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Posts Tagged ‘journey to wellness’

Weight loss is on many minds most of the time, but with beach season.. and bathing suit season…. just around the corner it’s everywhere.

Here are my 3 favorite tips to remember when starting your weight loss adventure.

Eat Your Vegetables

So often I hear my clients say “I eat lots of vegetables. Tons.” Only to find their food journals show a very different situation. Often, vegetables are consumed at lunch and at dinner. And that’s it. But if you make sure you are eating at least one vegetable at each of your 5-6 meals, you can drastically change your health and your waistline. When building your meal or your snack start with vegetables. It should be the largest portion on your plate.

Bonus tip – Don’t forget the protein. Protein is essential for building muscle. And muscle burns fat! Be sure you are getting protein with each meal also.

Drink More Water

Again, people often think they are getting plenty of water, but the reality is that most people spend their lives dehydrated. Staying well hydrated is essential for proper body function. Keep water in your car, your bag, your desk, next to your bed and drink, drink, drink.

Bonus tip – Oolong tea has the ability to help boost metabolism and keep you well hydrated. It’s great warm or cold. Try adding a cup or so a day.

Sneak in Extra Exercise

You are going to the gym 4 – 5 days a week. You are eating healthy. You are drinking lots of water. You want to see bigger results. Perhaps you don’t have time to get to the gym as often as like. Try squeezing in bits of exercise through out your day. Do some squats while brushing your teeth. Take 3 minutes to do a few Burpee’s. Do some static lunges in the kitchen while cooking dinner. Find ways to work in some extra exercise and you will start seeing bigger results.

Bonus tip – I keep free weights under my coffee table. During those rare occasions I’m watching tv I can pull them out and do bicep curls, overhead extensions, shoulder presses… all from my couch.

A healthy body isn’t all about vanity. To live well, we must be well. 

Live Well!
~S 

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Did you know that eating fat doesn’t make you fat? It’s true!

That stuff they call margarine isn’t real food either. It’s gross, it’s harmful and you should stop using it! But you don’t really use that junk, right?

Real food is always better. Always. But even the ones you think are real and wholesome aren’t always as they seem. Take butter for instance. Did you know that butter, yes, the real kind, usually has added preservatives? It’s sad but true. But there’s hope.

Making butter is ridiculously easy! 

Cream, a mason jar and twenty minutes easy.

Fill a mason jar half way with heavy cream.

Put the cover on.

Now shake the day lights out of it!

Shake, shake, shake…

Shake, shake, shake….

The cream will get thick. Keep shaking.

When you think something MUST have gone wrong, keep shaking.

You are almost there….

And then all of sudden, it will happen! The thick cream will separate – buttermilk and butter.

Strain the buttermilk….

But save it for something else like soaking chicken or making biscuits.

Now you have to rinse the rest of the buttermilk out of the butter.

Add some salt if you like and roll into a log and refrigerate.

You have butter!

AND buttermilk!

This butter doesn’t have preservative like that other stuff, as I mentioned, so you want to use this within two weeks.

It isn’t always cheaper to make your own butter but it can be. It depends on the cost of cream and the amount of fat. Some cows produce a fattier milk. If you are lucky enough to know someone with goats (or even better, have your own!) butter can be made with goats cream too. It will be a bit different, but just as good.

I got about 3/4 of a  pound of butter from one quart of milk. Plus about 2 cups of buttermilk. That is a savings over purchasing butter and buttermilk separately. And I don’t get the preservatives.

There is an easier way….

You can use a blender, mixer, hand mixer or food processor and cut the time in half.

There can be mistakes…

The second time I made butter, or attempted to make butter, it was a disaster. We took turns shaking the jar, the mister, babes and I. How fun! We sat and watched TV, chatted and made butter together. But in our fun we somehow missed the separation phase and just kept shaking. We ended up with what looked like chunky whipped cream. Which is just what I turned it into, with a bit of honey (or sweetener of choice) and a bit more whipping.

What happened? We shook the buttermilk back into the butter. Yes, it can happen. I had no idea. I also don’t know if the process can be altered again. I had had enough shaking for the night and never cared for the experiment to be finished.

Now let’s get a wee bit technical…

I’m not saying go ahead and smother everything you eat in butter. I’m not Paula Dean. Although I do love her to pieces. I’m just saying butter isn’t as scary and horrible as we tend to think. And it’s way better for you than something bugs won’t even touch! (Some still claim this isn’t true,but I tried it once and found the margarine free of ants and butter loaded with them. I did not, however, leave it long enough to find out if they moved over once the butter was gone.)

  • A 1994 Harvard Medical Study showed that eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53%
  • More recent studies have shown a strong link between consuming trans fat and earlier death
  • Butter does not contain trans fat – margarine does (minus a few newer varieties)
  • Both butter and margarine have the same amount of calories
  • Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods
  • Butter has many nutritional benefits – margarine does not, unless they are added
  • Butter tastes better!
That old urban legend about margarine being one molecule away from plastic is truly false, however, real food is always best. Something made with “ingredients” like margaric acid, used in making margarine, is not.
If you aren’t into making your own butter at least opt for the real thing. Ditch that tub of tasteless, dyed stuff.

Tomorrow we will talk about flavoring your butter!

Live Well!
~S 

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Making your own yogurt is super easy!

I mean – boil milk, whisk in cultures, cover and wait – easy.

Yes, even you can do it.

Here’s what you need –

1 quart whole milk
1 Tablespoon plain yogurt (yes, just your favorite store bought yogurt)

In a pan heat the milk slowly to just before a boil. You can get technical with this and use a thermometer, but  it really isn’t necessary. You just have to heat it until the top is shiny and tiny bubbles just start to form around the outside. But if you are worried you won’t do it right, or just like to use your fancy little thermometer than heat it to 180-185 degrees. You shouldn’t get a skin, but if you do just take it off.

Now for the hard part. Take it off the heat and wait for it to cool. You have to wait until the milk is warm enough to activate the cultures but not kill them. About 140 degrees. You can put it in another bowl to help the process along. Or even put it in a water bath.

When the milk is cool whisk in the yogurt. Now, don’t get all over zealous with the yogurt. Adding extra will not make it more yogurty (there I go again) or speed the process any. It will have adverse effects. Trust me. One tablespoon per quart of milk. But you don’t have to be super precise either. I told you, this is easy.

Next, spoon it into jars. I like to use a mixture of mason jars in various sizes. Leaving a space at the top to add fruit and such. We’ll talk more about that in a bit.

Now, place the jars in a pan and wrap with a towel.

Put this pan in a warm safe place like the oven. I’m not showing you this part. It’s scary and embarrassing in there. Must. Clean. Oven.

Be sure to NOT turn the oven on. NOT. 

Now you wait. Again. It takes about 12-15 hours for the process to complete. Give or take. Again, it isn’t precise. Just be sure to leave them alone. The more you disturb them the less likely they are to do as they are told.

Once they have set to a solid consistency they are finished. Ready to eat! Or flavor. Keep in mind, this is plain, unaltered yogurt. It will be tart. You can sweeten it with some honey or agave.

You can strain the yogurt in cheese cloth to make it thicker. Essentially, the difference between Greek yogurt and regular yogurt is the straining process. Greek yogurt is strained to make it creamier. Here in the U.S. you are buying “Greek Style” yogurt not actual Greek yogurt – meaning strained and thicker. True Greek yogurt uses sheep’s or goat’s milk. If you like yogurt thicker you can strain the end product through a piece of cheese cloth or even let the milk stay at that just before boiling point a little longer to evaporate the milk some.

You can make your next batch using some of this one and never have to buy yogurt again!

Now let’s talk about flavor!

You can add anything you like. Fruits, nuts and grains.

Here are some of my favorites – 

  • Pomegranate
  • Banana and walnut
  • Apple and cinnamon with honey and pecans
  • Frozen mixed berries
  • Orange
  • Cherries and macadamia nuts
  • Granola and dried cranberries
  • Chocolate chunk granola

Mmmm. I could keep going.

You can also use it for dips and marinades – 

  • Mixed with lots of fresh or dried herbs like chives, parsley, tarragon and garlic for veggie dip
  • Mixed with lime, ginger, cilantro and gram marsala for chicken
  • Mixed with coarse brown mustard, garlic, pepper and parsley for pork

The options are endless, as they usually are when in the kitchen. And yogurt is filled with healthy probiotics that are essential for healthy digestion and optimum immune response. They are killed off when heated, but used as a marinade yogurt helps keep meat moist and adds tremendous flavor.

Now let’s break it down….

I made 64 ounces of yogurt for $1.50

The cheapest I have found Chobani is $1.00 for 6 ounces. That equals $10.00 for 60 ounces!

4 ounces less – $8.50 more

Are you ready to try making your own yogurt?

Live Well!
~S 

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Whoa! I’m on a roll this week.

This is my new favorite smoothie creation. So good. I was getting board of the usual, as I often do. And I had some sunflower seeds that had been in the pantry for quite some time that needed using. This is what I came up with.

Coconut Nut Smoothie

1/3 banana (I freeze the rest)
3 large chunks pineapple
1 handful organic unsweetened coconut
1 handful unsalted sunflower seeds
2 hands full spinach
1 c coconut milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Combine and blend!

It’s nutty with a hint of coconut and not too sweet. The nuts can leave small bits if not processed well. I don’t mind it, but you could soak the nuts in water for a few hours or overnight to eliminate that. Use the water for cooking pasta or watering plants. My dogs love it.

Live Well!
~S

 

 

 

 

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It thrills me to be writing of this now. It has been such a huge part of my life for so long. And although I have had the opportunity to share with many, I relish in the chance to share it with so many more. To offer guidance, encouragement and support where ever I can.

You see, I wasn’t always healthy. I grew up in your typical family home in the 80’s and 90’s. I ate junk food and drank soda. I was sick a lot. Tired often. I have always been different, appreciated nature a bit more, spent long periods of time alone in the woods. But I never played sports, never skied. I was, however, active. I had horses I rode and took care of daily, a bike I was always on, ran for seemingly no particular reason now and then.  I even found myself awake early on Summer mornings, while everyone else slept, moving cinder blocks from the burned down house at 13. I lived this life on the edge of both worlds, sick & unhealthy and active & crunchy.

But before I knew it I was striving for the latter with purpose and intent.

My Story….

I was lucky enough to meet the man of my dreams at 14. Fourteen. He was, is, my very best friend. And by the time I was 15 we were a “thing” that has never wavered one moment in the last 20 years. I don’t know how or why I got so damn lucky, but I am, and I know it. And there isn’t a day that I don’t appreciate it. There isn’t a day that I would rather spend with anyone else – not girlfriends, family, anyone. We are still very much inseparable.

By the time I was 17 I had graduated early, packed up what I could carry and headed to Camp Lejeune to follow my Marine. I was always a very determined girl and there really was no stopping me. I knew what I wanted and I was going to get it. A couple of months later we celebrated my 18th birthday, went home, got married, enjoyed a brief honeymoon and he was whisked off to Japan for the next long, sad, painful, six months.

Little did I know that fateful day, crying all the way home from the airport, locked in my room, sulking on Long Sands Beach during a storm so big waves were crashing and spraying over my car, that we were embarking on our journey even faster than we had expected. I had gotten pregnant on our wedding night. That’s right folks. As sappy and unreal as it sounds, our son was born nine months to the day.

But here I was, 18, married, pregnant. I knew many at that wedding were taking bets as to just how long it would last. Thinking us fools. Now they really had something to talk about. But we knew. I can’t tell you how or why, but we knew that we were going to make this thing work. That there was no stopping us. And this is where it all began. Having a baby was surely in the big picture. I may have been determined, anxious, ready to get my life started, but I wasn’t a damn fool! I was on the pill. I had plans. And although if anyone knew life didn’t wait it was me, I hadn’t expected this. But I wasn’t about to let this beat me or my goals. And I was even more determined to be better, smarter.

I began reading everything I possibly could, starting with that book they give you at your first appointment “What to Expect When You Are Expecting”. Boy, what a mind trip that was. I’m going to have a baby? Now? Seriously? Oh, fuck.

If I was going to do this, and there was no question I wasn’t, I was going to do it right. Did I mention I was also a smoker? Yup. Me. I loved them. Smoked as many as I could. All the time. Every day. When my friend told me the stick read positive… because I was too damn scared to look myself, I handed her over the cigarettes and left to tell my mom what I had done. And from that moment on I have tried to be as healthy as I possibly can be. Because I have people depending on me. I love them too much to ever let them down.

Sure I have wavered now and then. I love a big burger  with fries after a night of cocktails! I have been reckless a time or two… or three. I still like to live! And I am far from a Saint. I just do it with intent. And I am still determined to be the best mother I can be. Starting by taking care of me.

I believe that you have to take care of yourself first. Before you can really do well for others, you must do well for yourself. It isn’t selfish. I have heard so many women say they don’t have the time, energy or ability to take care of themselves because they are too busy taking care of everyone around them. But what happens when the machine breaks down? And what about leading by example?

Being healthy is important to your family! Living naturally is important to them too. For what we do is what we leave behind. We are what we eat. The chemicals used in our homes, sprayed on produce, effect our being. Most of what lines the grocery store shelves are loaded with chemicals and genetically modified ingredients. And that translates to unhealthy bodies, sickness, allergies, fatigue, lack of nutrition.

All those plastics pile up. The chemicals linger. Killing our environment. Killing us. Leaving nothing but waste and harm for our children.

I have a tremendous tendency to ramble on. And I find myself here doing it again. I just have such a sense of passion for it all. We weave our way through life, over mountains and through valleys. We will never do everything right the first time, or even the second. I’m learning and growing everyday, even after 20 years of this. My journey has been fulfilling and it continues. And I continue to learn and grow, make mistakes and changes. But if there is one thing I might not have said thus far, that I feel I should it’s this…

Don’t try to be perfect. Stop worrying over it all. Just learn what you can, do what you can. And never stop growing.

What is your journey to wellness story?

Live Well!
~S

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