Category Archives for "a dose of dean"

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


Sugar Free Me 2018 Signup is Here!

I can't even begin to tell you how pumped up ​we are to be teaming up with Dan DeFigio, the bestselling author of "Beating Sugar Addiction For Dummies", to help you get off sugar and help you take back control of your eating.

The goal of Sugar Free Me is ambitious. To give you the education, resources and support you need to overcome your addiction to sugar and carbs, and regain control of your life!

Now some of you may think I am going overboard with the word "addiction". After all while we know eating too much sugar isn't great for us, does it really reach that level? Evidence suggests it can, as sugar has been shown to stimulate the same pleasure centers of the brain as some drugs.

I don't think it's any big secret that sugar and sweets are a big "go-to" when we are stressed, or tired, or lonely. The kick of dopamine that sugar gives us can lead to a very destructive cycle, actually altering our neural pathways , and it's also no secret the cycle of sugar addiction can be hard to beat.

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.

What we are going to learn:

  • How to create your "New Normal"
  • The Different Types of Sugar Addicts
  • Meal Planning
  • The Anti-Craving Blueprint
  • Sustainable Nutrition
  • How To Fall Off The Wagon and Still Win
  • What To Do When A Craving Does Strike

We are also going to fill up your "Sugar Free Me Toolbox" with tools that are going to help you Avoid Temptation, Find and Avoid Your Food Triggers, and explore What You REALLY Want when you reach for the sweets. (Hint: It's not sugar)

The most valuable thing you are going to get over the course of this course (see what I did there) is daily accountability and incredible support from both those taking this journey with you and our incredible team of coaches.

You will have your own account created in a really cool program called "Coach Catalyst". Every day you will get an email or message to your phone that delivers your daily "Sugar Free Me" lesson and asks the question: "Did you avoid eating all added sugars yesterday?" 

Don't underestimate the power of answering that daily question honestly. This simple action does a couple of very important things. It creates a record for you to look back on and evaluate under what conditions and in what circumstances you tend to reach for the sweets. But it also helps your coach know when you need a little extra help to get moving in the right direction.

You also get access to our Private Facebook page, where you can hang out with folks on the same journey and where your coaches can offer more support. We have found these groups are a powerful way to stay connected and see that you are not the only one struggling. Take advantage of this page!

​So by now you are probably asking "How Much For All This?"

All we are asking is that you are "All In" and willing to open your mind (and mouth) to new ideas, foods, tastes and possibilities.

​That's Right. ​As a gift to you, we are offering this full 28-Day program as our "Fall Freebie" this year. You're welcome! 🙂

The "Sugar Free Me" Challenge Officially Starts Monday, ​September 17, but don't be "that guy", and sign up today!  As a bonus, you will get immediate early access into the Facebook Support group. 

​A Note From Coach Dean

​​For someone who loves sweets (like I do), you may be wondering what you might be getting yourself into.

As with anything we do that is "new", it's going to take a little time to adjust to your "new normal". Here's a thought to consider.

Did you know that one of the keys to success and happiness in life is to practice self-compassion?

We are SO hard on ourselves when we don't live up to our expectations for ourselves, and that usually leads to a downward spiral of guilt and feelings of failure. I have lived it, and it usually meant reaching for more food. That's how I got to 280 pounds.

But I learned really fast that to take it off I needed more than education (I knew eating junk food wasn't good for me), or more willpower (when I am tired or feeling blue I have none). I needed a strategy for dealing with the inevitable stuff that comes up to derail me perfect plans - I think it's called life!

And that is what Sugar Free Me is all about. Sure there is an education component involved, but more importantly we are going to give you real world strategies to set yourself up to succeed, including what to do if (when) you aren't perfect and fall off the wagon.

No program is magic. Change takes effort and self-reflection. It takes a willingness to step out of your comfort zone and embrace something new.

​And I believe in you. You can do this. We are here to help!

Make It Happen!

- DC

Chicken Salad with Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Thank-you to superstar Becky for sharing her take on this tasty recipe with us. Make sure you check out her notes at the bottom!

Chicken Salad:
1 rotisserie chicken, pull off the meat and get rid of the rest OR (1 lb. cold cooked chicken, shredded or diced)
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1/3 seedless cucumber, chopped
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 plum tomatoes, diced

Yogurt Dressing:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped 
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 cup Greek yogurt
Small handful dill, parsley, and chives; finely chopped
Three dashes hot sauce or to taste

In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and vinegar; season with salt and pepper.  Stir in the yogurt, herbs, and hot sauce.  Add the chicken, bell pepper, onion, cucumber, and celery; season with salt and pepper. Top the salad with the tomatoes. Serve on a bed of lettuce.

Notes from Becky:  This meal is super quick and easy to put together.
I used white vinegar (instead of the white wine vinegar) as that is what I had. 
I used Vidalia onion instead of the red onion.
I mixed the tomatoes in to the salad rather than putting them on the top. 
This makes a large amount. We got at least 6 servings—I guess it depends on 
how large of a chicken you start out with! 

And just to give credit where credit is due–she got the original recipe from the magazine “Every Day with Rachel Ray” August 2010 issue, pg. 103.

Enjoy this recipe.

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

Healthy Eating Doesn’t have to be Boring

If we maintain the status quo, we really aren’t growing, are we?
But growing and changing doesn’t have to be (and probably shouldn’t be!) a super-serious and boring business.
It should be fun!

How can I make healthy eating more fun?

  1. Make meals with lots of color and textures
  2. Try a new food or a new recipe
  3. Share a meal with others 
  4. Create your own dish 

What else can I do to keep things lively, interesting, fun? 

  • eat in outside
  • go for a picnic
  • bring out the placemats and fancy china- even at work
  • invite a friend to eat with you
  • make a meal for someone elderly and eat with them

To your best health,

Coach Nancy


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