All or Nothing



Are any of these excuses your excuses?

  • Not enough money
  • Not enough time
  • Not the right timing.

Those are common excuses I hear from women for why they are not ready to begin implementing a healthier lifestyle.
  • MONEY do you feel you  can't afford to eat healthier? That is, for the most part a myth. Eating well or eating poorly costs about the same. Factor in being healthier, and it probably costs less.
  • TIME do you think eating healthy is too time-consuming? That is, in fact, a matter of choice. Food preparation can be a pleasant and relaxing time; a time to form some new habits that you've probably wanted to develop anyway.
  • TIMING -- are you waiting for the perfect, golden opportunity to start -- after school is out; after school gets back in; after vacation; after Thanksgiving. . . . HUGE mistake! There will always be something to tempt you, to sway you, to steer you off course. It's called LIFE.

I may sound a little unsympathetic here but I'm not. Those excuses used to be my top three. None of them can withstand the power of your decision to eat healthier and to be healthier. The single greatest challenge for me was to overcome the "all or nothing" mentality.

The world of nutrition can seem to be black and white, with little room for any gray areas. You either eat well or you don't. You either purchase only organic food or you don't. You either never eat processed food or you do.

Here's the thing: In a perfect world everyone would be eating only organic, locally sourced produce and grass-fed meats from local farmers and eggs from free-range chickens, etc. You get the picture. Sounds wonderful, but is it reality? Unless you own your own farm and you only eat what you personally grow and you never travel or go on vacation, this nutrition utopia is probably not a reality.

I see it all the time. It's sad, really, because here are some of the things I've heard:

"If you can't eat organic you may as well be eating ________ (insert fast food joint here)."
"Eating eggs is like smoking cigarettes. It'll kill you. You should only be 100% vegan."
"Eating meat destroys the planet."
"You have to eat ______ (insert your least favorite vegetable here) or you can't be healthy."
"Smoothies for breakfast are the pillar of healthy lifestyle."

Sounds really motivating, right? Geez! Hearing this stuff even makes me want to run in the opposite direction. Now when I come across those types of comments I simply smile and move on. I recognize that life is meant to be enjoyed, and a big part of that is enjoying good food. We are meant to nourish our bodies well. However, the stress we feel over food can be just as bad for our health as any less than ideal food choices.

Instead of viewing nutrition as all or nothing I encourage you to take a different approach. I teach my clients this saying, "Do the best you can, whenever you can, as often as you can." If you are able to eat organic that is definitely the better choice. However, eating conventional produce is not equivalent to eating a highly processed cheese burger and fries so don't make it out to be. There shouldn't be any shame in purchasing conventional produce if that is what is available to you.

And about that cheeseburger and fries -- I believe there is a place for that in life as well!! Again, it's not all or nothing. 

Where I've witnessed the most long term success is with women who gradually make changes instead of trying to do a complete overhaul overnight. It is very difficult to try to upend everything about the way you eat in a few days. It's too easy to slip back into old habits when life gets stressful. When gradual changes are made the chances of making them a permanent lifestyle increase. The reality is there needs to be balance and room for flexibility.

I want to hear from you. Have you ever felt discouraged about eating better because of this all or nothing attitude? Have you felt held back because you aren't able to dive in 100%?
Leave a comment. I'd love to chat!

Posted in Diets, Food, Health, Nutrition, Weight Loss, Wellness. Tagged as dieting, diets, eatrealfood, healthcoach, nongmo, organicfood, stopdieting, weightloss, wellness.

Discipline Succeeds Where Motivation Fails




I recently read an article that struck a nerve with me. It was written by a fighter pilot and the topic was motivation and discipline. His viewpoint was that discipline trumps motivation every time. The fighter pilot said that when it's time to run head first into the enemy you don't feel motivated to do it. After all you're full of fear and would rather turn and run the other way. He said rather it's discipline that's so important at this moment. It's the discipline you've developed, your knowledge on the subject, the training and practice. You know what you have to do so you simply do it.


