I Have Moved

In case you have been wondering why it has been so quiet here, I have been working on a new name and a new site.

I can’t believe that it has been almost two years since I completed my certification for Health and Life Coaching. Since that time I have had the opportunity to work with some wonderful women. I want to thank them all for inspiring me just as much as I did them. Two years of experience has allowed me to truly define my niche: helping women rediscover their health, energy and joy. Hence the new name and logo.

I’d love to have you join me on my new website. I will be transferring over the content that is here, as well as regularly adding new recipes and ideas.

https://www.lostthenfoundcoaching.com

Happy Birthday Breakfast

Today is my wonderful husband’s 60th birthday. Normally, this would be an occasion calling for a BIG party with lots of friends and family, but given our current global situation, I am trying to find small ways to celebrate him throughout the day.

His favourite meal is breakfast, and he always has to have salsa with his eggs, so I started his day with Huevos Rancheros Egg Cakes from alive.

These are easy to make and delicious. Extras can be stored in the fridge or even frozen for later. They are portable and would also be good for lunches or dinners, served with a salad.

Confession Time

Okay. I know I’m a health and lifestyle coach, but I have a confession to make: I am not a big fan of raw vegetables. Except for Greek salad. I could eat Greek salad all day, every day. So, while I can still sneak some spinach into my morning smoothie, now that we are moving into warmer weather, I can’t rely so much on soups, stews and casseroles to help me meet my daily recommended number of servings of vegetables. Time to get creative!

Today, for the first time ever, I made Fresh Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce, from Cookie and Kate. They took a little bit of prepping.

I switched in micro-greens for cucumber as I had some that needed to be used up.

This was my first time working with rice paper, and I’ll admit, my first few rolls were not picture perfect. However, all the filling stayed in and those things tasted delicious! The peanut sauce is SO GOOD. I could put it on everything.

Give these a try! You won’t regret it.

Sweet Potato Peanut Stew

It was a rainy afternoon, yesterday. Perfect weather for a tasty stew. This recipe is vegetarian, but it would also work well with chicken. I threw the ingredients that follow in my Instant Pot. I mixed them all together except for the peanut butter, which I dotted on top. It cooked for 8 minutes. I then quick released and added a lot of spinach. I would say about 4 cups. I mixed it in and let in wilt. In hindsight, I could have also added some chopped vegetables (your choice). Delicious!

  • 3 sweet potatoes – peeled and chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves – minced
  • 1+ tablespoons of grated, fresh ginger
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 – 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1+ tablespoons of chili-garlic paste
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter

Wonton Soup

And the theme of tonight’s meal (and many, many more to come) is what is in the fridge that needs to be used up? Broccoli you say! What about Wonton Soup. The broth recipe is from recipetineats (and includes lots of garlic and ginger). I would half the sugar, if not take it all out, as the cooking wine is quite sweet already. I used mini chicken and cilantro wontons from Costco, and then threw in broccoli, carrots and mushrooms. Yum! 

Challenge Time

I was watching a video today talking about changes to education that may result from the pandemic. It was really interesting, and I learned a lot, but one thing that stuck out for me wasn’t related to education at all. I had not realized that the word “crisis” in Chinese is made up of two words: “danger” and “opportunity”. This got me thinking about how we can use this time as an opportunity to improve our health.

Since many of you may have a little extra time on your hands, perhaps now is the moment to participate in a health challenge. Maybe you’d like to drink more water, cut down on sugar, run a 5K…. I’m presently participating in The Alcohol Experiment: being alcohol free for thirty days. Alcohol is not great for our immune system, even in small amounts. Its impact on our digestion can rob us of valuable nutrients. It prevents us from getting quality sleep. It also lowers our number of infection-fighting white blood cells. So taking a break is a great way to take care of ourselves.

Nutrition

Yesterday, I mentioned movement as one of the pillars of health. Another is nutrition. Nutrition is key, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Today I threw together a yummy Greek salad with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh oregano and pepper as a dressing. Delicious!

What healthy meal or snack can you include today?

#stayathome

Now, more than ever, it is important to take good care of ourselves: mentally, energetically, spiritually, and physically.

My personal approach focuses on The Six Pillars of Health according to Deepak Chopra. One of these pillars involves movement, which is good not only for our physical health, but also our emotional health: helping us deal with stress.

Our local gyms have closed, but I have been able to continue to stay active at home. Today, for example, I dusted off my PlayStation 3 and pulled out my EA Sports Active 2. Personal training in the comfort of my own home.

What movement can you incorporate today?

Burgers!

While we don’t eat a lot of beef in our house, visitors who do recently gave me the opportunity to try out Rachel Ray’s Smoke and Fireworks Bacon-Wrapped Chipotle Burger recipe (which I think would also work well with ground turkey). Served with homemade, oven baked fries and onion rings, we had a delicious dinner. The patties had a little heat and were very flavourful. The bbq sauce was sweet and tangy and worked beautifully with the “pickled” red onion. YUM! Who needs take-out? 

Blueberry Muffins

It’s been a great berry season so far: strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. This was yesterday afternoon’s harvest.

This morning, I was thrilled to see that a friend had shared a recipe for Perfect Blueberry Muffins from Smitten Kitchen. I immediately got to work making a batch for breakfast.

Several years ago I purchased some silicone muffin cups (regular and mini). I love that I don’t have to use spray to prevent sticking, and they are so easy to clean. I put them to work.

I used Greek yogurt and this may be why I found that my batter was quite thick. I also didn’t have any turbinado sugar, but I found some Roger’s Plantation Raw Brown Sugar in my baking drawer, and used that.

I ended up making eleven muffins which I baked for 25 minutes.

They turned out well, and were quickly gobbled up by my family. They were moist and a little dense. While they were tasty, I think that I might add a little lemon juice to the batter next time.

When life gives you raspberries….

raspberries

This was this morning’s harvest. Not bad considering we did a thorough picking yesterday, and that I use a “three in the bucket, one in my mouth” method.

Most of our raspberries end up in the freezer and are enjoyed through the fall and winter in smoothies.

Today, I decided to try something new: a raspberry shrub. Shrubs are sweetened, vinegar-based concentrates infused with fruits, herbs and/or spices. They can be used to make refreshing, non-alcoholic cocktails to enjoy in the warm, summer weather.

cropped-shrub.jpg

To make this shrub, I put 1 cup of raspberries, 1 cup of sugar (you could use honey), 1 cup of apple cider vinegar, and a strip of lime peel in a non-reactive pot. On medium-high heat, I brought the mixture to a boil. I then removed from the heat and let it sit for twenty minutes before straining into a heatproof, airtight container. I let it chill in the fridge. When it was ready, I added two tablespoons of shrub to a glass of ice and soda water. Amazing! I will definitely be experimenting more with shrubs.

In addition to being delicious, shrubs are also thought to have some health benefits.

  • enhancing weight loss
  • stabilizing blood sugars
  • lowering cholesterol
  • maintain alkaline ph
  • promotes detoxification of the liver
  • eases digestion
  • fights free radicals to reduce aging  

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

 

Sheet Pan Greek Chicken and Veggie Bake

The single zucchini plant I have in my garden has been very generous this year. I am always amazed at how quickly they grow. I check one morning and notice a small zucchini, not quite ready to be picked, and the next day it is enormous and needs to be used right away. Luckily, we love it.

This was dinner last night. Sheet Pan Greek Chicken and Veggie Bake from The Stay At Home Chef. I was missing the pepperoncinis as I threw it together at the last minute. I’ll definitely include them next time. It was easy to prepare and delicious. We enjoyed it as is, which would work well for you if you are cutting back on carbs, but it would be great served with rice. I can also see myself making a vegetarian version of this in the future.

There’s Always Something…

you can do.

Another rainy day here, but I’m not complaining. The trees, plants and grass really need it. Last year we couldn’t sit out on our covered deck because of the smoke from forest fires. Yesterday, I sat outside and read while listening to the rain: so soothing. While the weather may have prevented me from taking my daily, outdoor walk, it didn’t stop me from getting some exercise and having a lot of fun.

I’m sure that I have already mentioned that I am a fan of Jessica Smith’s workouts. This 30-Minute Latin Spice Walk is low impact and it doesn’t require a lot of room to do. Give it a try!

Homemade Granola

They say, “Make hay while the sun shines”. Lately, we have had more cloud than sun, but I decided to take advantage of the cooler temperatures by doing a little baking. One of my favourite things to make for a quick breakfast (or snack) is granola. It is really simple to prepare, and by making it at home, I can ensure that I avoid refined sugars and unhealthy fats. Plus, in my humble opinion, it tastes so much better than store bought.

Pictured here is this morning’s yummy breakfast: raspberries from my garden, water buffalo yogurt (so rich and creamy), and homemade granola. There are a couple of recipes I use. This particular one is from Cookie + Kate. I love the toasty oats and nuts, and the slightly salty and sweet taste. I used olive oil, maple syrup, walnuts and cranberries in this batch. I might double the cinnamon next time.

Yoga Therapy

Over five years ago, a good friend introduced me to Jill Miller and Yoga Tune-Up as a way to help alleviate my chronic neck and shoulder pain. She gifted me my first set of therapy balls, which you can see have been well used.

Jill is offering a free Three Day Tune Up: 3-Day Tune Up Mini-Program. You can choose an area to focus on, and will have a video delivered each day. You don’t need therapy balls to participate (although they are fantastic). A couple of tennis balls and a sock will do.

