What should I eat when I am sick? [Infographic]


​Are there foods that help me fight bugs faster, or help me from getting sick at all? Let's find out!

​by ​Dean Carlson, Pn2


​It's true. What you eat can have a direct impact on how quickly you recover from a cold, flu or other yucky thing that can bring us down and make us feel like doing, well, nothing!

It all has to do with your gut health. What happens in your digestive tract plays a huge role in how well you can fight off germs, or whether you come down with something at all.

​This infographic has some great tips for boosting your immune system, as well as helping you feel better faster.

​The take home? Take care of your gut, and it will take care of you! 🙂

You wouldn't want to keep this great info to yourself, especially when the men you know get sick (yes, we are babies). Download a printable copy of this infographic to share, it's the nice thing to do!

Calories count, but counting calories? Part 2 [Infographic]

Part ​2: Calories ​Out

Compiled by Dean Carlson, Pn2. Infographic created by John Berardi Ph.D. and Helen Kollias Ph.D.


​In Part 1, we talked about how "calorie math" doesn't always add up. This article looks at why accurate counting can be so complicated, and gives 4 reasons why daily activity tracking and trying to count the calories we burn on a daily basis isn't as straightforward as it seems.


​It's a question I get asked a lot by clients in our gyms. "How many calories does an average workout burn?" 

​The reason for the query is they want to plug my answer into fitness tracker software, in order to calculate how many calories they are burning daily, and thus how many calories they should be eating.

If it were only that easy. There are SO many factors that go into determining energy expenditure accurately, and unless you are measuring factors such as carbon dioxide output for the duration of training, you just aren't going to get a reliable number.

​ In my experience, most of the clients that try to track calories eventually get tired of doing so, or frustrated because it's not "working".

​Fortunately you don't HAVE to measure calories in and out all the time, if at all. The infographic below tells you ​some of the challenges with counting calories, as well as an alternative method to energy balance that you carry with you all the time. Simple!

Download your own printer and tablet version friendly copy of the infographic to pass around or keep for reference.

​Ever wonder why you track so carefully but you STILL can't lose weight? No matter how good fitness trackers are, they can't compete with reality. The most important measurement is the outcome you are getting from your current plan. If the results you are getting are moving you in the direction of your goals, stick with it. If not, it's time to do something different.

​Want more nutrition know-how?

​As I am sure I don't have to remind you, nailing our nutrition down is not as easy as "experts on the interweb" want you to think.

At The Grateful Plate, we work closely with our coaching c​lients to help them understand what is holding them back, and guiding them to building great eating skills and the habits to get lean, once and for all. When you are ready to take the next step, please reach out and let's talk.

Handling the Holidays – At the Office

It's not the food that makes the holidays, it's the memories you make.

And those calories are coming from everywhere! But no where seems worse than the place we spend the majority of our day. The office.

There's clients, reps, patients, and business associates who send or bring in all sorts of goodies.

There's the staff office parties which typically means a catered lunch or... ten, depending on where you work.

And then there's your co-workers. The overachievers who want to show off all of their superb culinary skills by bringing everyone in the office high-calorie, delicious homemade goodness. And insist on watching you try "just one."

Add to all of that, the end of year work related stress that leaves you short-fused, and sleep deprived and you are primed for a sugar-laden calorie bomb before noon! Here's my top tips for handling this:

  1. Recognize that just because food is there, doesn't mean you have to eat it. Are you eating because you're hungry? Or because you're bored and you CAN? Before you indulge in anything at the office, take a moment and think about why you are eating. If it's a one of kind treat, offered only once a year, than maybe it's worth the calories. If it's something you could get again tomorrow, why bother?
  2. TAKE the time to prepare and bring your lunch every single day from now until the holiday craziness has passed. And not just any old lunch - think of some of your favorite, clean lunches and bring those, so you won't be tempted by the trays and trays of sub sandwiches in the break room. Pack snacks too. Things that are easy and portable are string cheese, raw nuts, fresh fruit. Always aim to eat some lean protein and fiber so you will stay full for a longer period of time.
  3. Handle the food-pushers assertively. When they offer you tempting goodies, look them directly in the eye and say "It looks wonderful and I'm sure it tastes fabulous, but I am (insert one of the following: full, limiting how many sweets I am eating this year, cutting back on in between meal snacks, etc). The key is to be appreciative, but also direct. If they persist, again, look them directly in the eye, and say, " Honestly, first name, I'm _______(repeat your rationale). Leave it at that.
  4. Lastly, the most simple and direct tip I can give you. Avoid the food. Don't hang out where food is stored or sitting out. You'll constantly have to tell yourself "no" and repeating "no" over and over doesn't actually increase your conviction, it weakens it. It's like exposure to a cold or illness. The greater (more frequent) the exposure, the greater the chance you will catch the bug and give in.

Do you need a make over to a Thanksgiving Favorite? 

Sweet Sweet Potato Casserole

2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 8-ounce can of crushed pineapple, don’t drained

1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a food processor. Process until smooth. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square broiler-safe baking dish with coconut oil. Whisk whole eggs, cinnamon, oil, coconut milk, vanilla and salt in a large bowl until smooth. Add the sweet potato; whisk until smooth. Stir in pineapple and its juice. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with pecans. Bake the casserole until heated through and the edges are bubbling, 35 to 45 minutes. Set aside while you make the topping.


As the “biggest eating holiday” in the US, it’s an important time to maybe pull the reins back a bit.

Now, I’m not here to say live off celery and tofu for Thanksgiving.

But what about setting up a little challenge with yourself.

  • Skip the seconds on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Go to buffet line only once during the main course and once for the dessert line.
  • How about just one glass of that something something instead of a few?
  • Take a walk right after the meal instead of hitting the couch. 

Deal?

Most importantly, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

If you still need some help to Handle the Holidays at Home check this out. 

Handling the Holidays- At Home

Sticking with our Handling the Holidays theme... I’m back at it with today’s topic: Too many calories.

I’ve heard more than one person complain of all the sweets and baked goods that are around this time of year.

And unless you plan on checking yourself into a spa for the next two weeks, it's hard to avoid. There's the food YOU make at home (for your family or other people), the food that people give TO YOU, and the food that's brought into the office.

And that's not counting office parties and holiday parties that take place in the last 2 weeks of the year, either.

What's a goal-oriented clean eater to do?

Since there's so much to discuss on this one, I'm breaking it down into separate newsletters.

Today we tackle the home environment.

  • Tip #1. Instead of baking cookies for others, consider other baked goods that you can give as WHOLE THINGS. For example, banana bread, pies, cakes. Most of these are less time-consuming to make than individual cookies, and you won't be tempted. I mean who's going to give a pie to someone with a piece cut out?
  • Tip#2. Consider GIVING away things other than baked goods. Fruit baskets are great choices and many people actually welcome them this time of year, when they've been inundated with other junk food. Make your own for a fraction of the price of store bought.
  • Tip#3. I know I'm going to get grief about that tip above. Too many of you have family and friends who EXPECT cookies and goodies at home and at the office. My best advice? Make healthier cookies. They will NEVER know.  Now remember, they aren't calorie free. But at least they will have fewer calories and better ingredients.
  • Tip#4. When you are baking at home, those little BLT's add up. Remember, BLT stands for Bite, Lick or Taste. Don't start cooking until after you've had a protein rich breakfast. My pick - veggie omelet with a side of turkey bacon, piece of fruit and 1/2 a sprouted grain english muffin. Your body will be busy digesting that breakfast for hours and you'll be less tempted to snack. If baking is an all day event, plan a decent lunch and take a break to eat. My pick would be a grilled veggie and hummus wrap with spinach and sliced avocado.
  • Tip#5. If you will be baking at home or you just have lots of goodies in the kitchen, brush and floss your teeth after every meal. A clean fresh mouth will make those treats less tempting. Consider chewing peppermint gum as well and if possible, avoid the kitchen. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Tip#6. Are you inundated with food related gifts from family and friends? I almost hate to say it, but re-gift. You can appreciate the thoughtfulness without having to "appreciate" it. Pass on the thoughtfulness to someone else.
  • Tip#7. What's your reason for NOT overindulging this season? If you don't have one, you need to come up with something that will make this a season that is defined by something other than the goodies you can indulge in. With no real reason for sticking to clean eating, you'll be much more likely to convince yourself a little bite here, and a little cookie there won't hurt.

The easiest place to control excess calories this holiday season is your own home. Watch what food you bring in, encourage company to take leftovers and goodies with them or give away what you can.

Remember it's not the food that makes the holidays, it's the memories you make.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

P. S. Need Help Handling the Holidays with some great appetizers? Click here

Handling the Holidays- The Appetizers

We're kicking off our Thanksgiving suggestions very fittingly -- with the dish people think of first, appetizers.

As if Thanksgiving doesn't have enough calories associated with the dinner alone, we always start it off with hors d'oeuvres or what my friend’s toddler calls, HAPPYtizers.

Now these can play a critical role, especially if there are hours between when your guests first arrive and when the REAL meal is served. But the calories can also quickly add up, particularly if you are snacking mindlessly.

So here are my strategies for handling appetizers, food and drink that is tempting, and that will be around for a good bit pre-meal. Note: these strategies are good for later that evening with dinner and dessert as well.

  • Survey your options before eating. Eye everything down first without a plate and determine what you will eat.
  • Skip any food that you can get anytime. A bowl full of M&M's? Who needs them? Not when you can drive past any gas station later that evening and pick some up (That is if you decide your Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without them. And I’m betting that won't happen.)
  • Fill up on low-calorie options like veggies (watch the dip) or salads (careful on the dressing). Then, look at the entire selection and determine what you'd REALLY like to enjoy. Allow yourself to have some of that -- enjoy it and move on.
  • Don't hang out next to food. C'mon that's just asking for trouble. Once you've enjoyed some appetizers, put your plate away and situate yourself away from the food.
  • Bring your own HAPPYtizers if you're a guest (ones that won't wreck your diet) and if you are hosting, fool the crowd with some of these lower calorie/lower fat options that AREN'T low on taste!

 Stuffed Mushrooms

1 small white onion

4 portabella mushrooms

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, fine diced

1 pinch nutmeg

1 pinch black pepper

1/2 cup sherry

¼ cup Vegetable stock

1 cup feta cheese

parmesan cheese

Chop onion with 1/8 dice, remove ribbing in mushrooms, cut ribbing and stems of mushrooms. Add oil to a sauté pan. Sauté onions, diced mushrooms and nutmeg through veggie stock, then add garlic until aromatic. Add the feta cheese and stir to combine. Stuff mushrooms with mixture, sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan cheese, and a drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Cut each portabella mushroom into quarters to serve.

Antipasto Sausage Skewers

12 ounces fully cooked Italian-style poultry sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil

1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed and cut into 1-inch pieces

2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces if large

1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage; cook, turning 2 or 3 times, until warmed through and browned, about 8 minutes. Thread 1 small or 1/2 large basil leaf onto a small wooden skewer. Add a piece of roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomato, artichoke and sausage, arranging them on the skewer so that it can stand up on the sausage end. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make about two-dozen skewers.

Green Goddess Dip (great with veggies) 

1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted and peeled

2 scallions, green and white parts, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup fresh tarragon

1/4 cup fresh parsley

3 Tablespoons white vinegar

3/4 cup buttermilk

Salt

Vegetable sticks, for dipping

Place the avocado, scallions, tarragon, parsley, vinegar, buttermilk and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender; puree until smooth.


Enjoy your Holidays. 

To your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

P.S. If you need some help handling the holiday stress click here!


Handling the Holidays – The Stress

On Thanksgiving, do you eat and eat and eat and eat, because it is there? Do you leave the meal feeling stuffed and guilty for overindulging again?

Or

On Thanksgiving, do you feel deprived, hungry, pick at only a few food items, watch as everyone else gets to eat what they want? Are these your only options?

This Thanksgiving, put a plan in place. Enjoy the special meal, choose small portions of those food items that aren’t typically on your menu plan. Don’t go at it with a buffet line mentality, but as someone with a treasured meal mentality that allows you to look forward to a meal that has finally arrived.

With the holidays here in full effect, I thought I’d cover some common struggles over the next few weeks we all face during this time of year.

And that leads me to our first one. LACK OF SLEEP.

It's true when we're rushing to fit it all in, sleep is the very first to go. We stay up later than we should knowing that we "just need to get through the next couple of days...week or month." And yet, even though we may finish a project or task by staying up later, that sleep decrement bleeds into the next day. Lack of sleep is more than just self-imposed 'punishment' for not being able to get everything done.

It can lead to weight gain, difficulty concentrating, and can flat out ruin your holidays.

So if you're already putting sleep on the back burner to start crossing things off your holiday to-do list, take a moment and consider what really needs to get done.

Ask yourself, what do you want to create the most this holiday season? Instead of telling yourself you need to have a perfectly decorated house, home made goodies for every acquaintance you can possibly think of, the ideal Christmas present for everyone on your list, in addition to being perfectly dressed, coiffed and manicured, maybe you pick a 'theme' for the season.

Focus on ONE thing and let go or delegate the rest. I know it sounds easier said than done...but how many years have you tried to pack everything in and watched the month vanish at a blink of an eye....with no real meaningful memories in it's place?

Here are just a few trade-offs to consider so that you may go to bed earlier each night.

  • Purchase gift cards instead of presents for people on your list. Easy one stop shopping and little gift wrapping involved. Plus, as a friend always says - it's 2 gifts in one...now you have a reason to go shopping too!
  • Hire someone to clean your house.
  • Pick one or two key rooms to decorate and let go of the rest.
  • Shop at stores that offer gift wrapping with purchase.
  • Having a party? Have it catered and/or hire a bartender and enjoy the opportunity to visit with family and friends rather than spending your time in the kitchen.
  • Shop online.

And yes, I know, sometimes you DO NEED to stay up later than you'd like. Here's your recipe for the next day.

Take a nap if you can. 15-20 minutes. No more or else you'll end up creating a cycle that could make falling to sleep at night harder.

Lay off the caffeine. I know, sounds like it's impossible...but it's not. Suffer through the sleep deprivation for the day, and sleep more soundly the next night.

Don't skip your workouts. The exercise will help to make you feel energized. At the least, get outside for a quick 15-20 minute walk in the brisk air. Invigorating.

Bottom line, ask yourself is staying up late to do whatever you need to do, really worth it? Are these expectations you have of yourself necessary or even important to you? If not, it's time to let go.

To your Best Health (and next time),

Coach Nancy

Calories count, but counting calories? Part 1 [Infographic]

Part 1: Calories In

Compiled by Dean Carlson, Pn2. Infographic created by John Berardi Ph.D. and Helen Kollias Ph.D.


Most of us go down the "calorie counting" path at least once in our efforts to lose weight. After all, everybody knows "calories in - calories out" is the key to weight loss success, right? But is it that simple? This article and accompanying infographic outlines 5 reasons why all those food calculators may not be as helpful as we thought.


Actually the principle of energy balance does work:

Take in more calories/energy than you burn, you gain weight. Take in fewer calories/energy than you expend and you will lost weight.

It's not the principle that is flawed, it's the counting that is so hard to actually do correctly and accurately enough to make it worth while. 

There are so many factors working against you, on both ends of the energy equation - in and out.  Part 1 highlights the problems with "calories in".

Download your own printer friendly copy of the infographic right here.

25% Margin of Error?

That would make a very significant difference when trying to figure out while all those calories counting apps aren't really helping, wouldn't it?

Now I am not saying you have to never track your calories, but here are my recommendations if you do.

Understand the limitations of the methodology. If you are not seeing the results you expect, take another look at the infographic for potential reasons why. The important thing is results, not the actual number of calories the tracker says you are eating. If you are working on losing body fat, and it ain't happening, it doesn't matter how many calories the tracker says you are eating, you need to eat less.

There are times that I track calories, usually as a "sanity check". In other words I am not seeing the results I want, and when I track for a couple weeks it is easy to see why. I am usually eating a lot more food or a lot more times than I think I am. But even I don't want to reduce the enjoyment of eating to a math problem all the time. That's just no fun!

There is a better way, and it doesn't involve calculators and fitness apps. It's portable, reusable, and effective. It's the Calorie Control Cheat Sheet.

Stayed tuned for Part 2: Calories Out, coming up in a couple weeks!

The untapped fat loss secret: Sleep [Infographic]


by Dean Carlson, Pn2


You are exercising regularly, your nutrition habits are improving, but you STILL aren't making the progress you think you should be. So frustrating! Here's a question that might clue us in. How is your sleep? If you aren't sleeping well or enough, we might be on to something. Here's how to tap into the power of sleep and make rest a top priority.

++++

Struggling with fat loss? Just not feeling it, during workouts or in general? Sluggish and tired more than you think you should be? Unfortunately for many of us this is very common, and poor nutrition is not always to blame.

Good quality sleep is really important. Our ability to think clearly, make good decisions, perform at a high level, and even digest our food efficiently depends on it.

It probably won't surprise you that fewer than 1 in 3 adults get less than 7 hours of sleep a night, which is the minimum needed to keep your risk of health problems low.

The sad part of that statistic is how many of us actually overestimate how much sleep we are really getting; studies have shown that number to be in the millions.

This infographic shows you how to monitor if you are getting enough rest before it's too late. Follow the tips to build your sleep habit, which actually starts first thing in the morning!

Download the infographic for your tablet or to print out, and keep it as a hand reminder to prioritize your best sleep, every day.

There you have it! Why sleep is so important, how to tell if you are not getting enough, and how to set yourself up for sleep success!

Print out or download this infographic as a reminder to practice, practice, practice the skill of getting enough sleep. And be kind - share it with a friend who might benefit from it. Thanks!

The real cost of getting and staying lean [Infographic]


Is It Worth The Trade-Off? It's Your Choice.

by Dean Carlson, Pn2


We have a picture in our head of the "ideal body". But are the pictures in the magazines a realistic picture of what is achievable? Do you have to look like superman or a supermodel to be healthy? And at what cost?

Regardless of your goals, there is going to be work - hard work - to lose fat and get leaner. And there are amazing health benefits to doing do. But there are trade-offs, particularly as you get leaner and leaner. This infographic outlines them and shows you what's involved. We'll take a look at the extremes on both sides, and then have you consider what's healthy and achievable.

Click Here for a fully printable version of this Infographic.

For a complete explanation of the infographic, including a review of the research by our friends at Precision Nutrition, check out the accompanying article: The cost of getting lean: Is it really worth the trade off?

Shut the Negative Out

"I can't lose weight."

"I can't find the time to plan my meals."

"I can't find the energy to get to training."

Our minds are powerful. Your internal dialog sets the tone for what you believe is true about yourself. If you keep telling yourself “I can’t lose any pounds off the scale” or “I can’t find the motivation” then you WON’T! You need to start BELIEVING you CAN!!! Can’t is a four letter word that we want to banish from our internal self.​

Somewhere between being perfect and giving up, there’s BETTER.

Many of us strive for perfection, especially on the journey of weight loss. When things don’t go as planned you might say “Forget it, I will start again tomorrow” and tomorrow turns into Monday and so on. Then that voice inside your head might tell you, you failed again so why bother trying any more. You need to SILENCE that voice and get back on track! Every day (even every minute) is an opportunity to get better and closer to our goals!

We must choose to be positive and shut the negative out! There is so much negative going on in the world it is hard not to be brought down by it. Be grateful. Write down something positive about each day and see the difference it makes. Small shifts like this can make a big difference in yourself. I wouldn’t doubt that soon gratitude will be overflowing to others.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy