Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Why I'm Not a Fan of Resolutions

Everywhere you look there are ads for weight loss companies & products, for gym memberships and equipment, for quitting smoking and ways to improve yourself.  People are talking about their New Year's Resolutions and what they want to do in the new year.  The thing with resolutions is by February or March they have fallen by the wayside.
The diet, the exercise plan, the no smoking resolution and the other goals have slipped because the plan was too daunting and there wasn't any support.  I like to set an intention and engage others in supporting me and my goals.  I imagine how I'll feel once my goal is reached and what the outcome will be.  Setting an intention seems less stringent to me and having support is crucial for a new goal.  Starting a new workout is easier when you have a trainer and someone you are somewhat accountable to or who can show you new moves safely.  Imagine how it would feel to be able to run a 5k or to lift weights:  What would your body look and feel like?  How would your mood improve?  How much more confidence would you feel?

It is possible and doable to start a new eating program on your own.  It's much easier with a health coach than it is doing all the research yourself.  It's like learning a new language with a teacher rather than reading it on your own.  I had a coach help me and it opened up a whole other way of eating for me.  I didn't want to count calories for the rest of my life, I wanted to enjoy food, I wanted to be a healthy weight and live a fit and happy life.  Now I do the same for others and it makes me happy to have someone tell me their energy levels are higher and she's feeling so much more vital in her daily life.  Imagine not having a 3 pm energy crash and needing caffeine and sugar to keep going.  Imagine fitting into those jeans that are stuck in the back of your drawer or closet. 

The final piece of advice is to keep your expectations realistic.  It will take work on your part to reach a goal and it might not change your entire life but it should have a good impact on your daily life.

So set your intentions and keep the following in mind:
What are you goals? 
Who will support you?
What will it feel like when you reach that goal?
What would realistically change in your life? 

If you would like a complimentary health consultation send me an email at  Together we will come up with a plan to help you reach your goals in a way that's fun and unique to you.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Trying to Fit it All In

I know I'm not the only one who has had a busy week.  Last minute shopping, wrapping, food shopping and baking have been in the forefront.  I get tired, irritable and there's some stress involved.  I'm striving for balance but when my husband works late there's really no one else to delegate to.  So I'm taking shortcuts where I can and only doing what I really want to have done.  Does anyone care if  the cookies are from a mix or from scratch? My husband does not, as long as they taste good he's happy to have cookies.

Yes, I'm baking cookies and not only the healthy ones.  It's Christmas and some things need to be familiar.  Does that mean I'm going to eat them all?  Nope but I'm going to have a few and enjoy them.  And then I'm going to share them with family and friends so there's not a lot hanging around the house.

Exercise hasn't been as regular or intense every day but I'm getting at least a walk in.  Most days I'm also doing some yoga as well.  It keeps the irritability and stress levels lower.  It also helps me stretch out my back which is pretty necessary after an afternoon of baking!

As for meals, I'm following the 80/20 rule.  80% of the time my meals are healthy and good choices.  I have plenty of carrots, celery & hummus for savory snacks.  Sweet snacks tend to be a smoothie or some plain Geek yogurt with fruit and some cacao nibs if I feel a chocolate urge.   That leaves room for special foods, treats or some wine. 

The point is not to sress over every detail and still feel vital and energetic.  I don't want to gain weight during the holidays and I don't want to count every bite of food I eat either.  That is my balance.

Contact me if you would like support around your goals and your health.  I can be reached at or on my website,

Have a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

21 Day Yoga Challenge - Day 22

Yes, I did 21 days in a row of yoga and I enjoyed it.  Some days it was kind of a pain to fit the yoga in but I committed to it and I wanted to see it through.  I like a challenge, especially a physical one. There's a sense of accomplishment when you stretch beyond what you normally do.  Plus how often do we push ourselves?  Most of us look to avoid discomfort not to embrace it.

Doing yoga daily made me more flexible, both physically and mentally.  I fit yoga in during different times of the day and I tried styles that I never practiced before.  I even gave my nemesis, Crow, a few tries. I liked power yoga more than I thought I would.  I wouldn't have known that if I didn't push myself outside my usual practice.

It's more than the calorie burn, and there is a greater burn the more you push your limits.  It's the aha moment of yes, I can do this.  It's not comfortable at first but I can finish.  It's not going to stay at that level of uncomfortable for long.

I never ever thought I would be a runner.  Now I've run a few small races, a 10k and two half marathons.  It wasn't easy in the beginning, I didn't like it and some days I questioned my sanity.   But I ran with other people so I had accountability.  I had a coach and a mentor so I had other voices to listen to than just the negative one in my head.  Now it's something I enjoy, go figure.

So do a challenge that's just beyond whatever you are doing now.  Don't exercise at all? Try doing 10 minutes a day for 4 days a week.  Exercise 4 days?  Try for 5.  Do you exercise for 30 minutes?  How about going for 40?  If you run, swim or bike regularly, try a race.  You will be surprised at how good you end up feeling. 

Want some encouragement and support around fitness, goals and food?  Send me an email at and together we can come up with a plan that's fun and works for you. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Parties

I know the holiday party circuit has started, I've been to two of them so far.  It's not always the healthiest food and if it's a dinner event you need to make the best of it.  Take the foods you enjoy and savor them.  If there are veggies available that you enjoy and aren't fried or soaked in sauce, stock up!  Make sure to have some water in between drinks as well.

Since I don't know what to expect from other people's holiday parties I eat well during the day.  Breakfast is simple and filling:  an egg or two scrambled with veggies and sprouted grain bread, oatmeal with fruit and nuts or a smoothie.  Lunch is a sandwich and salad or soup and a salad.  I like to sneak as many vegetables and whole grains in as possible, especially if I think I'm eating fried or sauced foods later on.

I have a sweet tooth so I don't skip dessert.  I take a few bites of cake, 1 or 2 cookies (normal sized) or 2 mini pastries.  It's the first few bites that are satisfying anyway.  I find if I skip it I'm looking for something later on or I'm eating stuff that I don't want to make up for what I skipped.  I'd rather eat and enjoy then move on with my night. 

I also take advantage of dancing if it's available.  I love to dance and I get to burn off some of what I just ate.  Plus, I drink less when I'm dancing.  I'm more likely to go for water than alcohol when I'm that thirsty. 

The next day it is back to eating the way I eat every other day.  Another option is to take a savory day and not have any sweets or I might just eat only whole foods that day.  It let's your digestion take a break and your body to get back on track.

Send me an email if you would like support around the holidays, together we can come up with a plan designed just for you.  I can be reached at or via my website,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Do You Live Juicy?

Get up, get ready for work, commute to work, work, skip lunch or eat quickly at the desk, commute home, make dinner, eat dinner, watch some tv and collapse.  Maybe you fit in exercise, maybe you have kids or a spouse to add in to the routine.  It's go, go, go but where is the time for you to nuture yourself?  It just sounds dry rather than succulent.

Do you remember what you enjoy doing when you're not rushing around?  Write down a few activities that you enjoy or used to enjoy.  Now think how you can creatively fit that into your day, week or even once a month.  Can you start taking lunch?  A 15 minute walk to get you out of the workplace and outside may be just the breather you need.  A walk before or after dinner with your kids or spouse could be the time you reconnect and catch up on what's happening.  Or you can have a dance off in the living room, put on your favorite music and just go with it. 

I knit, not always wonderfully, but I enjoy it.  I really don't care if the project doesn't always come to fruition (although it's nice when it does).  It's the act of knitting that I enjoy.  It's calming, I'm still and I like the texture and colors of the yarn.  I don't have children but sometimes I color for no other apparent reason than to see the colors on the page.  Some people scrapbook and others do stamp art, it gets the creative juices going.

It could be you just set aside a few minutes for yourself at the end of the day to do some gentle yoga or breathing.  Meditation or prayer are also a good way to close the day.  A few minutes to connect with you and see how you are doing.  We get so busy, especially this time of year, that we don't always take time to see how we actually feel.  It's not until we're exhausted that we realize how much we've been running around.

If you're looking for more inspiration check out works by SARK or read a book by Kris Radish. 

Or contact me and we can brainstorm together.  You can leave a comment here or email me at

I leave you with this quote taken from the tv show Saving Grace:

Embrace Your Grace
I want to bust the world wide open the way you do when you’re filled with youth
I want to engage with people and lovers and fellow cops
I want to be physical and I also want to ask the big questions
I want to taste the taste and fix the problems
I want to run headlong into chaos and bad guys and darkness and pranks and fun and laugh, laugh, laugh.
I want to be the best friend and I want to be the greatest aunt and complicated daughter
I want to be the mystery in the room
And I want to be known. Embrace your grace.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Listening to My Body

After a few very busy days my body tells me it's time to take it easy.  I woke up in a bit of a fog, appropriate enough considering it was so foggy outside this morning I couldn't see across the street.  I used to push myself when I felt this way, suck it up buttercup and get moving.  Then I'd end up sick or just run down and irritable. 

I'm learning to be more patient and caring toward myself.  I had a good breakfast of oatmeal and tea.  I would like to say I had vegetables at lunch but I didn't.  I felt that I needed some comforting, grounding and fun food for lunch.  I went with multigrain pancakes, a pear and turkey bacon.  I wanted to head to the diner for pancakes but I know it's a caloric hit and I prefer my bacon uncured and nitrate free.  I wasn't ambitious enough to make multigrain pancakes from scratch but Bob's Redmill makes a really good mix to which you only need to add an egg, oil and milk.  I used unsweetened coconut milk, the one that's in the refrigerated section rather than the canned kind.  Dinner is going to be a turkey meatloaf and vegetables of some sort.  Good, grounding and comforting foods. 

There will be yoga later, something to realign me and get me moving.  It will be the seventh day of my 21 day yoga challenge.  Yoga also gets me listening to my body.  I'm more aware of both my posture and how my body actually feels during the day.  The awareness helps me decide what type of yoga to do on any given day.  I don't think today's going to be the power yoga I was planning on doing.  It'll be something a little slower and holding the poses a little longer. 

I think there might be a nap in store for me too.

Want to take better care of yourself?  What would it feel like to be energized and full of vitality every day?  Think it can't happen?  I know it can.  Contact me at and we can talk further about this.  You can also visit my website at

Friday, December 2, 2011

Why a Yoga Challenge?

I was reading a newsletter from Yoga Journal and they had an ad for a set of dvds they are selling, a 21 Day Yoga Challenge.  I've been kind of stiff and sore lately and my brain has been on overdrive so I knew I could use this challenge.  I don't want to buy more dvds because I have enough of my own and there's always Exercise on Demand and Yoga Journal podcasts for inspiration.  I decided to practice for at least 20 minutes a day for 21 days.  I post my daily practice to keep myself accountable.

I've been practicing yoga for about 14 years now but I think you always learn something new or a new way to be in a pose.  Stilling my mind is always a work in progress and it's more challenging to me than Crow pose (my nemesis).  I like that there's something  for how I'm feeling each day:  power yoga, vinyasa flow, gentle yoga, Bikram (hot) yoga, yoga that focuses on breath and restorative poses. 

To be honest I felt my best when I did at least 20 minutes of yoga every day.  I workout with cardio or additional strength training on top of the yoga but there's something about hitting the mat that works for me.  No two days are ever the same and I've stopped expecting them to be.  I'm stronger or more flexible on some days and others not so much.  It doesn't matter, it's about where you are at that moment and honoring what you can do. 

When I'm practicing consistantly I find I stress less and am able to remind myself that today is what it is.  Tomorrow will be a new day and maybe I can look at things in a different way.  I find myself less irritable and more patient.  (a miracle in itself).  I think that's something I can use anytime of year but it's pretty essential during this crazy holiday time.  I'd like to be calm during the storm. 

You can make up your own yoga challenge, maybe you want to try different types of yoga practices or a new teacher or studio.  Pick how many days you would like to practice per week and a minimum amount of time that you will practice.  Let me know how it goes. 

Leave a comment or email me at  if you want chat further about yoga challenges, how to begin a yoga program or would like some support around your health goals.  You can also visit my website for more information.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Don't Want to Excercise Today...

I have no idea why but I really did not feel like exercising today.  Normally I'd give myself the day off and take it as the rest day for the week.  The problem with that is I didn't exercise yesterday either and Sunday was a light day.  Since I'm not sick and there's no real reason I can't exercise I played Let's Make a Deal.  I would do a 10 minute exercise video and then go from there.

I periodically change the rules of Let's Make a Deal to suit my needs for the day.  Today I had to do the 10 minute total body workout and then I could either stop if I was exhausted, go on to do more strength training or just pick a fun cardio workout to do.  This way I know I tried and I could stop at any time.

I felt really good after the total body so I kept going.  I did Bootylicious Buns 3, which has a silly name but has me gasping for air and rubbing out my glutes, and then an arm & upper body workout.  I followed it up with 25 minutes of Yoga to the Rescue to stretch out my sore spots.

Pretty good for someone who didn't want to workout.  I know it's easy to talk yourself out of exercise, I had some really good excuses for years.  But now I know I just feel better when I give it a go.  In all the years I've been playing Let's Make a Deal I've only stopped about 3 times.  I don't regret stopping, my body couldn't handle it and needed the rest more than it needed to be pushed.  Then again 3 times in about 13 years really doesn't add up to much.

How do you get yourself motivated when you would rather log some couch time?

Email me at to discuss this further or if you are looking for some support during this holiday season.  You can also visit my website:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Have a Happy Thanksgiving

Yesterday I talked about having a good breakfast; lunch or snack, depending on when you eat dinner; and getting some exercise in.  I realize some of you will be cooking and thinking, yeah Janine, I have no time to exercise.  So here's a bonus for you:  Women's Health Magazine posted a 15 minute workout.  3 circuits of:  squats, chest presses, bent over rows and bicycles.  12-15 reps each set with one minute of rest in between.   Here's the link:

Enjoy your dinner.  Savor what you eat, eat mindfully and enjoy the experience.  If you are looking to eat a bit healthier take turkey and veggies first, then take a small spoon of the foods you love and aren't as healthy.  Don't deprive yourself but don't eat until you can't breathe comfortably.  If you are a guest you can bring a healthy dish along with you.  My in-laws have plenty of food but I really love roasted Brussels Sprouts with some slivered almonds and balsamic vinegar reduction.  It makes me happy and it's healthy.

Dessert can be my weakness.  I love homemade desserts, boxed I can pass on.  So I either find one dessert that I truly want and enjoy it or I sample two or three (I'm being honest here).  Sample sizes are small so that they're only a few bites each.   (think butter knife width). 

Remember sugary drinks and alcohol are also calories.  If you're looking to curb, have 2 glasses of water for every alcoholic drink.  Skip sodas and go for seltzer with lime and orange or unsweetened or lightly sweetned iced tea, such as homemade or Honest Tea.  (I'm not a fan of diet drinks, I don't like the chemicals).

If you do overindulge don't beat yourself up.  Have some peppermint to ease discomfort (tea or those little round mints) and take a 20 minute walk.  Remember Friday is a new day and the holiday is over then. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

You can reach me at if you would like some support during this holiday season. I'm happy to do a free health history with you and help you set up some goals and strategies. You can also visit my website for further information:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gearing up for Turkey Day

Right now I'm having a Savory Day.  A Savory Day is a day when I don't eat sweets at all.  It lets me balance out from the anniversary party I went to on Saturday and prepare for Thanksgiving Thursday.  I'm eating oatmeal with strawberries for breakfast, tuna on Ezekiel bread and salad for lunch and dinner is fish and vegetables.  If I need a snack it will be nuts or some carrots & hummus.  It's also a Whole Foods day, nothing I'm eating is processed.  It lets my body regroup from some eating that may not have been the healthiest choices.  These are good days to incorporate throughout the holiday season.  You're not starving yourself nor are you constantly depriving yourself. 

I'm also exercising.  I like getting a good sweat on, my brain is happy and I'm ready for any drama that may occur during the upcoming holiday.  There's something about families in one location that brings out the crazy, but whatever.  I'm ready to deal.

On Thanksgiving it's important to do something for yourself before you have a crowd over or before you're part of a crowd.  Go for a walk or run, do some yoga or dance around the house.  Just do an exercise that makes you happy and gets you balanced.

I make sure to eat a good healthy breakfast.  Fasting until the main event just leaves you hungry and your blood sugar out of wack.  No one wants to hang out with a grumpy hungry person.  It will also keep you from diving into the food.  Having food in your system lets you think about what you want to eat and enjoy the food, rather than mindlessly grabbing and eating.   We eat mid-day so I usually have some fruit and almond butter or string cheese around noon.  Enough to tide me over but not leave me full. 

Tomorrow I'll talk more about the main event.  I believe in enjoying the holiday and not beating myself up over something I ate.  Stay tuned for some tips & tricks.

You can reach me at if you would like some support during this holiday season.  I'm happy to do a free health history with you and help you set up some goals and strategies.  You can also visit my website for further information:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Feeling Too Lazy to Cook?

I would say we all have days when we just don't feel like making dinner or forgot to take something out to prepare.  The planning, the prep and the cooking just all seem overwhelming.  Or we're hungry and we really just want to eat.  Wouldn't take out be so much easier and quicker we ask ourselves.  Then again, delivery is not always speedy and they're not always the best food choices either. 

I'm not saying don't ever have take out but treat it as a once in a while plan rather than a staple.  You really do better when you are the one controlling the ingredients and the portion sizes.  We tend to eat more when there is a big portion in the take out container and there is way more fat, sugar and sodium in restaurant meals than home cooked.   (Unless you are Paul Deen of course)!

On those nights I make quick emergency meals.  I have a few staples on hand that will let me build a variety of meals.  Frozen shrimp, canned tomatoes, artichokes (frozen or canned) and brown rice (frozen left over rice) have saved me on a few occasions.  Beans are another go to choice.  I always have some veggies on hand and will use frozen if I'm low on fresh ones.  Quinoa cooks up quickly as does wheat couscous.  Nitrate free bacon along with a vegetable omelet and sprouted grain toast is a fun twist on dinner too. 

Storing leftover soup in indivual containers and freezing is also a quick dinner.  Make a salad or a sandwich to go along with it and you have an easy quick meal.  Sauce can be frozen and heated up by the time your pasta cooks as well.  (I prefer whole wheat or brown rice pasta myself).

The trick is to be a little creative with what you stock.  I buy what I enjoy eating and can be made in about 15 minutes.  By the time it would take to figure out what I want from take out my dinner is on the table.   It's better for my body and for my wallet.

If you would like to talk more about this or for a free health consultation please contact me at: or visit my website:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Weight Loss: Nutrition, Exercise or Both?

I have lost and kept off about 60 pounds.  I did it mostly through a combination of diet and exercise.  I say mostly because the first time I joined Weight Watchers online I had a back injury and really couldn't exercise.  I was in a lot of pain, it was winter and I didn't want to walk alone at night.  I still lost weight. 

When I was able to start exercising I lost more weight and saw my body shape improve.  Things tightened up and looked better.  I had more energy and more confidence which motivated me to keep eating better.  It was a loop that worked well.  Early on my trainer told me that while the gym would help with the weight loss it was ultimately what I was eating that would have the biggest impact.  I could eat well or I could self-sabotage.  Exercise would account for approximately 20 - 30 percent of weight loss, nutrition would account for the rest.

Eventually Weight Watchers and I parted ways.  While I appreciated being taught portion control and better choices I was too hungry to stick with their diet for the rest of my life.  With the help of a Health Coach I found an eating plan that worked better for me.  I still exercise a lot and I eat mostly whole foods.  I don't count calories or points but I do keep track of what I eat.  When I don't keep track of my food I tend to be a little more indulgent and suffer from "food amnesia."  Forgetting what I ate and snacking more than I really should leads me to put on the pounds.  I'd rather keep track and see what foods give me better energy and a better mood throughout the day.

Trying to lose weight and tired of the diet treadmill?  Training for a running event?  Or maybe you just want more energy or to eat better than you currently do?  Send me an email at: or visit my website at:

Friday, November 11, 2011

Strength Training - A Love/Hate Relationship

It's true, I really don't love strength training.  Going to the gym and lifting weights is monotonous to me.  I would procrastinate going any day when weights were on my agenda.  I loved the way I looked from lifting but it was so dull.  I wanted to incorporate it because there are some really good benefits to strength training besides the muscle definition.  It is the best way to strengthen your bones and prevent osteoporosis; it improves your biomechanics and helps prevent falling; it eases arthritis pain and, my favorite, you boost your metabolism by 15%. 

The trick was making strength training enjoyable.  (I can hear some of you snorting).  For me having a trainer helped.  I learned good form, to trick my muscles by switching routines every few weeks and ways to double up by doing arms and legs together.  The downside was the cost, it really added up after awhile.  I then joined a class that did body conditioning and when that stopped working in my schedule I bought some exercise tapes. 

I also discovered my favorite way to shake up my routine:  Exercise on Demand.  I can access it via the web and on cable tv.  Different routines, different trainers and it's ready when I am.  Maybe not as good as having someone live with you but it definitely makes the workout more enjoyable.  And when I don't like the trainer or the routine, I stop it and pick out something else.  Trust me, there is no way I would choose to do 70 pushups on my own.  When Jari Love or Chris Freytag say do pushups, I do them. 

To discuss ways to switch up your workout or your health goals/concerns contact me at or visit my website at:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How do you soothe yourself?

I'm having a sad day, I've had a series of annoying days.  Not disasters, just annoying and now it's one of those days when I want comfort and a there there.  Unfortunately most of my friends, as well as my husband, are at work and not available for a walk or talk.  So I've been doing little things for myself throughout the day that mostly don't involve food.  It's easy when I'm sad to look for something chocolatey and gooey to make me happy.  (really, who doesn't love a warm chocolate chip cookie)?  The thing is I know it will only make me temporarily happy.  And I won't be so happy when my jeans don't zip as easily as they should!

So today I decided I'd have a plain Greek yogurt with frozen strawberries and a drizzle of honey.  Still delicous but much friendlier to my body.  Then I played with the dog.  It's hard to stay sad when Missy is getting such joy out of chasing her rope around the house.  Her whole body shakes and she smiles her doggy grin. 

I made sure to work out and do something that would take my concentration as well as make me sweat.  Certain exercises are so familiar you just end up going through the motions and I knew my mind would just wander.  I wanted to be present and engaged so Athletic Agility it was.  The endorphins did their trick.

Finally I turned the radio and Pink Floyd was on.  I turned the dial to something more upbeat and fun.  Lady Gaga makes me dance and that makes me happy.   More endorphins and I'm having a much better afternoon.

So what do you do on a day you need soothing?

To discuss this further or for a free health history contact me at or visit my website:

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I've been craving chocolate and coffee.  Not together but there you have it. I'm picky about my coffee: I don't like it like it weak, when it tastes burned or is articially flavored.  I didn't want to make a pot because I really only drink about 4 - 6 oz of coffee, once or twice a week.  It would be a waste of coffee and I guess I didn't want it that badly or I would have made a small amount.  But yesterday afternoon I had a headache that I couldn't shake and had to have the coffee.  My favorite place had too long of a line.  They brew each cup individually so coupled with a line of 10 people I would have been late for my client meeting.  Hello Whole Foods!  No line and they brewed my Cafe Au Lait for me right then and there.  It was good and the craving is gone.

Today I caved to the chocolate craving, for breakfast no less.  I had a smoothie with banana, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, tablespoon of almond butter, chia and two tablespoons of cacao powder.  It made my smoothie into something special.  Cacao powder is a raw unsweetened chocolate powder containing antioxidants, iron, magnesium (considered the relaxation mineral - bonus) and it's low in calories and fat.  Both chia and cacao are considered Mayan superfoods which increase energy and health. 

Often times a craving is the body's way of telling you you're missing a mineral or vitamin that you need.  Other time it's the comfort we crave.  Either way there are ways to curb cravings with natural foods and better choices than we sometimes make.  For salty cravings olives help and for creamy cravings avocados or bananas might work.  Don't get me wrong, there are days when only a piece of quality dark chocolate or salty tortilla chips will do and I have them.  But most days I'm satisfied with real food and I can move on with my day rather than thinking about the one food constantly.  

If you would like to discuss cravings with me or for a free health history please contact me at or visit my website:

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween and What To Do With the Candy?

Happy Halloween!  Do you enjoy the holiday or dislike it?  I like to see the little kids dressed up, the Halloween parade, pumpkins and apple cider (especially the kicked up version my friend Donna makes - it can have you talkin' loud and saying nothing).  I can do without the eggs though.

Although we really don't get many trick or treaters I still like to have something on hand for those that show up.  While I am not a fan of a lot of sugary foods, I get that it's a holiday and these are treat items.  I don't give out fruit because most parents will not let the kids eat it and, really, what kid wants fruit.  Still, I don't like to give out things with dyes and too much artifical junk.  I went with Hershey Kisses - milk and dark - no nuts in case of allergies.  I like the Kisses but not enough to want to pick at them. 

The leftover candy can be the downfall of many of us and if you have kids there will be candy around which can be tempting to nibble on.  Putting it out of your sight can help all of you.  Work out how much candy you'll let the kids eat and stick to that.  Pick out a treat for yourself, have it and move on.  Remember the day is a one day holiday not a weeklong candy festival.  There are plenty of other festive seasonal foods that you can enjoy that will keep your blood sugar stable and your energy up.

A lovely way to rid yourself of extra candy is to send it to our troops.  The candy goes to those who are injured and recovering as well as those who are overseas and fighting.  You can find out more about this program at  Consider buying back some of the candy from your kids to send as well.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
serves 1

1 c canned or fresh roasted pumpkin
1 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or low-fat milk)
1/2 large banana
1 -2 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs ground flax seed

Blend all ingredients until smooth, enjoy! 
You can add 1 Tbs of almond butter for protein & healthy fat.

To discuss other strategies for Halloween survival or for a free health history please contact me at or visit my website:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Saying Yes to a Taboo Food

I was watching Eat, Pray, Love last night and there was a small scene in the movie that really stuck in my head.  Liz and Sofie were having pizza in Napoli and Sofie was not eating hers.  (which I know did not happen in the book so it really caught my attention).  When asked why Sofie explained she gained ten pounds and had asked what the roll was called.  "A muffin top," laughed Liz, "I have one too.  So what?  When you are with your boyfriend does he ever tell you to put your clothes back on?  No, of course not, he's so happy to be there with you naked."  Liz goes on to say how she's tired of saying no to foods and to always being on a diet.  She doesn't want to be obese but she does want to enjoy food.

I think this resonated so much because I used to be heavy and I was always dieting.  I love Weight Watchers for showing me portion control but I am sad that avocados, olive oil and nuts were so taboo because they were high on the points scale.  Fat free artificially flavored foods were really pushed and I lost sense of what to eat when I wasn't trying to lose weight. 

I believe there's a balance.  We need some healthy fat to feel full and satiated.  Saying no to real food to eat some man made item that doesn't quite classify as food seems so ridiculous now.  I no longer count points or calories; avocados, nuts, low-fat and whole yogurt are in my fridge and I have not gained weight.  I don't look for as much extra junk because I'm satisfied by the foods I do eat.  I have treats but no where near as many as I did while dieting.  (low in calorie that they might have been).

I am not saying go out and eat with abandon.  But if you are in Naples eat the pizza! 

So here is my weird and delicious way to use avocados.  It is from Gena at 

My husband enjoys this and likes none of the ingredients individually, except for the chocolate.  We like it less sweet and use 4 dates per avocado.  You really need to keep blending this in the food processor to avoid date chunks.  You can also add a spoon of coconut oil for additional flavor. 

Avocado Chocolate Pudding (aka, Chocomole!)
1 ripe avocado, pitted
6-10 dates (depending on size of dates and desired sweetness – I’m usually happy with 8 medjool dates), soaked if necessary
½ tsp vanilla
4 heaping Tbsp cocoa or 2 Tbsp. carob powder
½ cup water

Place all ingredients in a food processor (you can use a blender or Vita, but food processors work much better for this recipe) and begin blending.

Tired of the diet treadmill?  Want to have more energy and feel good?  Check out my website at or email me at:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cold Rainy Days and Comfort Foods

I woke up crazy early today to rain and darkness,  now almost four hours later it's still rainy and gloomy.  You know it's bad when the dog is cuddled up on the couch and not looking for her walk.  Days like this have us wanting comfort, something to ease us through the day.  Often times we crave something sweet or a heavy comfort food.  Occasionally a treat food is fine but, while tasting delicious, these foods don't always sustain us throughout our busy day.  A coffee and muffin leads to mid-morning slump and hunger, heavy foods leave us feeling sleepy and wanting a nap. 

What to do?  Make a healthier version of your favorite food.  I love a pumpkin muffin or sweet bread this time of year but for 500+ calories a pop I could have a plate of spaghetti with meatballs and sausage.  (not really what I'd like for breakfast but you get the idea).  So I had oatmeal with pumpkin, unsweetend almond milk, a tablesspoon of cacao nibs,tablespoon of walnuts, teaspoon of honey, pumpkin pie spice and a sprinkle (about 1/2 tsp) of vanilla sugar on top.  It had all the flavors of my favorite pumpkin bread and no guilt.  There is fiber, whole grains, protein and healthy fat in one bowl.  It clocks in under 400 calories and will keep me full and energized throughout the morning.

Lunch today will be soup and a toasted cheese sandwich.  I made soup yesterday with an eye toward the wet and chilly weather.  I control the ingredients in the soup so I know it's low sodium, healthy and full of fresh ingredients.  The sandwich will be part skim mozzarella with tomatoes on a sprouted grain bread.  Again, quality ingredients that will keep me full and energized.  I realize a lot of people will buy lunch today.  A broth based soup will be less caloric than a cream based soup.  A lentil, split pea or black bean will have a great mix of protein and fiber - perfect for energy and satiety.  Choose a whole-wheat bread for your sandwich and say yes to lettuce & tomato to keep you full for longer and your blood sugar even. 

Little tweaks in your recipes can make a big difference in your health.  Whatever the dish make sure it's got a mix of protein, healthy carbs (vegetables are carbs) and a healthy fat so you can keep your energy levels up for anything that pops up during your day. 

If you'd like to speak more about this or would like a free health history please email me at or visit my website:

Friday, October 21, 2011

What does a runner do when she's unable to "just do it?"

Many of you know I run, that it's a weird addiction and that I only started about 3 years ago.  I have had injuries, like a lot of other runners, and I always get back on the running path when I'm better.  It clears my head, keeps me fit and presents challenges along the way.  I like plotting out where I'm going to run as well as knowing I have favorite routes when I don't want to think about it.  I like the solitary run and I like the company of running with my Team In Training teammates. 

I have chronic plantar fasciitits since June, well really May but I had a race that I wanted to do.  (runners are a stubborn group)  I have refrained from running for a little while, iced the foot, stretched and visited the podiatrist.  Three cortisone shots, countless acupuncture treatments, icing & stretching have not really offered much in the way of relief.  It's better then it's not.  It's not bad and then it is.  It's frustrating.

And, as crazy as I am, I have not been running.  I'm not supposed to do high impact exercise and I let my gym membership go when I left my job for school.  Bike riding is fine but I am not about to ride in the rain.  So, what to do?  I have to move, plain and simple.  I've been strength training, doing kickboxing without jumping, yoga & pilates and it's good but not the same. 

Now I think I've found it: athletic training.  I lumber on all fours with straight limbs like a bear, I walk like a crab, a duck and a creepy crawler.  All of these are broken up by a series of punches and kicks that do not include jumping.  My heart races, I sweat and my back is starting to be as toned as my legs.  (bonus)!  I have to plot my route of movement throughout the house.  This routine requires some space.  I'm beat halfway through and I'm grinning when it's over.  Not, it's not running but I'm happy.

With some searching you can find what inspires you to "just do it."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Changing With the Season

It's getting cooler again, or so the weather people are promising.  In the fall I start craving soups and heavier foods then I had been eating over the summer.  Salad is okay as a side but I want more grounding and filling meals this time of year.  I have a love of squash, beets and apples and I indulge in root vegetables in the fall. 

On my must make list for the next week are: butternut squash soup with apples; pumpkin curry and a white bean escarole soup.  The butternut squash soup has a blend of savory & sweet and the curry is just delicous.  The escarole soup reminds me of childhood and is as satisfying as it is comforting. 

I bought my squash, apples, escarole and pumpkin at the Farmers Market this week.  All are fresh, seasonal, grown without pesticides and nutritional powerhouses.

Winter Squash - excellent source of Vitamins A & C; good source of folate & minerals, including calcium, magnesium & potasium and a good source of fiber. 

Pumpkin - also an excellent source of Vitamin A, as well as vitamins E & C.  Again it is a good source of folate, calcium, magnesium, potasium and fiber.  That bright orange hue means it's full of antioxidants and will fight off free radicals that produce wrinkles.  No expensive creams - eat richly hued pumpkin!

Apples - low in sugar, good source of potasium and it has a little calcium.

Escarole - a powerhouse of nutrition with super low calorie content.  It's full of vitamins K, A & folate.  It also contains vitamins C, E and B; calcium, potatssium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper, manganese, zinc and selenium. 

So take another look at the veggies in season and make something wonderful for yourself.  (maybe even share with someone if you're so inclined)! 

If you would like to speak more about your health, nutritional and seasonal eating visit my website, or contact me at  I'd love to set up a time to speak with you!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Coffee Challenge

I was challenged by my health coach to give up coffee for three months.  I really did not want to do it, three months is an awfully long time to not have a cup of coffee.  I'd already weaned down to one very small cup per day, 1/2 decaf. Why on earth would I want to give up that measly bit?  And the answer I got back was well, why can't you give it up?  Hmm, because:  1) really enjoy it  2) I don't actually need it  3)  It's only a little bit  4)  I could stop if I wanted to.  And then I realized I sounded like an addict and I don't want any food or drink to have that much power over me. 

So I did it -  for  three whole months.  I really didn't feel any differently without it.  I wasn't completely caffeine free as I did have regular iced tea some days.  When I originally cut my coffee consumption down I felt better.  I had been having stomach aches from the acid and irritability.  This time around I didn't have physical symptoms but I did miss it.  I walked with people leaving coffee houses so I could smell their coffee. 

I did have a two sips of a flavored coffee in early July while I was on vacation.  It was eh and I had to have some water to get the after taste out of my mouth.  My reaction to this was panic.  Did I really lose my taste for coffee?  After years of enjoyment could it be possible that I don't actually like it?  But I was still looking for dark bitter beers to mimic the taste of coffee and I enjoyed those.  Maybe it was just bad coffee or I don't like the flavor. 

I actually discussed this with people.  Some were a little smug and said, "see you have changed and will no longer enjoy the taste."  Others said, "It was probably just bad coffee because coffee really is delicious."  Yes, I surround myself with fellow addicts.  I wanted to believe the latter but wasn't sure.

The three months were up on Sunday.  It was crazy hot and I passed up iced coffee for a raspberry chocolate chip gelato.   Later we were in Whole Foods and there was coffee to sample.  I took the three ounce cup, added my milk and it was delicious, just as I had hoped.  It was slightly bitter, smooth and flavorful.

I haven't had any since and I haven't wanted it.  The three ounces were enough.  I like knowing I can have it again when I want it.  I also know that I will only have it occassionally and not be a slave to it any longer.  It's just another tasty beverage.

Do you have a food or drink that feels like it's impossible to give up?  I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer Foods

Do you eat seasonally?  Seasonal eating lets us eat what is grown closer to home.  Food tastes fresher when it's grown locally and allowed to ripen naturally, rather than enroute from across the country.  Berries may look pretty in December but they really don't taste very good.

In the summer I really don't want heavy foods and I dislike turning the oven on for any amount of time.  I love the assortment of fruits and vegetables that are available at the farmers market and I want to incorporate as much of them as I can into my meals.  I've been known to get a bit carried away at the market!

Last night I decided I'd be adventurous and grill clams & mako shark steak that I got at the farmers market.  I cleaned the clams and tossed them on the grill, as they opened I tossed them into a mix of clam juice, lemon, garlic, grated ginger & a pat of butter.  So delicious, I will be making that again.  The mako was marinated in a similar blend with the addition of some carrot juice, chili powder & sesame oil rather than butter.  Again, lovely.  Rainbow chard, mixed greens salad and brown rice rounded the meal out.  We dined outside which was a nice way to end a Monday.

I started today with a smoothie:  spinach, silken tofu, chocolate protein powder, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup mix of blueberries & raspberries, 1 tsp coconut oil, 1 tsp maca powder, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk & ice.  It was exactly what I wanted:  cold, creamy & not too sweet.

Lunch is a riff on tabouli salad, I made it with quinoa and I added in carrots & radishes.  I have some chilled shrimp to have with that.  Yes, I love my fish and my veggies, especially when they're so fresh!

What are your favorite summer foods?

Monday, April 18, 2011


Do you meditate?  I try to meditate.  I was doing a short meditation each night for about a week or two.  My mind wanders quite a bit and I have to bring myself back to the breath quite often.  I've tried seated meditation and counting my breaths.  I've tried walking meditation, which I liked.  I bought a meditation cd  set by a renowned leader.  The first cd was helpful and I felt really good after it.  Once I stopped listening to the mouth noises she makes and she makes a lot of them.  You can see how my mind just takes off and I'm reeling it back in.  I didn't love the second cd.  Okay, the part I listened to made absolutely no sense to me and I found myself getting aggitated and speaking back to the cd.  Not really how meditation should go.  I did not feel good afterwards.

So what's the resistance?  Is it the sitting still?  The trying to quiet the mind?  Not wanting to hear what my innermost voice has to say?  Could be that it's all of it.  I'm going to keep trying.  There is a form that will work for me and I plan on finding it.  I'll let you know how it goes. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Misguided healthy foods or just plain marketing abuse?

Lately everyone seems to be jumping on the healthy choice bandwagon. Where does it end?  Soda made with sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup, sugar cereals made with whole grains, and fruit oatmeals made without any real fruit added to it.  My new favorite is potato chips - gluten free, vegan and made with 5 ingredients or less.  I had to laugh, they were handing them out at a health expo I was attending.  They're still potatoes fried in oil. 

Perhaps the most disturbing is the ad for organic cigarettes.  It came in a magazine and was a large color pull out ad.  The produce was free of pesticides and organically grown so you could "feel safe" about buying the product.  Really?  Does it take those pesky carcinogens out too?  Nope, on page 2 of the ad there was a block noting that the risks of smoking cigarettes are still the same.  I purposely looked for this and I wonder how many people flipped the ad over to see that.  I also wonder how many people will think this is a safer smoke. 

I'm not saying never eat any of these foods but don't mistake them for being healthy choices.  Read the ingredients.  If you cannot pronounce it or don't recognized it as a real food you probably should not eat it.  As for the cigarettes - you know they're bad for you and nothing is going to make them a good healthy choice.