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Immune Boosting (Almost) Summertime Soda

Immune Boosting (Almost) Summertime Soda

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Refreshing and fortifying?  Say it ain’t so!  But I tell you, it is!

Fortunately, we are pretty resilient and healthy in this household, but that doesn’t mean I don’t stock up on immune boosters when I catch wind of some virus going around.   A little pre-emptive strike never hurt anyone!  While we all are familiar with vitamin C and vitamin D and their benefits to our health, I love to utilize some of the lesser known beneficials.  I have a couple of reasons for this.

First, I have gotten away from relying on vitamins for health.  That is not to say that I don’t support their use, I do- just when it’s called for.  But if I can get nutrition from real food first, then you bet I will.  There are a number of inherent problems with vitamins in general.  Vitamins are often synthetic, produced in a lab to mimic their natural behavior.   It may seem the same as the natural form, but it behaves a little differently once it’s in our system.  Often, it’s less bioavailable to our bodies than the natural version.  What is bioavailability?  It describes how readily useable a nutrient is to our body.  What this often means is that the synthetic vitamins have to be packed with more nutrition in the first place because our body can only access so much from it.  In other words, they look higher in quantity of certain vitamins, but that’s because our body has to be supplied wth more in the first come to overcome the amount of nutrient it has no access to and will end up excreting, unused.

It’s also a popular practice to isolate properties and constituents from certain nutrients.  Research often focuses on  what makes a nutrient beneficial.  When they find one key component, this component gets isolated and sold in this form.  The intent is all well and good, to get straight to the most effective, impactful part of the nutrient.  But, what we often overlook in our search for the perfect magic bullet is that these foods are healthful in their entirety, not in their isolated constituents.  What I mean is that while this one constituent may certainly be beneficial for what the researchers found, what about the multitude of other constituents within this same food that are also beneficial?  Or more so, the fact these individual constituents all become ever more beneficial because they work synergistically together!  Our bodies do not work one individual part at a time, so why would a food?  It’s a living entity, too.

Manmade Vitamin C is usually combined with other unwanted goodies, like binders, fillers, and sugar!  The first two are just holding the pill together, and the last is added because otherwise it’s pretty unpalatable.  My kids have always begged for those vitamin C gummies and chewables.  Check the ingredients list.  Hey, look!  Sugar, right up there at the top of the list.  Which is ironic in a vitamin C immune boosting supplement, considering sugar is notorious for being an immune breaker.  So I have come to see these vitamins as a wash.   The bad ingredients wipe out the good.

Real food is often cheaper than supplements too.   We pay so much to be able to get our nutrients in a pill, a once and done thing.  Then we go eat food.  But since we have to eat food anyway, why not accomplish two goals in one fell swoop?  Get your vitamins from your food sources, and save your money.   Chances are, when you are eating clean, good quality foods, they will be sufficiently dosed in the vitamins you need to keep your system running well.  Processed, conventionally raised food may be cheaper at the outset, but you will just have to compensate later with more vitamins, supplements, and medical expenses.  It’s just filler.  Why not swap out your empty filler for health fortifying foods that taste delicious and save you in health and money down the road?  Plus, remember from above, the real food is jam packed with all the necessary components to give you the most effective boost!

So, what are my go-to boosters?  Well, any internet search for immune boosters will bring up myriad foods and herbs.  And that is a beautiful thing.  We have so much to choose from!  It’s empowering to see how many foods are able to supply our bodies with all the health we need.  For me, the fun lies in finding the right mix of ingredients to create something exciting and enjoyable.

 

During the winter we love hot, soothing teas.  They are so comforting.  But now as we enter the warm months, we needed something cooling, something refreshing.  So I took our wintertime favorite and put a little spin on it.

Ginger lemon tea is a staple in our house.  But to this I added turmeric for increased anti-inflammatory effects.  It also strengthens the effects of ginger, and vice versa.  And this was all well and good, but next came my new recent love.  Hibiscus flowers!  I love these little things.   I am talking about the dried petals from the hibiscus plant, and they are an excellent source of natural vitamin C.  As such, they provide a lovely little citrus flavor.  I usually sweeten this mixture with a good quality local honey, but it can be substituted with stevia if you prefer.

