Don’t Hit the Panic Button

When is the last time you ate perfectly healthy each meal and every bite, taste, and nibble in between your meals for an entire day? Go ahead I'm waiting while you think back that far.

So many times when we go about our day our intentions start high. We might even make it all the way through the 10 am break room donuts. And then disaster strikes, we have a small bite, really just a sampling of a piece of streusel your co-workers mother made that morning. Yep, you had a forkful  and now the whole day is ruined. 

WAIT one minute- Don't Hit the Panic Button just yet.

One bite, a forkful, a sample, and you are going to let it ruin your whole day?

I get it, its easy to throw in the towel and give in. I'm not saying I haven't been there. What I am saying is that I don't want to stay there. I want to feel successful not defeated. I want to realize I am successful in many things and other areas still need work. I also know deep inside one bite of cookie or streusel doesn't make me a bad person. I have so much more than that to offer this world.                And you do too!

Next time you are about to hit the panic button give yourself this test:

  1. Did you wake up this morning? 
  2. After you woke up, did you get out of bed? 
  3. Once out of bed, did you either brush your teeth, get dressed, or check your email? 

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions- congratulations you are alive and you are human.  Alexander Pope said "To Err is human, to forgive; divine." I don't think we  needed a pope to tell us that but it gives a sense of comfort to know we aren't alone in making mistakes. We all do. 

With nutrition our mistakes come after we set our minds to a task and then don't follow through. Very much like the day in the office with your co- worker's mother's streusel. We had determined ahead of time we were going to 'eat healthy'. By our own definition we hit the panic button of failure because of the one bite of streusel. In reality we made one mistake. Lets be real, while a bite of streusel (or whatever you did today) wasn't planned out on your meal plan, it won't ruin you. Pick yourself up, move on, and complete your day as planned. 

The panic button is the easy way out. Hitting the panic button allows you to quit work; the work you had decided to do.  Its hard to change your habits, Its hard to do things differently than others. Its hard to create change.

Take it from Rocky:  (this is one of my all time favorite speeches) 

Hang in there next time that panic button is calling your name. You've got this. We don't have to be perfect, no one is. We just have to keep on moving forward.

To your best Health,

Coach Nancy


Apple Cinnamon Smoothie

I love real food. And yet there are times in my life when I need super quick an easy. In those moments I whip together a smoothie. I follow three simple steps to the water in my blender. I add in the flavor protein powder I want, I chose a serving of produce, and a serving of fat. In this recipe, I used SFH vanilla protein powder, I cut up an apple, and I used flax seed as my healthy fat. BAM! Easy and Yummy.

Apple Cinnamon & Vanilla Smoothie

Serves 1

8 ounces water

1 scoop vanilla protein (I use Beverly UMP or SFH vanilla)

1 Gala apple cored and sliced, 

1 Tablespoon flax seeds

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

Mix all ingredients in blender until smooth and creamy. Pour immediately into a large cup. Eat with a spoon or a large straw. 

If you would like more recipes for healthy smoothies, stop on over and grab your free Smoothie Guide and Recipe Book.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy



Making Healthy Meal Planning Easy– Week Three

We are on a roll and just getting the hang of meal plans. The amount of time it takes this week will be shorter than the first two weeks. The process gets quicker and easier every week.

With week one and two’s meal plans in front of you, use it as the base for week three. If you loved each meal then just repeat the prior week’s meals. If you found a few meals that just didn’t work for your family than adjust that meal. It might be time to make a new recipe meal night. Adjust one or two meals. Don’t go crazy and change up everything that is working. Lets keep the changes small and consistent. Mix up the side dishes you served with a different meal and move forward. Don’t forget to make your grocery list too. Week three is done. Simple is Easiest, Simple is Best.

Still struggling to make it happen? Don’t give up. Anything new takes a bit longer until we have made the system our own. All this planning saves you time and loads of stress each day.

Start with the basics and keep moving forward.

