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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

A little story from a colleague:

Pic is from (http://www.firstpeople.us/pictures/wolves/1024x768/JLM-wolves-1024x768.html)

TWO WOLVES - One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle  is between two wolves inside us all. "One is Evil -  It is  anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt,  resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and  ego. "The other is Good -  It  is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy,  generosity, truth, compassion and faith." The grandson thought about it  for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf  wins?" The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

As I was reading this little story passed on from a colleague I felt that I wanted to share this with you. The holidays can be a struggle sometimes no matter whether they are considered a wonderful time of year or a very hard time of year. I think its rather tough time of year. Not sure why it has to be that way, but for me this little story reminds me that my goal in life is to radiate loving kindness. It isn't always easy for me to do, but I feel I am my best when I stick to my goal.

Wishing you lots of joy, peace, hope, and whatever other blessings and abundance you require now and in the new year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Tip: Sugar Plums!

Well I don't really mean visions of sugar plums I mean get some sweet dreams!

Don't forget to get some rest this holiday season. We keep running from gathering to gathering or shop to shop and we don't stop to take proper care of ourselves. Sleep is extremely important if you want to keep the weight off. Make sure to get whatever amount of sleep your body is asking for. Maybe that means you have to skip an early morning workout (I did today - it crushed me, but at the same time it was so luxurious getting to sleep in another hour and a half!). You are going to notice a difference when you get the rest you need. It will be less likely that you will be looking for energy in the form of cheap calories like soda, fancy coffee drinks, or candies to keep you going.

Nighty night!

Taking advice a bit too far?

I like to think I am a minimalist. Though I am probably fooling myself as I still have tons of "stuff." I was wondering if you think I am taking my minimalist approach too far?

When it comes to the Holidays we do not decorate at all. I did put the holiday cards in the living room. But, that has been my only "effort" nothing else (I realize that was no effort at all). We have not decorated once since moving into our house. In fact, every year in the summer I go through boxes in the basement and find a small box of holiday decorations. Each year I toss about half of what was in there sending it away to a charity. I have kept a few things - but I don't even remember what they are.

I keep thinking that if we have kids maybe we will start decorating a bit and get a tree. Plus, my mother says she is saving all my decorations for when I am ready. I wonder how many that is? And since we do not spend the holidays at our house we can enjoy what is going on elsewhere. I don't know. Maybe if I was more interested in decorating I might be more interested in the holidays as a whole?

Anyway that's my story right now. I wanted to share with you Jessica's tips for having a clutter-free holiday if that is an area you feel a bit challenged. I subscribe to her 3 tips. But, maybe I should start dressing my dog up as Santa and start planning a gathering next year to magnify the holiday experience?

Superfood - Chia Seed

If you are like me then you will find it supremely fascinating that chia seeds are considered a superfood. Seriously who eats chia seeds? I mean I grew up watching chia pet advertisements year round - this time of year was a big hit (I can only guess as a gag gift). Anyway I do not think that I would have ever thought to eat the chia pet start pack...but I grew up in a home that had cases of soda and candy bars. No one was thinking about superfoods. Oh actually it wasn't that bad. My mother was also a huge fan of vitamins, actually she still is. She is a very healthy woman in her mid 70's - who has never been on any medications (knocking on wood now). Back to the chia seed.

Basic overview of the awesomeness of the chia seed:
  • Omega-3's
  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Fiber
  • Antioxidants 
  • Easily digestible
  • Prolonged energy endurance - make your carbs digest at a slower rate (great for athletes)
But, I have found that these little seeds are totally versatile and I love using them when cooking or baking. I like the way they get gelatinous like flax seeds when they sit in water and they don't have a specific flavor so you can use them in multiple ways (tossing in salads, smoothies, baking...) I got this idea from my friend Michelle.

  • 4 tbsp of chia seeds
  • 1 cup of organic coconut milk (you could use almond or rice milk too)
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup (or agave, raw honey, brown rice syrup - depending on the level of sweetness you desire)
  • 1 drop ocotea* (completely optional or add some dried cinnamon or cardamon or nutmeg)
  • A few Goji Berries (and/or some chopped nuts, dried fruits, sesame seeds, flax seeds)
(Ocotea is an essential oil from the Amazon that has the same odor as cinnamon, and contains the highest levels of alpha humulene, a powerful anti-inflammatory. Cinnamon has also been used in studies to determine if it can help type-2 Diabetes. So I use the Ocotea to favor some of my cooking and baking...)


Put the chia seeds into a bowl and add the coconut milk


Let the mixture sit for 5 mins. Then stir. Off and on for 20 or 30 minutes.

Once it is thick you can add your sweetener and berries or nuts (this is where I added the ocotea oil)

You can eat it at room temperature or put it in the fridge to make it more ice cream like...