I tend to make this tea pretty concentrated.  We store this concoction in the fridge and use just a little at a time.  You can sip it off a spoon for a syrup-like dose, or do like we do- pour yourself a glass of Gerolsteiner mineral water, and add this mix for an indulgent flavor!

 

Immune Boosting Summertime Soda

  • 1/2″ piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 1/2″ piece fresh turmeric root, peeled and grated
  • juice from 2 organic lemons
  • 1-2T. dried hibiscus flowers
  • sweetener of choice- honey or stevia, to taste

 

In a medium pot bring water almost to a boil, but not quite.  Add the fresh grated ginger and turmeric and let simmer for 3-5 minutes.

 * the longer steep time will increase the strength of flavor, and can add bitterness.  Especially with grated roots, taste after a few minutes to test for flavor.

Add the fresh squeezed lemon juice and remove the pot from the heat.  Add the hibiscus flowers now too.  Allow it to cool slightly, about 5-10 minutes.

While still warm, add the honey to taste.  If using stevia, you can add powered form while still warm and dissolve thoroughly.  Add liquid stevia a few drops at a time and test for sweetness.

*I make mine extra strong with the herbs.  I store it as a concentrate and water it down when I drink it, so I plan for that.  Though honey needs to be added while still warm, I often add the liquid stevia at the time of use.

 

Summer CSA Series with Growing the Seed & Indigo Yoga Loft

Summer CSA Series with Growing the Seed & Indigo Yoga Loft

Summer CSA Series with Growing the Seed & Indigo Yoga Loft

How to Prepare, Cook and Get the Most from Your Summer Produce!

I am very excited to announce a Summer series I’ll be teaching!  Summer means sun, fun, and great, fresh food!  Every year I look forward to all the beautiful local produce from our local farmers.  I’m a huge fan of the farmer’s markets around here, but I also love to be a part of a CSA.  What’s a CSA?  It stands for Community Supported Agriculture.

You buy in to a share of produce from a local farm.  Your payment guarantees you a box delivered every week full of fresh goodies from the farm.  You can choose between a full or half share, and some farms have additional options such as fresh milk or eggs.  It’s a great deal for you because you are guaranteed wonderful fresh, locally grown produce every week, but it’s great for our farmers because we are supporting them in their endeavors!  Win-win!

Why buy local?  It’s better for you.  The food has higher nutrition content because it travels less, is picked at ripeness, and delivered to your drop spot.  It’s better for the community because we are supporting local businesses.  It’s better for the environment because there’s no long distance travel involved!

CSA’s are a wonderful way to do good for yourself and your community, so what are you waiting for?  And once you’ve signed up, join me this summer and I will teach you how to get the most from your fruits and vegetables!

 

How to Prepare, Cook and Get the Most from Your Summer Produce!

Do you participate in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Program but don’t know what to do with all of that fresh produce?  Join Meredith from Growing the Seed and Jill from Indigo Yoga Loft for our 10 class CSA series and let us help you think outside the produce box!  Participants will learn:

    • How to identify those fruits and vegetables in your box
    • Health benefits of your weekly delivery
    • Sample and enjoy weekly recipes and menu options
    • Learn quick and easy cooking techniques

When: every other Wednesday from 6pm-7pm beginning June 7, 2017

Where: Indigo Yoga Loft

Cost: $10 per class, $45 for 5, or $80 for 10.

RSVP: 412-257-3200

Elevated Blood Sugar

Elevated Blood Sugar

 

This post is in honor of a friend of mine.  He recently was told by his doctor that his blood sugar levels were high.  In other words- he is pre-diabetic.  Blood sugar, or glucose, helps us to survive.  It’s the nutrient our brains run on, as well as muscle.  We need a steady glucose load to keep our bodies running.  But the emphasis here should be on the word “steady”.  Too low or too high equals too dangerous.

