Eat This. It's Good!
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Don’t Wish For Easy

"Don't wish it was easier, wish you were better." 
– Jim Rohn

Think about that for a moment.

The truth is that change is challenging. Often as I work my way through a new recipe or change my timing of meals or even just try to drink more water. I wish it would just be over. I want to be out of the changing part of the situation and be to where it is already done. I don’t like change, it’s hard.

In reality I know that the process of change is actually a curriculum to becoming a better version of myself.

The question is, how are we facing that curriculum?

Are we leaning into it? Am I looking at change and saying bring it on with all of the challenges of doing and being different?

Or am I complaining, wishing that it was easier?

I do both of these. Don’t you? Of course, but the more we shift our perspective from the latter to the former, the better we will be.

Where can you make that shift? I’ve found two areas have helped me the most. Using these two tools have changed my eating so that being healthier is easier for me to tackle.

  1. Take it one step at a time - don’t try to change everything all at once. Pick something you know will be relatively easy for you to tackle. By picking something easy, it will give you success and propel you forward.
  2. Be patient with yourself - change isn’t easy. Being perfect is not what you are working towards but figuring out how to change is.

Take one step at a time and give yourself a little grace if it doesn’t go as you expect the first time out.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Introducing You to Jicama

Did you know that I am not normal? And maybe you aren’t either!

And I mean that in a good way.

I’m not normal in the sense that I want to be the best version of the healthiest me I can be. I am constantly looking for ways to challenge myself to become better.

Sadly, that's not normal.

Most people just coast through life not wanting to put in the time or effort to be the best.

Unfortunately, most people coast through life accepting their health as unchangeable. They do what is typical in our society - eat too much, sit too long, go for the easy way out.

I enjoy physical activity! I prep food every week. I care what goes into my body. And I'm guessing but I probably eat more than the average person when it comes to vegetables.

I don't have any hard data on this, but just by talking with hundreds of people, I would guess the average person consumes less than two servings of vegetables per day.

And most of those are the same ones, over and over again.

A lot of people just don't know what or how to cook certain foods.

My biggest challenge doing this over the computer is that while I can tell you all about a certain vegetable, I can show you what it looks like, I can even tell you what is great about a certain veggie... until I can get you to experience it, it’s just to ‘weird’ to even think about.

I’m going to introduce you to jicama today. Just to say it seems a bit odd, but think of the first letter as being an “H”. It looks a bit like an odd shaped potato. In fact you would peel it like a potato and the inside reminds me of a white potato. BUT the similarities stop there. It tastes different, in fact ,you can eat it raw or cooked.

Jashbrowns are a favorite way to cook jicama for rockstar Jennifer.

I peel the jicama, which is a root vegetable, and then slice it into thin French fry shapes. I add these to a taco salad so that I have crunch without a taco shell. My kids love it this way too.

Check out this recipe highlighting jicama paired with cucumbers as a side dish.

Jicama Cucumber Salad with Chili Dressing

  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced onion
  • 1-1½ teaspoons chili powder, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups diced peeled jicama
  • 1 medium English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Puree vinegar, oil, onion, chili powder and salt in a blender until smooth. Toss jicama and cucumber with the dressing in a large bowl; stir in mint. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle the salad with more chili powder before serving, if desired.

A simple concept - eat five servings of vegetables every day. I’m hoping I’ve given you enough education so that jicama doesn’t feel so weird when thinking of vegetables. By adding jicama to your grocery list, you can up your vegetable count.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Make Two Lists

Everyone knows that vegetables are good for you. Medical professionals are always shouting out the goodness of adding more and more vegetables to your nutrition plan. These lists are your reasons for eating more vegetables. I gave you some ideas but don’t copy my list, create your own.

Each list has a purpose. Each list is real and true.

On one list, identify the grievances, the fears, and challenges with adding more vegetables to your day.

  • People will look at you strange in the grocery store
  • Some vegetables are expensive
  • I don’t know how to cook all the vegetables sold in the store
  • I might not eat it before they go bad
  • My family is going to complain

It's all legitimate, it's all real. Don't hold back.

On the other list, write down the benefits, advantages and opportunities you have when more vegetables are on your plate each day.

  • Your plate will have a lot more color with each vegetable
  • New recipes are exciting to make and try
  • You’ll be eating foods that are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber
  • Veggies tend to have a significant lower number of calories compared to bread, pasta and rice
  • Learning new things will keep your brain engaged as well as be good for your body
  • Your family likes new adventures so they’ll be supportive
  • Dropping a few pounds or more is your goal and will most likely be result of better eating habits
  • You’ve been wanting more energy and this is one way to work on that

Now, take one list and put it in a drawer. Take the other list and tape it up on your refrigerator. Read the list in the drawer once a month or once a year, just to remind you that it's safe and sound. Read the other list every day.

The daily list will determine what you notice, how you interpret what you see and the story you tell yourself about what's happening and what will happen.

You get to pick which list goes where.

Picking your list is possibly the most important thing you'll do all day.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Turn the Speed Down to Your Advantage

Too many of us rush here and there. The western diet of fast food, pour from a can or out of a box, heat and serve, grab and go is slowly killing us. Let’s slow ourselves down and eat to regain our health.

  • Eat slowly and mindfully. Pay attention. Breathe.
  • Make food that looks beautiful and smells good. Taste it as if you were at a wine tasting event.
  • Share mealtime with others. A bonus would be to eat in a relaxing environment.
  • Eat whole foods. Notice the different textures, temperatures, and tastes.
  • Get plenty of protein, along with healthy fats and beautiful colorful veggies.
  • Include fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi to keep the intestinal bacteria happy and healthy.
  • Stay active. Our bodies work best when we move.
  • Relax. Recover and de-stress. Get at least 7 hours of sleep.

Slow yourself down. It does YOUR body good.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Laurie’s Keep It Simple Breakfast

For my Dad’s entire career, he brought the same lunch to work with him. In fact, I watched him each night make his lunch to take with him in the morning. One of the easiest ways to plan a meal is to keep that meal the same each day.

My Dad figured this out and it became a normal routine. Laurie from 6pm has found a similar pattern with her breakfast meal. She can plan her meal, shop for her food, and prep it with ease because she has done it so many times. What can you do to make one of your meals easier? It might not be the entire meal on repeat every time, but what about always planning on a salad at dinner? Would that make your meal time easier?

Laurie’s Keep It Simple Breakfast

  • 3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
  • ½ avocado, cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons of salsa

Mix everything in a bowl to combine. It’s that simple.

If You’re Too Busy For These 5 Things: Your Life Is More Off-Course Than You Think

Despite turbulence and other conditions keeping airplanes off-course 90 percent of flight time, most flights arrive in the correct destination at the intended time. The reason for this phenomenon is quite simple — through air traffic control and the inertial guidance system, pilots are constantly course-correcting. When immediately addressed, these course corrections are not hard to manage. When these course corrections don’t regularly happen, catastrophe can result. Small things — if not corrected — become big things, always.

5 Things You Shouldn’t Go Without Doing On a Regular Basis

1. Plan your meals. Planning your meals each week frees up your brain power for other things. After you create your plan you won’t have to rely on your brain every meal to think about what you are going to have. Your stress levels will be reduced greatly because you will have one less thing to worry about during the week. If you take a few minutes to think about the week ahead, you will be able to develop a plan to overcome any barriers that might come up. Then when the stress hits, you already have a plan on how to handle it.

Most people like to plan on Sundays, but do what works for you. Some like to plan 3 days at a time, some like to plan the entire week. Some plan at night for the next day. The strategy isn't important, taking action is. Try a strategy and see how it works. Pay attention, analyze, and decide if you should continue with that same strategy or try a new one for better success. Everything is better with a clear plan.

2. Shop from your plan. Shopping can feel complicated, or like a pain in the butt — if you don’t have a clear system and structure. It doesn’t have to be like that. With a shopping list full of foods that you like and will eat, you can hit the grocery store, get in and out quickly, and leave knowing you’ve bought all the things you need to make your meal plan happen.

3. Take time for meal prep. As you go along, you’ll learn more about what works for you, and how to make healthy eating part of your regular routine. You’ll practice planning, preparation and having strategies for when you’re busy, traveling, and/or eating at restaurants — or for anything else that life throws at you. This will help you feel confident and in control of your choices, and help you stay on the path towards the goals you want to achieve. Over time, you’ll build a “meal prep ritual” of your own: something you like, find easy, and can do reliably.