 

Easy, Healthy Chorizo

As my husband eats only poultry and fish/seafood as animal proteins, I often have to look for alternatives in some recipes that call for pork, beef, or…. Chorizo is an ingredient in many recipes I try, and is hard to find in chicken or turkey versions, and/or hard to find in small amounts. That’s why I was thrilled to discover this recipe for homemade, healthy chorizo from Feasting at Home.

Easy Pickled Onions

I have avoided pickling in the past because it seemed like so much work. However, I just discovered a quick way to pickle red onions at kitchn. I only added garlic and chili pepper to mine, but will experiment more in the future. Tangy and so beautiful to look at. I have used them on burgers and as part of a cheese board so far.

Greek Chicken Wraps

So glad to have had all of the ingredients for this unplanned, last minute Greek Chicken Wrap from Taste and Tell. Well… the recipe called for humus, and I had tzatziki, but it was still delicious. Loved that I could use the fresh oregano on my deck for this meal. It really made a difference.

Caprese Bites

What does a health and lifestyle coach take to a bbq? What about these caprese bites? I marinated the mini bocconcini this morning, and prepared my skewers before I left for work. I’ll top with a balsamic glaze when we get there. Great for warm, summer days. Simple to prepare. Easy to eat. Light and delicious.

You can find out how to make your own caprese bites at delish.com.

Asparagus

It must be that time of the year again because there was lots of asparagus available at my local farmers’ market this morning.


After much consideration, and many recipe searches, I decided to make Sheet Pan Chicken and Asparagus from The girl on Bloor.

I will definitely be adding this to my regular rotation as long as that lovely, tender, fresh asparagus is around. It was quick and easy to prepare, and everyone loved it.


I’m (Wal)Nuts About You!

As a coach, I spend a lot of time reading studies and articles related to health because I want to have the best information to share with my clients. I recently came across a piece about walnuts, and I was reminded of not only how delicious these nuts are, but also how nutritious.

Walnuts are…

  • rich in antioxidants
  • a good source of omega-3 fat, which may help reduce heart disease risk
  • anti-inflammatory, and inflammation is a key culprit in many chronic diseases
  • beneficial to the bacteria in your gut that keep it healthy
  • rich in polyphenols that may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer
  • helpful in controlling appetite and hunger, and by extension, weight
  • linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • part of a heart-healthy diet that may help improve blood pressure

So, how do we include more of these little powerhouses?

Baking seems like an obvious choice. I have already had to do a first harvest of the rhubarb in my garden, so I’ve made many loaves of Streusel Rhubarb Bread from Taste of Home. I replace the canola oil with… walnut oil, and I don’t usually make the streusel. It is lovely, but the bread is delicious without it. These loaves freeze really well.

Today, for lunch, I enjoyed this Simple Mason Jar Salad from Pass the Plants.

But my new favourite has to be this Instant Pot Pumpkin Walnut Chili from Pinch of Yum.


Does this combination sound a little odd to you? I have to confess that it did to me, too, but I decided to give the recipe a try, and I am so glad that I did. The chili was rich and smoky, and I was able to freeze some for another meal or two.

Here’s a tip for keeping your nuts fresh: Store them in the fridge or freezer.

Ginger-Lime Sparklers

The warmer weather is on its way, so it’s time to start making my favourite summer beverages, like this refreshing ginger-lime sparkler from Thug Kitchen.

It’s so easy to prepare. I throw a quartered lime (skin on), two tablespoons of minced, fresh peeled ginger (I add a little extra), three tablespoons of sugar (I also like maple syrup), and a cup of water into my Vitamix blender. I blend for about a minute and strain (pulp in the compost). After I add another cup of water and stir, I put the contents in my fridge until I am ready to make a drink. A little ice, a little lime mix, and soda water (to taste), and I have a delicious thirst quencher.

Instant Pot Pizza Dough

Since I’ve already shared that I use my Instant Pot to proof bread, you probably won’t be surprised to discover that it also works well for pizza dough. That’s a big deal to me because I don’t have to worry about finding that warm enough (but not too warm) spot: something I seem to struggle with. Using the yogurt setting on my pot has resulted in perfect dough every time.

I tried out this pizza dough recipe from Cooking With Karli, and used it to make Ricotta and Spinach Calzones from Kitschen Cat, which I served with marinara sauce for dipping.

Easy and pretty tasty. I do plan to experiment with different fillings: maybe BBQ Chicken, Buffalo Chicken, or Spinach and Artichoke. The possibilities are endless!

Spinach Stuffed Chicken

When I think of stuffed chicken breasts, I think fancy (and a lot of work). I am all about easy, home cooking, so I confess that I have avoided making them. However, since I had a special someone over for dinner last night (my mum), I thought I would give this Spinach Stuffed Chicken from That Low Carb Life a try. It was surprisingly simple and absolutely delicious. I won’t hesitate to make it again.

Detoxification

Today’s episode of The Body-Mind Connection discussed toxins in our environment: how to minimize our exposure and how to help our bodies detoxify. This is a key to good health, assisting us in avoiding or recovering from what Dr. Hyman calls FLC (or Feel Like Crap) syndrome.

Now here is the thing. Having experienced a prolonged and severe case of FLC in my thirties, which led to months of conventional medical testing and my exploring just about every alternative therapy you can think of, I know how easy it can be to get overwhelmed by this topic. You can find yourself wanting to have all of your fillings replaced before moving to a (mold free) cabin in the mountains where you will live off of the land. Not very realistic for most of us.

Don’t despair. There are many things you CAN do.

After watching today’s video, I recommitted to

  • drinking lots of clean, filtered water
  • exercising
  • reducing my consumption of large fish (like tuna)
  • avoiding processed foods
  • buying organic versions of the “Dirty Dozen”
  • including anti-inflammatory foods like yellow onions, garlic, ginger and turmeric
  • taking supplements to repair my digestive tract and help with detoxification
  • checking the ingredients in my beauty products
  • putting my phone on airplane mode at night

This may seem like a long list, but I am doing most of these things already. I introduced them one at a time, and now they are part of my regular routine.

What is one thing that you can do today?

The Body-Mind Connection

“What you do to your body, you do to your brain.” I signed up to watch and learn from this documentary-series by Dr. Hyman. I have been following Dr. Hyman for a while. I love his focus on functional medicine.

I am passionate about helping people improve their physical, mental and emotional health. Because of this, it is important to me to stay up-to-date on discoveries and innovations that ensure we are living our BEST lives.

I have no doubt that what I learn in the next week or so will be reflected here. Stay tuned!

Butter Chicken

You know, if you’ve been following my posts, that I am now the happy owner of not just one, but two Instant Pots (after being lucky enough to recently win a second at a charity fundraiser). While I had people offer to buy my prize, I knew “instantly” that I would keep it. After all, if one Instant Pot can simplify cooking at home, imagine what two can do.

Last night, I made a delicious butter chicken from DamnDelicious, in one pot, while the rice cooked in the second, and the naan warmed in the oven.

Of course, you don’t need two Instant Pots to make this meal. It is easy to prepare the rice first, while you prep your butter chicken ingredients. I used one cup of rinsed basmati rice, one cup of water and a pinch of salt. I pressure cooked for 5 minutes, and then let it natural release for 5 minutes. Perfect rice every time.

Instant Eggs!

I have written posts about salad before, but what you need to focus on here is that beautiful egg. I’ve done a lot of experimenting with my Instant Pot, but I had yet to try making hard boiled eggs. Why did I wait so long?! Put one cup of water in the pot. Place as many eggs as you need on the rack that comes with the pot. Pressure cook for 5 minutes, and let rest for 5 minutes before releasing. 

The egg was a perfect addition to my homemade salad bar lunch.

A little prepping on Sunday, while I listened to an audiobook, made it easy for me to enjoy a variety of salads all week. Sun-dried Tomato Vinaigrette was my dressing today, from Wholesome Yum.

Invest In You!

It can be difficult to change long-established habits on your own.

I love this quote from Dr. John Kenworthy: With a habit, you get rid of the H, and you still have “a bit”. You get rid of the A and you still have “bit”. Then you get rid of the B, and you still have “it”. The trick is to get rid of the I, and focus on the “T“.

T is for team, and having a coach be part of your team helps to ensure that you are successful.

I love working with clients to help bring about positive change. A good coach can share advice and strategies, help you stay focused and accountable when you are challenged, and celebrate your successes with you. You are worth that investment.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Here’s another quick, easy and healthy idea for dinner.

I made a double batch of these delicious fajitas from Cooking Classy. I topped mine with homemade guacamole and a little cheese. The only change I made was to replace the olive oil with avocado oil because it has a higher smoke point.

I have been using the leftovers for my lunches this week, as part of a salad. Of course, I had to include my creamy avocado-cilantro dressing. Yum!

Habit Change

Habit change takes time. Most research suggest that it takes at least 21 days to form a new habit, but I like to use the 21/90 rule when working with clients. The first 21 days is about introducing and practicing the new habit, establishing it, and then we continue to do it for another ninety days, enabling the habit to become a permanent lifestyle change we don’t even have to think about any more. That’s what good health is about: not quick fixes – lasting change. 

The other thing I believe when it comes to habit change is that if you really want to form better habits, you have to start with really, really small changes. With food, for example, I often have my clients start by counting chemicals, not calories, avoiding foods that include complicated chemical names, or other ingredients they would prefer to avoid. Each week, we slowly build on this foundation. In this way, change becomes manageable and even fun. When we try to change everything at once, it is easier to become overwhelmed and give up.

Finally, having support is crucial to meeting your goals. While this could be a partner or friend, there are advantages to working with a coach. As a certified coach, I am trained to understand the behaviours that promote habit change. Even just a few sessions can help you examine and set attainable goals or address the obstacles that may be getting in your way.