As I read this piece I felt immediately drawn to what he was saying and I realized that although he was referring to war time battle, the same principle applies to just about every area of our lives. In fact, for many areas of our lives if we only relied on how motivated we felt to do something, nothing would get done.


I see this all the time in my coaching business. Women come to me feeling motivated to make a change. They are tired of the way they look and feel. They know they need a change and at first the prospect of it all is really exciting. They feel motivated to do something different. But then reality begins to set in and the truth is changing the way you eat isn't always a straight, easy road. At this point discipline has to step in and take over. Otherwise you find yourself right back where you started.


When my adult acne was so severe and nothing I tried was working. I began to look at my issue for what it was. A sign of a deeper rooted problem that needed to be solved. This is when I began to change the way I was eating to bring restoration and healing to my body and therefore, ultimately heal my skin. Motivation didn't play much of a role during this process. Initially, I felt motivated by the prospect of clearer skin but that quickly faded. One thing to really understand about using food as medicine, is the results are not always immediate. Obviously, this can feel frustrating. More than that is what others around you see. Let me explain.


To my friends and family, the dietary changes I made, seemed extreme (although they really weren't). People wondered if I was nourishing my body properly. I began to feel a bit of a stigma because I wasn't eating what everyone else was. The biggest issue was that my skin didn't clear overnight and as it was healing it went through a few purging stages. You know the old adage, "Things get worse before they get better"? In my case I experienced this. Therefore to those around me it appeared that all my efforts were in vain.


During these times I didn't feel motivated to keep pushing forward and pursue my goal. In fact, at times I felt downright defeated. Was I completely crazy?! This entire process required discipline on my part. I knew what I needed to do or I would never know the real results. If I quit half way through I would never realize the truth. Worse, if I gave in to temptation or peer pressure to be normal and do what everyone else was doing, I'd have to start back at square one. I had to be disciplined everyday to follow the plan I laid out for myself.


Motivation is overrated. If you want to accomplish real changes in your life, you have to develop discipline. For many of us, this is a struggle to handle on our own. We need guidance and someone coaching us along the way. If you're ready to make a change in the way you eat and see real, lasting results I will help you develop the discipline needed to get there. Contact me for a complimentary discovery session!


What are your thoughts? Is motivation overrated? Is discipline more important? Leave a comment and let me know.


Include article link. http://www.businessinsider.com/top-gun-pilot-dave-berke-discipline-2017-7


How to eat on vacation

The Bed and Breakfast we stayed at last week was wonderful. Breakfast included pancakes, waffles, sausage, potatoes, and tons of fresh fruit. It was SO delicious and the best part? I lost three pounds!

From the time I was a teenager until most recent years, preparing for vacation meant a period of dieting. I would exercise harder and try to cut calories (I knew shockingly little about nutrition then) in order to get a flatter tummy for my trip. Once on vacation I would throw caution to the wind when it came to food and overindulge. Shortly into my trip I'd be bloated, tired and sluggish. Good times, right? Upon returning home I'd discover that I had gained a few pounds and had to work all over again to lose it. This was my pattern for years. Does it sound familiar?

When I changed my approach towards food several years ago it also changed the way I view dieting in general and how I eat when I am on vacation. This surprised me on my most recent trip because some of the foods I ate were less than stellar and I definitely indulged a little. While I didn't completely stuff myself, I certainly ate to my heart's content each morning. Lunch and dinner consisted of local fare from restaurants in the area. Some were incredible, others not so much and one in particular is definitely getting a negative mark on Trip Advisor. One thing I kept noticing was I didn't at all feel tired the entire time and my tummy was never bloated, which are two common areas of struggle, especially for women.

As I reflected on what I was doing differently and what I might be doing right I came up with a few tips to share with you. These go beyond the "pack healthy snack options" tips.