  • Write down your family’s favorite meals. To help you out, list the dinner meals you ate last week. You might need to ask your kids for help. Shoot to write down five to seven meals.
  • Tweak these meals if they need it to be healthier versions. Make them contain only PPW. Protein, Produce and Water.
  • List out 2 or 3 PPW breakfast meals you enjoy eating.
  • Alternate these meals on your menu plan the first week. Remember breakfast doesn’t have to be traditional. Eating leftovers at breakfast makes things quick to reheat.
  • Lunch is next. Do you have time to make a meal each day for lunch or is leftovers a better choice. Remember “Simple is easiest, Simple is best”
  • If you choose to make your meals, prep as much as you can the night before.
  • Lunch can be easy. Baked chicken from the night before takes on a whole new appearance on top of a salad. Don’t have leftover chicken? Open a can/bag of tuna to place on top of the salad. Another option is to grab a few hard boiled eggs and make egg salad using an avocado as the mayonnaise. Add in a variety of raw veggies and your lunch is complete.

​You read Getting started with Planning Meals  or Week Two of Meal Planning.

Continue reading

Two Recipes to Feed an Army

Making and preparing a dinner meal for your own family can be time consuming and taxing. The thought of feeding 15- 20 people can feel like an overwhelming event. I've found two recipes that make a crowd happily fed but its easy on the time budget as well. 

These two dinner meals go in a crockpot and can cook while you're doing other things. Glance over the recipes now, you'll see the time to put them together doesn't take long. 

Cilantro Lime Chicken

2 pounds skinless chicken breasts

1 cup chopped bell pepper (or 1/2 bag of frozen peppers)

The men enjoying their feast.

The men enjoying their feast.

¼ cup of lime juice

1 – 14 ounce can diced tomatoes

2 TBSP cilantro

3 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp cumin

I cup chopped onion (or ½ bag frozen chopped onion)

Everything goes in the crockpot and you cook it on low for 5-6 hours (or on high 2-3 hours).

This meal can also be made into a freezer meal for later. Combine everything in large Ziploc bag and toss to coat. When ready to cook, thaw overnight or just put straight into the crockpot frozen. If thawed, cook about 2 hours on high or 3-4 hours on low. If frozen, cook 3-4 hours on high, or 5-6 hours on low. Shred the chicken with two forks before serving.

Green Chili Pepper Stew

(This recipe came from Hall of Fame peep- Judie who modified the original recipe from the Green Chili Bible Cookbook)

2 pounds of beef stew meat

1 1/2 onions chopped (or a bag of frozen chopped onion)

1 garlic clove minced

Lyn and Jane love these mealtimes.

2 - 28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes

3 4.5 ounce cans of diced green chilis

2 squares of beef bouillon

Place all the ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low for 7-8 hours. 

This meal can also be made into a freezer meal for later. Combine everything in large Ziploc bag and toss to coat. When ready to cook, thaw overnight or just put straight into the crockpot frozen. If thawed, cook 7-8 hours on low. If frozen, cook 3-4 hours on high, and then 5-6 hours on low. 

Enjoy.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

5 Reasons to Journal What You Eat

Five Very Good Reasons for Keeping a Food Journal

  1. Account for all those ‘little extras’
. Aiming to lose a pound a week, but eating just a few extras (eg. a can of coke, a cookie and a packet of crisps) during the day can prevent you from seeing results on the scales.

  2. Be aware of when you’re eating Keeping a food diary highlights patterns, showing if you overeat at particular times. Perhaps you binge late at night, because you’ve been eating too little all day? Or perhaps you graze constantly? If you don’t keep a food diary because you have no hope of remembering everything you eat … you may need to change your habits.
  3. Fight ‘portion creep’ Those of us who’ve been dieting or maintaining for a long time often get used to “eyeballing” portions rather than weighing everything out. But if your weight loss has plateaued, or if those pounds are edging back on, keeping a diary means you need to weigh your foods. That “medium” portion might be bigger than you think…
  4. See your habits changing It can be motivational to look back on a food diary from a few months or even years ago and see how your nutritional choices have changed. Perhaps you’ve curbed your chocolate habit, or maybe you now eat proper meals instead of junk-food snacks. And if you’re having a bad day, flicking back to a “perfect” week in your diary is encouraging: if you did it once, you can do it again!
  5. Boost your self-control Knowing you have to write down everything you eat makes you think twice about that donut, or that second plateful at a buffet. Even if you’re the only person who’ll see your diary, recording your food intake is a very easy way to improve your self-control.

Starting a food journal is as easy as an empty sheet of paper and a pen. Use those two tools to write down everything you eat and drink for 3 days. You'll want to add details to your paper as well. Things like how much of each food did you eat, when, were you hungry? How was your food prepared? Did you eat at home? at the table, in the car, or inside a restaurant. 

Those questions work for me. But let me know what helps you best.

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

Coach Nancy’s Breakfast “Potatoes”

These Breakfast “Potatoes" are a great low-carb alternative to starchy potatoes. Turnips have a very similar taste and texture so you'll never know the difference.

1 large turnip, peeled and diced

1/4 onion, diced

3 slices bacon

1/2 teaspoon each of paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper

1 green onion, sliced, for garnish

Add the turnips, onions, bacon, and spices to a pan that has been heated to medium high heat. Cook 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally. Cook until the bacon is crispy and the turnip is soft. Top with green onion before serving.

Add an egg or two and voila, breakfast is served.

Shhhh……The first time I made this, I didn’t tell the kids I used turnip. They never asked so I never told.

To your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Your Mom was Right- Eat Your Vegetables

Vegetables and Your Health

"Eating higher levels of veggies and fruits are associated with a lower incidence of:

Cardiovascular disease

Colon, prostate, cervical, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, thyroid, and breast cancer

High blood cholesterol

High blood pressure

Type 2 diabetes

Obesity

Stroke

Osteoporosis

and a lot more that aren’t on this list…” – Dr. John Berardi

There is no magic pill, potion, or lotion that is going to do all that. Now if that list doesn’t speak to you, do vitamins, minerals and fiber? PLUS you get to try an amazing variety of incredible tastes from all over the world – right from your very own kitchen!

Did You Know? Vegetables (and fruits) provide an alkaline load to the blood. Both proteins and grains present acid loads. Too much acid can cause loss of bone strength and muscle mass – not cool. Osteoporosis is not just about calcium. Stay balanced by getting enough veggies.

Here's what you can do:

Our goal is to get at least 2 servings of vegetables every time we eat. 1 counts, but at least 2 is way gooder!

What’s a serving?

1/2 cup raw chopped veggies

1 cup raw leafy vegetables

Here’s are some other (non-measuring cup) examples:

5 broccoli florets

10 baby carrots

1 tomato

4 slices of onion

1 cup of leafy greens (spring mix)

15 cherry tomatoes

0.5 bell pepper

1 cup of spinach

“But” you whine “I don’t like any of those!”

Lucky for you there are hundreds of vegetables in this great big wide world. Check out this alphabetical list to get you started. 


And there is even more good news.

 Filling up on those cancer fighting, free radical busting, vitamin and fiber packed veggies help you stay full longer

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Pomegranate Salad

I fell in love with Pomegranates. They are just a fun little fruit right from the start. I love opening them up, I love the smell of the fruit, and those little seeds are delightful. This is one of my favorite salads in the Fall. It brings thoughts of summer back to me. 

FOR THE SALAD

4 cups any leafy greens (I like mixed greens)

1 clementine

1 avocado, sliced 

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds 

1/4 cup sliced red onion 

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, roasted

1/4 cup pecans 

FOR THE DRESSING

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

1 tsp balsamic vinegar 

Juice from 3 mandarin segments 

1/8 tsp garlic powder 

To taste sea salt and pepper 

Prepare all salad ingredients and toss several times to mix. In a small bowl, stir together the dressing ingredients and pour lightly over the salad. 

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Sugar and Lima Beans. The Key To Great Health?

Ever met someone who says "I hate sugar"? 

Me neither.

Sugar just tastes good. It makes food taste good. You can put sugar on just about anything and it's going to taste better. 

And that's kinda that problem, right? It's not like you have to trick us into eating more sugar, like my mom did when she was trying to get me to eat my lima beans.

