Who needs rules? You do! We all do! Success in being healthy is completely reliant on a plan, one that includes rules I will follow to be healthy. Once I know the rules and truly understand them, then they can be broken or bent to fit now and then. Having a clearly defined plan of action means I am more likely to be successful. If you are a person who bakes, you know a recipe for a cake must be followed, or it might not rise, or might turn out strangely lopsided or dry. It is the same with your eating plan. Every day you must plan what you will eat, when you will workout, what your day will look like, or you will fail. Only after you have done this over and over, will you then be able to break the rules, because you will understand the framework.
I now know I can break the rules on a cake recipe because I understand the rules of what makes the cake work and know I can balance it out and still be successful. But it took years of following the recipe before I understood how to break the rules.
Plan your meals and snacks daily. Understand what you need to eat to lose weight and feel great. By doing so, you won’t find yourself scarfing down junk when you get hungry because you will have plenty of healthy choices available. People have a difficult time sticking to a healthy eating or exercise routine if they don’t have a plan in place. Fail to plan; plan to fail.
Trying to stay healthy? Eat right? Work out and feel great? Watch out for sabotaging techniques from these three!
1.Your doctor: Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Doctors are paid by pharmaceutical companies for speaking engagements, consulting, with free meals, travel and other perks. Needless to say, your doctor will be much more likely to prescribe a drug than to offer you non-drug alternatives for a health issue, resulting in possible side effects that may harm you more than heal you. Doctors are also pressed for time, and so prescribing a drug is much faster and simpler than taking note of your full history and what might be causing an illness. Doctors are generally poorly educated in nutrition and rarely offer advice on eating healthy and how this might lead to better cholesterol levels, lower blood sugar levels and lower blood pressure. And, is a doctor who does not take time to workout every day really going to suggest to you that you might want to exercise?
Solutions: Seek natural healing methods. If you feel you must see someone, seek out a naturopath or a doctor who specializes in Functional Medicine and a health coach (moi!) can help you make plans and set goals to be the healthiest YOU!
2.Your Spouse: Unfortunately, if your spouse is not on the same page with you and working on his health too, you may find yourself sabotaged. Due to men’s naturally larger muscle mass, he may have an easier time maintaining or losing weight and give you a hard time about your struggles. If you are the person who prepares meals, his complaints may make it difficult to health up your meals. Snacks brought into the house by a spouse seem as though they are just trying to tempt us. And time away from home to exercise may cause difficulties.
Solutions: Though the goal should not be to change another person, asking for his support is essential and encouraging him to join you in your efforts may benefit him as well. A spouse may become suspicious if you set out on an improvement journey and leave him behind. Assure him you want to feel great and look good for YOU, not for anyone else, and that he will benefit from your efforts. If he can’t imagine giving up that big steak, compromise and serve him a lean cut of meat in a smaller size and load up the plate with lots of veggies on the side.
3. Your Workplace: The workplace break room is a notorious place, where donuts, cakes, cookies, etc. appear for any and all occasions. Candy, chips and nuts may be sitting on colleagues desks, begging to be eaten, and the afterwork watering hole gathering, that you may feel obligated to attend, presents even more issues, all tempting you away from healthy eating.
Solutions: Take healthy snacks with you to work. Pack some carrots, apples, nuts, hummus, nut butters, or some other all natural, non-processed snack with you each and every day. Avoid the break room whenever possible. Enlist a colleague who supports you in your efforts to help you avoid the unhealthy snacks. For that afterwork gathering, order a club soda with lime and before those crazy fattening appetizers show up, ask for a side salad. Though this may seem extreme and difficult as you change your unhealthy habits for healthy, eventually you will naturally avoid the unhealthy offerings and have no problem with sharing your own healthy alternatives.
Knowing you may be up against some difficult situations at times, makes fighting the battle a bit easier because you come up with strategies and solutions that will make life easier. If you need assistance getting on track, making plans and setting realistic health goals, let me know how I can help. Check out my programs or design your own. Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
My sugar recovery program continues this week and I am doing fantastic. Last week, I gave up sugar. Quit cold turkey. Do I feel deprived? NO! What I do feel is GREAT! After the fourth day, I felt most the craving was gone and other than a mild afternoon craving on the eighth day, which I squelched by eating a bar made of dates, nuts, coconut and cocoa, I have had no desire for sugar.
So why would I give it up? FOR MY HEALTH!!! Think that’s crazy? Then watch this: Is Sugar Toxic from 60 Minutes on CBS.
No one wants to feel deprived. Right? But if sugar is going to deprive you of your health, and for many, many, people it is certainly doing that, which would you rather be? Deprived of sugar? Or deprived of your health? I’ll take sugar, thank you very much!
Want to feel better, look better, and enjoy a clear mind, great energy and health? Contact me about my coaching packages: email@example.com Let’s work out a plan that can make a difference for YOU!
According to David Randall, Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb thought sleep was bad for us, and with the invention of the light bulb thought we could all become 24 hour work horses. Not such a great idea apparently, Mr. Edison. Studies have connected obesity to the amount of sleep, well actually, lack of sleep, we get each night. By sleeping 7-9 hours every night, you can get a leg up against obesity. More importantly, however, lack of sleep is being indicated as a factor in heart disease and hypertension, but stacking up the zzzz’s can help fight these diseases. Check out some on-line resources on insomnia and find a drug-free way to fight this sleep killer. Turn off the television and computers at least thirty minutes before bed, to let your brain rest and stop “flickering” like the screens. Make the bedroom a restful, dark place and do not take work or arguments to bed. If an alarm clock is necessary for waking each morning, you’re not getting enough sleep. Try going to bed fifteen minutes earlier for a few nights, then increase by another fifteen minutes, until you can, on a fairly regular basis, wake without an alarm and stay within the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per-night. If you are constantly drowsy, no matter how much sleep you get, look into a sleep clinic to be sure you are not suffering from sleep apnea. Sleep really does keep us healthy. What are you doing for your health today?
Thinking of popping that multi-vitamin to prevent heart attacks, heart disease or strokes? Think again; a study called The Physician’s Health Study II, an eleven year study, involving over 14,000 physicians, shows that multi-vitamins had no effect on heart disease and only lowered cancer risk by 8%. The study showed that a healthy diet had greater impact. A quick fix pill is just not going to do the trick.
To prevent heart disease, a healthy diet is going to be the ticket. That means lots of vegetables and fruits and if eating meat, lean protein and not much of it. The China Study shows that 10-12 ounces of meat in a WEEK, or better yet, none at all, is the ideal. To lower your cancer risk by 68% try a diet rich in whole foods, like GREENS, ONIONS, MUSHROOMS, BEANS, BERRIES and SEEDS (GOMBBS)! These will also do the trick for heart disease as well.
There is no quick fix for anything. Got that? Eat healthy and LIVE!!!
Sugar! We crave it. We want it. We eat it. 156 pounds of added sugar per year is what the average American consumes according to the USDA. Only 29 pounds of that is attributed to regular sucrose or table sugar, the rest comes from foods with added sugar and 33% of that comes from sweetened beverages such as sodas and sports drinks. WOW!!! We are a nation ADDICTED to sugar and it’s showing in our health and well being with Type II Diabetes and heart disease sky rocketing in our population. Though there are those who say sugar is not the direct cause of these diseases, it is a huge factor in our over consumption of calories, and too many calories day in and day out can lead to obesity which is a direct factor.
The World Health Organization recommends no more than 8 teaspoons a day of sugar, which is less than the 10 teaspoons of sugar in a single can of soda. How then do we cut out sugar? Most people fall to it’s addictive power and find it difficult to eliminate, but there are ways to overcome the addiction and take action for your health:
1. Read labels. If you are buying any kind of processed food, it more than likely contains sugar. Go through your kitchen and read the labels there. Start pitching sugar laden products and don’t buy them in the future.
2. Beat cravings by keeping fruit handy. Substitute fruit for that afternoon candy bar and hot tea for that morning caramel vanilla latte. Even if you add a teaspoon of sugar to the tea, this is far less than the 9 teaspoons in that tall latte.
3. Pay attention to your body. Sugar gives us an instant rush of energy, but the downside is a depression of no energy once the high is gone. When you free yourself of this addictive pattern, energy will stay on an even keel, allowing more productive hours in the long run. Keep a journal of cravings, moods, and how you feel. This will allow you to see how much better things run when the sugar is no longer a part of the diet.
I know there is no easy way to overcome the ever present sugar beast, but taking charge of your health and wellness requires vigilance and dedication. No one can do it for you. Take action today and feel your best!
Two weeks ago, I busted my computer screen (that’s why you haven’t seen a post from me lately). I had taken my computer along on a trip and slid it into the outside pocket of my carryon. When I had to plane-side check the bag, due to the small size of the plane, I forgot to remove the computer and getting slammed around by baggage handlers, did my poor computer in. A heartbreaking moment then, to open my computer and see a screen that looked like someone had thrown a baseball through it. The weird thing on a computer though, the glass is not broken, it’s just on the inside.
We too can get “broken” on the inside if we do not take protective measures. Eating junk food may not make our outsides look bad, but the inside may be cracked and dying. But there’s a lot we can do to protect ourselves. The tip I want to share today is to eat your GOMBBS! Say what? GOMBBS: GREENS, ONIONS, MUSHROOMS, BEANS, BERRIES AND SEEDS. These are the super foods that can keep us healthy. They are packed full of phytonutrients, as well as both soluble and/or non-soluble fiber. Eating a variety of these everyday, can help protect you against cancer and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). And in case you didn’t know, greens are 25% protein, so cut back on the meat which is mostly fat, and up the greens to get your daily protein intake. Eat your SUPER FOODS and protect your insides from being “broken.”
Tomatoland, by Barry Estabrook, is an eye opening book about what goes on behind the scenes in the land of tomatoes. He gives a history of the ugly hiring and employment tactics of big tomato agribusiness in Florida, a state so ill suited to growing tomatoes that dangerous pesticides are the norm. Understanding where our food comes from and how it is grown and processed to market, gives us more control and say in what we want to put in our bodies. This book provides just that. Though repetitive in some places, over all it is an interesting and compelling read. Understanding why supermarket tomatoes have no flavor, how flavor has been bred out in place of rock hard solid tomatoes that can make it to market and survive rough handling, helps make the case for growing your own or buying them at a local farmer’s market. It also makes the case for eating fresh tomatoes in season only and using canned the rest of the year if tomatoes are a must. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to know where the food they eat comes from and how it gets to them. This book has made me think twice about what kind of tomatoes I purchase and from where I make the purchase. Overall, an interesting read. Find a copy in My Favorites.
Friday Foodie: Portobello Mushroom Open Face Sandwich
Author: Jane Ann Thompson
Recipe type: Sandwich
Though possibly a stretch to call these little beauties a sandwich, no matter. What they really are is delicious and so easy. These have a perfect combination of nutrition and the olives add just a bit of saltiness.
Portobello Open Faced Sandwich
2 Portobello Mushrooms, stems removed
1 medium yellow onion
A large handful of baby spinach leaves
8 Kalamata Olives, chopped
1 cup prepared or homemade spaghetti sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. While oven is preheating, cut onion in half from root end to tip. Then slice the onion in thin slices. When oven is heated, place mushrooms stem side up on a baking sheet. Bake for twenty minutes. Meanwhile, place skillet on burner set to high, once a few drops of water will scoot across the pan, add 1 Tbs. of water and then immediately add onion slices. Turn heat to medium. Stir onions frequently, turning down heat if they begin to brown to fast. Cook them slowly and they will caramelize, giving them a rich deep flavor. Chop the olives and set aside. A minute or two before the mushrooms are due to come out of the oven, pour spaghetti sauce into skillet and heat through with onions.
Remove mushrooms from the oven and pour off any liquid that has pooled inside. Careful, they are really hot. Sprinkle olives over surface of mushrooms. Layer spinach evenly on each mushroom. Divide onion mixture on top. Place back in oven for about ten minutes until spinach has wilted.
Serve. This makes enough for two with a side salad. If desired, sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Armenian Brioche is a new bread for me. I’ve been making bread for many years and started out the old fashioned way, but when bread machines came along, I quickly adapted. Making this bread took a bit longer, no doubt, than one I might make in my machine, but was so worth the time and effort.
While looking at spices on the Penzeys website, I took a look at their specialty spices and saw, Mahlab. Curious, I did a web search and found out about this spice and recipes that use it. The Perfect Pantry had an Armenian Brioche recipe which I changed up a bit and became the recipe I am sharing with you today. (The Perfect Pantry had also adapted it from another source, however, the only change I saw was a division of ingredients to make a smaller amount.)
Because Mahlab should be ground fresh, I used my molcajete. I actually bought this specifically for the task, but have always wanted one, so great excuse, eh? I also ground my cloves for the filling. Next, I’ll be making guacamole in it!
Because I could not get a super fine grind, I then sifted it through this mesh strainer. This is a great tool for sifting, by the way.
This is my two flours, barley and bread flour, along with the yeast at the top and the mahlab at the bottom. I love barley flour for it’s fine texture and smoothness in breads and cakes. A great way to add a whole grain to a bread, cake or pancakes.
After beating the eggs and sugar with the butter, and adding the flour and milk/water mixture, I switched to my dough hook to finish kneading this into a smooth ball.
Before the first rising.
After the bread had been through it’s two risings, I formed the dough into 20 balls and while they rested for 30 minutes, I made the filling. I chopped the dates and walnuts. That’s my Pampered Chef chopper in the background. Works wonders on nuts.
I used a regular teaspoon to scoop up the filling for each roll.
This is one of the balls with the filling.
On the left is the pinching up process and the right all pinched together. I then rolled the dough back into a smooth ball.
The egg wash.
I used this tea strainer to sprinkle the poppy seeds onto each roll. The tea strainer works for other spices as well.
Beautiful! I think I over cooked them just a bit. Go for golden, but go short rather than long!
Here’s the recipe. Click on the title for a printable or downloadable copy. I hope you will enjoy as much as my family and I did!
Friday Foodie: Armenian Brioche filled with Dates, Walnuts, Honey and Spices
Author: Jane Ann Thompson adapted from The Perfect Pantry
Recipe type: Bread
Armenian Brioche stuffed with Dates, Walnuts, Honey and spices While looking at the Penzey spice website, I noticed a section of specialty spices and perused the list. I ran across Mahlab, a spice totally unfamiliar to me. I was intrigued with it’s origins , Turkey and Iran, and that essentially it comes from the pits of a sour cherry. I did a search for recipes using this “spice” and found this Armenian Brioche, traditionally served at Easter. This is the recipe I adapted from The Perfect Pantry.
For the dough:
2 cups barley flour + extra as needed
1 ½ cups bread flour
1 Tbs. finely ground Mahlab (grind just before using)
2 ½ tsps bread machine yeast (or one package of yeast)
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs
6 Tbs unsalted butter
1 ½ Tbs coconut oil
½ c sugar
½ cup warm water, (I use hot from the tap since adding straight to the flour and yeast mix)
⅓ c warm milk
10 ounces, pitted and freshly chopped dates (I used Medjool)
½ c chopped walnuts
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cloves
2 Tbs honey
For Filling: Mix first four ingredients together. Use your finger tips to mix the spices and walnuts with the dates to help separate clumps of dates. Mix in the honey and set aside until ready to fill bread. After filling, if there is any left, eat directly from the bowl. (I had about a heaping spoon full left and it was delicious!)
For dough: Combine flours mahlab, salt and yeast, set aside.
Turn oven to 100 degrees (or lowest setting). When it reaches temperature, turn off oven.
In heavy duty mixer, cream butter, oil and sugar together. Add eggs and beat until combined and creamy.
Combine milk and water together. Alternating between flour mixture and milk/water mixture, starting with flour, add to the creamed ingredients and continue mixing. When dough becomes too thick for the standard beater, replace with dough hook. Add additional flour (I alternated between barley and bread flour) one tablespoon at a time until dough is smooth and elastic.
Oil a large bowl, but not metal, and place dough in bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in warm oven. If oven feels hot, prop door open until just warm. The idea is to give the dough a warm place to rise, out of drafts, until double in size, about 2 hours.
Punch down. Fold together, smooth into a ball and allow to rise again for about 1 ½ hours, until double in size. Punch down again and allow to rest for 15 mins. Divide dough in half. Divide each half again and then make five balls from each quarter. Allow the balls of dough to rest , covered, for 30 mins.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Flatten each ball into a round, using a dining table spoon, scoop a spoonful into the center. Pinch dough closed around filling and reshape into a ball. Fill balls, one at a time, then place, two inches apart on parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with an egg wash, made from one egg yoke and one tsp of water. Sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, until golden brown. Enjoy hot from the oven or may be reheated the next day for serving. Freeze any leftovers (which there will be none, but just incase) for up to a month.