Food & Physicals

I had my annual physical today which isn’t something that is at the top of many people’s list of things to do, but it is necessary.

My appointment went well as it usually does – routine Q’s & A’s and done!

I’m a health coach, I teach people how to eat healthy, I help them overcome cravings, poor habits, lose weight as well as helping reduce blood sugar, blood pressure, bloated feelings, and more.

Of all those things, weight is the #1 concern individually – everyone wants to lose a few pounds. Many of us could benefit to drop 5-25 pounds or more, but from my experience in coaching, your vital signs and blood work results need to be healthy first and foremost. You can be overweight with healthy blood sugar levels, blood pressure, blood oxygen, breathing, cholesterol levels, heart rate…etc. When you get your vitals and blood work under control, your weight loss will follow.

You’ll be amazed at how great you can feel after changing your diet to fit your needs even if you’re not at your ideal weight! You’ll also be at ease  and relaxed about going to the doctor when you know you’ve been eating better.

If you’re ready for a change, ready to take positive steps toward your health and you would like your own personal health coach, let’s talk! Having me on your side, guiding you along the way at your pace is fun, very easy to transition yourself, informative and very affordable.

Want to talk to see how your own coach can help? Contact me at Dawn@initiatewellness.com and let’s make a connection!

Your Health Coach,
Dawn

Kale Chips & Other Green Things

Kale Chips & Other Green Things

20160127_123922It’s the end of January and my craving for fresh greens is kicking in strongly right about now. My fix? Kale is a winter green, citrus is in season, avocados, celery, apples & pears are all colder weather crops so I feed my desire on these things.

Last night while dinner was in the oven I made my go-to green smoothie that will last 2 days for a quick grab and go snack – see recipe below.

After roasting veggies and a turkey meatloaf in the oven, I cleaned, dried and seasoned kale and roasted it for about 40 minutes in a 225° oven, two batches to be exact. I found an easy way to season kale for chips: add kale to a bog bowl, drizzle with olive oil or another light oil, add garlic powder, lemon juice, and massage into the leaves then lay the leaves in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet – sprinkle with nutritional yeast for a nutty-cheesy flavor and bake.

These two items are terrific midday or after dinner snacks. Have you ever tried making your own kale chips or green smoothie? I know a lot of folks like fruit smoothies; those are fine on occasion, but they lend to a good amount of unnecessary sugar too. Mixing 1-2 fruits in a green smoothie sweetens it up enough to taste less earthy without a sugar load.

Try each of these recipes for yourself and share your experience & opinions with us.

Kale Chips: prepare as written above, nothing was measured, just drizzled & sprinkled.

Green Winter Smoothie

Clean all ingredient well before using! I soak them in vinegar & water or hydrogen peroxide & water for 10-15 minutes then rinse and drain well.

1″ piece of ginger

small handful of parsley

1 very large handful cleaned organic kale – organic ensures no pesticides were used

1 apple cored – peeling isn’t necessary

1 peat cored – not peeled

3 stalks celery, cut into large chunks

1 avocado

juice of 1/2 lemon or squeeze of lemon juice

juice of 1 orange

1-2 Tablespoons chia seeds

2 Tablespoons ground flax seeds good sprinkle of cinnamon (adds sweetness without sugar and is a blood-sugar stabilizer

Add all ingredients to blender carafe, add filtered water within 1″ of top of carafe, cover and blend on low first then on high…blend it for a good few minutes. I take this time to clean up and get my bottles ready. I use small glass bottles so one can be taken with a homemade lunch and I put the rest into a quart bottle for glasses of goodness at home. When it’s well blended, pour into prepared bottles and refrigerate until used. Should last up to 3 days…more is okay but using it at its freshest is best.

Releasing Anxious Thoughts & Feelings

sandpiper walkConnect with yourself. Give yourself credit for what you have dealt with or are dealing with. Accept where you are and appreciate it for being better than where you could be.

Get warm. Warmth eases tension, imparts calm – try a hot shower, warm bath, blankets, whatever helps you feel toasty and cozy.

Yoga breathing. There is a simple breathing exercise that you can do several times a day without really having to fit it into your schedule…you just have to remember to breathe. It goes like this: pay attention to the air as you breathe in fully, as you exhale fully; note the smell around you, the temperature of the air and repeat 5 times a few times a day. For a deeper breath practice try “748 breathing” inhale for a count of 7 – hold it for a count of 4 – exhale for a count of 8, repeat this 3-5 times several times a day.

Walk. Take a walk, preferably in the woods, along the shore, in a field – nature is healing. All you need is 20 minutes. Take 20 minutes to be with yourself and nature even if you live in the city you can use this practice to decompress. All you need to do is walk 10 minutes away and you’ll need 10 minutes to get back – your 20 minutes will go by quickly and you’ll feel refreshed. Want more time? Take a longer walk…just get out and walk.

Mindful meditation. Don’t know how to meditate? No sweat! Start with just 5-10 minutes of sitting comfortably quiet. Pay attention to the present moment, your breathing, let your thoughts come and go – don’t judge, don’t analyze it – just BE. Do this at least once a day, more if you feel the desire.
Exercise. Get regular daily or weekly exercise. This warms you, releases the ‘feel good’ hormone, energizes your body and helps keep your body fit.

Key Notches & Success

20160106_153349-1When you open a lock with a key you must put the key all the way into the keyway in order to successfully open the door, drawer or whatever it is you are attempting to open. In the same way, you must commit fully to a goal that you plan to reach.

When you map out and attempt to reach a goal you will only meet success if you are fully engaged in accomplishing it.

Write down your goals. Map out your path to reach success. Get help if you don’t know where to begin or to help keep you on track and accountable, take yourself seriously – while still having fun of course!

Find or buy yourself an interestingly different key and keep it with you as a reminder to go all the way in your commitment and endeavor.

The key to success is yourself!

Working from home? A healthy, fast lunch is easy!

20151105_124319Today I invited my neighbor, whom also works from home, over for lunch. About an hour or so before lunch time I popped a whole butternut squash, one large peeled onion and 2 large cloves of elephant garlic in a baking dish and into a 375° oven. The house smelled so good while it roasted and while I got some work done. When it was time for lunch, I took the stuff out of the oven, peeled the squash, simple when baked whole, (get rid of the seeds) and put the squash, onion and garlic into a stockpot with almond milk, salt, and thyme, I added a splash of lemon juice for brightness, about 3 sprigs of parsley and heated it through. I didn’t measure, I made it on the thick side for heartiness. When it was lightly bubbling…or in my case bubbled out of the pot a few splashes…yikes! Use your immersion blender to puree and make it smooth.’

My friend brought over a hot Pumpkin-beer bread to have alongside it and we enjoyed lunch on the back porch on this beautiful autumn day.

Don’t work at home? That’s okay, you can still bring this healthy dish into work. Make it the night before while your dinner is cooking…or make this for dinner and bring leftover soup! For dinner, while the veggies are roasting you can get stuff done around the house to lessen your chores after dinner.

Healthy isn’t complicated. Be creative, have fun and cook! 20151105_124256

Getting Grounded-Feeling Connected

20151011_153706If you’re a warmer weather lover, the warm days left of the year are few. Take full advantage of getting outside and grounding yourself with nature.

Being outdoors awakens the senses and restores wellness. There have been scientific studies done showing that nature can give the immune system a boost, reduce pain, relieve stress, lower blood pressure and heart rate and relax our muscles thus relaxing our whole self.

Take a walk, sit or play in your yard with your child or pet, visit a park, lake, garden, or take a hike in the woods and don’t forget to hug a tree! Close your eyes and feel the ground, the air, the sun and sky; breathe it all in.

Finding peace in nature is just a step away.

Roasted Onion, Garlic & Butternut Squash Soup

20151005_182542This was by far the best butternut squash soup I’ve had and it’s so simple to make.

I bought a box of butternut squash from a local farm and with the weather cooling down, I knew soup was going to be a welcomed meal. I didn’t follow a recipe so I thought I’d share my creating with you and I hope you try it out and enjoy it as much as we did!

Here’s what I did:

  • 1 large squash cut in half length-wise and remove seeds
  • 1 large onion peeled and cut in half
  • about 1/4 cup or more of Garlic cloves peeled – I used my own homegrown garlic as well as 2 large cloves of elephant garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Parsley – Chopped and added last
  • 1 cup cream, milk or non-dairy milk such as coconut, almond or soy milk

Coat squash halves with oil. salt & pepper and lay cut side down on a foil lined baking pan. Do the same with the onion. Put all the garlic into a garlic baker, small covered baking dish or foil – drizzle with oil and close it. If foil and you have room, put the foil packet in the baking pan with the squash and onion; otherwise put the baker beside the baking sheet on the oven rack.

Bake all of it at 375° for about an hour and a half or until the squash is soft and cooked through.

*Meanwhile get your large saucepan ready with 8 cups of broth or water.

Remove all from the oven. Begin heating your broth while you remove the flesh from the butternut and add to the broth. Add all of the garlic and onion. Simmer for a few minutes, add salt and pepper and with an immersion blender, blend the soup until it’s smooth and creamy. Add the parsley & cream or milk and blend together.

Serve and enjoy!

Farro Salad

farro saladFarro is a whole grain that comes from wheat. It is a healthy alternative to pasta, rice, potatoes, and other grains because it is a good source of complex carbohydrate which is beneficial to regulating blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, staving off hunger and supporting the immune system. It’s also a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins, especially B3, and minerals, especially much-needed magnesium.

Farro can be used in hot soups, as a hot rice type dish, as a breakfast cereal and as a salad or any other creative ideas you might have.

For the summer months when we often eat lots of pasta, macaroni and potato salad, try substituting Farro for the main ingredient.

Farro Salad

1 1/2 cups Farro
4 cups water
2 tsp. salt

Add the Farro, water and salt to a saucepan, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about 35-40 minutes until tender. Drain and put into a bowl to cool.
Chop 1-2 cups vegetables, choose from or use all:
celery, tomatoes, cucumber, sweet Vidalia, scallions or red onion, 1-2 cloves garlic, fresh or frozen peas, carrots, asparagus, green beans, bell peppers, broccoli florets, edamame, corn kernels(especially when local fresh), chopped cabbage, sprouts, and any other vegetable of choice  that is in season.

Herbs:
basil, parsley, mint, oregano, rosemary, chives, dill

Add 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil and 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar and about 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Add Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, toss well and chill until serving.

Kale Chips

2015-08-28 07.24.06I grow kale in my garden quite well, all summer, so I find different ways to use it up before it wilts and dies. I found a few recipes for kale chips recently so I decided to give one a try mostly because I was intrigued by the method of massaging kale leaves with a mixture in a bowl before laying on the baking sheet. It worked out quite well though I would omit the ground flax seed due to its clumping up.

Here are the steps and the results.

Ingredients:

A bunch of kale leaves

2 Tbs. oil

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 Tbs. nutritional yeast – it has a cheesy/nutty flavor

1 Tbs. tahini

1 tsp. each of onion powder and garlic powder

1/4 tsp. salt

Wash leaves and tear them up into small bite sized pieces, add to a large bowl, mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over kale leaves. Massage with hands until all leaves are coated well. Spread in single layer on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake 1 hour at 300° or until crisp and dried.

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Gearing Up for Back to School and a Full Schedule

Books (640x383)As your schedule gets busier it’s important to eat healthy while on the run. It’s not always necessary to pick up take-out or heat frozen processed foods in the oven to feed yourself and your family. Cooking fresh ingredients can be done as quickly as tossing things into a pan and tossing the pan in the oven or stove top and they taste a whole lot better, have less calories and less sodium!

Keep your pantry and refrigerator stocked with a few quick essentials such as brown rice, barley, whole grain couscous, quinoa and whole grain pastas. Have a few different kinds of good quality beans on hand such as black beans, garbanzo/chick peas, white beans and kidney beans. Keep your refrigerator stocked weekly with fresh green vegetables, red and green peppers, squashes, cucumbers, leafy greens such as kale, bok choy, spinach and lettuces. Look for the fruits and vegetables that are in season. Visit your local farm or farmers market while you still can!

Keep chicken, pork, beef and fish on hand. Perhaps when you purchase them, separate into serving sizes, either singles or family portions, you can even preseason them with your own concoction of spices and freeze each portion for future dinners. To use: defrost what you will use in the refrigerator the night before. When you get home it’s simple to simmer rice or other grains while you bake, grill or saute the meat portion of your meal and vegetables can be quickly steamed.

Get creative, save time and pans and make a stir fry by quickly browning the meat, add olive oil or your favorite nut oil/coconut oil and toss in the veggies and stir fry until the veggies get bright in color, eat as is or serve over your whole grain of choice. You can have an entire meal in 20-40 minutes and you can feel good in knowing that you have complete control over what is in your food.

To keep your lunch and your children’s lunches healthy make sure you add healthy raw ingredients such as carrots, cucumber bites, apple, pear and peach slices(dipped in lemon juice to keep their color), red pepper slices, nuts, seeds, and leftover chicken or other meats cut into strips with hummus, apple sauce or nut butters to dip them in. This will make a filling meal for adults and kids alike. Use dinner leftovers as often as possible for lunches as they’re healthier than processed deli meats.