Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I'd Love to Work With You. Here's why!


Happy last day of SELF-Tember friends!  I hope you've been able to take some time for you this month!  If you don't take care of you, you won't be able to take care of anyone else, right? In case you missed them, here are my SELF-Tember posts - hope some of this info inspires you!
I know some times it's easier said than done, though.  Are you still struggling to make yourself a priority, know what you "should" be doing but it's just not happening because you're too busy, have low energy or are stuck in a rut? Is the stress and busyness of your day-in day-out making you crazy? Is food your comfort and you find yourself eating just because you're stressed or sad or lonely (or my favorite, procrastin-eating!), and not because you're hungry?  If so, I'd love to talk more with you about my program and how we can work together to improve both your health and happiness!

(Source)
When was the last time you talked with someone about your health and received the personal attention you deserve?

As a Certified Holistic Health Coach, I am your personal advocate for living an energized and passionate life. I work with my clients to help them create happy, healthy lives in a way that is flexible, fun, and free of denial and discipline. By working together, we can discover the food and lifestyle choices that best support you. Making gradual, lifelong changes enables you to reach your current and future health goals.

Imagine what your life would be like if you had clear thinking, energy, and excitement every day.

It’s rare for anyone to get an hour to work on improving their health with a trained professional. Join me for a FREE 50 minute session to discuss your unique situation and determine how I can help you reach your personal goals. I am here to create a supportive environment while we explore what really works for you.

Only a small portion of what feeds us is food.


Have you been wanting to:

  • improve your eating habits?
  • understand your body better?
  • lose the guilt for not doing what you "should" be doing?
  • make your self-care a priority?
  • feel confident in choosing and preparing better food for you and your loved ones?
  • experience an increase in overall happiness in your life?
Welcome to Your Program

Your personalized program will radically improve your health and happiness. Together, we’ll explore concerns specific to you and your body and discover the tools you need for a lifetime of balance.

During the course of the program you will:

  • set and accomplish goals 
  • explore new foods
  • understand and reduce cravings 
  • increase energy
  • feel better in your body
  • improve personal relationships
Your Program Includes:
  • Two 50 minute sessions per month, for 6 months 
  • Phone, Text, and e-mail support between sessions 
  • Handouts, recipes, giveaways and other materials 
  • A weekly Journey to a Fulfilling Life newsletter 
Could one conversation change your life?

Find out by scheduling a FREE 50 minute session with me. Do something good for YOU! I can't wait to talk with you more about it!

Sign up here, or contact me at Becky@MacDonaldWellness.com

“Could one conversation change your life?” is a trademarked term by Integrative Nutrition. All rights reserved.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Let's Talk Eats - It's All About The Veggies


Hi there!  

What have you done so far this month (it's SELF-Tember!) to take better care of you?  If the answer is nothing, take 2 minutes right now to schedule something in your calendar for tomorrow. Do it, you'll thank me! If you need some ideas, check out these posts:

Here's the first installment of my "Let's Talk Eats" series! In case you missed it, see this post for more infoInstead of becoming an unknowing victim to the Standard American Diet or "SAD," how can we be more mindful and make better choices in what we eat? 

As I mentioned in the previous post, I don't like to think about it as cutting out "bad" food.  Instead of thinking about what not to eat, let's focus on what we can eat MORE of.  That sounds so much better, doesn't it? And totally achievable! When we make choices based on things we want to add in, some of those other less desirable choices will naturally happen less frequently. Doesn't that sound easy?

I think we can probably all agree that if there were one food group that we run short on or could eat more of, it's vegetables. 
I don't think it's a surprise to anyone that vegetables are good for us. Whether you agree with the various food guidelines out there, like the USDA "Choose Myplate," one thing they all have in common is to encourage us to eat more of and a variety of vegetables.  

Just in case you haven't jumped on the veggie train, here are just a few reasons why vegetables are good for us (source):
  • High in fiber - good for digestion, as well as keeps us full and more satisfied longer
  • High in nutrients like potassium, Vitamins A & C, and folate (folic acid)
  • Low in fat and calories - which means we can eat MORE of them (and be more satisfied)!
  • There are a multitude of studies that show eating more vegetables can help prevent cancer, high blood pressure, assist in maintaining a strong immune system, etc.

Duh, Becky, you may be saying!  I know vegetables are good for me, but I just have a hard time eating them or I don't like them.  I get it. Especially if you have some bad memories from childhood about vegetables.  "If you don't eat your veggies, you can't have any dessert!"  "Finish your peas, or you can't leave the table!"  Does that sound familiar?  

So again, it's not about cutting out your dessert, but instead finding ways to add in more of these healthy veggies.   A little planning ahead will really help in the process of adding in new foods.  I know it's not always easy to come up with ideas when you're in a pinch and trying to figure out what to put on the table for your family when you just got home from a long day of work, etc.  You're much more likely to do it if you have these things available or ideas on how to cook them where your family will actually eat them (and hopefully like them!  We don't want anyone stuck in their chair or not getting dessert because they don't want to eat gross veggies!). 

Here are a few easy ways to get more vegetables in your diet:
  • Have a salad every day for lunch, can be a side salad, or even a cup of veggie soup
  • Include a non starchy vegetable at dinner - broccoli and brussels sprouts are two of our favs
  • If you eat a frozen dinner for a meal, add in extra vegetables (frozen vegs are fine!). This will keep you full longer and add in extra nutrients
  • Add spinach or kale to a smoothie - tastes like a shake! Yum!
  • For a snacks, try carrots, radishes, or peppers with hummus or celery & peanut butter (add raisins  for ants on a log - that's a good memory from childhood, right?)
  • Add spinach or other veggies to eggs for a satisfying breakfast (mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini or other squash are all good ideas)
    • Note: This is actually one of my favorite breakfasts. Very filling, and I get in a few servings of veggies before the day gets going.  For the pic below, I:
      • Sauteed mushrooms, peppers and spinach for a few minutes
      • Added in 1/2 cup of egg whites and one egg (whole, I like them a little runny - adds a richness to the meal)
      • Covered with the lid on and wait until the eggs were done, no need to even flip!
      • Plated and topped with 1/3 avocado for some healthy fat
      • Finished with a little salt and pepper - delicious, healthy, and filling for the win!

When cooking veggies, to get the most nutrients it's best to not boil or microwave the crap out of them. If you do choose to use those methods, just blanch (boil quickly and then submerge in ice water to stop the cooking process) or microwave for a short period of time.  I love roasting vegetables, especially this time of year.  Super easy and roasting in the oven adds so much flavor.  As I mentioned above, broccoli and brussels sprouts are in our regular rotation, and P really likes them when they are roasted (it's the only way I could get him to try brussels sprouts and now they are one of his favs!).
  • Just clean and prep your veggies - cut in similar sizes to they'll cook uniformly (can do this on Sundays or as you have extra time)
  • Drizzle of olive oil (can add a little butter for flavor), a little salt and pepper to taste, and then roast for 20-30 minutes at 350* stirring halfway through.  Time/temp may vary for different veggies. Experiment with what works for you and your family!
  • Here's a great basic recipe for "Easy Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts"
  • Another great tutorial: "How to Roast Vegetables (4 ways)"

Other Miscellaneous tips:
  • Veggies can be prepped ahead of time and added to things like salads, soups, wraps, or eggs. Having them on hand makes it much more likely that you'll use them.
    • Chop up or clean all your veggies on Sunday or right when you bring them home
  • Roast a big batch of veggiesyou can add them to your eggs the next day or even add them to a salad at lunch.  Yum!!
  • Try a new to you veggie like jicama, cauliflower, beets, or brussels sprouts- if in doubt, google something and you'll find lots of recipes out there. Experimenting is good!
Here are some other posts with some great veggie recipe ideas:
    There's so much great information out there, and I realize this is just scratching the surface for what all you can do to get more vegetables in each day, so this is just a start!  Have fun with it and let me know how it goes.  Veggies are our friends!!

    How can you add in another vegetable to a meal or snack today?  Please share with me in the comments!

    I'd love to talk with you about my Coaching program, so if you're interested sign up here for a FREE session, or contact me at Becky@MacDonaldWellness.com. 


    Friday, September 11, 2015

    Do You Ever Just Have "One of Those Days?"


    Hello friends!

    How is your SELF-Tember going so far?  Are you mindfully taking better care of yourself?  (I love that picture above, just looking at it makes me take a deep breath and feel more relaxed!) As today is September 11, 14 years after that horrible day which we will never forget, let's honor those who lost so much by caring more for ourselves and each other. 

    In case you haven't read them, here are some of my previous posts about Self Care:
    Some days we have a hard time dealing with things.  Whether a bad or "off" mood is triggered by an event that happened (hard day at work, lack of sleep, or spilled coffee on a new shirt), or something else (full moon, hormones out of whack, etc), we all have "just one of those days" sometimes.  While we talked about Mindset being self care, some days it just doesn't come as easily as others.

    On those days, it's super important to go easy on yourself!  You're busy, you have a lot going on, and sometimes just the basics are all you can deal with.  That's the world we live in.  Being gentle with yourself, loving YOU even on a bad day, is sometimes the hardest thing to do, but also the most important.

    On those days you're struggling, or if you just need a boost to get back to a more positive mindset, what are some of those basics you can focus on?

    Just breathe:  This is really my favorite.  You don't need anything at all or to be anywhere in particular to take a minute and focus on your breathing.  If you're stressed, or sad, or frustrated, take one minute to take a deep breath in, hold it in for a few counts, then breathe out slowly.  Trust me!  It really does help. Pay attention to how you feel afterward, and repeat as many times or as often as needed.

    Eat for your body, not your mind: It's so easy to go to the candy jar or reach for that ice cream or bag of chips when you're struggling.  Self care is really about taking the best care of you, so maybe in that moment of weakness, make a different choice by honoring your body.  Choose something that will make your body feel good, and not the thing you think will make your head feel better.  Drink a cup of tea or glass of water, make a green smoothie with frozen banana and spinach (tastes good and will energize you!), or be prepared for such a moment by having some healthy snacks but satisfying around (nuts are a great option!). 

    Move, even just a little: Regular and consistent exercise is the ideal, but it's not always possible with busy schedules. Don't let that be an excuse though - every little bit helps! Go for a quick walk around the block (take the kids or a friend - it'll be good for them too!), do some easy stretches for 5 minutes when you wake up, do sit-ups or push-ups while you're watching TV.  All those little bits add up and can really make a difference.

    Let your body and mind rest:  We know that sleep is important, right?  It impacts our ability to deal with stress, our willpower or ability to make healthy eating choices, even our hormones.  Unfortunately, it's also usually one of the first things to go with busy schedules or when we have a lot on our minds.  A few ideas that might help you sleep better are: having a consistent bedtime routine, getting in bed at the same time each night, writing down your to-dos for the next day or doing a brain dump of all the things you're worried about.  Here are some more tips from the National Sleep Foundation.



    Most important of all, don't feel guilty about taking care of yourself.  Guilt is worthless, it serves no purpose. Life is too short!! You take care of yourself because you're important enough to take care of, and if you don't make yourself a priority, no one else will. You are worth it!! 

    What are you doing to celebrate SELF-Tember and do something nice for you?  If you don't think you can find the time, schedule something small in your calendar, it'll be worth it!  Please share with me in the comments!

    I have a few spaces remaining for my Coaching program, so if you're interested sign up here, or contact me at Becky@MacDonaldWellness.com. 



    Friday, September 4, 2015

    September: Time For A Fresh Start


    September, 2015 - WOW, it got here fast didn't it?!


    The time after Labor Day always feels like a fresh start to me. Summer is basically over, schedules get busier with school starting, fall sports are in full swing, kids have homework, and we're developing new routines to incorporate all of these things. The weather is changing, we're thinking about getting fall and winter wardrobes out, and it's almost time to gear up for the holidays!  (I saw on Facebook this morning that there are 111 days to Christmas - What?? not ready yet!!)

    So, what happens when things get busy and we add lots of new things to our routines?  Typically, this is when it's so easy to forget the importance of taking care of ourselves.  We fall to the bottom of the list, right?

    What better time to start focusing on self care! It's even more important now to make sure you're taking time for you, and taking care of yourself, otherwise you'll burn out or just be totally exhausted, and then who will help Johnny with homework, or take Susie to soccer practice?  AND, if you get this practice in place now, you'll be even better equipped to handle the crazy time of the holidays.

    I'm am proclaiming September as SELF-Tember!    


    You all with me?? (I know, I'm a dork, but still...)  We talked about mindset as self care, and how we choose to think about our days can really impact how we feel and even impact the energy we have.   However, mindset only scratches the surface for how we can take better care of ourselves. 

    The thing about self care is that it needs to be a continuous practice.  It doesn't have to be some big, time consuming effort, like a massage every week (although that would be nice!).  Little things each day add up.  Get to know what things work for you and your schedule, even add something specific each day to your calendar.  Trust me, if you do that, if it's something you'll look forward to, you'll make sure to get it in! 


    Here are some easy ideas:
    • Instead of checking email or Facebook "one last time" before bed, spend that time reading a book that you've been wanting to get to but haven't found the time
    • Drink an extra glass of water each day
    • Go for a 10 minute walk and focus on your breath and your surroundings instead of your phone
    • Make a special meal and be sure to mindfully enjoy the process of cooking and eating it
    • Take 3 deep breaths, and for each breath think of something you're grateful for in your life
    • Connect with a friend and catch up on each other's lives, even just a quick phone call
    • Take a nap!  10-30 minutes is enough to refresh you without impacting your nighttime sleep
    • PLAY!  blow bubbles, skip around the neighborhood, be silly, get in touch with your inner child
    • Take 5 minutes to stretch - this feels so good! (example)
    • Say "No" to something if it's not a priority to you
    • Listen to music and sing or dance along
    • Write down your thoughts and feelings in a journal
    Have fun with it and do something for YOU each day!  You're important and your needs are a priority too!

