Tomorrow I will…

Do you have a wellness and/or health goal that you’ve been talking about for days, weeks, months or even years? You know you want to lose X pounds or you need to break free from the sugar handcuffs that bind you and you know exactly how you’re going to do it. Here’s the conversation we’ve all had in our heads. ”Tomorrow I’m going to…”

  1. Join a gym
  2. Stop eating double bacon cheeseburgers every day
  3. Start eating kale
  4. Cut out sugar – no more donuts!
  5. Go on a low-carb diet that all your co-workers have been talking about
  6. Throw away all the ice cream in your freezer
  7. stop driving past The Golden Arches after work and grabbing a small fry

The list goes on and on. And when we don’t do all these things, we beat ourselves up over having no will-power or no motivation. It’s a vicious cycle.

Stock-Your-Freezer

We all instinctively know what we should do but when it comes to actually following through, life happens. We get busy, our boss throws another project on our desk, we get stressed, the kids start school soon, we forgot to go grocery shopping and Ben & Jerry’s is staring us in the face! Ohhhh, how I love Ben & Jerry’s.

Here’s a quick, simple tip that may help get you on track with your goals without the added guilt trip.

Start with what I, as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach like to call “Tomorrow’s Intentions” journal. Setting clear, concise, and actionable intentions is critical for making your dreams become your reality. Intentions force you to get clear on your goals and to set the goal into forward motion. Many people write intentions for the future, without thinking about the short-term steps to bring your long-term intentions into reality.

Spend some time tonight – yes TONIGHT – considering your long-term health and wellness intentions. Then, consider how you might break ONLY ONE of these goals down into several smaller short-term intentions. Write out your long-term goal and short-term intentions in a “Tomorrow’s Intentions” journal and commit to tackling your goals one small step at a time.

pretty journal.jpg

Here’s an example of what it would look like if your goal might be  I have a goal of losing 10 pounds before my daughter’s wedding 30 days from today.

Day 1 – Tomorrow’s Intentions -I will park as far away from my office as possible and walk to the office front door –  And then DO IT!

Day 2 – Tomorrow’s Intentions –During my lunch hour I will make a dinner menu for the next week and go grocery shopping after work to get everything I need for this week’s healthy menu.  And then DO IT!

Day 3 – Tomorrow’s Intentions – I will bring my gym shoes to work and during my lunch break, I will get outside and walk for 30 minutes. I will also bring my own, healthy lunch to work. And then DO IT!

Breaking goals down into small, but meaningful intentions is a great way to get you on the path to the health and wellness goals you’ve always wanted. And by breaking them down into daily actions, you’re more apt to stick with it and make it a healthy lifestyle change! And please, please keep the focus on progress over perfection.

Keep me posted on your progress, I’ll be here cheering you on!

Are you a Ms. Whiner?

Every morning when I wake up, I say a simple prayer, “Thank you for another day in paradise” and I truly mean it, I feel it in my heart. I’ve talked before about Primary Food – the food that nourishes you daily but is not on your plate and Secondary Food, the food on your plate. Primary Food is SO much more important than Secondary Food and Primary Food is what I want my practice to be focused around; let me explain further.

thich nhat hanh

Are you familiar with Thich Nhat Hanh?  Thich Nhat Hanh is a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, revered around the world for his powerful teachings and bestselling writings on mindfulness and peace. A few years ago at a speaking engagement, Thich greeted the audience with the question, “How many of you have a toothache today, raise your hands” and no one in the audience raised their hand. His response was, “Isn’t that fantastic!!” “How many of you are celebrating today because you don’t have a toothache?” again, no one raised their hands. He continued talking about toothaches and that when we have them, all we can think about, night and day, hour after distressful hour, is the pain and the dire need we have for the pain to go away. But why is it then, that when the pain goes away and the tooth is taken care of, we don’t celebrate the fact that our mouth is no longer in constant pain??

Life is short – we have the luxury, the privilege of being alive. You’re above the ground…you have friendship, love, get to eat amazing food, sometimes crappy food, exercise – that is what nourishes us.

To live a treasured, happy life = a nourishing primary food kind of life, here’s a bit of advice.

Stop criticizing yourself, blaming anyone else and complaining about anything and everything – I know what you’re thinking…whatever…she’s living with her head in the clouds. This is all spiritual holistic bullsh*t, she has no idea what MY LIFE IS LIKE. It’s all rainbows and butterflies in her world. Let me allow you to look into a small window of my life for just a moment.  I said my small appreciation prayer every morning while going through my first divorce after 23 years of marriage. And trust me, it was HEARTBREAKING and PAINFUL! And, every morning I woke up after my second divorce. YES, (stop judging me) I’ve been married 3 times and feel so blessed to have gone through all of the pain and heartbreak to have met a partner whom I love and adore. I said this small appreciation prayer every morning when my youngest son was born so premature, we almost lost him because he couldn’t breathe on his own, every morning while watching my Father die of a horrible, debilitating disease, every morning while going through cervical cancer…I could go on but you get the picture. Sometimes life sucks.

Have you ever really recognized daily conversations you have with your yourself, your BFF, your co-worker,  or your spouse or partner? Most all conversations are centered around complaining about something. The traffic is horrible, my butt looks huge in these pants, this soup is too cold, did you take the trash out yet? It smells up the entire kitchen!  Did you hear what she just said to me?? My hair looks like I just got back from the gym. It’s snowing again? It’s raining again!! It’s too hot outside, it’s too cold outside, my boss is an idiot, I have wrinkles that make me look 10 years older, my husband chews with his mouth open, blah, blah, blah. STOP!!!

Life is precious and your inner thoughts and your outer emotions can and do shape the way you live that very short, very precious life you’ve been given. Stop waiting for your life to begin, stop complaining, criticizing. When your life ends, do you really think you’ll care what the weather is like outside, whether there’s horrible traffic or your boss is still an idiot? Or how big your butt looks in the dress they bury you in??

butterflies

I want to be remembered for being all ‘rainbows and butterflies’ because that is how I choose to live my life. And when I die…I’ll have less wrinkles around my mouth than Ms. Whiner does. LOL. Seriously tho, every morning, when I wake, until the day I’m no longer here, I choose to wake and say my simple little prayer and think good thoughts and not live with my head in the clouds but love this life I’ve been given, even the shitty chapters – because they are MY LIFE, my Primary Food and I’m blessed and grateful to be here.

Touch my coffee and I’ll bite your finger

Today we’re going to talk about coffee. I know this is a very touchy topic but grab a cup of joe and stay with me for a few minutes.

Coffee and the culture surrounding coffee is BIG BUSINESS!! And, if you’re living in an urban setting, or living anywhere on our planet – you can’t walk down the street without seeing every person coveting their cup of coffee in the mornings…afternoons…evenings…I feel like the paper cup with the plastic lid is now a fashion accessory. You’d never walk out the door without your favorite pair of jeans or handbag and now, you wouldn’t be caught dead walking down the street without your glamorous paper cup!

Caffeine and Adrenal Fatigue

Caffeine wakes us up in the morning and gives some of us our reason to live. It helps with the inevitable 3pm crash – and it also curbs our appetites. I’ve known women who have gone on a coffee diet  – they eat NO FOOD all day long, drink coffee all day long and eat a reasonably healthy dinner in the evening just to lose weight. Probably not the healthiest way to go.

But have you ever heard of adrenal fatigue? It’s real. Caffeine unnaturally stimulates the adrenals, increases heart rate and can lead to adrenal fatigue. Your adrenals are attached to your kidneys so if caffeine is effecting your adrenals, it’s also effecting and taxing your kidneys. And, did you know your adrenal glands produce hormones that you can’t live without? Hormones including sex hormones and cortisol, and cortisol helps us respond to every day stress.

But, caffeine and its effect on our systems is very bio-individual. Some people have no problem drinking cup after cup after cup. They’ll even have a shot of espresso after dinner and have no problem falling asleep. Others have one cup of coffee and their heart rate soars, they get shaky hands and talk a mile a minute!

let god have mercy if you touch my coffee

So let’s talk about the good in a cup of coffee. Coffee has certain phytonutrients, it helps stabilize free radicals in the body and helps assimilate Vitamin C. And, more and more research is showing it prevents the growth of tumors.

Want to Break the Habit?

If you’re trying to break the drug in a mug habit (wink, wink), and have more than 1 cup a day, try just one less cup of joe every day for a week. See how you feel after one week and if that works, go down to ½ a cup a day. Slowly allow your body to wean itself off of caffeine. There’s no reason to take a drastic approach and go cold turkey. And, if you’re not feeling like you have adrenal fatigue and feel you have no issues with your morning cup of joe – enjoy! Again, it’s all bio-individual.

Thanks for being here and if you liked this post, let me know, share it with your friends, invite them to join our community on Well Aware by Linda – and comment! I’d love to hear from you on how you feel coffee effects you.

Now, go out and make it a great day, I’m going to go have a cup of coffee.

 

STOP TALKING TO ME!

This weekend I met an individual who made me stop and consider just how fragile we all are and how much we all long for the same thing – connection.

My husband and I are in the market for a new home. We’ve been casually going from open house to open house weighing each home’s pros and cons. This project can be (it certainly is for me) exhausting. Walking into an open house leaves you, the potential buyer, open to a deluge of questions from the realtor. “What’s your name?” “Are you familiar with the area?” “What exactly are you looking for?” “Is there anything I can show you outside of this house?” and on and on and on. What they’re doing, by the way, is their job. What they’re doing to me…is stress me out! I actually get myself all worked up before even walking in the door, wondering what questions they’re going to fire at me. But during this stressful time of trying to find the perfect place to live, I get edgy – REALLY EDGY! Like a ‘crazy redhead who’s lost her ever-loving mind’ kind of edgy. I just want to walk through the home, see it through my eyes only, and sometimes, not talk to a soul. The fact is, I know they’ve spent a lot of time and effort to be at this open house on a gorgeous, sunny Sunday afternoon. I know they’ve probably left their friends and/or family to be where they are today. I know they make their living selling homes, not showing homes but selling them. I know that the questions they’re asking are a way of getting me, the potential buyer, to open up and be open to conversation.

Yesterday, while walking into one home, the realtor was at the dining room table doing what looked to be work. He immediately looked up, acknowledged us and said, “How can I make your day brighter?” My husband and I both laughed but then stopped – this guy was genuinely serious! He noticed the surprised looks on our faces and said he wouldn’t bother us. He welcomed us to walk through the home and if we had any questions, to come find him and he’d do his very best to answer our questions. I immediately felt at ease, like my grandfather or best friend was the realtor. We started a conversation and the more we talked, the more we got to know this lovely gentleman. He has been in the industry for over 25 years; the first chapter of his career was spent as an engineer. He has two boys who have graduated college; one with an engineering degree, the other a math degree. He loves being a realtor and he’s also a life coach. He was a joy to talk with. No pressure, just easy conversation. When we were finished walking through the house and asking a few questions I asked if he would repeat his original question to us and he said, “Oh, you mean, how can I make your day brighter?” I said I had never thought of greeting people in that manner and he told me one of the main reasons he does what he does in this second chapter of his career is to connect with people. He loves getting to know people, getting to know how they live, what makes them tick, etc. He told us that while he loved being an engineer, his entire existence was his job. He worked far too many hours and lost track of what is truly important – connection to people. I immediately fell in love with this man! He pours his heart and soul into what he does, not specifically for financial gain but for connection to people.

Soon, I’m going to be a certified, practicing Health & Wellness Coach and I’m very excited and honored to be able to help clients on their health and wellness journey. I’ve realized that my passion is and always has been to serve others. And I will never forget the lesson I learned on that sunny, summer, stressful Sunday afternoon. People are people are people. We’re all the same, no matter our background, our education, our financial status or the color of our skin – we all long to connect. We get so caught up in our own lives, our feelings, our jobs, our little bubbles that we forget that we’re all in this together. We need to take a step back, out of our own little worlds and remember that we’re not alone on this planet. And that’s a lesson I don’t ever want to forget. Thanks for the life lesson Bart.

Think of a way that you can slow down today, take a step back, maybe even take a deep breath (when someone really pisses you off) and find a way to reach out and genuinely connect with them. If this blog touches and/or inspires you, share it with your friends. Let’s create a community of honoring and respecting that we each have different ways of living, different beliefs, preferences, values and needs but we all long to connect.

Your body will consume its own fat – WHAT?!?

This week, in my Health & Wellness Coaching Certification classes, we’re learning about carbs and the effect they have on our system. I learned some interesting things I was unaware of and thought I’d share with you, my beautiful followers. Thank you, by the way. I’m thrilled you’re on this healthy journey with me.

Let me start by saying I think every one of us has all if not at least 2 of these common goals for themselves:

  • Burn off stored body fat – yes, please!!
  • Build or preserve muscle
  • Increased energy…I want to be able to do what I want, when I want to. Not when my body tells me it has enough energy to do so
  • Improve strength/endurance – to be able to play golf, play with your kids, etc
  • Get sick less – Amen!

Ok, with that said, let’s get back to carbohydrates. Carbs get turned into glucose when consumed. Our bodies make approx 120 grams of glucose a day on its own. You could go your entire life not consuming carbs/glucose and live a very healthy life. What?!? Seriously?? My body doesn’t need a big bowl of pasta?? No, it does not – our bodies, as I mentioned, make the glucose (our main source of energy) we need to stay healthy, all on its own, without added grains, pasta, rice, your morning bowl of cereal, etc. Start to think of additional carbohydrates as an elective fuel because you just don’t need that much.

When we consume too many carbs/sugar/glucose,  our insulin levels spike. When you eat carbohydrates and your blood sugar rises, your pancreas releases insulin to bring blood sugar levels back to normal. Insulin helps glucose get into your cells so your body can use it for fuel/energy. High insulin is a sign of insulin resistance and can lead to problems with glucose control (diabetes). Sorry, did I bore you to tears? I didn’t mean to. So, let’s go back to one of my first comments – honestly, your body produces its own glucose. Adding additional glucose = fat and a taxed pancreas and liver. Just cutting down on sugar and grains can have a lasting, positive effect on your body!

Mark Sisson teaches about curbing our appetite for carbs on his blog Mark’s Daily Apple. (An apple has approximately 25 grams of carbohydrates, btw)

Mark feels that if we consciously start consuming less carbs, our bodies will start grabbing fat and energy from existing fat cells and as you continue to curb your carb intake, your body basically, in my words, starts to eat its own fat. Now I’m interested, aren’t you?

Technically, the cells in our body see there are no food/carbohydrates coming in so they start to consume fat within themselves. I love this! I’ve started, this past Monday, eating a more Paleo friendly diet. This is Thursday and I am thrilled to announce I’ve already dropped 2lbs.

Have any of you tried the Primal Blueprint? Or eaten Paleo and had great results? Have any of you curbed your carbohydrate and sugar intake and felt you had more energy? Or, have any of you eaten this way and it didn’t agree with you? We’re all in this together so I’d love to hear from you.

Best Pesto Salmon Ever! quite possibly…

I tried this recipe last night and have to say, it may be one of my favorites! The pesto turned my salmon into a 5 Star meal!