4. Eat slowly. Eating slowly takes practice every day. Lucky for you, since you eat multiple times per day, you'll get lots of practice! If you find yourself rushing mid-meal, set your fork down, take a deep breath, and start fresh and slow.

5. Listen to your body. When the clock tells you it is time for a meal ask yourself: Are you physically hungry? Pause and check in. Look for signals like a rumbling stomach, lightheadedness, irritability, etc. If you had a scale from 1-10, you’d want to be a 7 out of 10 on the hunger scale. During your meal, keep on listening to those signals. Pause after you eat your normal amount of food. Before you eat more, give your brain time to catch up. You want to feel satisfied, not stuffed. You’ll know you ate just enough when an hour after eating you are still physically satisfied with no desire to eat another meal.

5 things that sound so easy to do, but just like an airplane you can easily get off course. These steps will keep giving you’re that course correction to get you back on track.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

I Want to Change the World

I want to change the world. I know it can be done. Americans are getting fatter and less healthy all the time. New Hampshire isn't leading the way to break the childhood obesity epidemic. I see those around me in poor health.

I know this trend can change. I’ve seen it happen in people around me. I’m not content to change the world slowly. I need your help.

Here are 5 ways you can help me change the world.

1. Eat more vegetables daily and share your veggies with others. Vegetables contain a boatload of vitamins and minerals. They fill you up and satisfy you. Veggies are high in fiber. Another big bonus is that they are lower in calories than other foods we tend to eat.

2. Drink lots of water. Hydrate your system to keep all your tiny cells working well while helping to keep your body working optimally clean.

3. Have protein at each meal. While the saying milk does a body good, I think it should be changed to protein does a body good. It’s the building blocks your body uses.

4. Enjoy healthy fats. Fats are not evil as once thought. In fact your body works best with a portion of healthy fats at each meal. Olives, avocados, nuts, and seeds are some ways to get them at each meal.

5. Learn to cook. More and more people are stopping at fast food joints on the way home from work to help them feed their families. While they are feeding them food, they are missing the opportunity to teach their children how foods are cooked. Our society cooks less now then 30 years ago and we cook so much less than our grandmothers.

These few things will make an impact. Pick one or two to work on. Once those become a easier part of your day add in another step. You might find that by starting to work on one area, another area picks up the pace.

Help me change the world, one step at a time.

To your best health (and the health of those around you),
Coach Nancy

D.A. Summer Salad

Rock stars Deb and Adam have been talking up a new salad they created for months. They practically handed me all the ingredients one day so I could make this salad. It was delicious just as they said. Why, oh why, did it take me so long? I am grateful I made it before the summer was over. This is going to be hit for picnics.

D.A. Summer Salad

  • 2 bags Brussels sprouts & kale mixture from Trader Joe's
  • Double recipe of Creamy Italian Dressing (see below for single recipe)

Mix, chill, and serve. Yep, it's that easy.

If you don't have access to a Trader Joe's, this will take a bit longer. You can also be creative as this recipe will work wonderfully with coleslaw mix, riced broccoli, or any blend of greens. You'll need about 6 cups of greens.

  • 4 cups sliced Brussels sprouts (sliced as if you were making coleslaw)
  • 2 cups very thinly sliced kale
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • Double recipe of Creamy Italian Dressing (see below for single recipe)

Creamy Italian Dressing

  • 2 tbsp homemade mayo (recipe below)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp Italian herbs
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients in a blender. If mixture is too thick, add either vinegar or water. Remember, your dressing will get slightly more liquidy as you toss it with your salad.

Homemade Mayo

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cup light olive oil

Place egg, dry mustard, salt and lemon juice in the blender. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil and whirl until well mixed. Slowly incorporate the remaining olive oil. Drizzle it in with as small a stream as possible. You'll hear it start to emulsify. Don't rush this. Be patient. Continue to blend until the oil is incorporated and your mayo is light and fluffy.

The ABC Veggie Challenge

Who doesn't need to challenge themselves to eat more veggies?

Veggies are the triple win:

  1. Loaded with vitamins and minerals
  2. Tons of fiber
  3. Relatively low in calories

That's a triple win. Now I want you to eat more of these triple win foods.

Here's the ABC Veggie challenge. Your goal for the next 30 days is to place a check mark next to each letter of the alphabet (each letter stands for a veggie that you'll be eating). These are the rules. You can only check off one letter each day. You must have already eaten that vegetable before checking it off. For example, if I ate spinach today I could check off the S. I will have kale with breakfast tomorrow, so after I eat breakfast I can then check off the K. Its a 30 day challenge and only 26 letters so you have a bit of lee way. The vegetables listed are just ideas; you can pick another vegetable that starts with that letter. You don't have to go in order but you need to check off all 26 in 30 days. Who's up for the challenge?

A is for asparagus and artichoke

B is for beets, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts

C is for cucumber, carrot, and cabbage

D is for daikon and dandelion greens

E is for endive and eggplant

F is for fiddleheads

G is for green beans

H is for herbs of all kinds

I is for icy (came from the freezer)

J is for jicama

K is for kale

​L is for leeks and lettuce

M is for mushrooms and mustard greens

N is for not bought in a grocery store (grown at home, CSA, farmer's market)

O is for okra and onion

P is for parsnips, peppers and peas

Q is for quiet when eaten (think raw crunchy carrot vs. softer cooked carrot - much quieter)

R is for radish, romaine, and rutabaga ​

S is for spinach and Swiss chard​

T is for turnip and tomato

U is for veggies grown underground

V is for very spicy vegetables

W is for watercress

X is for an "xtra" serving of veggies

Y is for yams, yellow squash, and yellow peppers

Z is for zucchini ​

The Shoulds

Life isn't fair, I should just be like...

"Comparison is the thief of joy."
-Theodore Roosevelt

There is a terrible new disease creeping into my life. Actually, it’s probably been there a lot longer than I want to admit.

It goes sort of like this: “I’ve been working really hard at doing a push up just like Jane, but I still can’t do one. I should be able to do at least one.”

Or sometimes I hear it like this: “I’ve stuck to my nutrition plan almost 100% and I’ve lost 3 pounds but I should be able to lose at least 3 pounds in a week.”

I’ve even heard it this way: “I’ve been training in the gym for almost a year and I also eat really well. The amount of spinach I buy is ridiculous. I should see really great results on the scale.”

It’s easy to say, “You’re right, you should be able to do a push up” …. and, “You should lose more weight than that” …. or even, “After all that spinach you should be as strong and looking just like Popeye.”

Hold on there, Superman.

First of all, let me clear this up - you are not Superman. Although you are wonderful and sweet and kind and work hard, and you are strong and full of smiles, and smart…you are not Superman.

Since we live like all other humans on this earth,

  • We grow old.
  • We can get hurt.
  • We have weaknesses, more then kryptonite and someone called Lois.
  • We gain strength by training hard in the gym, not getting closer to the sun.
  • We are unique, although similar.

If we lived the in the realm where “shoulds” and “musts” and “have tos” exist, then this is what would happen when you do your yearly tax paperwork…

After you do hours of work, find all your receipts, fill in all the boxes on your tax returns, cross all the T’s and dot all your I’s; you’ll be soon holding a check written to you. It’s guaranteed, it happens. NOT.

We all know things can go wrong. Sometimes it’s on our end, sometimes it on their end. Sometimes it’s out of our control and a tornado wipes out the computer system and all our tax documents are lost.

You get the idea. While you can do everything right, the end is not guaranteed. It might take more work. It might take A LOT more work for you to get the same result as the next person.

Here comes the disease of the “Shoulds”.

Give yourself a break. Realize you are not the same person as everyone else at the gym. Remember you had surgery last year? Shoulder surgery can leave you immobile for 2 months. It will affect how your body is for a long time. It just will. Or maybe you have health challenges that make it harder for you than others to recover from physical exercise. You might be on a medication that has a side effect of weight gain. Now you have to battle twice as hard for the same two pounds others seem to easily lose.

I read recently in The Grateful Plate’s ProCoach focus times how to cure the “I shoulds”.

  • Take two "what IS" pills.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Check in to your real life.
  • Repeat daily.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

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