancy and Negative Ned met… well… their carts crashed into each other.

“Whoa! I’m sorry! I should NOT drink while driving,” Ned said, holding up his water bottle and smiling.

Nancy laughed. They continued chatting and laughing, and then they realized that being Nancy and being Ned felt really good–no–it felt amazing… and Ned totally got her number. Way to go, Ned!

Aww… love stories. Now I want to hear from you. When you notice the negative self talk going on in your head, try these three tips, because you never know what you could be missing around the corner.

  1. Congratulate yourself because you are aware.
  2. Notice how your body is reacting (what is your posture like, how does your stomach feel, etc.).
  3. Take four deep breaths and think of two positive qualities about yourself.

How do you feel now? What is helpful about these three tips? What other strategies do you use that are helpful? Sharing is caring, so leave a comment below.

Go get ’em, Tiger!

Food Play: Back to School Snacks For All Ages

12 Aug
It ain't easy being green, but it sure is tasty! Use apple slices, a hard boiled egg and black olives for this healthy fun snack.

It ain’t easy being green, but it sure is tasty! Use apple slices, a hard boiled egg and black olives for this healthy fun snack.

One of my favorite memories is the snack my mom fixed me when I came home from school. It was just enough food, love and thoughtfulness to get me through the homework (or after school sport) crunch before dinner. I can still taste the homemade cinnamon applesauce I dug into as my little feet dangled from the kitchen table chair–a fitting thrown to share my elementary adventures of the day.

Here are some healthy snack ideas to munch on and share while you listen to your own little (or older) trooper’s woes and adventures.

Frozen Yogurt Pops: mix plain greek yogurt with chopped fresh fruit, place in a paper cup or popsicle mold with a popsicle stick, cover it, toss it in the freezer for 3 hours (or until frozen) and take it out for snack time. Add in vanilla, raw cacao or cinnamon.

Hummus and Veggie Sticks: yes, kids will eat hummus especially if you tout its yumminess. Serve it with your kids favorite veggie like carrots, celery or red bell peppers. Play Bonus: use the hummus as the center of a flower and the veggies as the stems and petals.

Guacamole and Veggie Sticks: Serve it with your kids favorite veggies, but watch the spiciness, unless, of course, your kiddos like spice. Play Bonus: use the guacamole as a monster face and the veggies for eyes, nose and mouth.

Awesome Sauce: mix almond/cashew/sunflower seed butter with plain (no sugar added) applause and cinnamon. You can add a couple of whole nuts for extra fun crunch.

Nuttin’ But Fruit: grab your kids favorite fruit and serve it with some nuts or nut butter a la apple with almond butter. Play Bonus: use the almond butter as the center of a flower and the veggies as the stems and petals.

Ants on a Log: An oldie, but a goodie… put almond or sunflower seed butter on celery and line it with a few raisins or currents.

Baked Apple Nutty Goodness: serve it with a little almond or coconut butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

 

Why is Stillness So Dang Hard to Do?

28 Jul
Lauritzen Botanical Gardens, Omaha, NE. I find peace in nature.

Lauritzen Botanical Gardens, Omaha, NE. I find peace in nature.

It’s scary to be still.

Our brain can be such a nasty thing when we want to be present. “Hey lazy,” it will shout, “how about you get off your butt and do something for once! Try losing a few pounds, loser. You aren’t going to get that promotion–you’re not good enough. Ya sure, they’d go out with you–if you were the last person on Earth.”

Ouch.

It’s a blessing that we aren’t our thoughts. In fact, sometimes they desire a verbal Kung Fu chop back to reality with factual examples of all the times you’ve experienced success–big or small. “Hey Brain. Actually, I just finished a 30-minute workout and replaced my daily soda with this awesome herbal tea–I feel great! And even though I’m nervous waiting to find out about the promotion, that’s okay. I’ve increased my productivity and I’m proud of it. And… I really want to get to know this person and the only way I can know for sure is to ask. Plus, if I was actually the loser person you say I am, then I wouldn’t have such great friends.”

Ka Pow! Kung Fu chopped.

Turn your attention inward again. Listen to your breathing for 10 deep breaths. Listen to your body, not your brain. What is it telling you?

And smile… always smile.

I’d love to hear from you. Do you ever find your monkey mind trash talking yourself with negativity? If so, what do you do or say to silence it?