How To Eat on Vacation:

  • It begins at HOME. It's what you do most of the time that matters. This is why I encourage you to make the absolute best choices when preparing food in your own kitchen where you have complete control. You control the oils used, the amount of sugar, the quality of the meats and produce, etc. It's important to take advantage of these times to keep your gut health strong and your immune system strong. This way when in situations, such as vacation, where you don't have 100% control over the food it won't completely derail you because you have a solid foundation.
  • Stay hydrated! It's so easy to get dehydrated, especially when traveling. Add to that the hot summer months and it's no wonder we have trouble keeping our bodies adequately nourished with water. Carry water with you wherever you go. I keep a stainless water bottle with me at all times. To keep it full I carry a gallon jug of water so I can refill my bottle as needed. Where I was staying this particular trip I was able to fill my gallon jug of water with fresh, clean water. However, you could just as easily run to your local grocery store and purchase a gallon jug of water for under $1.00. Even if you're only slightly dehydrated your body can mistake that signal for hunger so keep your water bottle full and drink up!
  • Don't overthink it. What happens when you sit down with your menu at a restaurant? Do you order the first thing that pops out at you or do you mull over what you "should" be eating and what you want to eat? It may sound counter productive but I recommend you order the first thing that jumps out at you on the menu. Note: If you eat in restaurants on a fairly regular basis this same rule would not necessarily apply. Oftentimes the stress we create for ourselves around food is worse for our bodies than the food itself. The more research I do and the more time I spend with my private coaching clients the more convinced I'm becoming that stress is our number one enemy when it comes to not looking and feeling our best. SO make a decision from the menu, eat slowly, enjoy every bite and then put it out of your mind. This means no regrets! Don't stress over what you just ate and that you should have gotten something else. This is negative self talk and it does nothing to serve your body. *Interesting that I am gluten intolerant. However, I ate gluten a few times on my trip with this no stress mentality and didn't suffer negative consequences. Just food for thought.
  • Stress Free. Vacation can be such a wonderful time to get away from the norm and relax. I know for me I felt so carefree on this recent vacation. At home there is always something for me to be doing and being able to take a few days to slow down was wonderful for my soul. One of the biggest observations I made while on this trip was that I actually got to sit down and eat! I coach my clients on the importance of being in a stress free state when eating. Don't eat at your desk, don't eat standing up or while rushing out the door. Even for a snack take ten minutes to step away and enjoy it. Unfortunately, I can be my own worst enemy because I often find myself standing at my kitchen counter eating or getting up and down from the table during meal time. I know all you mothers know exactly what I'm talking about here! Caring for our families often means we throw ourselves on the back burner. Take advantage of the lower stress times of vacation and sit down to your meal. When in a restaurant, really enjoy that you have no kitchen work to do in the moment. Eating while stressed can negatively impact our digestion so allow vacation to work for you in this way.
  • Focus on Digestion! Eat slowly. Chew your food well. Put your fork down between each bite. Digestion begins in the brain as we start thinking about the food. Then moves to the mouth and most people don't chew long enough or slow enough placing a heavy burden on their digestive tract. What does this lead to? Bloating, gas, discomfort, etc. So it's important to eat slowly and chew your food well. This also allows you to recognize when you are full so you can stop eating. One reason people overeat is they eat too quickly and the brain doesn't have time to catch up to the stomach. Basically, you think you're still hungry but you're not. Try chewing slower and eating slower in general. You might be surprised how much less you eat at each meal and you're less likely to end up overstuffed. SLOW DOWN. It's vacation so
t a k e your T I M E and ENJOY!

Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts! If you're looking for more insight into looking and feeling your best contact me for a complimentary one on one session.

Posted in Diets, Exercise, Fitness, Food, Health, Nutrition, Travel, Water, Weight Loss, Wellness.

90% Nutrition 10% Exercise

What if I told you that how you looked was 90% nutrition and 10% exercise?

Someone told me that once and at the time I really didn't want to believe it. After all, we were standing in my Mother's kitchen and at that exact moment there was a box of Girl Scout cookies waiting to be devoured (Hello, Thin Mints!). However, over the years I've come to learn the truth of that statement.