Our bodies work hard to maintain a healthy balance of all of our necessary nutrients, including blood sugars.  When our levels get low, it gets to work releasing any stored glucose or assigns the liver to creating more.  It has to move fast, because if levels continue to drop it can progress from lightheadedness and confusion to fainting and coma.  Not eating, exercising without replenishing nutrients, medications, and even some other medical conditions can precipitate low blood sugar.

If our blood glucose levels get too high, we now have an excess of sugar circulating within our blood.  Now our body needs to reign it in, and it does this by releasing insulin, which is produced by the pancreas.  Think of insulin as a taxi driver- it picks up the loose blood sugar and transports it in to the cells, where the body can put it to use.  But there are times where there is too much glucose for the insulin existing in the body.  Maybe your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, maybe the insulin is not able to function properly, or maybe there is just too much blood glucose. Foods are converted to energy in our bodies, and foods higher in refined starches and natural sugars are our bodies’ greatest sources of blood sugar.  Direct sources of sugar are a given obviously, but more than these, most of our foods are sources of glucose for the body.  Think dairy, breads, grains, and starchy potatoes, even proteins.  Fruits can also be a good source of sugars in our system.   Eating good quality sources and in the right quantities can keep us running well.  But overconsumption or improper balancing of foods can lead to trouble.  Complications of high blood glucose can become life threatening.

In the long term though, unstable blood sugars wreak havoc on our whole system.  They can affect our metabolic functioning- our hunger cues, the way our bodies use energy in the form of calories and fat and other macronutrients, as well as our weight.  Believe it our not, it also affects our hormones.  That’s right, blood sugar impacts our hormone levels.  Insulin is indeed a hormone itself.  If one hormone is off, our body has to correct it.  If it is not corrected quickly and efficiently, the body has to borrow from another hormone to fix it.  And then if that goes on long enough, it needs to borrow from more and more hormones.  This comes at a pretty big cost to the whole body eventually.

Now for someone who is in otherwise good health, these little episodes of fluctuating blood sugar can be corrected nicely and we are back on track to regular programming.  Eating the wrong foods, having the wrong timing of eating, temporary illness, or undergoing stress are common triggers for blood sugar alterations.  But if you are not at optimal health, it is harder for your body to navigate these changes.  Weight gain, lack of exercise, poor food choices and unregulated stress are risk factors for high blood sugar that eventually leads to diabetes.

Diabetes is pretty well known by now for it’s insidious nature, and hands down prevention is the best approach.  Educating yourself on the risk factors and how to avoid them is your best defense.  The consequences of poorly managed blood sugar do far more than just make you not feel well.  Short term high and low blood sugar episodes can cause fatigue, anxiety, palpitations, nausea, and more.  But long terms it’s much worse.  High sugar levels in the blood cause damage to arteries and veins, leading to heart disease, sexual dysfunction, cognitive changes,  mood disturbances, and even gastric upset.  Let it become diabetes, and you are at risk for damage to nerves, retinas, your heart and your brain.  Pretty far reaching, isn’t it?  Type 2 Diabetes is a disease usually of lifestyle.  This is good news because we have to ability to change this.

In the coming posts, we will discuss some ways of addressing blood sugar and how to improve your health.  Stay tuned!

 

Curried Brussels Sprout Chips

Curried Brussels Sprout Chips

 

Lately I have had a fascination with curry.  A friend of mine turned me on to Indian spices and ever since I have been experimenting with different combinations.  Cardamom is a particular favorite, and of course turmeric is added often for all of its healthy goodness.

 

Tonight, while chopping Brussels sprouts for dinner, I collected all the lost leaves and set them aside.  While my dinner was roasting in the oven, I tossed the loose sprout leaves in a bowl with avocado oil, fresh squeezed lime, curry seasoning, and chopped garlic and red onion bits.  Add a little sea salt, spread on a baking sheet, and voila!

 

I roasted them at 400 for around 15 minutes.  They were delicious!  I tend to go heavy on the curry seasoning so you get this wonderful, finger licking spice with each bite.  Needless to say, they were gone in no time.  Next time, I think I will skip the roasting of the big Brussels sprouts, and just separate them all in to leaves for this satisfying little snack!