Let me know what you think!

More details coming out later today on the group program starting in February 2010 that is going to rock your world! Woot. You are going to feel better, look better, and build on that momentum to create the life you want to be living.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Tip: Be Merry!

Be Merry!

 (click this link to get yourself a sticker of this picture)

Well after all it is the Holiday Season. What I want you to do is make sure you are making time to play and decompress from whatever stressors may be causing you extra burdens. Here are some ideas: go to the movies, build a snowman, comedy club, sledding, dancing, ice skating, meet up with family or friends and go caroling, or skiing - whatever strikes your fancy! Sound like fun? Good! Go have some fun. That's really all there is to this tip.  Relax and enjoy your favorite activities.

Why do I want you to play? The more stress you are under the more likely you are going to hang on to excess weight or cause other health problems. When you are calm and refreshed it is less likely you are going to over indulge on desserts or have seconds - total bonus! When you are stressed out your body produces cortisol and that cortisol is really efficient at sending sugar to your belly area which ends up getting stored as fat. So what sounds like more fun - pumping cortisol into your system really efficiently which might = excess fat. OR having fun with friends that make you laugh so hard your belly hurts? The choice is yours.

So I'd suggest not focusing on what is stressing you out. Instead find something you can do that makes you laugh hysterically during this holiday season.

Don't forget to check out my post on the upcoming group program starting in February...this group is going to seriously kick butt and you will want to be a part of it! There are more details to come - can't wait to tell you all the juicy details.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Squash with a twist of...


I made a squash dish last night that I decided to share. It isn't fancy & only requires a few ingredients - which is the BEST!

Delicata Tahini Squash from Integrative Nutrition:

This takes 5 min to prepare and then 30 minutes to bake.

The reason why I choose to make this recipe was because you can eat the whole squash (meaning the skin & seeds too).


  • 2 delicata squashes (about 7 inches long)
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon tamari - I used 2 tbsps
  • Pinch of cayenne (optional) - I used some hot pepper flakes I got from an Asian Market
  • 1 tablespoon water - I didn't use this - I added a bit more tamari
  • Black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Slice squash in circular discs about 1/8 inch thick, leaving seeds.
  3. In a small bowl mix tahini, tamari, cayenne and water, adding a bit of water to get a creamy consistency.

In a large bowl, mix squash slices in sauce until each piece is coated.

Place on a non-stick baking sheet, sprinkle with pepper and place in the oven for 15 minutes.

Flip pieces and bake another 15 minutes, or until the squash is soft and tender.

I thought this was really tasty. It wasn't too sweet. Squash is already sweet so the tahini gave it a little pop without the typical sweetness of honey or brown sugar people like to add to root veggies.

I think next time I will try peanut or cashew or almond butter to see how that mixes things up...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Every year my book club gets together and does a cookie exchange. This year one of the members, Elizabeth brought a special cookie for me. Elizabeth has been working REALLY hard to make healthy foods for her 4 growing boys. She has a cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld that has helped her with this task.

She made the Chocolate Chip Cookies (with chickpeas). Here is what she said "Another hit! Jeff & I think these cookies are slightly more "earthy", but that didn't stop the kids!"

Elizabeth made a few minor changes and so I am going to write her ingredients.


  • 1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup of organic butter
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 - 15 oz. can of drained chickpeas (smashed a little)
  • 2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum free baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray (Elizabeth used a stone baking sheet so she did not do this step)
  • In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electronic mixer; beat the sugar and butter with a wooden spoon or on medium speed until smooth. Beat in the egg whites and vanilla, then the chickpeas and chocolate chips. Add flour, oats, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low speed until a thick dough forms.
  • Drop the dough by the tablespoonful into the baking sheet, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Press gently with a fork ro fatten. Bake until the cookies are golden brown and just set, 11 - 13 minutes; do not overbake. Transfer to a rack to cool
  • Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


A little Feng Shui - More Tips for Dealing with Clutter

I don't know about you, but getting rid of stuff is my absolute favorite pass time. I have already talked about that on a few occasions. Anyway I have heard there is a new show out there that deals with people who hoard stuff. Sounds like it can be a rather troubling show (I don't know we purged our old TV a while back). Today I thought I would share some tips from Jessica @ Rejuvenate Space: 

More Tips for Dealing With Clutter

Are you crazed and frazzled – not thinking it’s possible to stop for one minute and reflect upon your clutter situation and how to deal with it? Are there hardly even the briefest of moments free in your hectic day?
Check out the rest of the post here
Happy clutter removal to you!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Tip: Drink!

 Today's Holiday Tip: Drink

The picture I have selected to share certainly looks enticing doesn't it? Choose your beverages wisely. Drink lots of water as always!

While shopping or meeting up with family and friends you might decide to hit the convenient coffee shop. Avoid choosing specialty drinks they are ladened with loads of sugar, sodium, and sometimes artificial chemicals. Choosing the low-fat option really isn't going to help you out either. When you choose the low-fat selection what "they" (they meaning companies who create the pre-made drink concoctions) do to compensate for the removal of fat is they add more sugar, more sodium, and maybe more chemicals. These drinks will whack out your blood sugar and then you will be left craving.

Instead choose hot tea or plain black coffee - add real raw honey or agave (unlikely to find at the coffee shop) or full fat cream or milk. If you like add cinnamon or nutmeg if its available to jazz up your drink. You will expose yourself to less calories and remove the possibility of opening yourself up to those cravings.

When heading to an evening event where there will be alcohol the same rules apply. Fancy drink mixes with heavy creamy consistencies (bailey, kailua - type stuff) , fruit punches, margaritas, daiquiris, or some other concoction - if you are trying to watch your waistline then you want to avoid these kinds of alcoholic drinks. The second reason is that when you drink alcohol you tend to determine that eating a little more of the cake, bars, fondue or whatever is in your sites is a great idea (trust me I know)! After downing a few potent drinks the food always looks better but, how about the taste? Well, you really might not taste it at that point so then you end up regretting your decisions the next day or maybe not? Maybe that's just me.

Instead choose plain wine (remember 4 oz is a serving) and red wine is touted for the boost in antioxidants so that's a win-win.  Another option would be champagne as it has less calories than other drinks. Wine & champagne are still alcohol and sugar so you still have to be careful. But, the other bonus is that wine & champagne are to be sipped and savored - so if you find yourself guzzling then set the glass down and find some water to guzzle instead.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Holiday Tip: EAT!

Today's Holiday Tip: EAT.

Well of course eat. That's what parties and gatherings are for right? Tell me how many of you out there have skipped meals to "save" up for the holiday gathering later that day? I know I've done it (not anymore though). You essentially starve yourself all day and then get to the party and what happens? You INHALE! You have intentions of trying not to go crazy, but shoot there are so many lovely sweets & treats that you can't resist. Your favorite foods might have been prepared especially for you and you know you want to eat it, but you overdo it. Actually you cannot resist these temptations because you are hungry. Your body has not properly eaten and so it freaks out. Your body takes over and says gimme, gimme, gimme.

What do I mean by telling you to eat? I mean that I want you to start your day off right. Eat a healthy breakfast and a good size lunch. I know you are crazy busy with all the stresses of the season and sometimes eating will take the back-burner to squeezing in one more errand. But, this one tip can save you extra holiday weight gain. If you are going to a dinner party make sure to grab a small snack before you get to the party. You will avoid the pitfall of eating too much, too fast, and feeling bloated or discouraged by what you ate. 

You will be glad you did!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

No Coast Craft Fair - Mia Sorella

So cooking in the kitchen can sometimes be a drag! What if you were wearing a vintage inspired apron? Well, that changes everything. Doesn't it? I think so, but I like to act on stage. Seriously if you want to dress up to cook and make it classy why not? Maybe the apron can be a little sexy - whatever strikes your fancy.

Cooking should be fun. I know that. I try to make it fun. I make quick, easy, minimal ingredient meals - this is one of the many areas I help my clients gain confidence in. Of course sometimes you still need to mix things up. You could even have MadMen playing in the living room to get you in the mood. Have a cocktail hour. I'm not saying I want to be a housewife from the 50's - that would truly be a mess, but adding a bit of pizazz didn't hurt no one. :)

Mia Sorella features:
Cotton Aprons
Cocktail Aprons
Party Dresses

No Coast Craft Fair - Grovecraft

I'm sure you can see right off the bat why I wanted to showcase this lovely proprietor - Holly Magner! I had such a hard time deciding on the beet & carrot set - when there were peas, asparagus, and apples to consider as well as Minnesota State mittens (cuter than you think!).

I love my fruits and veggies and now I can wear my adorable mittens to prove it. Watch out.

Grovecraft recycles! "I make things out of other things. Hats out of pants, mittens out of sweaters. I make beautiful things out of clothes and things that would otherwise get thrown away."

Check out all her various styles at Grovecraft and pick out a unique gift for someone special.

No Coast Craft Fair

This morning I had plans with my dear friend to have tea. We decided to travel to the Midtown Global Market. I wasn't quite sure why, but I knew there were several coffee shops and that we were bound to find some tea somewhere and have a nice chat (secretly I thought I might see if the Salty Tart had any gluten-free/sugar-free treats, but never got around to it). However, I failed to remember that there was a HUGE craft fair going on called No Coast Craft-O-Rama. I am not usually the type to attend craft fairs and so I had no plans to hit up this event - usually I would run screaming. But, it was very hip and happening - it ain't your typical old school craft fair held in a grade school or church basement. In fact, the place was busting at the seems there were so many people!

What is awesome about this event is that it celebrates local artists some using recycled materials and making their products with pride & infusing what they make with style, love, and a bit of sweat! I wanted to showcase a few of the crafters at the event. Each of them will be checking in on the post and add a little blurb to the details of what they sell. Overall, all the booths offered high quality, ascetically pleasing "crafts".

Just a picture of my loot (see the gloves with the beet & carrot?). Yay

Friday, December 4, 2009

Healthy Cookie Recipe

My husband had an opportunity to sample holiday treats at his office's holiday bake off this week. While he was looking around at tempting treats he came across a lovely cookie that is gluten-free & dairy-free (woot woot). He was so happy! In fact, he smuggled a few to me in his bag and produced them from a napkin - isn't he great? Anyway the baker, Kimberly Kershak was kind enough to share her recipe with us so here we go:

Banana Oatmeal Health Cookies by Kimberly Kershak
  • 2 cups mashed ripe bananas
  • 4 cups oatmeal
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup chopped peanuts or pecans
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • cinnamon to taste (about 1/2 - 1 tsp)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl till everything is uniformly moist. 
  3. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. The dough will not spread, so flatten it to the desired cookie thickness.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Eat warm or after cooling.
  7. Store in an airtight container.

Kimberly says that these are awesome snacks, and don't get much healthier (I agree!). They are gluten-free/dairy-free, with no added sweetener or butter. For a variation, you can substitute the nuts with just about anything: raisins, dates, or if you want to be less healthy maybe some chocolate chips (she added 2/3 cup of chocolate chips).

Thanks Kimberly! These were tasty snacks.

Oh and I want to make a plug for my new facebook page - Minneapolis Health Coach. Become  a fan and suggest it to your friends! Thanks

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

On the go breakfast ideas

Have you heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Sure you have. Of course sometimes you get out of bed in the morning without a moment to spare and are off running to work without breakfast or worse without brushing your teeth (I know all about this). So knowing that you need to eat breakfast isn't the issue - its being prepared. But, that doesn't make it any easier to deal with right? Here are a few ideas for healthy, quick, easy, tasty breakfasts.

Make your breakfast and then pack it and eat it at work so you won't be late:

  • Eggs + Salsa + Guacamole+ Whole grain/gluten-free tortilla
  • Eggs + Mixed Greens + Brown Rice
  • Cup of cottage cheese + sliced fresh fruit
  • Greek yogurt + walnuts + granola
  • Make a smoothie of coconut milk + bananas + strawberries
  • Try brown rice cereal (make it the night before)

Make food the night before:

  • Hard boiled eggs + whole grain wheat toast/gluten-free toast 
  • Whole grain wheat/gluten-free toast + organic PB 
  • Make your oatmeal in the crock-pot so it is warm & ready in the morning
  • Make a nice mixed greens salad + sliced almonds + drizzle of olive oil + balsamic vinegar + 2 chopped hard boiled eggs & pack a side of toast
  • Package some leftovers and have them for breakfasts - there is no such thing as "breakfast foods" 
  • Make a tortilla de patata  or a frittata or quiche and eat throughout the week

Just grab something:

  • Lara Bars
  • Handful of raw nuts + greek yogurt
  • Handful of raw nuts + dried berries (unsweetened like Goji)
  • Grab 2 brown rice cakes + PB + brown rice syrup/raw honey
  • Apples + PB
  • Celery + PB
  • Bananas + Nut Butter (peanut or almond butter)
  • Drink an oz of NingXia Red to tide you over it has 19 amnio acids, beta carotene, EFA's, Vit C &E, plus B complex so it will boost your energy in the AM

When you are thinking about breakfast think about what fuels you. Ask yourself - How will I feel after I eat this? Try to use common sense when choosing something. Something that someone else loves eating and makes them feel good might not be right for you (I'm thinking waffles - I am not a fan). Try not to eat foods out of packages, but if you do try to select items with little sugar.

Every morning load up on water. Drink at least 8 oz of water to cleanse your body. Try squeezing half a lemon in your water to help your body continue to detox. If you are running out the door drink some water then eat and then have coffee if you so choose. Drinking coffee on an empty stomach can send your body over the edge and convince you that eating is unnecessary as you aren't feeling hungry after you drink it. Don't be fooled into this game. What you are really doing is sabotaging your metabolism.

Share your thoughts and ideas on this topic! Share your super simple breakfast ideas with us.