    How are you going to celebrate SELF-Tember?  Share in the comments something that you're going to do this month just for you!

    I have a few spaces remaining for my Coaching program, so if you're interested sign up here, or contact me at Becky@MacDonaldWellness.com 

    Tuesday, September 1, 2015

    How about a "Let's Talk Eats" Series


    Hi Friends!  How are you all doing today? (and holy cow, it's September already!!) 

    I haven't really talked about food here yet, other than a few recipes I've shared (Hummus and "cool down" water).  It really is a personal subject, as food is really more than just fuel.  It reminds us of our childhood, it comforts us, is a part of our culture, it's a social thing for some, and a private thing for others.  Everyone has their own personal experience with food, what works for them and what doesn't, what they crave and what they can't live without.  

    One thing that you'll never hear from me is that in order to be healthy you have to totally cut out "xxx."  If someone tells me I can't have carbs, or sugar, or wine (oh, please no!), basically anything, what do you think is the first thing I'm going to crave?  Yep - tell me no sugar, and all I can think about is sugar. I'm fairly certain I'm not alone here, right?  

    I'm not a proponent of any one particular diet but I also am not against different ways of eating (within reason, of course), because again, what works for me might not work for you.  The one "diet" that I do NOT support is the Standard American Diet or "SAD."  The SAD refers to the way Americans eat today as a whole.  I looked around and there isn't a specific definition of the SAD, but I thought this was a really good summary (from the Ask Dr. Sears website):

    What’s in the Standard American Diet (SAD)?

    If you were to list the factors that increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, intestinal disorders – just about any illness – the Standard American Diet has them all:

    • High in animal fats
    • High in unhealthy fats: saturated, hydrogenated
    • Low in fiber
    • High in processed foods
    • Low in complex carbohydrates
    • Low in plant-based foods
    I think we can all understand this. We eat way too much sugar, way too many packaged or processed foods, and just not enough of the real, whole foods that help our bodies to run the way they were made to.


    To reinforce the gravity of this, here are some facts from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website:
    • Almost two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and fewer than than 13% of doctor visits include a discussion on nutrition
    • Medical costs linked to obesity were estimated to be $147 Billion (yes, Billion!) in 2008, plus an additional ~$3-6 Billion on obesity related absenteeism
    • Chronic diseases are among the most common, costly and preventable of all health problems. 86% of all health care spending in 2010 was for people with one or more chronic medical conditions, and 7 of the top 10 causes of death were chronic diseases
    • Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for a variety of chronic conditions including diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, stroke, heart disease, certain cancers and arthritis. (source)
    The below charts show the % of adult Americans that are either Overweight (BMI 25-30) or Obese (BMI 30+).  Note that the national average for Overweight adults is 35.5% and Obese adults is 28.3%.   Not one state had less than 20% obesity in 2013.   


    So, we know have a problem.  

    What do we do, or more importantly, what can each of us do? Prevention is one of the greatest things we can do for ourselves, our kids, and our country (think of what good could be done with all that money - billions of dollars! - if we could spend just a portion of it elsewhere). And it's not just about money - it's about being healthy, feeling great and being able to do the things we want to do to have a long, full life!

    Prevention in the form of what we choose eat

    Instead of becoming an unknowing victim to the "SAD," how can we be more mindful and make better choices in what we eat?  As I mentioned earlier, I don't like to think about it as cutting out "bad" food. Instead of focusing on what not to eat, let's think of it as what can we add in, of what we can eat MORE of.  Doesn't that just sound better?  Sure, I want to eat MORE, don't you? 


    I thought it might be fun and helpful to start a series talking about some of these foods we can add more of called "Let's Talk Eats."  A few ideas of what I'll focus on: 

    • Veggies
    • Fruits
    • Whole grains
    • Lean protein
    • Healthy Fats
    In each of those posts I'll include some basic reasons why this category is important, ideas on how you can incorporate more of these foods in your daily routine, as well as some recipe ideas.  There's so much great information out there, but I know it's not always easy to find when you're in a pinch or trying to figure out what to put on the table for your family when you just got home from a long day of work, etc.

    Stay tuned for more fun info on how to eat MORE in my "Let's Talk Eats" series!

    How can
     you add in another fruit or vegetable to a meal or snack today?  Do you have any ideas or requests for me to include in the "Let's Talk Eats" series?   Please share with me in the comments!

    I have a few spaces remaining for my Coaching program, so if you're interested sign up here, or contact me at: (502) 608-4281 or Becky@MacDonaldWellness.com.