 

 

Cooking Nutritiously for One Class

Cooking Nutritiously for One Class

This Thursday, April 6,  I will be at Beinhauer Funeral Homes in McMurray, PA to give a talk about how to eat healthfully on a small scale.  Come join me for ways to eat high quality, nutritious meals even when it’s just you!  There will be tips and tricks, handouts, and samples to be eaten.  Please come on out and see how easy it can be to eat well.  Food is nutrition, food is life- let’s make it enjoyable too!

 

Register here: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event;jsessionid=A1BF6B726A5C17684D74A3B572F3021A?llr=tbm6t4vab&oeidk=a07edyqpo0a649a1ef5

Beinhauer Funeral Homes

2828 Washington Road
McMurray, PA 15317

Thursday April 6, 2017

6:30 PM

 

What makes a meal

What makes a meal

We are all striving to feel better, do better, be better, live better.  We each in our own ways have our priorities and goals aligned, and slowly but surely we are getting there.  For so many, eating better is a work in progress.  And we are so fortunate to have such amazing information at our fingertips.  The internet, facebook, pinterest…  we can find all sorts of recipes and inspirations.

But sometimes these inspirational posts and videos can also work against us.  We look at what others are doing and think our meals will never come close to that.  Sometimes the ingredients list is intimidatingly long.  Or the instructions are so complicated.  Or maybe the ingredients are so exotic we’d have to travel all over the place (and internet) just to get them.  Yes, those gorgeous pictures get me too.  (Confession- sometimes I check out cookbooks from the library just to look at the pictures… with no intention of ever making the recipes!)  But sometimes you just need to set the cookbook down, turn off the computer, and make your own meal.

So what makes a meal?  I guarantee you it’s not a complicated list of unique foods and techniques you’ve never heard of.   A meal doesn’t even have to be hot.  A meal just needs to satisfy your needs nutritionally, emotionally, and mentally.  What do I mean by that?  We’ve been trained to think a meal has to come out like it does at a restaurant.  And for those of us who are not adept at cooking, well, then we must be relegated to cereal for dinner.  Or frozen dinners.  Or take out.  Not so!

In our house, I try to make a nice dinner once a week.  We are pretty busy, going from one place to the next all the time.  We take our meals together where we can.  Breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  And on those busy, throw-a-quick-meal-together days, the only rules are “Where is your protein?  Where is your green?”  My children are so tired of hearing me ask this but I drill it into their heads day in and day out.

Building our plates can be as regimented or loose as we choose.  But we start first with a vegetable.  (I prefer green, but it’s not a hard and fast rule.)  The biggest portion should be your vegetables.  These guys are chock full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and necessary health boosting benefits.  They are your friends.  They help you function better, digest better, think better, breathe better, move better, fight cancer and other illnesses… need more?  I like to see at least half of my plate covered in vegetables.  Most of them work beautifully together, and in this house we aim for the rainbow on our plates!

Next, protein.  We don’t have to go over board here, just a modest amount is good.  The recommended amount is roughly .4g per lb of body weight.  There are some medical or extenuating circumstances that will change this, but those individuals will have been advised by their doctors if this is the case.  Protein is so important in providing nutrients such as omega fatty acids, vitamin D, iron, and all the good things that help us rebuild and repair.  This is important for day to day issues, like muscle support, but did you know it is vital in recovery from illness too?  So that’s why these too food sources are my top picks.  Of course I recommend organic, grass fed and pastured animal proteins, wild fish, and organic beans and legumes.  The beans and legumes are considered incomplete proteins, and therefor should be eaten with another incomplete protein to make them more available as protein and micronutrients in your body.  Vegetables are other incomplete proteins, so as long as you have vegetables to eat with them, you now have a better nutrient profile.  Combining them with nuts or rice will also do the trick.

Now, our healthy fats.  Avocado oil, coconut, ghee, lard or butter for cooking… olive oil as dressings or low temperature cooking… fat is flavor, fat is satiety, fat is healing.  Our brains are made from this stuff- feed your brain!  It doesn’t have to be much, but fat should be included in healthy doses every day.  What is a healthy dose?  You will know when you find your happy level.  Watch for the following signs:  improved energy throughout the day, less cravings for sugar throughout the day, less need to snack in general, improved mental functioning, improved digestion… sound good?  Right!  Fat is our friend.  How will you know when you get too much?  A quick way to tell is your digestion.  If it causes loose stools, back off a bit.  Reduce the amount until you feel good and see positive signs in your body.  For me, it took some playing around.  But my brain and digestive tract work best with a higher amount of fats in my daily diet.

Next comes a fruit.  Fruit is a tricky one.  Some people do really well with it, some don’t.  Pay attention to your body and you will soon find out which side of the fence you are on.  Fruit is natural fructose, but the body doesn’t see it differently than other sugars.  That means that fruit can still spike your blood sugars.  And that means it can create imbalances in focus, energy, hormones, digestion, and in just about every other system in your body.  Tread lightly, and focus on berries and lower glycemic index fruits, preferably local and in season.  Caveat- I do love my frozen berries.  Harvested at peak ripeness and frozen on site, they are more nutritious for us than most fresh options.  Dried fruits, by the way, are especially tricky here.  The dehydrated content of this food is even more blood sugar spiking.  We use these very sparingly.

Last?  Well, I go back to my vegetables, personally.  But for others, this is where you would enter your grains.  And of course, I prefer less inflammatory options like quinoa, amaranth, sprouted rice, and buckwheat.  My children love these, but honestly by the time they fulfill my previous requirements they are no longer needing them.  This keeps our gluten free, processed grain foods to a bare minimum.  Why is this important to me?  Because I believe there is truth behind the theory that a poorly varied diet contributes to food sensitivities.  And rice and corn, highly used gluten free substitutes, are fast rising on the allergen list.  I do occasionally indulge in the alternative grains, like lentil pasta, black bean pasta, and the like.  It makes for a special treat when the need arises.  But usually, once we have fulfilled my previous tenets, there is not really room in our stomachs for grains.

So these are my rules.  Sometimes our dinners look like beautiful, restaurant worthy plates.  Steaming hot foods that coordinate pleasingly with their herbs and spices, the kind that you want to take a picture of they are so pretty.  Yes, sometimes this is what we eat.  And then other times we eat carrots with hummus, avocados, and cold tuna salad.  Or cucumber slices with homemade mayo and deli meat.  Sometimes it’s just a random collection of things we found in the fridge.  But it always follows my basic tenets.  And if we walk away feeling satiated by the flavors, energized by the nutrients… then it was a meal.  And it was a good one.

So don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.  You do what you need to do to be healthy, and you do not worry about what your version looks like in comparison to someone else’s.  If you’re happy and you’re fulfilling your nutritional needs and wants, then you are doing well.  Congratulate yourself, you’re eating a good meal!

Everything Ahi Tuna…cabbage, and curry mayo too!

Everything Ahi Tuna…cabbage, and curry mayo too!

Today we had dinner for lunch.  One of those days- on the go, stuff to do, won’t be home later.  You know those days?  Yeah.

So for lunch, …

Seared Ahi Tuna covered in an “Everything but the Bagel” seasoning, served with roasted cabbage and curry mayonnaise.

This time of year cabbage is in abundance, and though it’s usually passed over for other more glamorous vegetables, it’s actually a stand out food all on its own!  Cabbage is a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, fiber, and B vitamins like B6 and folate.  It’s also got that magnesium we all need.  Not only that, it’s quite inexpensive in it’s humble existence.  Need more reason to love it?  It’s one of the goodies on the Clean Fifteen list, meaning it’s less likely to have been exposed to pesticides in chemicals during the growing process.  A.k.a. you can buy the conventionally grown cabbages, and not stress about it not being organic.

Needless to say, it’s been showing up in our house quite a lot these days.  Roasting the cabbage brings out a sweetness and a pretty palette satisfying crunch.  I added just a hint of garlic and cumin to the cabbage, drizzled with avocado oil, and voila- delicious!  (I did throw in some radish slices to the oven and let them roast alongside the cabbage.  I am on a radish kick these days, so they go with everything here too.)