Making the changes that you want takes time and commitment, but you can do it. Remember that no one is perfect. You will have occasional lapses. Be kind to yourself. When you eat a cookie or miss a workout, don’t give up. Minor missteps on the road to your goals are normal and okay. Commit to recovering and getting back on track.

If you are ready to change. Get in touch!

Tart Cherry Juice

Recently, my favourite beverage in the evening has been a splash of tart cherry juice in sparkling water with lots of ice. In addition to being refreshing, there are many health benefits to be gained from this drink.

  • It is rich in nutrients.
  • It can reduce muscle soreness after a workout.
  • It can help increase melatonin levels, leading to better sleep. (It works for me!)
  • It is anti-inflammatory, and may reduce symptoms of arthritis.
  • It may support brain health.
  • It can lead to modest reductions in blood pressure.
  • Early studies indicate that it could help lower weight, belly fat and blood cholesterol levels.

Give it a try. Just make sure that there is no added sugar in the juice you purchase.

Instant Pot Curry

My family and I adore East Indian food, so I love that the Instant Pot allows me to quickly make my own dishes at home. Last night I made palek paneer (spinach and cheese) from Spice Cravings. I served it with the leftovers from dinner the night before when we had green lentil curry from iFOODreal, which I used (along with the brown rice and some baby spinach) to make burritos that I served with cucumber raita. Two nights of YUM.

Chicken Asiago

I had a wonderful evening with friends on Saturday: a long hike in the woods, a delicious homemade meal (including this Chicken Asiago dish) and excellent conversation. Exercise, good food, and friendship: the perfect prescription for living your best life.

Instant Pot Arroz Con Pollo

Yesterday was a busy day. Part of it was participating in a local spin-a-thon to raise money for both Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart Program (helping make sports and play accessible to all Canadian kids) and our local community centre (to subsidize programs for children and seniors). I should share that I am not a regular participant in spin, and that the instructor did NOT take it easy on us. I was hot, sweaty and tired after the hour. But I was reminded that participating in charity and fitness events is great motivation to get active.

Every hour of the spin-a-thon, bike numbers were drawn for a prize, and… I WON! What did I win? Only one of my most favourite kitchen tools ever! Can you guess? AN INSTANT POT! Yes, I already have one. But I have longed to own two. I often thought about proofing my bread while I made the soup, or cooking the rice while I made the curry, or preparing the cheesecake while I made the stew…. You get the idea. Now I can!

Looking a little tired, but also thrilled after winning a prize at my spin-a-thon session.

I put my pot straight to work trying out a new recipe: Arroz Con Pollo from feastingathome.

Although the spice combination was not quite what I was used to for this dish, the result was very tasty.

20 Minute Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas

The end of another busy week yesterday, but I had already planned a quick, easy to prepare, delicious and healthy dinner: sheet pan shrimp fajitas from Cooking Light.

I have been a fan of Cooking Light since the 1980’s, when you could only get it in print. No websites! Gasp!

These fajitas received rave reviews from my family. I did make a couple of changes. I replaced the crema with my Creamy Cilantro-Avocado Dressing, to which I added the jalapeño. I also roasted my vegetables (without the shrimp) for eight minutes, and then added the shrimp and cooked for a few more minutes (maybe four) before removing the shrimp and broiling the vegetables. I find that I need to keep a close eye on my shrimp when I sheet pan, or I end up with rubbery little pink lumps. If I had cooked them for the recommended time, I am sure that would have been the outcome.

N.E.A.T.

While the title of this post might lead you to believe that it will include more information about the benefits of decluttering, I actually want to discuss non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT. NEAT refers to any exercise you do throughout the day outside of formal exercise. When looking to lose (or maintain) weight, we often focus on eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep and managing stress; however, NEAT is also a big piece of the puzzle.

You might spend an hour a day in the gym, and seven or so sleeping, but what you do the other sixteen hours of the day has a huge impact on your energy expenditure (calories burned). If you have an active job (you’re a fire fighter, construction worker or server), you probably don’t have to worry about your NEAT; but if you are more sedentary, you may want to give it some thought.

I spend a lot of my day sitting or standing in front of a computer, and at the end of the day (after I have driven home), it is so tempting to just sit and watch some television. I have to be really conscious about increasing my NEAT. That is one reason that I purchased a Fitbit. Mine is a basic model: the Flex 2 (affiliate link), but it does everything I need: tracks steps and reminds me to take at least 250 steps each hour. It also allows me to track my sleep, food and weight.

A common recommendation is to aim for at least 10,000 steps a day if you are looking to lose weight. When I reach my goal, my Fitbit buzzes and puts on a little light show for me, which I never tire of. If you are interested in a tracker, there are lots of options at different prices.

There are many other ways to increase your NEAT:

  • taking your dog for a walk
  • gardening
  • vacuuming
  • cycling to work
  • dancing during commercial breaks…

What can you add to make your life NEATer?

A Strong Core

A funny thing happened while I was doing my cardio yesterday (low impact, step aerobics). A few minutes in, I noticed this strange sensation in my midsection. It took me a moment to recognize what it was…. My core muscles had engaged: all by themselves, without any conscious effort on my part! Not only that, but they stayed engaged for the entire workout.

Strength training has become a regular (three to four times a week) part of my self-care routine. While I certainly would like to look toned in my tank tops and shorts when the sunny weather finally gets here, now that I am in my fifties, my reasons for including it have changed. This is especially true when it comes to strengthening my core.

Our core muscles are the central linking point between the lower and upper parts of our bodies, and, in the long run, they can determine the quality of our daily lives. I want a strong core so that I continue to live my BEST life for many, many years to come.

Here are a few beginner exercises to get you started:

Vegan Brownies

Treats can be part of a balanced diet as long as you pay attention to portion sizes and choose healthier options. This simple recipe for brownies from allrecipes.com is great for people with egg or dairy allergies.

I modified the recipe to make it a little healthier by adding half the sugar and replacing the canola oil with walnut oil. You could also experiment with half oil and half unsweetened apple sauce.

The Marvellous Microplane

The other morning, as I was rushing to get out the door, I suddenly remembered that I was out of homemade dressing for my salad. I didn’t panic because I knew I could quickly prepare Shake and Go Balsamic Vinaigrette from Oh She Glows Every Day (affiliate link). This is Angela Liddon’s second cookbook: I have both. Her plant based recipes in both books are delicious, but I particularly like those in her second book because they are so easy to prepare, and you know that I am all about that.

The vinaigrette combines 1/3 to 2/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil, to taste, 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, 4 1/2 teaspoons low-sodium tamari (or soy sauce), 1 large clove garlic, minced, and 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup, or to taste. Because I wanted to make sure my garlic was very finely minced, and I was in a hurry, I sped things up by using my microplane (affiliate link).

Microplanes come in various sizes. I own two, but the one I use most is the fine-tooth model. I use it at the dinner table to grate fresh asiago on my pasta or soup, to help easily zest citrus without having to worry about the bitter pith, and to mince fresh ginger and garlic without any need to pick up a knife. Grating fibrous ginger and pungent garlic gives them a texture that allows them to melt into the dressing, sauce or dish you’re using them in. An added bonus: the microplane is really easy to clean.  

Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese

I don’t believe in diets. I don’t support eliminating entire food groups (unless you have a medical reason to) or living off of expensive shakes and protein bars. When I work with clients on nutrition and/or weight-loss, we focus on real, unprocessed food (ideally made at home), and making small changes that are sustainable. This is the way to ensure that you are eating for health and energy, and that if weight-loss is your goal, you will not only lose it, but not gain it back. No deprivation required.

That’s why I have no problem sharing this fantastic recipe for macaroni and cheese from Active Hip Momma. It is just as easy and fast as a popular, highly processed, boxed brand. It is also delicious and definitely kid friendly.


I usually use whole-grain macaroni, but a friend was moving and donated several packages of organic Garofalo pasta. I also steam lots of broccoli and mix it in at the end. There are several other florets hiding under the ones you see here. I have a reasonable portion and no seconds. For me, using a smaller bowl, which the one above is, works best. When I eat, I do it slowly, savouring every creamy, cheesy bite. That way my body has the time it needs to tell me when I am full. Small, sustainable changes. No deprivation.

Health and Lifestyle Coaching?

While out for dinner with friends the other day, I was asked, “What exactly do you do?” I always love having a chance to discuss this as there can be some confusion about what a Health and Lifestyle Coach is, and why people might choose to work with one.

As a certified Coach, I use a personalized, integrative and collaborative approach – emphasizing self-care and habit change. Rather than focusing on just one element, like a Personal Trainer might look at exercise or a Nutritionist at diet, I examine all life factors (nutrition, physical fitness, weight, stress, sleep, environment…) in order to help improve my clients’ health.

As a master of habit change, I offer the resources, support and accountability to help shift behaviour to healthier habits. My clients develop a deeper understanding of the foods and lifestyle choices that improve their energy, balance and health, and learn to implement lasting changes.

Why might you want to work with a Coach?

  • If you don’t know what to do, or how to get started, you may need a Coach. I can provide a system, resources and support.
  • If you know what to do, but you don’t do it, you may need a Coach. I can provide accountability. Basically, I will do anything I can to make you do the things you don’t want to do, so you can have what you want.

Need help? You just need to ask. Go do it!

Instant Pot Popcorn

Okay. I confess that this was my first try at making popcorn in my Instant Pot. What can I say. You inspire me to try new things.

I put my Instant Pot on saute (high setting). When it indicated that it was “HOT” I added 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (because it has a high smoke point). After it melted, I added a 1/2 cup of kernels, gave a good, quick stir, and put my glass Instant Pot lid on top. You could use any lid that fits. Once the kernels started to pop, using oven gloves, I occasionally lifted the insert out and gave a quick shake, and I continued until the popping had completely stopped. I then turned the Instant Pot to the warm setting and tossed in some seasonings.

The verdict: The popcorn that actually popped was delicious. You can taste the coconut. However, I would say that only about 1/2 to 2/3 of my kernels actually popped. I wonder if I should have avoided lifting and shaking…. I will have to do some more experimenting.

Instant Pot Sourdough Bread

You read that right. You can make bread in your Instant Pot. Well… sort of. You will also need a Dutch Oven. First I should share my own history as a bread maker. Don’t worry. It’s a short one. I have had one failure after another. It seems that yeast and I don’t get along. Sadly, the same is true for my sourdough starters. For a while I was able to get by, by using a bread maker. It worked fine (except for that big hole you get when you take the paddle out), but I wanted more. So I was thrilled when I discovered that my Instant Pot could help.

This is my dough before rising.

The Instant Pot is perhaps the best method to get the dough to rise quickly without stressing the yeast and proteins.

After four hours in the Instant Pot.

Once the dough was ready, I put it in my pre-heated Dutch Oven, and less than 35 minutes later, I had a delicious homemade loaf.

I love that this bread has only four ingredients: flour, salt, yeast and Greek yogurt. I chose to use whole wheat flour, so my bread is a little more dense. The recipe for Crusty Instant Pot Sourdough Bread from Living Sweet Moments, shows the white bread version. I have to say that I love the way her proofing basket shapes the bread. I might have to add one of those to my wish list.

I purchased my Dutch Oven (affiliate link) at Costco many years ago for $75. But amazon has a great deal on one. It is perfect for preparing soups and stews… and now bread. You can definitely expect to see it used in future recipes I share.

My bread maker has now been donated.

Microwave?

Who needs a microwave? I use my Instant Pot to reheat leftovers.

Put your leftovers in a heat proof container and cover with foil. Pour a cup of water into the pot, insert the metal trivet, and put the leftovers on top. Turn the pressure cooker to Steam, and set the time for 5 minutes. That’s usually enough time. Let your pot naturally release before using pot holders to lift the container out. Et voilà !

Instant Pot Applesauce

Hopefully you are not getting tired of hearing about my Instant Pot adventures. There are so many things I use it for. I thought I would share a few with you over the next four days.

I am really fortunate to have four apple trees in my backyard, so fall means apples in our lunch bags, baked apples and crumbles for desserts…. Eventually, we need a little break from this amazing fruit, rich in important antioxidants, flavonoids, and dietary fibre. Then my thoughts turn to applesauce.


This Instant Pot Applesauce Recipe from Amy+Jacky couldn’t be easier. As you can see, I don’t even peel my apples. I also don’t add any sweetener as I usually use the sauce in baking.

And speaking of baking…. I have a great recipe for you: Applesauce Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting from Love Grows Wild. As with everything I bake, I cut the sugar in half, and you can substitute walnut oil or avocado oil for the canola oil. Even without the frosting, this is a delicious and moist cake.

Sheet-Pan Shrimp Scampi with Broccoli and Tomatoes

Sheet pan suppers are fast and easy. You can have a delicious, homemade meal on the table in no time. As we are snowed in, yesterday evening I foraged through my fridge, freezer and pantry and found the ingredients to make Sheet-Pan Shrimp Scampi with Broccoli and Tomatoes from myrecipes.com. I tossed bow tie pasta in this buttery sauce, infused with lemon, garlic and red chilis. Amazing! The only thing I would change next time would be to roast the vegetables for two minutes and then add the shrimp for the last two (rather than cooking them all for four minutes). The shrimp were just a tad overdone. This is a keeper.

TRX

In December, I gifted myself a TRX (Total-body Resistance eXercise) trainer (affiliate link). This fitness tool is made from durable, high quality nylon. I first encountered it on a business trip. The hotel I was staying at had a fully equipped gym, and while I was on the treadmill, I watched a trainer working with a client on the TRX. After they left, I decided to give it a try. Although I only did a few squats, I was hooked.

Here’s why I LOVE my TRX:

  • It is portable. I can take it anywhere. It weighs about 2 pounds, so it will definitely be in my suitcase when I head off for vacation.
  • It doesn’t take up much space (to store or use). The photo shows my TRX set up in my mud/laundry room, which is about 8 by 8 feet, and I have no trouble working out. When the weather gets nicer, I will be able to move outdoors.
  • It is great for all levels. I can keep advancing by adding balance and movement.
  • It works the entire body, and the core is constantly engaged.
  • It allows me to keep my alignment right. I struggle with a regular squat, but can get lower user the TRX while maintaining the correct form.

The TRX can be used to help improve sports performance, lose weight, gain strength, rehab an injury (I am using it for my shoulder), and more. While I would recommend having a trainer take you through the first time, this is an excellent video for beginners from BodyFit by Amy.

Instant Pot Family

I’m not the only family member who loves the Instant Pot. When my daughter left for school, I gifted her the 3 quart (affiliate link). It was the perfect size for the small space she was renting. I knew she would be busy, and it would allow her to prepare healthy meals simply and quickly, and cooking at home would save her money.

She texted me last night to let me know that she had just made a delicious Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup for dinner. She was kind enough to share a photo of her creation and the recipe from Jo Cooks.

Her review: “Super yummy! Super easy, too!”

Weight Gain and Menopause

Most of my friends and I have reached this stage of our lives. And while we may laugh about foggy brains and hot flashes, we are a little less amused by the weight gain, especially on our tummies. This change in body fat storage is so common that it is referred to as “menopause belly”. It is more than just an inconvenience, as we struggle to zip up our pants. It is a health issue as it involves intra-abdominal fat, which is linked to metabolic disturbances and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

While hormonal shifts may play a role, they are not solely responsible for weight gain during menopause. We do have some control over how much belly fat, and fat in general, we gain as we age. In our 50’s, our bodies aren’t as metabolically active as they were in our 40s. We tend to lose muscle mass, which decreases the rate at which the body burns calories. For many there is also a slow decline in activity level without any modification in diet. All of this can lead to weight gain.

The bottom line is we need to increase our exercise level and more closely monitor our diet to maintain our premenopausal body fat level. 

By simply adding a little more exercise and watching my portions, I have been able to lose close to 20 pounds. I have so much more energy! I believe that my best years are ahead of me, and I plan to be ready to enjoy every one of them.

Heart Health

February is Heart Month in Canada. Heart disease is still one of the leading causes of death in North America (for both men and women). There are certain risk factors that can’t be managed like age, gender, family history and being post-menopausal. Fortunately, we can all reduce the other risk factors with simple lifestyle changes. Many factors are interrelated, so by making a change in one area, you will help others.

  • Smokers have more than twice the chance of having a heart attack as non-smokers. Exposure to second hand smoke also increases your risks, so try to maintain a smoke free environment.
  • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol causes raised blood pressure, another risk factor for heart disease. It can also damage the heart muscle. If you choose to drink, the recommended intake is one drink a day for women, and two for men.
  • Being overweight puts significant strain on your heart. It also worsens other risk factors like diabetes and high blood pressure. A healthy diet and exercise plan can help you lose weight and lower your chances.
  • Even mild to moderate physical activity can reduce your chances of heart disease. Aim for 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. Exercise will help with blood pressure and body weight.
  • Millions of people in North America have high blood pressure, making it the most common heart disease risk factor. Exercise, diet, weight, and alcohol consumption all impact blood pressure, so making positive changes in these areas is important.
  • By eating a heart healthy diet you can lower your risk of obesity and high blood pressure. Avoid fast food, processed food, refined carbohydrates, refined sugar, and excessive salt. That still leaves lots of delicious options to explore. Check out the recipes on this site.

We can know what we need to do to improve our health, yet struggle with taking the steps required. This is when a health coach is invaluable. I can provide the resources, support and accountability to ensure you are successful.

Are you interested in talking about your health goals and how I can help you?
If so, I’d like to offer you a 30 minute discovery session. Get in touch!

Pets and Mental Health

I have two furry family members: a fourteen year old bichon-poodle cross (Ruffles) and a one year old chihuahua-shiba inu cross (Marvin). The stories of how these two joined us are amusing, but the shortened version is that I believed my daughter (both times) when she said that it would be her dog, and she would walk it, and feed it, and…. This may sound familiar to some of you. Nevertheless, Ruffles and Marvin are part of us now, and we love them.

Now, clearly, Ruffles and Marvin are adorable, but that isn’t the only thing that they have going for them. It turns out that your pet can reduce stress, anxiety and depression. How?

  • Pets can promote exercise and social interaction. Three times a day, regardless of the weather, Ruffles and Marvin go for their walk. Often, while we are out in the fresh air, we meet with other dogs and their owners. While the dogs say hello, my neighbours and I will chat.
  • They can give you a sense of security. Marvin may be small, but he has a big bark! There is no way anyone could come close without him letting me know.
  • Pets offer a distraction. When you’re feeling stressed, anxious or depressed, it is easy to get caught up in negative thoughts. When Ruffles brings me a toy because he wants to play, I am pulled out of my rumination and into the present moment.
  • They are good company. I don’t live alone, but I still appreciate the enthusiastic welcome I get when I arrive home. I also love having a little leg warmer cuddled up on me while I watch television on these cold winter evenings.
  • Pets increase feel-good hormones. Serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin (which combats the stress hormone cortisol) are released when you interact with your pets, and petting your dog for 15 minutes can also reduce blood pressure.

If you don’t already have a pet, I’m not suggesting that you run out and get one. There are many things to consider, including the time and expense involved. But if you do have one (or more), an extra treat may be in order.