You can't exercise yourself out of poor nutrition. When we are young we have an easier time at maintaining a fit body while indulging in less than stellar food choices. As we age that becomes much harder to do. Also, it's important to remember that how you look is only the surface of it all nutrition affects our outside appearance but more importantly it affects our internal workings and organs. Our outside appearance isn't necessarily an accurate depiction of what's going on inside our bodies.

My freshman year of college I had the fortunate blessing of making friends with a few girls who were as fit conscious as me. They loved to workout and so did I. The three of us got up every morning at 5 am and went to the college gym together. We'd also go for afternoon runs. This amount of exercise was nothing new for me I'd been in the gym since I was in the 8th grade, lifting weights and running. However, what did change for me were my eating habits.

These two girls were more conscious of what they put in their bodies than I was. Since we were all together I quickly followed suit. The results? Well you know the old saying "the freshman 15"? Instead of gaining 15 pounds my freshman year of college, I lost 15 pounds. I was literally in the best shape I'd ever been in and looked much better than I did in high school. It wasn't exercise that changed for me, it was my diet.

Three years ago when my cystic acne came back with a full on vengeance I learned the truth of this statement once again. Nothing externally worked. My acne didn't begin to clear until I changed the way I ate.

How do you look and feel? Do you reward a great workout session with food indulgences? Are you exercising your heart out but not seeing the results you desire?

I encourage you to show up for yourself and feed your body well!

Not sure how to do that? Let me help you. You deserve to look and feel your best!

Posted in Acne, Diets, Exercise, Fitness, Food, Health, Nutrition, Weight Loss, Wellness.

The Most Important Thing I Did to Help Get Rid of My Acne (It’s Probably Not What You Think!)

I've never had great skin. Visits to the dermatologist were a regular part of my years as a teenager. But as a teen, I never would have imagined that I would be battling the same cystic acne during my 30's. But here I was, 33 years old staring in the mirror with an acne riddled face staring right back at me. Why was I plagued with this problem and what on earth could I do to fix it? Nothing seemed to be working for me.

I remember the moment vividly. I gave myself a long look in the mirror and the thought occurred to me, could this be the rest of my life? Might I suffer with acne forever?

Here it is; the most important thing I did to help rid my face of acne. I made up my mind that I could not, would not live this way any longer. I no longer saw myself of a helpless victim. I shifted my mindset and viewed myself as a woman with a decision to make. This was the catapult that propelled me forward.

At this point I recognized that my acne was stemming from my poor gut health. I knew that's where the answers lied, but I didn't really know what the specific answers were. So I prayed and asked God for guidance. It immediately began clear to me. Now it was up to me to put it all in motion...and that's just what I did.

My entire diet changed. I had to shift not only what I was eating, but also how I was eating. My relationship with food completely changed. For me this meant not quite fitting in in a few social situations. It meant carrying a small lunch bag with me everywhere I went so that I was never without something that was suitable for me to eat. I never wanted to be caught with an excuse to eat something that wasn't going to help me reach my goal. I prepared for every situation and I stuck to my plan.

Today my skin is much clearer without the use of acne medications. When I do get a breakout, it's usually not a surprise to me and is typically a result of excess sugar, too much stress, or lack of sleep.

What's staring back at you in the mirror? What is your "I can't live like this the rest of my life"? What is your current mindset about it? Helpless victim or a woman with a decision to make?

Everything is connected: mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. You can teeter totter if one of these legs is broken, but what happens when two are broken? The table comes crashing down. Our minds are powerful! The number one reason I see women not looking and feeling their best is they haven't made up in their minds 100% to commit to it. They want the results but they aren't fully there yet with the changes that need to be made. I get it because I was there myself sometimes the comforts we're used to are more comfortable than the pain in our life is painful.

Are you ready to shift your mindset? Are you ready to toss out the excuses and propel yourself forward? I have two programs to offer you let's see which one fits you best! I offer a complimentary consultation to see if we're a fit to work together. No obligation to buy. I look forward to helping you look and feel your best!