As for the Ahi Tuna Steaks… well I owe this one to a friend.  After this seasoning showed up recently on the shelves at Trader Joes, we have found any and every reason to throw it into a meal.  So my friend’s brain child was to sear the Ahi Tuna in the Everything but the Bagel seasoning.  So very good.

No real recipes here, friends.  Just straight forward, easy cooking.  Easy peasy, but this meal makes you look like you might just know what you are doing in the kitchen.

 

 

 

The only recipe I will share here is the mayonnaise.

Homemade mayo is a staple condiment in this house.  I make the base recipe and then throw in herbs and spices according to my mood.  This week my mood said curry.  Curry spices have been a craving for me lately.  And they served me well today because they were a perfect compliment to the Tuna steaks and roasted cabbage.

 

Curry Mayonnaise

1 egg, room temperature

1 c. avocado oil

1/4 c. olive oil

fresh squeezed lime juice

1 t. turmeric

1-2t. curry seasoning

1/8t. dried garlic (or 1 clove fresh minced garlic)

sea salt, to taste

black pepper, to taste

 

  1. Allow the egg to come to room temperature.  I often pull mine out first thing in the morning, leave it to sit on the counter until afternoon, and then it’s ready.  This is an important step here- don’t skip!  Do use a high quality egg- organic, pastured, local if possible.  I use it reliably with organic, cage free as well.
  2. Crack the egg into a wide mouthed container.  I use a wide mouth pint mason jar.  Squeeze the lime juice in to the egg, then add the oils.  Follow with the listed spices.
  3. I use an immersion blender to blend everything together.  Place the immersion blender into the jar and turn on.  Blend from the bottom up to the top, moving slowly to incorporate and emulsify all ingredients.  You will see the mixture magically thicken and turn a beautiful golden hue.  When all the oil is mixed in, remove the immersion blender, cover with a lid and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour before use.  You could alternatively throw this in a blender and mix to get the same results.
Eating Real Food: Desserts and Sweets

Eating Real Food: Desserts and Sweets

 

The sweet tooth.  That’s the one that gets us after a meal, or late at night, right?  It calls to us and nags and nags.  Well, good news- there are so many real foods that can answer that sweet tooth of ours!

After years of eliminating sugar, I still look for sweets from time to time.  I usually indulge in frozen blueberries or raspberries.  Put some in a bowl and let sit for about 5 to 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with a little cinnamon and dig in!  They taste amazing in their half thawed state!

But if frozen berries aren’t quite what you are looking for, try one of these ideas and see how they do!

 

Banana Ice Cream – 10 NEW Recipes

 

Pineapple Whip

roasted strawberries and coconut cream

Healthy (ISH) Melt-In-Your-Mouth Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Raw Brownie Bites (Vegan, Paleo)

No-Bake Pineapple Coconut Bars

Coconut Almond Bars

Quick Homemade Nutella – Just Three Ingredients! (Dairy-Free)

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

No bake Peanut butter banana dark chocolate bites

3 Step No Bake Chocolate Coconut Cashew Bars {Vegan, Paleo}

2 Ingredient Banana Coconut Cookies

How To Make Paleo Lemon Curd

Paleo Lemon Sorbet

Gingerbread Chia Pudding (Dairy- & Gluten-Free)

 

 

 

 

 

When you lose your motivation…

When you lose your motivation…

Staying motivated can often become the true challenge.  We hear people talk about willpower, and to some degree, yes, willpower helps.  But it doesn’t boil down to just willpower.  Willpower implies just using strength to barrel through.  We can envision ourselves gritting our teeth and visibly (and uncomfortably, maybe even painfully!) struggling.  And of course the opposite implication exists, too.  If our willpower fails to get us through, then we must not be strong enough.  We must be weak. It’s just not the case.

Willpower is a real thing, and we all have it.  I think we just have been using the wrong definition.  I prefer the saying, “Where there is a will, there is a way.”

Mindset is key.  Positivity, hope, faith.  When we want something, we have the will to work for it.  Some days more than others.  But it is always there as long as that goal is in our minds.  It is the power of our will that helps us find the way.  And for some, maybe that is gritting our teeth and barreling through.  But that’s not the only way to achieve something.  Ever hear “slow and steady wins the race”?  Right!  The power of our will comes in all forms.  And as long as our goal exists, we can use that to motivate ourselves to get there.

When it comes to food and health, I find it helpful to remind myself why I am doing this.  For some of us we want visible results.  But for many of us we want inner health and wellbeing too.  That can be a challenging goal because we just can’t see what is happening inside our bodies.  When we eat that nutritious meal we know we have done well, but we can’t see how it begins to heal and repair our inner workings.  Of course it’s a process that happens gradually, and progressively, over time, so where is our instant gratification?  The reverse here is true too.  When we eat that junk food, we know the satisfying sensation of the taste, but we can’t see our inner workings and how it is hurting us.  This is where the hard work comes in.  This is where we have to use our minds.

  • Remind yourself why you are on this path in the first place.
  • Remind yourself how far you have already come.
  • If you stopped now, what would you gain by stopping?
  • How would you feel if you gave up on your goal?
  • Envision yourself working through this positively.  Now how do you feel?
  • Is there some other reason you are feeling tired, unmotivated, or wanting to quit?  (Stress, emotions, frustration?)

These are all important questions to ask yourself.  We are human, and from the beginning we equate nourishment with emotion.  We all consider ourselves emotional eaters in some form, and I believe it is important to acknowledge this.  Food does sometimes provide more than fuel, like it or not.  The trick is which foods are we allowing to comfort us?

There are some fun and interesting ways to find your motivation again.  Sometimes you need a change of scenery.

  • Try a new recipe.
  • Shop at a new grocery store.
  • Splurge a little and treat yourself to a nice cut of meat or fish, a spice, or a cooking indulgence you wouldn’t normally.
  • If you’re seeking sweet, find something that accommodates that desire but still meets your nutrition goals.
  • Change up your flavors!  Herbs and spices are our best friends!
  • Call a friend.  Talk it out, make a lunch date, swap a dinner.  Mostly, have fun!

But above all else, stay positive.  This is about you, and you are the only one in charge of you.  You are worth the extra work and effort, and you deserve to feel good and be healthy in life.  One step at a time, you are getting there.  If you take a misstep, no big deal.  Just fix it, get right back on your road, and right back on your way.

 

12 Times Makes a Habit

12 Times Makes a Habit


Have you ever heard this phrase?  Someone told me this years ago, and I have forever cemented it in to my brain.  There’s no scientific basis for this, and it may very likely have no foundation whatsoever!  But every time I start something new, every time I struggle to make it happen, I remind myself “12 times makes a habit.”  It is a reminder to myself that it takes time to learn something new.  It’s a reminder to be gentle on myself while I am making this change.

Today is March 12, and today is the 12th day of the Eat Real Food Challenge.  Today marks 12 days in a row of new choices, new thought patterns, new lifestyles.  While to us our daily actions may seem insignificant, know that they most certainly are not.  Every little choice is a ripple in what will later become a large wave.   What you do today will change your tomorrow.

So when you are finding it a challenge to keep with your goals, remind yourself that change is hard work.  And sometimes we can keep on it, and we feel proud of ourselves.  But sometimes we fall back in to old patterns and habits.  Don’t beat yourself up about it.  Instead, remind yourself that every day you have the choice to choose something new.  And even when we take a step backwards, it’s ok.  Because this time we remembered that maybe that wasn’t the choice we wanted to make.  And that little thought right there, that was your sign of positive change.  Take comfort and pride in the fact that even though your old habits may still exist, new habits and reactions are in fact alive and strong in your brain.

No one is asking for perfection here, and no one is expected to be perfection.  Learning comes in many forms, in many disguises.  It’s been 12 days friends, and you have learned new habits.  Keep going, keep trying, keep learning.  And don’t stop until you are proud.