True Story. When I was a kid, before the advent of stores like Sam's and Costco, my parents used to but food in bulk from Rich Plan, in Pittsfield. They bought cereal that way. I remember one time getting a case of Wheaties, a case of Cheerios, and a case 100% Bran. The rule was we had to eat ALL of those before they would buy anymore. A good strategy would have been to alternate the boxes of sawdust (100% Bran) with the other two. But, kids being kids, we would eat the Wheaties and Cheerios first, and be left with 11 3/4 boxes of the Bran. 

The ONLY way to eat that stuff was to drown it in milk and add sugar in about a 1:1 ratio. It was almost tolerable that way. It was kind of like eating milkshake syrup mixed with the leftovers from the sawmill down the road.

In other words, sugar made it better, much better.

So let's get that off the table. Nobody is denying that sugar tastes good.

Remember those lima beans I mentioned before? What if I told you that eating lima beans was linked to an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and dementia, as well as all cause mortality? And on top of that increased your likelihood of getting type II diabetes? What if I told you they contributed to systemic inflammation, higher cholesterol and triglycerides, and excess body fat?

Could you force yourself to stop eating lima beans? 

I thought so. 🙂

In fact it would be, dare I say it, kind of dumb not to at least work on reducing the amount of lima beans you were eating, right?

Well as I know you have guessed, all those diseases and conditions I mentioned above HAVE been linked with high blood glucose. And without going into all the complicated mechanisms involved with our metabolic pathways, a chronically high carbohydrate load (eating more carbs than our body can efficiently process) leads to problems.

I am a pretty healthy guy. My normal bodyweight and lower than average levels of body fat would indicate all systems go, right? 

Not so fast.

You see a fasting glucose level of 100mg/dl or above is an indicator of pre-diabetes. About 84.1 million Americans fit that profile, and I was one of them. If you are one of them and don't do something about it, your likelihood of developing type II diabetes soars.

Even though I ate pretty "clean", my level were consistently over 100, and sometimes much higher. Even though I had lost 100 pounds and looked pretty good on the outside, my insides were not healthy. My pancreas just doesn't function optimally anymore, and there are millions in the same boat as I was.

It took me almost two years to get my blood sugar where my levels are now consistently in the 80's. And part of that intervention was, you guessed it, reducing my overall carbohydrate intake, and especially the sugar. Those once a week "FREE" meals had expanded well beyond that scope, and my body was working overtime to try to keep up. 

Maybe that's you right now. You did great with Sizzlin' Summer Slimdown, but you could use a little tune-up on the diet. That's where I am at. 

Or maybe you need a little deeper dive into getting your eating habits on track, and a simple but focused plan is right up your alley.

Either way, Sugar Free Me is for you, and me and really just about everyone I know.  (why oh why couldn't it be "Lima Bean Free Me?") 

What Is Sugar Free Me?

Sugar Free Me is a 28-day step-by-step education, accountability, and strategy course that helps you understand the root causes of sugar addiction, how to address them to create your plan of action, and help you kick the cycle of eating excess sugar.

And if you read my earlier post with all the detailsyou know that this course is being offered as our "Fall Freebie" this year. But "no charge" does not mean it is not valuable. In fact kicking your sugar habit to the curb could be one of the best things you ever do for yourself. 

The "Sugar Free Me" Challenge Officially Starts Monday, September 17, but we are absolutely cutting registrations off on Wednesday September 12, so get in today!

Let's do this thing together!

- DC



Three Simple Steps to Eating Less

Eating the food we need and not overindulging is challenging. The more consistent we are with portion control the better we maintain the body we want or the faster we get to the body we want. There are three things I want you to start doing.

1. Use a smaller plate size. Simple but effective way to see a plate full of food and yet the portions are smaller because the plate can only hold so much.


2. Don't go back for seconds. Enjoy the first serving but don't reach for a second spoonful (helping) of foods. 

3. Put a reminder on the table to eat slowly. By eating slowly you will your body the chance to naturally signal it is satisfied or 'full'. You can do this in a variety of different ways. Moving the kitchen clock so it is directly across from where you sit will remind you to eat slowly during your meals. Put out different placemats or place a vase of flower on the table. Use that cue of something different on the table to trigger you to act differently. Using a smaller forks and spoons will naturally slow you down as well.


Take one of these ideas or all three and use them to help you.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy