Home Cooking for Your Health

Posted by on Apr 29, 2013 in Cooking at Home, On My Soapbox, Wellness Ideas | 0 comments

I recently read an article in the New York Times where two of my favorite writers covered one of my favorite topics: cooking. Not a celebrity chef cooking but US cooking in our homes.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the article … “[Michael Pollan] says: “Cooking is probably the most important thing you can do to improve your diet. What matters most is not any particular nutrient, or even any particular food: it’s the act of cooking itself. People who cook eat a healthier diet without giving it a thought. It’s the collapse of home cooking that led directly to the obesity epidemic.”

In my house the main cook is my husband. His grandfather was a chef / short order cook /restaurant owner. He learned to cook because that’s how the division of labor worked when he was growing up. He was bad at waking everyone up in the morning, so his sister took over those duties. And he took over her duties in the kitchen. And thus … he loves to cook. Early in our marriage I did some regular cooking, but after a year or two we discovered that everyone was happier when he cooked most of the time. I know I am super lucky! Not only does Cris like to cook … he makes delicious, interesting meals!

Cris especially loves to cook for a crowd!

Cris especially loves to cook for a crowd!

Given this situation, I especially thought it was interesting when the article quotes Pollan saying, “We need to complete that uncomfortable conversation about the division of domestic labor, which the food industry deftly exploited to sell us processed food,” he says. “But if we’re going to rebuild a culture of cooking, it can’t mean returning women to the kitchen. We all need to go back to the kitchen.”

Although Cris and I are invested in being healthy, we don’t count calories or obsessively exercise. And most of our health-indicating blood tests come back in the “healthy” range most of the time. We believe it’s because we rarely eat food just from boxes or drive-up windows. In fact, I’d estimate that 90% of our food is home-cooked.

Contrast this lifestyle with some folks I know. For example, I have a massage client who has never used her stove in the 7 years since she bought it. One day I was talking to the friend who helps us keep our house clean (super grateful for her help too!) about how much work it can be to clean our kitchen. I happened to ask her if this was pretty common among her clients. She said that as many of her clients don’t cook as do cook. Wow!

One of my favorite wellness authors, Marc David, says this in his Eater’s Agreement:

“I recognize that at its deepest level eating is an affirmation of life. Each time I eat I agree somewhere inside to continue life on earth. I acknowledge that this choice to eat is a fundamental act of love and nourishment, a true celebration of my existence.”

Don’t you love that idea? Our fridge has an important sticker on it … too important for the car bumper. It says, “Love People. Cook Them Tasty Food.” Even if you are just cooking for yourself today, aren’t you worth that love??


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Health Coach or Fitness App?

Posted by on Apr 3, 2013 in On My Soapbox, Questions Clients Ask, Wellness Ideas | 0 comments

Someone recently asked me, “Why would I hire a health coach when I can download a free fitness app to keep me on track?” And, you guessed it, I have an answer to share with all of you!

Don’t get me wrong—I love fitness apps like LoseIt and MyFitnessPal. In fact I think that these apps are the food diary of the twenty-first century. I remember my first venture into Weight Watchers back in 1990. We received a small paper booklet every week and were told to write everything we ate in the booklet. Then a few years later a calculator-type tracker was available—for about $75 I think.How things have changed! Now these FREE apps have millions of entries in a database that users can continually add to. The apps can tell you all kinds of different nutrition information about that snack or restaurant meal. They approximate your home-cooked meal’s nutrition value with ease. Lots of advantages … including all the things an app will tell you about calories burned during your day. You can even count the calories involved in cooking your dinner!

App or Coach

So what does a health coach offer that’s different? I can only speak for my approach, but one thing a health coach does is consider each client as a wholly individual being. The health coach does so much more than focus on calories in and calories out. Even the prevailing health wisdom is calling that an outdated approach.

While every health coach has an area of expertise or specialization, they know how to incorporate that knowledge into the reality of a client’s day. For example, I work primarily with people who are interested in addressing chronic pain and inflammation through holistic and nutritional means. There are some very specific steps towards this goal, but based on my experience I can determine whether or not those steps apply to you.

A few days ago, I was working with a young woman who contacted me because food shopping and knowing healthy from unhealthy was very difficult for her. After four sessions, including a grocery store tour together, we reached a really important moment. It started innocently enough with a conversation about how great the grocery store tour was for her confidence. And all of a sudden, my client was making connections about her food-related childhood experiences and the fear she feels today. It was a tissue and tears moment, and it cleared away a lot of her tension about food.

This story is a perfect example of what health coaching offers that ISN’T available in a free app. Health coaching offers recognition that each client’s needs are individual. It offers a place to discuss not just what to eat but why to make adjustments. Together clients and health coaches create sacred space where big emotional connections happen. The coach shares practical tips like recipes and lessons in label reading—in a way that’s easy to absorb.

Most importantly the health coaching relationship offers trust, hugs and love—invaluable encouragement!


Ready to get started feeling less pain and more energy? The best way to determine what program is right for you is scheduling a FREE 45-minute get acquainted call. Simply call or email me today to get started!

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Buzzkill or Mindful Consumption?

Posted by on Aug 3, 2012 in On My Soapbox, Wellness Ideas | 0 comments

Lately I have been feeling a lot of buzzkill vibes. I keep hearing people say this or that food is “totally delicious” and is making all kinds of great nutritional claims. Maybe it’s my marketing background or the cynic inside me, but I just don’t believe the marketing spin or reductionist nutritional claims of processed food products today. I am here to own my buzzkill vibe because I believe it’s going to keep me healthy for a long, long, long, long time.

Items that need a little buzzkill in my book:

The cookies called WhoNu …

The fast food chains, especially [insert your favorite here] …

Pretty much any food item sold in a bag or a box …

Comfort foods that ultimately don’t make our waistbands (or our guilt complexes) more comfortable …

Food companies survive on consumer gullibility and our desire “not to know” what’s really going into our bodies. Is that the way I want to live my life? Is that the way I think I will be able to live the BEST kind of life for me? I support everyone’s right to choose whatever food they prefer. I just encourage everyone to be mindful – spend 2 minutes reading that label or Googling the ingredients of your favorite chicken strips. And then choose what you consume.

If ignoring the truth gives us a buzz, I will pass on that one. My buzz in life is feeling so much energy I can skip the afternoon nap. My buzz in life is craving exercise and laughter instead of cookies. My buzz in life is making choices today that will enable me to feel this good in thirty more years. I choose not to let mindlessness hinder the fullness of life I deserve to experience.

What buzz do you choose – mindful or mindless?

Ready to get started being more mindful? The best way to determine what program is right for you is scheduling a FREE 45-minute initial health and wellness consultation. Simply call or email me today to get started!

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Five tips for eating “clean”

Posted by on Jan 9, 2011 in Cooking at Home, Wellness Ideas, Why Organic | 0 comments

Recently, a friend and Twitter follower mentioned that she’s beginning to “eat clean.” And that she was really nervous because it’s such a big departure from her previous eating habits. Perfect inspiration for some blogging … ;->

So what does “eating clean” mean? And why do I keep putting it in quotes? Clean eating is about eliminating the majority of chemical-laden, heavily processed foods from our diets. It’s about focusing on whole foods and knowing what’s in the foods we eat. It’s the idea that if your grandmother or great-grandmother wouldn’t have been able to identify a food, it’s not a clean choice.

Clean eating also means cooking at home more than eating out, which can be a real challenge for folks who haven’t done a lot of cooking lately. I know because in my adult life I haven’t been the primary cook in my home – and it takes practice to cook yummy stuff!

1. Practice cooking at home. Almost anything you make mostly from scratch is a whole lot cleaner than restaurant or fast-food meals! I’d recommend starting with a good old-fashioned soup – especially since we’re heading from fall into winter and soups just feel so good right now.

  • Here’s a Slow Cooker Chicken Barley Stew that sounds quick and yummy.
  • This Easy Breezy Soup recipe offers you a lot of options. It’s a great way to be sure not to waste any of your vegetables too. I’d add some canned (and rinsed) beans to it as well.

2. Add lots and lots more vegetables to your meals. You can steam, saute, roast a whole bundle of veggies on Sundays and then use them during the week for lunches and dinners.

3. Get comfortable with whole grains. An easy place to start is quinoa (say “keen-wah”). It’s versatile, quick and delicious. You definitely want to toast it before boiling to get that nuttier flavor – don’t worry all the directions will be on the package!

  • Follow KeenOnQuinoa on Twitter and read her blog for ideas
  • I often take my latest veggies (see number 2!) and add some quinoa to them before re-heating.
  • Quinoa is also great to make a green salad more hearty. Just put some cooked and cooled quinoa on top of whatever salad greens and veggies you’re planning!

4. Every clean eater needs a reward sometimes. My choice is dark chocolate treats because they are generally low in sugar and high in anti-oxidants. It’s important to long-term change to ensure you never feel deprived! Try Gnosis Chocolate if you want to really taste some amazing stuff!

5. Water – water – water. Hydration is so important for our bodies. And most people are way more dehydrated that we imagine. In fact, thirst is one of the last signals of dehydration … not one of the first. So if you are thirsty, you already have a lot of hydration catching up to do.

Buy a filtering pitcher and use water from your tap. Get some reusable non-plastic bottles and keep them full. Never leave home without them. Sometimes drinking from a bottle (whatever size and shape work for you) is easier than pouring glasses. It’s really a personal preference, so experiment and see what makes it easy for you to hydrate.

At first, drinking a lot of water means you spend a little (or a lot) of extra time in the bathroom. Persist and your body will begin to manage the process more efficiently. Just focus on the benefits your body is receiving!

In conclusion:
Every change is made up of a series of small steps. You’ll succeed every day that you move forward even a little. As Yoda says, “Do or do not. There is no try.

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