This dairy-free pesto is heavy on pistachio nuts and light on basil. A touch of garlic, basil and lemon zest and blended together with olive oil, this is a thick, rich sauce that’s more than a little addictive. It’s tempting to eat this pistachio pesto with a spoon, but it’s even better slathered over fatty, pan-seared or grilled salmon. I always, even on a snowy Chicago evening, cook my salmon on the grill outdoors so that my house doesn’t smell. Every once in awhile, my husband comes home before me and cooks salmon in the oven and quite honestly, it’s just as good.

This recipe couldn’t be easier. Make this, and you’ll feel like a talented chef instead of a home cook who’s stuck in a rut of salmon dinners that are just boring Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh wait…that’s me 😉

With a few variations, this pistachio pesto can lead you to other amazing meals too. Add a dash of red pepper flakes, and serve a spicy version of the pesto with roasted pork. Use parsley, instead of basil, for a new flavor. Or, thin the pesto out with full-fat Greek yogurt, and drizzle it over roasted vegetables. Since I made this pesto last night and have some leftovers, this is exactly what I’m going to do tonight!

Like any nut, pistachios are best enjoyed with a little self-control if you’re watching your calories. But don’t worry, this pesto is so rich you aren’t likely to overindulge in one sitting. That said, pistachios aren’t really a nut to fret over, unless you have an allergy. They’re pretty low in phytic acid, a potent source of prebiotic fiber (which is so good for your gut), and can reduce the glucose response to carb-rich meals. Not that this is a carb-rich meal. Quite the opposite, actually. Skin-on salmon + pistachio pesto can be a go-to recipe when you want a high-protein, high fat meal that’s also high in flavor.

Is your mouth watering yet??

IMG_5505

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 1 ½ pounds skin-on salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces and seasoned with salt
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 cup raw pistachios – I found mine at Whole Foods
  • 1 small garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 heaping tablespoons finely chopped or thinly sliced basil
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (120 ml)

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350º F/176º C

Heat avocado oil in an ovenproof skillet (I prefer cast iron) over medium-high heat.

Place the salmon in the hot skillet, skin side down. Once the fillets are in the pan, do not move the salmon. Cook about 5 minutes, pressing down on the salmon once or twice with a spatula to press the skin against the hot pan.

Put the skillet into the oven. Cook 4 to 6 minutes more, depending on the thickness of the fish.

If, like me, you love your salmon on the grill, season the salmon with salt and wrap in tin foil. Place directly on the grill for about 8 minutes. If your salmon is approx 1” thick, 8 minutes is usually the magic timing for perfectly cooked salmon.

Serve the salmon warm or at room temperature, with pistachio pesto on top.

Let me know if you try it and like it – I felt like a Michelin Chef 😉

 

Let’s spice up our water! Oh la la

How many times have you heard this from people who care about you, “drink more water, drink more water!” And while you know it’s good for you; it keeps you hydrated, it’s good for your skin, it helps fend off hunger, yadda, yadda, yadda 😉

Let’s face it, water can be boring. And what I hear more often than not, people don’t/won’t drink water because of that very reason. So let’s spice things up a bit, shall we?

Yesterday, I cut up a cucumber and minced some mint into my water and it was so refreshing. I felt like I was back on vacation, walking through the dreamy Paris streets sipping my delicious concoction.

This morning, I found strawberries in the refrigerator so I decided to cut them up and add a few slices of lemon. This made my water a bit sweet, a bit tart and 100% scrumptious. Here’s what my infused water looks like:

Infused water

 

Infused water is especially beneficial to those who feel water is a bore Zzzzzzz, because it makes the act of drinking water more enjoyable, tingles your taste buds and is a treat for your eyes. Isn’t this pretty sitting on my desk? As an added bonus, infused water has the sweet fruit flavors of fruit juice without the extra calories or sugar.