Posted in Acne, Diets, Food, Health, Weight Loss, Wellness.

Treadmill Girl vs Squats Girl

Treadmill girl versus squats girl -- I had to laugh.

First of all, aren't we women supposed to empower one another? So why are we posting an image that implies one looks better,is more attractive than the other.? Which one is it? I'm not sure. Each has nice attributes, and one of the things that makes life interesting is not all of us look the same.

Second, I spent years faithfully following a traditional fitness mindset lifting weights (both heavy and light), cardio (including the treadmill) and an occasional yoga or pilates class. While I was certainly strong and had a lot of nice muscle, I still struggled with not being pleased with the way my body looked. The areas that I wanted to get smaller never seemed to, and the areas I wanted to "plump up" never got that way.

When I was in middle school my dad began taking me to our local YMCA. He taught me everything I know about lifting weights. I treasured our time together and to this day am so grateful to him that he did this for me. During this time, my level of confidence grew, I developed a lot of strength in my body and I got to bond with my dad. It was an all around "win win." One of the greatest gifts you can give a growing adolescent is teaching them how to properly care for their body, nutritionally and physically. This grew into my love for fitness that has stayed with me.
Years later, when my oldest daughter was about 2, we were stationed at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. The gym on post didn't offer child care so I was mostly using my jogging stroller to run outside or doing at home exercise videos. Then I met a group of ladies who were doing a crossfit inspired workout and I was invited to join the group. This form of exercise pushed me to my limits and I developed a lot of strength in my body as well as muscle mass. However, I didn't look or feel balanced. It was the same old problem: the parts of my body that I felt were too big were getting bigger. And the parts I wanted to accentuate (namely my small bottom) continued to look smaller. Probably because my upper body kept getting so much bigger!

I didn't realize what was happening until my family went on a summer beach trip. Later, looking at photos, I didn't like what I saw of myself in my bathing suit. How frustrating! Here I was putting in all this effort at the gym and not feeling pleased with the results.

It wasn't until I completely changed the way I thought about exercise that my body really began to change shape and I discovered I did have some level of control over the way I look. One day I accidentally stumbled across a short clip of a Tracy Anderson workout. My first thought was, "Her form is all wrong." Her method of exercise was very different, and even a little bizarre looking. However, I couldn't deny that I was intrigued.

I found her YouTube videos of a 17 minute butt and legs segment. I figured why not? I got down on all fours and began following along. Even with my then high-level of fitness and strong cardio health Tracy's workout challenged me in ways I never thought possible. I felt muscles working that I didn't know existed. I ordered Tracy's program. After 4 years later Tracy's method has changed my body in the positive ways I had never been able to achieve. I have found, too, that her method strengthened my mind-body connection. I feel more balanced overall.

Treadmill or squat -- I'm not going to suggest which you should be. You have to decide that. The point is, if you are diligently working out, and you're feeding your body with whole food nutrition, and you're still not seeing results you want, then try Tracy Anderson's workout.

For me the treadmill wasn't the answer. Squats weren't the answer. I found my answer when I changed the way I thought about exercise in general and took an entirely different approach.

For the record, both Barbies in this graphic are beautiful please stop body shaming.
 
Note: I do not receive any compensation from Tracy Anderson products, nor have I been compensated by her or anyone else for this blog. This is a testimonial, pure and simple. Tracy Anderson is a copyrighted name and registered trademark.

Posted in Diets, Exercise, Fitness, Health, Weight Loss, Wellness.

This Could Change Your Life

What raises your blood sugar levels more? Whole wheat bread or table sugar? Read on to find out.

"I could never go gluten free. I like bread too much."

"I've tried gluten free bread and I can't stand the taste."

"It's too hard to eat in a restaurant if you don't eat gluten."

"I don't have a gluten intolerance. I never have to run to the bathroom when I eat it."

Do any of these sound familiar?! These are among the top comments I hear when discussing gluten. There's a lot of buzz out there among the word gluten and there seem to be three camps of people: Those who are gluten free and are completely sold that it's improved their health, those who feel it's fine for other people to be gluten free but it's not for them, and lastly, those who believe that gluten free is a trend and will soon die out.

What is the truth? Is gluten bad for your health? If you're not intolerant should you be eating it?

I first discovered the concept of a gluten free diet when I read the book Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD. This book opened my eyes to an entirely new concept and much of what he wrote seemed to be written directly for me.
A few things I learned:

  1. The wheat we eat today is not the same wheat our grandmother's ate.
  2. Even if you have a seemingly perfect diet, you may still hold on to body fat if wheat is in your diet.
  3. Wheat is the dominant source of gluten protein in the human diet. There are other grains containing gluten but as a general rule we consume those much less frequently.
  4. Whole wheat bread increases blood sugar as much or more than table sugar.
This last one was a real eye opener for me. I've had blood sugar issues my whole life. It's one reason it's hard for me to ever feel full for long. Up to this point, wheat made up a large part of my diet. I consumed pastas and breads without thinking twice. I exercised really hard so I figured, why not? After reading this book I learned exactly why not. I chose to remove gluten from my diet to see if there was some truth behind what I'd read. At this time I really didn't understand all the in's and out's of gluten. I now know that I had not removed 100% like I thought I had. Despite this, I still lost some weight, my tummy was flatter, and my blood sugar levels were much more stable than they'd ever been.

Of course, it was difficult living without gluten so this new lifestyle quickly dwindled and I went back to my old habits. Until I experienced a great loss in my life, which spurred on my cystic acne (which I had fought off and on since my teen years). When creams and face washes weren't doing the trick I decided to take a more holistic option. I began researching on the internet what worked for other women with adult acne. A common theme kept recurring; Remove gluten and dairy from your diet as the first step.

I battled and struggled with this. I remembered how great I'd felt when I gave up gluten before, but truth be told I didn't want to do it again. It was too difficult. It was easier to eat in a restaurant if I was able to eat gluten. I didn't really have a problem with gluten, right?! There can't be that much truth to this idea. Long story short, I went back and forth A LOT before I finally realized I wasn't doing myself any favors and cut gluten from my diet 100%. No longer was I allowing a once a week treat of regular bread or cutting myself slack when eating out. I realized to see the changes I wanted it had to be all or nothing.

Here is the truth about identifying food intolerance and identifying foods that cause inflammation in your body. After all, too much inflammation in the body is where illness begins. If you want to know if eliminating gluten will make a difference for you, you have to completely eliminate it 100% no exceptions. The length of time you do this for really depends on your symptoms. If you have acne, eczema, rosacea or any other skin ailments then the longer the better. My acne clients do it for six straight months. If you're having GI discomfort you may notice a difference within a few days.

Here are other symptoms related to gluten intolerance:
  • Brain fog
  • Depression
  • ADHD like behavior
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Bone or Joint Pain
  • Fatigue
You can read more about it here: Non-Celiac Wheat Sensitivity

For some clarification, a gluten intolerance can exist even if you don't have Celiac disease or another type of autoimmune disorder. The problem with the bread of our grocery shelves today is it was made to be shelf stable. This equals a higher gluten content. Also, when you see the word "Enriched" on a label it often means "deprived of nutrients." Enriched means some of the nutrients that cause the food to spoil faster have been removed and replaced with chemical ingredients so the food will be shelf stable. (Dr. Sear's, The Inflammation Solution).

Does cutting gluten from your diet seem scary or unmanageable or simply something you just really don't want to do? I get it. I once felt the same way. It's important to remember that you can always introduce back into your diet. If you eliminate if for two weeks and feel zero changes, start eating it again!

I highly encourage you to give this a try!

Things are always better with support which is why I'm offering you access to a program called Shred10. We have a new group that starts this Monday April 3 and runs through April 12.

With this program you'll receive:
  • Access to our private Facebook group where you can posts questions and receive daily motivation
  • Access to my private coaching during the 10 day shred
I love food and I never do a program or recommend a program where you drastically cut calories, juice cleanse or do anything that may leave you feeling weak and hungry. On this program you will not feel hungry and you won't be counting calories or tracking macros or tallying points I promise!!

Email me for more details!

Posted in Diets, Food, Health, Weight Loss, Wellness.

Gluten-Free Freezer Waffles

I'm in love with these waffles. They are my go to when we have "breakfast for dinner" and when I have some stored in the freezer they make a delicious quick breakfast for my girls.

About a week ago my oldest daughter asked me for these waffles. I used a different type of fat from what I used in my original recipe. Not sure if it was that, or if I just didn't grease my waffle iron well enough but I ended up with quite a disaster. For the first few waffles anyway. Fortunately, the entire batch wasn't a loss and I was able to get some normal looking waffles. After posting about my fiasco, ironically I had people ask me for the recipe! I made these waffles again, using my original go-to and they came out perfectly.

Not only are these waffles gluten free, they are also dairy free and refined sugar fee although no one will know! These waffles fool everyone. I call them freezer waffles, because much like the freezer store bought variety you can toast them right out of the freezer for a quick meal.

Heat your waffle iron while preparing the batter. Grease generously with coconut oil, avocado oil or palm shortening. Makes about 12 to 16 (4-inch) waffles

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Gluten Free 1 to 1 Flour Blend (I like this brand because xanthan gum is already in the blend. No need to add any!)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour 
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
Wet Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup palm shortening, melted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extra
In a medium bowl combine all the dry ingredients and whisk well to be sure everything is evenly incorporated. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.

In another medium bowl beat eggs slightly. Stir in milk, palm shortening and vanilla extract. Add milk mixture all at once to your flour mixture. Stir just until combined. The batter should be slightly lumpy.

Pour 1/3 cup of batter onto your well greased waffle iron. Bake according to your waffle iron's instructions.
To freeze these: Wait until waffles have completely cooled. Store in a resealable storage bag or a freezer proof container with a sheet of parchment paper between each waffle. To serve from the freezer, simply toast the waffle. There is no need to defrost it first as the toaster does all the work. To prevent burning, toast on a low setting first and then if needed toast again.

I hope you enjoy these waffles as much as my family does!

*Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Garden Cookbook

Posted in Diets, Food, Recipes.

Water Intake: How much is enough?

Do you agree that drinking water is important to your health? It's not exactly a newsflash that our bodies need water to function properly. If we know water is crucial to our bodies, the question then becomes how much water should we consume each day?

I've found that there are two main views on this very subject. One view is that getting enough water is simply a mathematical equation. The equation is based on your weight. Along this same view point is that you should drink 8, 8 oz glasses of water per day. That's easy enough to remember, but is it enough water?

The second view point is that you should listen to your body and drink when you are thirsty. In fact, some health experts who fall into this category believe that drinking too much water, especially around mealtimes, can dampen your digestion and lead to gut issues. I've read countless articles that argue you shouldn't drink water 30 minutes prior to your meal, during your meal and up to 30 minutes after you've finished eating.

Which method is correct? Is it a clear calculation or does it involve getting to your individual body's needs?
Unfortunately, many people are out of touch with their bodies. We stink at listening to our body when it tells us we are hungry or thirsty. This is key, and for most of my private-coaching clients I find this is where they need to start. Learn to listen to your body!

Here's the method I advocate:

  • Fill a gallon jug of water at the start of each day.
  • Each time you fill your glass or water bottle to drink, use water from this gallon jug.
  • At the end of the day take note of how much water you've consumed.
  • Record in a journal how you felt that day. Did you feel energized? Did you have a headache? Were you tired and sluggish? Was your digestion on point or did you feel bloated?
  • Do this for two weeks.
You may not finish the gallon of water each day. That's okay. The point of this isn't to force yourself to drink the entire gallon. The point is to get you in touch with your body. Begin to take note of the amount of water you drank on the days you felt the best. Aim to get that amount of water daily. This amount may vary from time to time depending on the weather and your activity level. That's okay. The point of this exercise is to bring awareness. It should help you tap into your body's thirst signals.

For example, many of my clients, when they initially seek my help, are so out of touch with their bodies that they often mistake thirst for hunger. I've found this exercise to be the most successful at bringing awareness of your own body.

After the birth of my second child, I took the advice of a well-intentioned friend. My daughter could not breastfeed so I chose to use a hospital grade breast pump and bottle feed her with my own milk. It can be difficult to keep your milk supply up when you rely on a breast pump instead of the baby. I didn't feel that my supply was where I wanted it to be so a friend suggested I increase my water intake. I don't remember the amount she told me to drink daily but it was an enormous amount. I have always been an avid water drinker so the idea that I was somehow dehydrated seemed absurd to me, but I took her advice anyway. Within two short days of following her stringent "water plan" my milk supply dropped by more than half. Where before I was getting around 6 ounces each time I pumped, I was now only getting about 2 ounces. I called my lactation consultant, completely dismayed and looking for answers. She told me, "Hannah, stop drinking all that water! You're peeing out the hormone your body needs to make the milk!" In a nutshell, she told me to drink when my body told me it was thirsty. I went back to my former ways and my milk supply returned to normal.

I realize you may be thinking, 'that's great, but I'm not a nursing mother so what does that story have to do with me?'. The point of the story is not that I was a nursing mother. The point is we should be listening to our bodies! Following formulas and forcing water into our bodies when we're not thirsty may backfire on you as it did on me. It's along these same lines that I don't believe in counting calories or dieting in the traditional sense. It simply won't work.

What are your thoughts? How much water do you currently consume and how do you feel most days? If you need help in this area, I challenge you to two weeks of my water exercise.
  1. Fill a gallon jug each day
  2. Observe your body and write it down
  3. Learn how your body feels when it's thirsty.
  4. Learn to obey those signals and see what happens with your health!

Posted in Diets, Food, Water, Weight Loss, Wellness.

Diets, in fact, do work. Just not as people hope for. Part III

One of the top things I hear in my coaching business is, 'I want to have control over the food in my life.' I relate to this 100%. It's why, in the past, when I've tried dieting it never stuck with me for long. I felt I had no control over the foods I was eating. Have you ever felt this way?

Beginning a new fad diet can be exciting in the beginning. First, there's the prospect and hope of reaching your weight loss goals. You may be feeling burnt out on the foods you've been eating and you're looking forward to trying some potentially healthier options. After a few days, however, you may find your body is resisting these changes and is begging you for your former food choices. Sound familiar?

I've discussed different aspects of dieting and why I don't encourage it during this blog series. You can read Part I and Part II here. If dieting in the traditional sense isn't the answer, then what is?

Eat Real Food. Shift your focus from dieting and simply eat to nourish your body. Our bodies were designed to eat real, whole foods. Unfortunately, we've become confused and we've felt out of control.  Cleverly labeled, processed foods are marketed because we've become convinced that something out of a box is better for our body because it has less fat. Instead of searching for a snack in the produce section, you may pick up a 100-calorie pack of something thinking you're doing your body a favor. When you still feel hungry after eating this low-calorie snack, you feel guilt and shame. What's wrong with me? How could this not satisfy my hunger?

Truth: There is nothing wrong with you. There is something inadequate about some packaged products, and your body knows this. Your body is still looking for more nourishment so it's signaling to you that it's not full, hoping you'll feed it something better.

When you shift to eating real food, you can gain back control over the foods you eat. The reason is your body will, in time, crave what it needs, crave what is nourishing, and crave what is good for you. This is when you can begin to relax and eating will be enjoyable.

I hope you've enjoyed this three-part series. If what I've said resonates with you, please let me know! I'd love to hear from you.

Posted in Diets, Food, Weight Loss, Wellness.

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