Instant Pot Thai Peanut Chicken Ramen

I realize that I have been posting quite a few noodle soup recipes recently. They are a family favourite. Even my somewhat picky daughter loves them. This 30 Minute Thai Peanut Chicken Ramen recipe is from halfbakedharvest.com. It is healthy and delicious: creamy, slightly spicy, filled with vegetables and lean chicken breast. Mine is not quite as red as the original because I was using up an assortment of open Thai curry pastes (red, yellow and green). I also was out of peanut butter, so I replaced it with a mixture of almond and cashew. One deliberate change I would make would be to cook the red peppers with the noodles (on low saute). They were very soft after being pressure cooked.

Once again, thanks to my wonderful Instant Pot (affiliate link), with very little fuss I was able to get a healthy dinner on the table quickly.

Diabesity

Diabetes has been on my mind recently. My mother was diagnosed with Type 2 a few years ago, and my younger brother was just diagnosed. Because I have a family history (one risk factor), and I am over 45 (another factor, although, sadly, many young people are now being diagnosed with Type 2), I have to get my blood work done annually. I am happy to report that so far I am fine.

There are several other risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, including obesity, a poor quality diet (highly processed, sugar filled foods), and a sedentary lifestyle. In fact, obesity is the number one risk factor, leading to the creation of the term “diabesity”. Clearly a poor diet and little exercise would contribute to weight gain.

The bad news is that having Type 2 diabetes opens you up to many serious health problems:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • eye diseases
  • kidney damage
  • nerve damage
  • foot problems
  • skin problems
  • teeth and gum problems
  • mental health issues
  • weakened immune system
  • sexual dysfunction

The good news is that studies have shown that losing just 5% of your body weight significantly reduces your risk of Type 2 diabetes.

A healthy diet and regular movement will help you get there. If you need additional support and accountability, GET IN TOUCH!

Another Delicious Salad Dressing

I’ve been taking a salad to work every day for lunch, and I’ve been experimenting with new dressings to keep things interesting. Today I made Creamy Cilantro-Avocado Dressing from eatingwell.com. Fantastic! Creamy and a little bit tangy from the yogurt and lime juice. It would also be great as a topping for fish tacos, in a wrap, as a dip….

As well as being healthy and tasty, it is also really easy to make, which you know is important to me. I used one of my favourite kitchen tools: the Cuisinart Smart Stick hand blender (affiliate link).

My younger brother bought me my first hand blender years ago. Although it didn’t come with any attachments, it was the perfect tool for blending soups and sauces right in the pot without having to transfer to a food processor. Eventually it wore out, so I treated myself to a new one that came with a chopper and whisk. The chopper is great for making small batches. I threw all of the ingredients for the dressing into it. A few quick pulses, and I was done.

Go To Bed!

Did you know that sleep is as important to your health as exercising and eating well? In fact, it’s amazing just how much getting enough sleep can do for you. It can help in…

  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • reducing inflammation that is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and arthritis
  • improving memory, concentration and productivity
  • increasing creativity and academic and athletic performance
  • enhancing immune function
  • lowering stress and risk of depression

Although how much sleep is needed varies by individual, there are recommendations organized by age.

  • Older adults (65+): 7–8 hours
  • Adults (18–64 years): 7–9 hours
  • Teenagers (14–17 years): 8–10 hours
  • School children (6–13 years): 9–11 hours

There are several things we can do to help ensure a good night’s sleep.

  • establishing a regular, relaxing bedtime routine
  • keeping the bedroom cool
  • having a comfortable mattress and pillows
  • making sure the room is dark
  • exercising during the day
  • avoiding stimulants like caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime
  • avoiding alcohol – which disrupts sleep – close to bedtime
  • avoiding heavy, rich, fatty, fried or spicy dishes right before bedtime
  • shutting down all technology an hour before bedtime

Doing the right things to improve your sleep is known as sleep hygiene. My sleep hygiene is excellent, except for…. Technology: I read books on my iPad. E-books are easy to store, travel with, and, to be honest, there’s that immediate gratification thing. One click and the book is mine. Reading before going to sleep can help reduce stress and enhance your rest, but not if it’s on your phone, iPad or computer. All that blue light interferes with the production of melatonin, a chemical needed for sleep. It also makes us feel more alert, and is apparently used in places like factories to help night workers.

So, an obvious solution would be for me to switch to “regular” books, which I love. I have a pile on my bedside table waiting for me. But what about all those great electronic titles? My solution was to purchase a pair of yellow tinted glasses. Both yellow and brown tinted glasses work great for blocking the blue light.

I have prescription glasses that I wear all of the time, so I needed to find tinted glasses that would fit over them. These (affiliate link) work really well and are inexpensive. In the meantime, I am working toward no technology an hour before lights out.

Instant Pot Pasta

So it’s Friday night, and you’ve just finished a LONG week of work. You’re tired, and now you have to figure out what to make for dinner. The thought of stopping on the way home and getting pizza or Chinese food crosses your mind, but then you remember that you can make delicious pasta and meat sauce in your Instant Pot with very little time and effort.

That’s what we had for dinner tonight, along with salad. No food styling I’m afraid. In fact, what you see is the leftovers. We were too hungry, and it was too good, for us to wait to take a picture. The pasta cooks in the sauce which makes it extra delicious (and easy).

I have modified the original recipe from cancerwife.com by using Italian sausage (mild or spicy) instead of ground beef. Today I also used the homemade chicken stock I had in the fridge instead of water. It’s delicious either way. If you don’t have an Instant Pot (affiliate link), I’d really recommend getting one.

Enjoy!

Date Night?

When we think of “Date Night” we probably think of… well, night, and we likely imagine a decadent dinner out with our significant other, or an evening at the movie theatre, including a large popcorn and a soda. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy both of those things. (Not the soda. That stuff is REALLY not good for you.) But dating can also involve activities that not only allow us to spend time with our loved ones, but are also good for our overall well-being.

First of all, we can agree that Date Night doesn’t have to take place at night. Right? It can happen at any time of day. My husband and I enjoy working out together. To make sure that, that workout gets done, we take an early (as in 6 a.m.) class. Shout out to Studio IPF: Inner Pursuit Fitness! Here’s a picture after our circuit workout this morning. If we weren’t fully awake when we arrived, we certainly were at the end of class!

Don’t we look happy (and sweaty).

Other ideas…

  • go dancing
  • take a cooking class or cook dinner at home
  • go for a walk or a bike ride
  • get a couples massage or give each other a massage
  • play a board game

I’m sure that you can come up with some great ideas of your own. I’d love to hear them!

Instant Pot Chicken

It is no secret that I LOVE my Instant Pot. I don’t only use it for full recipes. It is also great for proofing bread, making rice and… cooking chicken for my salads. This morning I put a cup of chicken stock into my Instant Pot, popped two chicken breasts into my vegetable steamer, seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and then pressure cooked them for 6 minutes. I let the Instant Pot slow release for 10 minutes, and then the chicken rested for another ten.

I dressed this yummy salad with this amazing Chipotle Lime Salad Dressing from tasty.co. Don’t worry. It’s not too spicy. Just the right amount.

Canada’s New Food Guide

If you are familiar with my website, it will come as no surprise that I love Canada’s new food guide. Why?

  • It’s focused on unprocessed foods – low in sodium, sugar and saturated fats.
  • It includes more fruits and vegetables.
  • It encourages us to make water our beverage of choice.
  • It is simple to follow: no need to measure or count.
  • It suggests cooking at home, and provides recipes to get us started.
  • It promotes eating mindfully: taking time to eat, and noticing when we are hungry and full.
  • It is backed by good science.

In addition, the site offers tips for things like healthy eating on a budget and meal planning. Check it out!

Stress

While a certain amount of stress is normal (and even healthy), long-term, chronic stress can have a serious impact on your emotional and physical health.

Emotional Symptoms of stress can include:

  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • and depression

Physical Symptoms of stress can include:

  • low energy
  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • upset stomach
  • and frequent colds

Stress can affect our cognition, leading to forgetfulness and an inability to focus. It can also negatively impact our behaviour: trying to cope using food, alcohol, drugs or cigarettes.

One quick thing you can do to counteract stress is to give someone a good hug. This has been shown to release oxytocin, which may reduce anxiety, cardiac stress and depression. Give a friend, partner, family member or pet a hug. It will benefit you both.

If you would like to receive more easy tips to reduce stress, please fill in the form below and have them delivered to your inbox.

Instant Pot Beef Stew

Searching for the perfect winter dinner recipe: quick, easy, healthy and delicious? Then look no further. Starting with only the ingredients you see below, and with minimal preparation, I was able to serve my family (in about an hour) a meal that tasted like it had been cooking in the oven for at least four.

I simply roughly chopped the vegetables, and threw in the raw stewing beef. Yes. The beef is raw. You do not have to brown it first. Then I added the tomato juice, salt and tapioca. Tapioca acts as the thickener for the sauce. (To be honest, I found a little unused tomato sauce in the fridge. So this time, I watered it down and used it instead. I’m working on reducing food waste, and now I’ll have the tomato juice for the next time I make the stew).

And the result was this incredible meal enjoyed by all. The original recipe is from pinchofyum. The only modification I have made is in adding new potatoes because I can’t imagine a stew without potatoes. Next time, I would also add halved mushrooms. The carrots in my fridge were quite little, and even though I tried to cut them in fairly big chunks, they were VERY tender, so my advice would be to not be afraid to have big pieces of celery, carrot and onion in your pot to maintain their texture. Regardless, the sauce is DIVINE!

The Instant Pot is one of my favourite kitchen tools. I use it several times a week. For example, before I made the stew, I cooked a couple of chicken breasts to add to salads during the week. It took a lot of research before I decided to add this item to my, frankly, already well equipped kitchen, but I haven’t regretted it.

Butter Chickpeas

People sometimes assume that healthy eating is expensive. It doesn’t have to be. Serving meatless meals a couple of times a week can help you save money and improve your health. Meatless meals are built around plant-based proteins like beans, lentils, vegetables and whole grains. These tend to be less expensive than meat and may offer many health benefits.

  • reduced risk of diseases like cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes
  • weight management
  • improved nutrition
  • reduced carbon footprint

Last night for dinner we had Butter Chickpeas from Canadian Living magazine. Yet another new recipe. I can’t help myself. It is a running joke in my family that you never get to eat the same thing twice… even if you’d like to. It was easy to prepare and very tasty. The only change I made was to blend the sauce after it reduced. I served it with brown rice (made in my Instant Pot) and a mini wholewheat naan bread.

I used no-name brand chickpeas and tomatoes, which added to my savings.

Salad Dressings

Preparing food at home is one of the easiest ways to avoid overly processed items. Salad dressings are a good place to start. For very little time and effort, you can have a tasty accompaniment for your salad greens. 

This week I made Garlic Sesame Salad Dressing from Mason Jar Salad Dressing 9 Ways at tasty.co

Because I used coconut aminos instead of soy sauce, which already have a little sweetness, I cut back on the brown sugar.

You can compare the ingredients in this dressing with those found in a popular bottled brand.

Ingredients

Ingredients: WATER, SOYBEAN OIL, SUGAR, SOY SAUCE (WATER, SOYBEANS, WHEAT, SALT), CIDER VINEGAR, SESAME OIL, WHITE VINEGAR, NATURAL FLAVOUR (CONTAINS BARLEY), SALT, SPICES, XANTHAN GUM (THICKENER), SESAME SEEDS, POTASSIUM SORBATE (MAINTAINS QUALITY), POLYSORBATE 60 (PREVENTS OIL SEPARATION), PROPYLENE GLYCOL ALGINATE (THICKENER), DRIED GARLIC, COLOUR, CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA (MAINTAINS FLAVOUR). (B391C)

I’ve also made, and enjoyed, the Italian Salad Recipe from the same site.

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Ramen Soup

Okay. My daughter tells me that I need to work on my food styling. I don’t even style my hair! Add to that the fact that my family is usually hovering around me, bowls and utensils in hand, as soon as something is made, and I’m not sure I could rescue enough food to style. This is what we had for dinner last night. Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Ramen Soup from No. 2 Pencil. Delicious!

By now, you know how much I love my Instant Pot. It helps me put healthy, delicious meals on the table with less time and effort. I made a couple of changes. I used chicken stock instead of water, and doubled the soy sauce. Next time, I would double the amount of spinach and maybe even add some other vegetables, like snow peas or bok choy. We added a squirt of sriracha to our soup bowls. I could have added some chili garlic sauce. It’s a great basic recipe that you can change to suit your taste.

 

Start Small and Do It Your Way

I have chronic neck and shoulder pain. This has certainly been exasperated by poor posture (hunching over my computer keyboard). I have worked to resolve this by using a standing desk. I have also been including strength training (working on my back, shoulder and abdominal muscles) to help with my posture. One thing I have not been doing frequently enough, even though I know it is important, is stretching. I am VERY inflexible. I have wanted to include yoga to help with this, but even beginners’ classes have been challenging and have often left me feeling worse than when I started. Is there such a thing as a pre-beginners’ class? It turns out there is, sort of….

During a recent search on Youtube (my main source for free exercise videos), I came across chair yoga. I have begun incorporating it into my routine, and I am really enjoying it.

I love that I am able to do a modified downward dog (first picture) to open my chest and shoulders. I have trouble with the regular dog, often leading to more neck and shoulder pain, rather than less. Eventually, I may graduate to beginners’ yoga, but right now I am “starting small and doing it my own way”.

If you’d like to give chair yoga a try, I highly recommend this video. It was developed by the therapists in the Chronic Pain Service at Toronto Rehab, Rumsey Centre. It takes only 25 minutes, and remember, moving everyday is one of the best ways to manage (or prevent) pain!

Be Your Own Valentine: The Ultimate Gift of Self Care

What do you want this year to look like for you?

Do you want to feel relaxed, stress-free, energized, healthy, and happy?

If you want to take better care of yourself, but you don’t know how to get started, my new online workshop is for you, for the investment of only $99.

Over four weeks, you’ll learn….

  • Week 1 – Positive Self Talk – Shifting your inner voice can have a huge impact on how you feel and what you do. Learn how to do this.
  • Week 2 – What Brings You Joy? – (Re)discover the activities that fuel you and how to find time to include them.
  • Week 3 – All About Your Body – What we eat plays a role in how we feel and what we do. Learn how to include healthy, easy and delicious meals.
  • Week 4 – A Nurturing Space – How transforming your space can help transform your life.
  • And so much more!

This workshop will give you the unique opportunity to work with a certified coach for a fraction of the cost of a one-on-one program. You will be able to ask questions, gain personalized insight about your situation, and learn from others in the community.

Sorry guys, this group is for ladies only, but it would make a great Valentine’s Day gift!

Space is limited as I want to ensure I have time to work with each of you.

It all begins on February 1st.

To reserve your spot, get in touch!

And remember: Self-care is not optional, and it is not selfish. Only when you are mentally and physically healthy can you live your best life and be your best for others.

With love,

Coach Heather

Take Baby Steps

One reason people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions is that they try to change too much at once and quickly become frustrated and overwhelmed. I have certainly been guilty of this. In addition to losing a few hibernation pounds before heading off on vacation, a quick glance at my vision board will show that this year I am hoping to add strength training, meditate, do yoga, take up running, declutter, work on my finances, manage stress, eat healthier, get more sleep…. Whew! Even thinking about trying to do all of these at once is so intimidating that I might give up before I even start. Instead, I have learned to break my goals down into manageable, baby steps.

This is a simple and effective strategy. The success I feel when I achieve one, small goal gives me the motivation to add another. I already shared how making your bed every morning may lead you to tidy out your sock drawer. Replacing one can of soda a day with a glass of water may lead to other steps to reduce sugar in your diet. Give it a go, and if you find you need help to break your goals down, please contact me.

Eat More Fish

This week, I have been focusing on decluttering my pantry. Who knew that I had so many packages of rice noodles? I have been inspired to use up my pantry ingredients, along with what I find in the fridge and freezer, in an effort not only to declutter, but also to save some money on my ever increasing grocery bill. All I needed to pick up for this delicious Weeknight Red Curry from Bon Appetit was a pound of firm white fish. I chose cod. I will definitely be adding this to my monthly menu!

Tonight, I will be making another Asian inspired fish dish that we have enjoyed before: Spicy Miso Ramen with Chili Roasted Salmon from feasting at home. You guessed it. I have salmon in the freezer and ramen in the cupboard.

There are many health benefits to including more fish in your diet:

  • It is high in important nutrients
  • It may lower your risk for heart attacks and strokes.
  • It may help with depression.
  • It’s a good dietary source of vitamin D.
  • It’s delicious, as you will soon discover when you try the recipes I have shared.

Enjoy!

Make Your Bed

You may be wondering why I have included a picture of my made bed today. Well, that’s just it. My bed is MADE. One of the things I am focusing on this year is relieving stress in healthy ways. Believe it or not, something as simple as making your bed in the morning can help.

  • It sets the tone for the rest of the day, giving you a feeling of accomplishment that you take with you as you head out the door.
  • It is an infectious act, which might lead you to tidy up other areas, like the top of your dresser.
  • All that tidying up will mean less clutter, and a tidy space is very calming.
  • Finally, there is nothing quite so blissful as ending a long day by climbing into a freshly made bed.

This one little thing can make a big difference. Give it a try!

Hydrate

One of my goals this year is to drink more water. During a busy day, I often forget. I even take a huge water bottle with me to work, but I might as well use it to do bicep curls because I rarely remember to sip from it. At least that way it would still be contributing to my health.

There are SO many benefits to making sure you are hydrated. I’ve included just a few.

  1. Weight Loss. Did you know that clinical studies have found that people confuse thirst for hunger about 35% of the time? The next time you feel like reaching for a snack, have a glass of water first.
  2. Glowing Skin. Drinking enough water helps with skin elasticity and prevents dryness and dullness. Who doesn’t want a smoother, more youthful complexion?
  3. More Energy. Dehydration causes fatigue, so that afternoon slump that leads you to the vending machine or coffee pot could be alleviated with a glass of water.
  4. Better Brain Function. Staying hydrated will improve your mood, concentration and memory.
  5. Improved Digestion. Water helps your gastrointestinal tract break down food properly and promotes regular bowel movements.

Now, having a water bottle with you is actually a great tip for improving hydration. It just hasn’t worked for me… yet. What has helped is using an app to track my intake. There are many free apps available. I am using My Water Balance: Daily Drink Tracker & Reminder. The free version allows me to track water, coffee and tea. The optional upgrade would allow me to track other beverages.  I asked for reminders, and at first, I have to admit, that I found them a little too frequent and slightly annoying. However, using the app has really improved my water intake. Who knows? Maybe I’ll soon be emptying that water bottle.    

 

 

 

Focus On What You Gain!

“One reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up instead of what they have to gain.” Rick Godwin

Did you start 2019 with a goal in mind? Healthy eating? Weight-loss? Stress management? More family time? Only four days in, your focus and enthusiasm are hopefully still strong. However, research conducted by Strava, suggests that January 12th is the day when your motivation might begin to falter. How can we ensure that we make it past that fateful date? I encourage my clients to do as Rick Godwin suggests, and focus on what they are gaining from the changes they are making, rather than what they are giving up. Really, attitude IS everything!

Let’s look at healthy eating as an example. Whether they are trying to lose weight, or for other health reasons, many people believe changing their diets will involve restriction and deprivation. They focus on having to give up ice-cream, cookies, french fries….

Now, I feel the need to mention, at this point, that I don’t believe in “good” or “bad” foods. I think that there are some foods you should eat less often and in smaller amounts, or perhaps learn to make healthier versions of. But telling yourself that you will never again eat cake could lead to cravings that would derail your attempts to improve your weight and nutrition.

Keeping that in mind, you will still need to make sure that most of the food you consume, most of the time, is real: unprocessed/additive free.

So what do you gain out of eating that way? Well first of all you get to eat great food! As your taste buds recover you will discover just how delicious foods are in their natural state. Cravings for salt and sugar will be reduced. You’ll have more, stable energy. More focus. You’ll reduce your risk for diseases like type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. You’ll improve your heart health. You’ll likely lose weight (if that is your goal), and if you have children, you will be an excellent role model for them. Wow! That’s a lot! Feeling more motivated?

Focusing on what you have to gain will increase your chances of reaching any goal. Give it a try.

I want to leave you with a recipe I tried recently: Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas from Taste of Home. They are very easy to make. I actually made the filling (there was a lot of it) a couple of days ago, and then have used it to make lunch for the last two days. You could add black beans. The cumin is very mild (kid friendly). You might want to add a smidge more. I topped mine with homemade guacamole. Yum!

One Big Domino

I have just come across the One Big Domino theory, and it makes a lot of sense to me. It suggests that we identify the one big thing we can do, or big change that we can make, that will make everything else easier. By knocking down this Big Domino first, you will open up possibilities in 2019 that will amaze you!

A Big Domino could be reducing your sugar intake. The many benefits you would receive from making this change could include…

 

  • less inflammation and joint pain
  • less bloating and gas
  • weight loss
  • reduced cravings
  • decreased appetite
  • high and stable energy
  • improved mood (more focus, less depression)
  • removal of stubborn belly fat
  • clearer skin and less wrinkles
  • decreased risk of diabetes, stroke and heart attack

What could your Big Domino be?

Turkey Tips: Day 3

Okay. We are getting to the end of our turkey supply. Yesterday, I made a family favourite: “Turkey” Pot Pie Turnovers. Thank you Melissa D’Arabian! The salad recipe she shares to go with the turnovers is also excellent. I would include a photo of mine, but… they were not nearly as pretty. The still tasted great, though, which my family assures me is what matters most.

I also had some cranberry sauce to use up, and a search led me to this One-Bowl Cranberry Sauce Bread from Always Order Dessert. This was SO easy to make, and SO good! I will definitely be making it again… soon.

There might be just enough turkey left to share one more recipe tomorrow if my husband doesn’t use it all up in a sandwich.

Turkey Tips: Day 2

Today, I turned my turkey stock into Turkey Noodle Soup using a “new to me” recipe from Spend With Pennies. Everyone agreed that the soup was delicious. (This was clearly illustrated by the empty pot. So much for leftovers tomorrow). I will definitely add it to my list of favourites.

I included some tasty Whole Wheat No Knead Bread from Real Mom Nutrition. After several failed attempts many years ago, I stopped trying to make homemade bread (other than with the bread maker) until I came across Sally’s recipe. She uses the Instant Pot to proof, and that has made the difference for me. I have made this bread several times, and have never had a problem.

If you have been reading my posts regularly, you know that I am a huge fan of the Instant Pot. I was an early adopter, and both my enthusiasm and willingness to share recipes I had tried, led many of my colleagues to purchase this tool. Even today, when I ran into a friend looking for speakers, I couldn’t help but mention that the store had Instant Pots on sale and how wonderful they were. Later, my husband told me that she had purchased one. I can’t help myself! I am always doing this in local stores, and my husband jokingly says that I should contact the company and become a sales representative. That is not my mission. I am a Life and Health Coach, but I truly endorse this product. If you would like to purchase one online, go to amazon.ca.

 

 

Turkey Tips: Day 1

Yesterday my family and I enjoyed a traditional turkey dinner. Since there were only four of us, I purchased a young turkey of just over eight pounds. Even though it was a small bird, I still found myself with lots of leftovers. This is the case every year, so I now have a plan in place to effectively (and deliciously) deal with all that turkey, not including the second dinner we had tonight. I thought it would be fun to share a tip a day for the remainder of the week.

Roasted Turkey Bones Stock: Taking the time to roast your bones will give you the most rich and delicious stock for soups and sauces.

After dinner last night, as we were tidying up, I removed all of the turkey meat I could from the bones. This morning, I tossed those bones (along with two carrots, two stalks of celery, an onion and three cloves of garlic – all roughly chopped) into an oven pre-heated to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, and they roasted for 40 minutes.

When they were finished roasting, I threw them all into my crockpot and added enough water just to cover. They cooked at low for eight hours. I then transferred them over to mason jars (because my fridge is so full of food at the moment that I needed small containers I could squeeze in). They will cool in the fridge tonight, and I will be able to skim off any fat in the morning before making soup (which will be part of Tip #2).

Enjoy!

 

Vision Boards and Goal Setting

Yesterday, I had the pleasure (along with talented art teacher Lisa Chase) of hosting my first group workshop around Vision Boarding. I usually work with individual clients, so this was a new experience for me.

What is a vision board? It is a collage of images (photographs, magazine cutouts, pictures from the internet, drawings…) and words (inspirational quotes, thoughts…) that represent your goals. Once created, it should be put somewhere you can see it every day: on the bathroom mirror, the fridge door, the nightstand….

I believe that every goal has four different parts: the what (goal), the why (reasons for wanting to achieve the goal), the how, and the finish line. For me, it is the why behind the goal that is most important.

I work on goal setting with my clients at our first meeting. It can take some time to figure out exactly what you want to accomplish in the next 3, 6, 9 months or year. There are a number of tools I use to help my clients get clear on what they want.

We then spend some time focusing on the whys around those goals. If the reason why is not strong enough, it is less likely that you will follow through. Knowing your why helps you to stay motivated.

From there we can create the how (an individualized plan that fits your lifestyle – with resources and support) to get you to the finish line

As part of the process I use, a vision board could be made before we explore the what – as a visual brainstorm, or after we have determined the how – to act as an anchor: something to help keep your goals in mind and motivate you.

Want to get started? Recently, as part of my professional reading, I came across this acronym from Kathleen Hall, founder and CEO of Mindful Living and The Stress Institute, that I just love.

Serenity – Exercise – Love – Food

I used this as an idea generator at the beginning of the workshop. What do you need to take good care of your self? Here’s what I came up with:

Detoxing?

As a coach, I spend a lot of my free time researching. My exploring recently led me to the book LOSE WEIGHT BY EATING Detox Week by Audrey Johns. There’s a lot of debate around detoxing. I believe that our bodies (if we are in relatively good health) are designed to naturally take care of getting rid of unwanted materials. I don’t feel the need to spend money on, and consume, special supplements, teas, or shakes. I feel that I can help my body do its job by sticking to whole foods (prepared at home) most of the time: avoiding highly processed, additive filled foods. I am also NOT interested in deprivation. I love food. I love reading about it, shopping for it, preparing it, and sharing it. So I am not interested in spending a week or more on a liquid diet. Finally, I don’t support the idea of losing a lot of weight quickly: it is neither healthy nor permanent (in my opinion). So…. Why the book? I was drawn to the title: “Eating” and “Detox” together? I wanted to find out more.

Four detox plans are shared in the book. All begin with a Detox Week. Audrey Johns claims that you can lose an average of 10 pounds during the week. You already know what I think about that. The week also quickly becomes all about smoothies and salads, and you know how I feel about that, too. Having said that, I think that the Modified Detox Week (which includes a smoothie for breakfast, a salad for lunch, a meal for dinner, and two snacks) is a good approach. I like that Audrey Johns’ detox doesn’t require anything other than whole foods, and includes lots of fruits and vegetables. And, because I would never share anything with my clients that I haven’t tried myself, my husband and I have been following the Modified Detox plan for almost a week. We have enjoyed the recipes. There is some preparation required, but it’s worth it. We are feeling great, and have lost some weight.

I know that you are all about the recipes, so I would like to share one of our favourite breakfast smoothies with you. The recipe makes enough for two, so perfect to share. Previously my husband and I each made our own smoothies, cleaning the Vitamix out in between. That’s because he was not a fan of my green smoothies, but he really enjoys Audrey Johns’.

PB&J Green Smoothie (2 Servings)

  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen dark cherries
  • 1 tablespoon all-natural peanut butter
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Put it all in a blender and blend. Then enjoy!

I’ll close by sharing a link to Audrey Johns’ website. I’ve just checked it out, but suspect I will be visiting it often.

Level Up Your Life

As the end of the year approaches, it is natural for us to reflect on the past 365 days to see what was accomplished and what wasn’t, and to set our intentions for the new year. This is something I do at least a couple of times during the year. I think of it as levelling up, a phrase also used with gaming, and there are several parallels. In both life and gaming, you start at one level. You face challenges, and through trial and error, hopefully gain new knowledge and skills which allow you to move to the next level.

I use the same approach I share with my clients: First I start with a self-assessment. Next, I create my goals. Finally, I track my personal growth and keep myself accountable. I have mentioned vision boards before, and after I had taken some time to determine my goals, I spent a few pleasant hours searching through magazines for words and images, and cutting and pasting. I am really pleased with the result, which I have placed in a prominent location, so that it can act as an anchor.

The reason why HABITS are central to my vision board is because I know that it is only through replacing habits that no longer serve us with those that will help us thrive that we can create permanent change and live our best lives. As a health and life coach, I am a master of habit change: helping clients make healthy lifestyle choices. My approach is individualized, as I believe that one size does not fit all. I believe that small accomplishments and a one-day-at-a-time approach are integral to success. I also provide accountability, something all of my clients have said is valuable.

Declutter Your Relationships

I’ve posted before about the benefits of decluttering our physical environment, but those benefits can also be gained by decluttering our relationships. We are significantly influenced by the people around us. Spending time with people who are constantly complaining, leaves me feeling drained. Sometimes, putting a positive spin on a negative comment, or changing the topic can help. If it doesn’t, I will consider having a conversation about how the negative talk is impacting both of us (more stress, weaker immune system…). Failing that, I will remove myself. I make it a priority to surround myself with positive people who make me feel happy and energized.

Take some time to evaluate your relationships to see which ones are having a positive or negative impact on your health and happiness, and then make any necessary changes. You are worth it!

Meal Planning

In last week’s post, I mentioned meal planning as a way to create a little more time for self-care, so today, I want to share how I go about planning my week (along with a few recipes).

I usually do my meal planning on Friday: creating a shopping list. I shop on Saturday and do meal preparation on Sunday, so I will be ready for the busy week ahead.

Key for me is thinking about what I can cook once, and then use at least twice. So on Sunday, I might make Crispy Roast Chicken with Vegetables. Leftover chicken could be used later in the week to make yummy Chicken Pot Pie Turnovers: great served with a simple salad. If you have a large family to feed, you could roast two chickens on Sunday to ensure that there are leftovers. I also like to make a huge batch of Roasted Vegetables. You don’t really need a recipe for this (although the one included is delicious). Any vegetables of your choice, tossed in a little olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, will work. There are SO many ways to use roasted vegetables: topping for pizza (a fast meal with a pre-made crust, sauce and cheese), soup (pureed in broth with your choice of seasonings), lasagna, on a salad…. Often I’ll also make a lot of brown rice. If I still have some roasted chicken left, I can make Classy Chicken. Cold rice is perfect for Easy Better-Than-Takeout Shrimp Fried Rice. It’s also great for rice and bean burritos (and you can throw in some of those roasted vegetables!)

I love working with clients to help them plan and prepare meals. If this is something you’re interested in, let me know.

 

Take Care Of Your Self

What is self-care?

It is anything that we purposely do in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. It is something that replenishes us… something we enjoy doing. It isn’t something we do just once. It is consistent use of many tiny self-care activities.

It is really easy to put ourselves at the bottom of our priority lists. We either feel selfish for wanting to take time for self-care, or we believe that there just aren’t enough minutes in the day. But it is important for us to take time to do the things we enjoy. It allows us to relax, refocus and recharge, so we can live our best lives and be our best for others.

While we can’t add hours to the day, we can re-evaluate our priorities and practice time management. For example, I used to visit the grocery store daily. Now I plan meals a few days in advance, shop once, and do some meal preparation on the weekend so that things come together quickly. This has not only saved me time, but also money.

Decide how you want to spend your “Me” time. Remember, it should be something you enjoy doing, not feel you should do. So while getting up early to fit in exercise is something that I love because it puts me in a great mood and gives me energy for the rest of my day, that might not be your choice.

Once you have created a self-care list for yourself, commit to spending at least 15 minutes a day on you. YOU are worth it!

The Importance of Self-Care

What is self-care?

It is anything that we purposely do in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. It is something that replenishes us… something we enjoy doing. It isn’t something we do just once. It is consistent use of many tiny self-care activities.

It is really easy to put ourselves at the bottom of our priority lists. We either feel selfish for wanting to take time for self-care, or we believe that there just aren’t enough minutes in the day. But it is important for us to take time to do the things we enjoy. It allows us to relax, refocus and recharge, so we can live our best lives and be our best for others.

While we can’t add hours to the day, we can re-evaluate our priorities and practice time management. For example, I used to visit the grocery store daily. Now I plan meals a few days in advance, shop once, and do some meal preparation on the weekend so that things come together quickly. This has not only saved me time, but also money.

Decide how you want to spend your “Me” time. Remember, it should be something you enjoy doing, not feel you should do. So while getting up early to fit in exercise is something that I love because it puts me in a great mood and gives me energy for the rest of my day, that might not be your choice.

Once you have created a self-care list for yourself, commit to spending at least 15 minutes a day on you. YOU are worth it!

The Importance of Social Connection

I was inspired to write today’s post by a recent phone call, late in the day, from my next door neighbour, inquiring if I could spare a cup of flour. Moments later, her daughter showed up, measuring cup in hand, and we made the exchange. I was both surprised and delighted when her daughter again arrived at my door, within the hour, with three, still warm, banana chocolate chip muffins. They were delicious!

This got me thinking about how fortunate I am to have good neighbours. We take care of each other: feeding pets, collecting mail, putting out the trash, watering gardens, dropping off, checking in….

Social connection is really important to our emotional and mental well being: including lowering our levels of anxiety and depression and strengthening our immune system. While we may make time to exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep, we sometimes forget the connection piece.

Connection doesn’t have to involve your neighbours. Perhaps it is a volunteer group you are part of, a running group, or an online community. As long as you feel supported, you are reaping the benefits. Look for opportunities, that work for you, to create those connections.

I will finish with a recipe for Mini Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. It’s not my neighbour’s, but one I use all the time from The Kitchen Magpie. I have used both walnut oil and avocado oil with good results, and it makes 24 muffins if you want to share….

 

A Hallowe’en Workout

While you may already be getting some extra exercise this evening walking your little superhero, unicorn, or vampire around the neighbourhood, or running up and down the stairs to greet them at your door, I thought I’d share this fun, ten minute Hallowe’en themed cardio circuit from spark people.com with you. It will burn off a few extra calories, but don’t think that means you can freely sample all those treats both during and after the event. Two of those fun-sized Snickers bars (my personal weakness) would take about 45 minutes of strength training or an hour of hatha yoga to burn off, and three Kit Kat bars (a very close second) would mean 20 minutes of running or walking at a moderate pace for an hour. 

 

The Awesome Avocado

I am a huge avocado fan, but I confess that, until recently, I haven’t experimented much with it: sticking mostly to guacamole or throwing a few chunks in my salad. However, after spending weeks being taunted and tempted by boxes of Hallowe’en candy (Did they start selling them in August?!) I began to wonder if there was a way to incorporate this awesome ingredient into a healthier treat. In our house, it’s all about chocolate.

Mexican Chocolate Mousse (adapted from Cook Eat Paleo) 

Prep: 5 min Serves: 6 

• 2 ripe avocados 

• ½ cup cocoa powder (I used Green & Black’s Organic.)

• ½ cup full fat coconut milk 

• ¼ cup honey (or to taste) (You could also use maple syrup. I used yacon syrup.*)

• 1tsp cinnamon 

• 2tsp pure vanilla extract 

• ¼tsp ground ancho chili (or to taste) (I wasn’t brave enough this time. Maybe next time.)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender until smooth. Let set in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and enjoy. I topped with raspberries. Yum!

*Yacon syrup is extracted from the roots of the yacon plant. It’s a sweet-tasting syrup with a look and consistency similar to molasses. The active ingredients in yacon syrup are fructans, primarily fructooligosaccharides, which feed the friendly bacteria in the intestine and lead to various beneficial effects on metabolism. I’m trying it out. 

Next on my list to try… Silky Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles

The Benefits of Decluttering

I’m sure that I’m not the only one with THE DRAWER: the one you put things into when you’re in a hurry or aren’t exactly sure where they should go, promising to get back to it later. But then…. Out of sight, out of mind. Well, this weekend, while searching for my Fitbit charger, I was forced to confront that drawer. Below are its contents, sprawled across our kitchen table.

I was intimidated, not only by the thought of tackling this mess, but also by the sudden realization that there were likely many, many more spots in the house that needed my attention. In the past those feelings might have caused me to just shove everything back in and walk away, but I am learning that small steps, over time, make lasting change. I focused just on this drawer, for fifteen minutes, and was left with what you see below.

And, in case you are wondering, I found my Fitbit charger.

 

The health benefits of decluttering include

  • reduced anxiety
  • better sleep
  • increased productivity and creativity
  • more free time
  • improved relationships
  • and… finding lost treasures 😊

 

You don’t have to tackle everything at once. Set aside a few minutes each day, play your favourite tunes, and you’ll soon have your home in order.

Sheet Pan Suppers

 

My clients are always asking for more ideas for quick and healthy meals. Let’s do dinner this time. With October, cooler weather has arrived, so it’s okay to turn the oven back on. Sheet pan suppers are fast and easy. You can have a delicious, homemade meal on the table in no time.
We loved them both. Let me know what you think.

Lunch Club

(Ooh, we get by with a little help from our friends.)

The best way to ensure that we are eating food that will nourish and energize us is to prepare it ourselves. This can be challenging, but with a little help, we can do it! I am part of a three member “lunch club”. On Sunday, we each make four servings of a mason jar salad recipe, and then exchange so that we have a delicious meal to look forward to all week. As the weather gets cooler, we will switch salads for soups. Perhaps you can organize something similar. I’ve included a few links to recipes below, to get you started. There are lots out there. Enjoy!

Mexican Mason Jar Salad

Asian Noodle Salad Jar

Greek Mason Jar Salad