Here are a few Infused Water concoctions I found while cruising the web:

  • Strawberry, Lemon and Basil
  • Orange and Blueberry – I’m going to try this one tomorrow
  • Watermelon and Mint – my usual summer ‘go-to’
  • Citrus and Cucumber – I’ve not tried this one yet
  • Strawberry, Lime and Cucumber
  • Citrus and Cilantro – interesting…I do love Cilantro
  • Rosemary and Grapefruit – I’m not a fan of Rosemary so if any of you lovely readers tries this, please let us know what you think
  • Raspberry, Rose Petal, and Vanilla – this sounds magical and should be infused into champagne 😉 not water! lol
  • Blueberry and Lavender
  • Kiwi and Cucumber
  • Honeydew and Raspberry
  • Watermelon and Coconut water

So, the nest time you hear your inner voice screaming at you to put down the Diet Coke and grab some water – do it! But infuse it with something fun…your body will thank you for it and you might just drink more.

Are You Illuminating?

I had to return an adapter to the Apple store today. Let me start by saying, I’m not a fan of the Apple stores – at all. While I can appreciate walking in and having multiple people greet me, if you don’t have an appointment (and most times, I do not), be prepared to sit and wait and wait and wait and wait (Zzzzzzzzzzz) until someone will even speak with you. It’s frustrating as heck and in the past, after waiting for over an hour, I’ve walked out without talking to anyone. Grumble, grumble.

Today, and yes, without an appointment, I walked into Apple with the hopes that I would be able to return the Euro phone adapter I had purchased for our vacation, and get out of dodge as quickly as humanly possible. As I walked in the door, and in usual fashion, I was greeting with “Welcome to Apple, what can I help you with today?” I told the woman I had a return and she replied, “I can help you with that right here.” Whoa…wait…is this some sort of a trick? I’m not being reprimanded for not going on line and making an appointment? I handed her the package along with a print out of my Visa charge, I did not have the receipt. She kindly took my information, found my contact info and receipt in her system and within a matter of minutes, the transaction was completed.  I looked her in the eye and said, “that was fantastic! I’m out of here with ease and grace. Ease handled by Apple and their efficient process and grace offered by you” and I smiled at her. She took my hand, which surprised me, and thanked me for saying that. And with a warm smile and soft voice said I made her day.

How easy was that?!? Not the Apple transaction necessarily 😉 but making someone’s day with just a genuine smile, eye to eye contact and a kind word. I have to tell you, it made my day too.

Which got me to thinking…Do I leave people feeling good about themselves? Do I offer a kind word? A genuine smile? Or maybe eye to eye contact? From now on, I will. I refuse to let other’s foul moods effect me negatively. My sons have always said I view the world as ‘Rainbows and Butterflies’ and they’re right. It can be a warm, welcoming world, if we just choose to illuminate ourselves and others.

Namaste

Work your butt in 7 minutes!!

I just found this amazing Bum workout and am loving it so I wanted to share.

Yes, glutes are having a pop culture moment. But whether your focus is, um, aesthetic, or based on a fitness goal, you need glute strength for just about everything—from running to jumping to lifting.

The powerhouse muscle group can be worked in a number of ways—from squats to swings – that help you burn calories and get stronger. Just let Grokker trainers Jenny Pacey and Wayne Gordon (a.k.a. “Pace & Go”) show you how it’s done. You’ll work every angle of your rear in this no-equipment workout—and get it all done in less than 10 minutes.

Add it to a cardio day or do it alone if you’re in a time crunch. Just make sure to warm up first and cool down after. 

WORKOUT

To recap, here are the moves you’ll do:

  1. Plie Squat
  2. Reverse Lunge Back Leg Lift (both sides)
  3. Kneeling Side Leg Lifts (both sides)
  4. Four-Point Kneeling Leg Lift (both sides)
  5. Bridge Hip Lift with Knee In and Out

You didn’t need to get dressed, find your gym bag, drive to the gym, fight traffic, and worry about how you look while you’re exercising. Isn’t this fantastic?!?