Category Archives for "Food"

Don’t Be on the Donut Diet

The "Donut Diet" requires you to have donuts on hand - makes sense, right?

(P.S. Don't be on the Donut Diet)

I want to get down to brass tacks. Because diets don't work, period.

The very word itself lends itself to a temporary fix rather than a permanent change.

It’s one of the reasons I don’t just hand you a menu plan and say “eat that”. What happens when you reach the end of the plan, or the one we gave you doesn’t work for you?

You go back to your default eating, which is what got you where you were in the first place. And that just doesn’t make sense.

Short term thinking rarely leads to long term success. When we focus on the “outcome” rather than the behaviors, we set ourselves up for failure.

Let’s say you want to lose 10 pounds in the next 2 months. Your whole focus is on that 10 pounds, and at the end of the 8 weeks you weigh yourself and you lost 8½ pounds. Your mind immediately focuses on the 1½ pounds you didn’t lose. I have seen it over and over again. You were wildly successful, and yet somehow you still are disappointed.

So how do we stop that?

We create and track measurable behaviors (or habits) that are supportive of our long term goals. The habit is something I can control and measure. If the habit I am developing is to eat breakfast every day, I either did it or I didn’t. When I do it consistently I know it will positively affect my desired outcome

Many of you struggle the most with planning. It was by far the biggest factor to derail you the quickest from your goals.

So let's hear what you found planning does for you:

Scott said "Planning helps you to shop more efficiently and you don't end up buying stuff you don't need (or is unhealthy for you!)"

Rebecca said, "This has helped me budget and eat better!"

According to Stephanie, "This helps me stay more true to my nutritional (fat loss) goals when I plan."

Deb said, "It will definitely help me to stay on track the whole week."

Stacey found, "Now I'm much better prepared, feel less anxiety over 'what's for dinner' and have started making a larger variety of healthy dinner choices."

The list goes on to include Mary, "It will help me to stay on track, and I won't be inclined to 'just pick something up'."

Melissa said, "it will keep me from running to the store and just grabbing something that probably wouldn't be good for me."

I could go on and on. My point is that planning meals for the week will:

  • Save time at the store and at mealtime
  • Save you money
  • Mean less stress
  • Equal a happier family - they know what the plan is and for some families they get to help with the planning
  • Provide you with healthier meals
  • Make life easier for you
  • Keep you off the donut diet 🙂

You will not have to think on the fly. Check out these tips to planning your first week of meals.

So saving time, saving money, saving your sanity, and making the whole family happy all with a little well spent time at the beginning of each week.

And you? Do you want any of these things to come to you?

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Healthy Crockpot Breakfast Casserole

This is a hit at my house with my kids and it’s also a hit for me as it’s so quick to prepare. In fact, I prepare it the night before, and then pull the crockpot out of the refrigerator at 4:30am. Its ready to eat when I am. It’s a great medley of sweet potatoes, scrambled eggs, veggies, and bacon – all in one.

Healthy Crockpot Breakfast Casserole

by Coach Nancy

  • 12 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 30-ounce bag sweet potato cubes (or fresh sweet potato cubes cut in chunks)
  • 4 slices cooked bacon
  • ½ onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1 small head broccoli, roughly chopped

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, mustard, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Lightly grease the bottom of the crockpot. Place half the potatoes on the bottom. Layer with half the bacon, onion, bell peppers, and broccoli. Add the other half of the potatoes, then top with the rest of the veggies. Pour the egg mixture on top. Cover and cook for 4 hours on low. Serve it hot!

Quick tip: Riced sweet potatoes and broccoli can be used. Frozen pepper and onion make for a faster prep time as well.

Laughter is the Best Medicine

"Q: Doctor, I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?
A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that’s it… don’t waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that’s like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?
A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?
A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can’t think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain…Good!

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU’RE NOT LISTENING!!! …. Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they’re permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: Are you crazy? HELLO – Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It’s the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?
A: Hey! ‘Round’ is a shape!

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

AND...

For those of you who watch what you eat, here’s the final word on nutrition and health. It’s a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans
5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

Conclusion:

Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you. Well, there you go - I didn't say it was good advice! Laugh a little; no, actually, laugh a lot - it's great for you!"

This wasn’t original to me, I just couldn’t keep it to myself knowing that humor and smiling isn’t shared enough in our world today. If we can turn humor and smiling into all our laughter we can benefit and so can others. Laughter is sweet medicine for the soul.

Physical benefits of laughter:

Mental benefits of laughter:

Social benefits of laugher:

  • Boosts immunity
  • Lowers stress hormones
  • Decreases pain
  • Relaxes your muscles
  • Adds joy and zest to life
  • Eases anxiety and tension
  • Relieves stress
  • Improves mood
  • Strengthens relationships
  • Attracts us to others
  • Enhances teamwork
  • Help defuse conflict
  • Promotes group bonding

Your soul and everyone around you benefits from laughing. There just isn’t enough humor, giggles and laughter going on. We need to seek it out.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Craving Busters

If you’re like me, I often want to eat when I am tired, sad, stressed or bored. True hunger kind of grows on you. It creeps up and makes us a bit hollow feeling or empty. When we let hunger grow it can turn from just a quiet signal to a full-blown H-Anger attack. Hunger can be strong, then quieter. It feels kind of like waves on an ocean.

BUT cravings on the other hand come on strong. Cravings don’t want to be ignored and will take over our thoughts and actions. Cravings must be what it feels like if your body was taken over by an alien. It’s not pretty people.

This helpful chart came from our ProCoach program.

Craving Busters

Here are some tips to help you deal with cravings:

  • Understand that cravings are normal. They come and go.
  • If the craving is minor, ignore it.
  • If the craving is moderate, distract yourself. This is more intentional than ignoring.
  • If the craving is overwhelming, have a small portion of what you’re craving in a safe environment, such as a restaurant where you can only get one portion of the food (instead of the whole thing). Eat it slowly. Stay aware of all the signals your body is giving.
  • Keep a “craving diary”. Write down what you’re craving and when. Also write down what you’re thinking and feeling at that time. Over time, look for patterns. Once you know the pattern, you can disrupt it.
  • For women keep track of your menstrual cycle on a calendar. Remind yourself daily to be on a 'Craving Alert' especially before your cycle begins.
  • Substitute something that gives you the same feeling. For instance, munch on raw veggies when you’re craving crunchiness. Take a hot bath when you’re craving warmth and comfort. Go for a brisk walk when you’re craving distraction. Pop a sugarless mint in your mouth, nibble celery, or drink water when you just want something to do with your mouth.
  • When you have a craving, ask yourself:
    What do I expect this food to do for me? How will it change my feelings?
    What am I telling myself about this craving?
    What else is going on for me right now?

Hunger or craving? Allow yourself time to figure out which one you are feeling. This “pause” is one way to stop weight gain from feeling like its spiraling out of control. A short break to check yourself can give you back the control you’re looking for.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Homemade Breakfast Sausage

Homemade Breakfast Sausage

by Coach Nancy​

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix everything together in a large bowl, using your hands will work best. Form into even sized patties. You’ll be able to get 6 to 8 patties. Cook in oven for 15 minutes or until no longer pink inside. Serve hot.

Make ahead tip: This recipe works great to cook the patties and freeze, then reheat the sausage when you need them. Just remove from freezer, place in a medium-hot pan for 3 minutes until heated all the way through. Or microwave for just under a minute.

3 Common Nutrition Challenges & Tips to Help

Challenge #1: "I can't eat 3 times a day."

There is a pretty simple answer to that one. Just don’t. The magic isn’t necessarily in the number of times you eat. The point is to make sure you are eating, and that you are controlling your cravings and blood sugar so that when you do eat you are in control and making good choices. If 3 meals plus a recovery drink after training works for you, then experiment for 2 weeks and measure the results.

Challenge #2: "It's too hard to eat vegetables with every meal, especially breakfast".

My advice here is to keep it simple. I eat cherry tomatoes almost every day at breakfast because they are easy. It’s kind of fun to pop them in my mouth, and they complement all sorts of protein sources. I start off the day with some good fiber and carbohydrate, and they don’t spike my blood sugar like cereal or a bagel. Just do it for a couple weeks and it becomes a habit.

Challenge #3: "I have to have cream in my coffee".

I’ve been working diligently to cut down my coffee and caffeine consumption. I did some calculating just on the calories I was consuming in my coffee, and discovered I was going through a quart of Half & Half by myself every two weeks. For some of you out in coffee land that is probably actually on the low side, but here’s the rub: That’s 1200 calories every 2 weeks just from cream in coffee, which adds up to 31,200 calories a year! Drinking an extra 31,200 calories over your body’s energy requirements would result in a 9-pound weight gain over the course of a year – OUCH!

Before you tell me “I don’t use that much”, keep track over a week or two and check it out. And think about this – how much weight do you want to gain this year from drinking your calories? Is 4 or 5 pounds okay? Multiply that over the next (or last) 10 years and tell me how that works for you.

Don’t let one of these “I Can’ts" frustrate you, but don’t dismiss them or give up either. Make no mistake, you have dietary habits already. It’s a habit to grab a bagel and coffee, or cereal and toast, for breakfast. It’s just something you do, and have probably done for years. It’s a habit to have a sandwich for lunch, and a potato or rice with dinner

Habits are created, which means they can also be replaced.

Pick just one small change this week and work on it. Not all of them, just one. Make it the one that you think will be easiest, and build on that success.

To you best health,
Coach Nancy

Discomfort of 80

"I just ate too much."

"Wow, that was fantastic, I just had to eat the whole plate."

"I really didn't need that."

It is so easy to eat more then we need. It’s not always about physical hunger. There's other stuff at work.

For example:

  • It's hard to "waste" food.
    We can hear our parents' voices in our head: There are starving children! You shouldn't leave food on the plate!
  • Food keeps us occupied.
    If we stay "busy" with food, then we don't have to deal with other things...such as "the big stressor in our lives". Or just plain old boredom.
  • Food numbs us.
    It’s a good painkiller for emotional and physical distress.
  • We confuse emotions with hunger.
    Often, we mix up emotions such as anxiety or anger with hunger. It feels like hunger… but it isn’t.
  • Habits.
    We do many things automatically, such as picking the last tidbit off the kids’ plates as we tidy up dinner, or popping a bite into our mouth as we cook.
  • We’re worried about social consequences.
    We don’t want to say no, make a fuss, or stand out as a “weirdo” at social events with friends and family.
  • Our environment.
    We’re there, and so is the food.

It's natural to avoid all of these discomforts. So we make choices that don't fit with our goals.

We eat because we’re bored, upset, stressed, or simply near tempting food. We eat more than we need because eating to satisfied is challenging.

Commit to the challenge:

  • You’ll be more able to reach your goals.
  • You’ll feel more in control of yourselves and your actions.
  • You'll feel stronger. More courageous.
  • You’ll be proactive rather than reactive

Its not easy to change why you do what you do, BUT commit to the challenge.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Razzle Dazzle Your Main Dish

Recently someone shared with me a new way to grill chicken. She had experimented with some spices and found a combination or two in her cupboard that were fantastic on her dinner that night.

It got me to thinking, because I love to make things simple but I also like to liven up my meals. I’ve experimented with a few seasonings in my kitchen and found a winning recipe (yes, I always win 🙂 ).

I just thought I’d share both of them with you. It is soon grilling season, so now is the time to “razzle-dazzle” your family with these two rubs.

Spices are a fantastic way to make your meal shine without adding any extra calories. In fact, many spices and herbs have health benefits, too.

Did you know paprika is an anti- inflammatory agent, while ginger can help prevent motion sickness? Garlic is one of the most helpful spices for the digestive tract. Adding these tasty spices to our foods can actually help keep from reaching for the Pepto-Bismol – who knew?

Got any great combos you would like to share? Put them in the comment section below and let us try your favorites, too.

Becky's Chicken Rub

  • 2½ teaspoons McCormick Garlic Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt

Mix both together and use as a rub on 4-5 chicken breasts an hour before grilling.

Ragin' Cajun Dry Rub

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme

Mix all of these and add to fish, chicken, or pork. Can be used as a rub or marinade. I use this on fish before making fish tacos – yummy. It is also fantastic on chicken. Pork ribs, need I say more?

Share your favorite dry rub or marinade with us. We’ve got plenty of grilling time ahead.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

You Are a Fathead

Yes, you are, and no, I am not insulting you.

Your brain is comprised of approximately 60% lipids (aka fat), and our cell membranes are fat based as well. According to Dr. Ryan Andrews the fat we eat literally becomes part of our cells, and has a huge impact on if our nervous system communicates properly. I was amazed to learn that a properly balanced fat intake can affect how my entire body functions, from our brain power all the way through. You really are what you eat!

What are healthy fats so important?

  • Fats exert powerful effects within the body and healthy fats have been shown to offer the following benefits
  • Cardiovascular protection (though there is less evidence for protecting against heart failure)
  • Improve body composition
  • Alleviate depression
  • Prevent cancers
  • Preserve memory
  • Preserve eye health
  • Reduce incidence of aggressive behavior
  • Reduce ADHD and ADD symptoms

When it comes to healthy fat, intake amount is important. People are often concerned about eating too much fat, but not getting enough fat may also be the underlying cause of health problems.

We need adequate fat to support metabolism, cell signaling, healthy body tissues, immunity, hormone production, and the absorption of many nutrients (such as vitamins A and D). Having enough fat will also help keep you feeling full between meals. So what the good doctor is saying is that we need healthy fats – to be healthy!

You can read more about Super Omega-3 in this article: 5 Fast Facts for Fish Oil.

You have been lied to.

Low fat diets stink. You aren’t getting the health benefits outlined above, but that is not all. Healthy fats cause satiety, or the feeling of being full longer, more than protein and certainly more than carbohydrates. You know it’s true. You can blast through 2 or 3 donuts and be hungry an hour later. Try eating a couple eggs and an avocado and see what happens – I can guarantee you will be fuller longer. Part of the reason is that it takes fat a lot longer to digest than carbohydrate, so it doesn’t empty from your stomach and travel through the digestive system as fast.

But won't all that fat go right to my waistline?

Au’ contraire, mon ami!

Eating fat does not “make you fat”. Eating excess of anything will cause it to be stored as excess energy (fat). And an argument can (and is) being made because it is easier to overeat carbohydrate than it is fat or protein, increasing your fat intake is a good nutrition strategy when looking for overall calorie reduction. It helps keep you full longer and also avoid the huge blood sugar crashes that can accompany carbohydrate intake, particularly from simple carbs.

Here’s a partial list of healthy fats that you should add to your eating plan:

  • Avocado
  • Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, herring, tuna, mackerel)
  • Macadamia
  • Nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Flax seed oil
  • Fish oil
  • Omega-3 eggs

Healthy fats. Every day. No excuses.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

I’m the Leader of My Pack

I often refer to myself as a mother duck with her chicks. My chicks are you, those that I coach either in nutrition or on the gym floor.

Like a mother duck, I lead the pack. I swim in the front. I walk in the front of the line. When some people walk in the front of the line, they want to be seen. They want the attention. They are there because they are the biggest, bad-est dude out there. If they were talking, they would be heard to say, “Watch out cuz here I come!” That’s not why I am up front.

I’m up front to show you the way. I’m leading those that have asked for a bit of help to get to their goals. That’s my job, I have the knowledge to help you get from here to there.

I’ve run into a mother duck with her chicks before. At the first sign of danger those chicks run for hiding. They hide under her wings. She is there to protect them. I am a mom by nature and a mom is a mom. I will protect those that are in my care at all costs. Please do not test me on this. Don’t mess with anyone in my pack. But that also means my little ducklings don’t get to pick on each other or themselves. Each person is unique. They have their own special qualities. I rarely hear adults belittling other adults. We’re just too cool for that. But tearing down our own selves is the easiest thing we can do. I won’t let you do that either. So while I will protect you with all my energy, I will use some of that energy to keep yourself from tearing down your own personhood.

Mother ducks swim up front. She is actually taking some of the wake off of her chicks by bracing them from the wind and waves. I want to do that for you. That is why often in my nutrition coaching I give you guidelines. I know these guidelines work. I’ve taken the edge off of your work by doing the swimming ahead of you.

But I am swimming. I am working too. I have to be out in the gym doing physical things, and I have to be in my kitchen getting good food for myself to eat. I’m still a duck that needs to eat to live.

Mother ducks are a great picture of myself to my coaching students. If you are swimming out there alone and need a bit of guidance, or someone to stay behind in the battles of life, or maybe just someone who’s been there and done that to follow. Check out some of the coaching services at The Grateful Plate.

I'm here for you.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy