HELLO! I haven't posted a new blog in a very long time. That doesn't mean that I am not still passionate about helping others learn to live healthier, but I have been taking time to focus on my self and what makes me happy. I am currently working on a NEW website that will incorporate my art (yes, I love to paint!) and wellness together.
I have found that "wellness" is a lifelong process that is continually changing and evolving. When I was writing healthy living blogs weekly and posting recipes, it just got too crazy for me. I didn't feel totally authentic which made it so much harder.
For me, eating healthy is great but it's not always possible and I want you to know that THAT'S OKAY! Life really is too short to not have a piece of cake at a party or enjoy wine with a good dinner.
I have so much more to say and tell everyone how I have found a healthy balance for myself! I don't want this page to make you feel like a failure if you eat a big bowl of ice cream for dinner or have french fries for lunch. That is LIFE and it's how you find a healthy balance between it all that truly matters!
More to come on this very soon! XOXO, Michelle
I ran across this video today from Jimmy Kimmel Live asking people why they hate gluten. Do you think they could answer correctly? Check it out below:
So here comes the problem...some people are bashing gluten and going gluten-free but have no idea why! While it is a good thing to eliminate gluten in your diet for many people, it really helps to understand why. So I am here to save the day for those who are gluten-free but not sure how to explain it! If you want people to take your gluten-free lifestyle seriously, you really need to know how to back it up. Most people know that it makes them feel poopy when they eat it (literally), but that's not enough. You need to know WHAT in the HECK it is and not get caught off guard like the peeps in the video above.
So here we go: Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains like barley, rye and spelt. Gluten is the magic that helps bread rise and keep its shape. For those with Celiac Disease (an auto-immune disorder) and those with gluten sensitivity/intolerance, these proteins can cause all kinds of uncomfortable symptoms ranging from bloating and gas to diarrhea and more. It isn't pretty and it sure isn't fun.
To get more scientifical (that's a word, right?)... Gliadin is one of the proteins found in wheat. For one with Celiac, this little protein literally causes the immune system to attack the bowel tissue. It causes villous atrophy, which is the erosion of the nutrient-absorbing villi that line the small intestine. And by the way, did you know your small intestine is WAY longer than your large intestine? True story.
So is bread the only place we are exposed to gluten? Heck no. Gluten is found in personal care products, vitamins, medication and some brands of French fries, hot dogs, soy sauce and even hot chocolate. So be weary if you see a product labeled "Wheat Free" as this doesn't mean gluten-free. There could be barley, rye or spelt instead.
Hope this helps to get the basic understanding of what gluten is and how to pass the test if Jimmy Kimmel decides to interview YOU about your GF lifestyle!
This article originally appeared on Mind, Body, Green January 27, 2014
Right after the new year, here in Central Texas, we have cedar fever season. It happens every year. It can make you downright miserable with its sneezing, stuffy nose and watery eyes.
This year has been one of the worst we've had in years. Yesterday I was at a volleyball tournament with my daughter and sneezed at least 50 times during the day. I couldn't wait to get home and make my healing, herbal tea for relief.
Here's a recipe that I've found to be extremely beneficial and healing during the cold, flu and allergy season:
Turmeric, Honey & Ginger Tea
In a small saucepan, bring water to boil. Add turmeric and ginger, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in milk and strain tea into a cup. Add honey and enjoy!
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
This article originally appeared on Mind, Body, Green January 20, 2014.
At times, growing up as an only child was hard for me. I used to get so bored playing all by myself. I'd gather my stuffed animals and play pretend school or I'd make mud pies outside. As I got a bit older, I decided I'd definitely have three kids so they'd always have a playmate.
In 2002, I had my daughter and then went through a divorce shortly afterward. Being a single mom with only one kid was definitely easier than having three, but it still brought up my childhood feelings of always longing for a sibling. I felt I had failed my daughter by being a single mom with her so young. The last thing I needed, or wanted, at that point was another child.
So I embraced the fact that my three-kid dreams were over and that I'd be absolutely content with just this one awesome daughter. Here are some tips that have made life fun for her:
1. Always have friends over.
Since my daughter was little, I always had my friends over (and, as she grew older, her friends). I set up playdates frequently so she could enjoy board games with someone besides me. (One mom can only take so many games of Candy Land before she wants to set it on fire!) Now that she's in middle school, we have kids in and out of the house all day, every day. They bring so much life into our world and it’s a great way for me to know my daughter on a deeper level.
2. Be fully present with your child.
The worst thing you can do is turn on the TV as a baby-sitter. While this works great sometimes, it’s not a good daily solution. Go get frozen yogurt or window-shop at the mall. Turn off your phone and just be with your child. You'll find this leads to deeper conversations as they get older and you'll cherish these times together.
3. Keep busy in the community.
I always check the newspaper for local events such as farmer’s markets, craft fairs, dinosaur exhibits at the park, etc. Anything that was free (or cheap), we'd make a day of it. Staying home was sure to cause us tension and boredom.
4. Hang out with other families.
Since my parents died, we were left short in the grandparent department, and we'd do Thanksgiving and Christmas with my friends and their families. Luckily, I have some amazing friends who took us in as their own.
5. Let the child help you as much as possible.
I'd get home from work exhausted, but found if I let my daughter “help” with dinner, she loved it. I got her a stool so she could reach the sink and even wash dishes.
6. Have a movie night in your adult bed and let them sleep with you.
We'd make quiet Friday nights fun by having popcorn while watching Dumbo for the 20th time. My daughter loved it and it was something special we shared together.
7. Pick an activity and sign up your child.
It helps to try one at a time so you don’t run yourself ragged trying to keep up with everything! For my daughter, we started with dance then moved onto gymnastics. Then she tried tennis and golf. When she was 8, I signed her up for volleyball at our local rec center. After the first season, she knew without a doubt that she wanted to continue and loved it more than anything else she had tried. She's now 12 and has made some amazing friends through the sport.
8. Bring one or two of her friends with us when we go out to do fun things.
I love hearing the kids sing in the backseat of the car and this is a great way to keep up with what's going on in their lives. Having a friend is sometimes more fun than just mom, especially when we're going places like a water park. It lets me relax a bit while the kids have a blast.
These are all things that have worked for me in raising a healthy, happy and well-rounded pre-teen. While I wish I could have had more kids, for us, our little family is filled with amazing friends and lots of laughter.
A good night’s rest is essential for effective thinking and learning. Lack of sleep can hurt these cognitive processes by impairing alertness, attention, concentration, reasoning and problem solving. These are all things we need to get through our day with ease. In addition, not getting enough sleep is a huge safety hazard on our roadways. Being drowsy when behind the wheel can slow your reaction time down to the same levels as drinking and driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that fatigue is a cause in 100,000 auto crashes and 1,550 crash-related deaths a year in the U.S. The problem is greatest among people under 25 years old.
Here are my top 10 tips to help get your beauty rest:
1. Keep a consistent schedule.
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends. Consistency is important here. Set a regular bedtime each night. Make it a time when you're normally tired anyway. Then wake up at the same time. If you're getting enough sleep, you should wake up without an alarm. I know most of us have to use an alarm, hit snooze and drag ourselves out of bed each morning. With the proper schedule, this will eliminate the dreaded alarm clock.
2. Take a nap if needed.
If your body needs to make up for lost sleep, naps are perfectly fine. Taking a daytime nap is better than sleeping late, especially on a weekend. Make sure to nap early in the afternoon and try to make it no longer than 30 minutes so it doesn’t disrupt your bedtime routine.
3. Increase your light exposure during the day.
Try to spend more time outside during the daytime. Take a break from work and go outside for a nice walk when the weather permits. Let as much natural light as possible into your home or office during the day.
4. Naturally boost your melatonin at night.
Turn off all electronics before you go to bed. Many people fall asleep to the TV but this is a mistake. The light suppresses your natural melatonin production and the TV can actually stimulate you rather than calm you down. This is the same when you get in bed and search Facebook or Pinterest on your phone. Instead, try listening to soothing music or a meditation CD or app on your phone. Make sure you room is dark and relaxing.
5. Make your bedroom more inviting and calming.
Keep the noise down in your room. If you live in a busy area where there is always noise outside, try using a fan or white noise to drown it out. Keep your room cool as well. Being too hot, or too cold, can affect the quality of sleep you get each night. Also, make sure your bed is comfortable. I know I have to have my sheets tucked in just right before I get in bed. My husband couldn't care less about having the sheets in the proper place but he knows it's essential for me to be comfortable. Find what works best for you, as we're all a bit different.
6. Eat dinner earlier in the evening.
I know some families don’t eat until 9 p.m. or even later. You should be eating about four hours before bedtime to ensure proper digestion before you hit the hay. If you have a fatty dinner, then get in bed, you could get heartburn or a slight stomachache, as a heavy dinner takes a lot of work for your stomach to digest.
7. Cut down on the caffeine.
If you are drinking coffee or soda in the afternoon, it's going to be much harder to get to bed at your chosen time. Try to cut out all caffeine by noon each day and stick with water and herbal decaffeinated tea the rest of the day to ensure a good night’s rest.
8. Get movement into your day.
Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. You don’t have to go to the gym and pump iron to get the effects. You can take a walk with your dog or do yoga poses at home and still get the benefits.
9. Relaxation and deep breathing.
If you find yourself lying in bed but unable to sleep, try taking deep breaths to clear your mind and relax your body. I love to relax my entire body by starting at my feet. You tighten the muscles for a few seconds then release. Do this all the way up to your head and you will be amazed at how relaxed you feel when completed. This is called Progressive Muscle Relaxation.
10. Don’t stress about sleep.
Focusing on the time and calculating how many hours until the alarm goes off doesn’t help things. I know, because I'm guilty of this, especially when I have an early flight to catch. Try to make relaxation your goal, not sleep. Work to clear your mind, and if you find you're worrying, or having anxiety about the following day, write it down in a notebook next to your bed and allow yourself to put those thoughts at rest. This ritual can greatly reduce the racing thoughts that go through our heads when we finally let our bodies relax.
You owe it to your body to take care of it and sleep is a huge part of self-care. We put gas in our car when it's empty and we charge our cellphones when the battery is low, so it only makes sense that we take care of ourselves and get the proper rest we need to function at our best capacity.
When eating clean, it doesn't mean you have to sacrifice having sweet treats of goodness! I think that is a misconception many people have. But I am here to tell you, you can eat healthy and actually enjoy it! I wanted to share one of the 5 different protein ball recipes that are in my Winter Clean Eating Program. These are gluten and dairy free and loaded with superfoods that are excellent for your body. Hope you enjoy!
Makes 8-12 balls, or bars
6 tablespoons Sunbutter
4 tablespoons cacao (or unsweetened cocoa)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds, chia seeds OR almond meal (I used almond meal with these in the picture)
1 scoop pea protein or hemp protein (if you don't have this, just leave out)
1 tablespoon raw honey (local, if possible)
pinch of sea salt
water (as needed)
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Stir and slowly add water until you get the desired consistency of your ball (about 6 tablespoons, or less).
Mold the dough into little balls and place them on a cookie sheet or parchment paper. If you want to make bars, place in a square pan and spread evenly and sprinkle coconut on top. For balls, roll each one into a bowl of shredded coconut. You may also want to dust them with more cacao for an extra boost of antioxidants! Eat these right away or freeze them for 10-15 minutes. Store in a cool place if you don't eat them all!
Regardless of how you journal, whether it is a diary, notebook or poetry, you will find benefits. It clarifies, prioritizes and sometimes presents grand ideas out of the blue!
—Tips for Finding Time to Journal--
It can be very difficult to make time for journaling every morning.
• Try getting up just a half hour or 20 minutes earlier. This gives you 20-30 minutes of quiet time before the house fully comes alive.
• You might find a few minutes after everyone else is out of the house as well.
• You may find 15 minutes in a coffee shop or juice stop on your way to work gives you the time you need to write, and, will add to the pleasure.
• 15 minutes before you start your work routine may be the time for you. You may think it will cause you to stay later at work to get everything accomplished. Writing is like your morning workout, it is amazing how spending the time can buy you more time through the day. Your head is clearer and you can do your job and handle people more efficiently and effectively.
Journaling in the morning allows you to clear the cobwebs in your brain. You’ll notice affects almost immediately, it helps to focus you. You will find that you do things that you would have skipped over otherwise. Try to journal every day. If you don’t then sometimes will work too.
It is established that it takes 6 months to form a habit.
Commit to journaling for 6 months! Then, tell me what has happened!
Please comment below and share how you journal now!
I read somewhere recently about baking cabbage and thought that sounded like a great idea! I love taking veggies and baking them in the oven for the crisp and crunchy flavors. I could not remember where I heard or saw this recipe, so I created it on my own.
It was very easy and very cheap to make! The end result tasted like butter and it just melts in your mouth. Not bad for a healthy food!
* 1 head of cabbage
* Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* Fresh garlic cloves (3-4)
* Sea Salt & Black Pepper
DIRECTIONS: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Take the cabbage and peel off the dirty layers on top. Then set the cabbage up on its end and cut 1 inch or thinner pieces from the top down. Don't go too thin or it will break apart. Take your garlic and mash it down then spread all over both sides of the cabbage. Then drizzle olive oil over both sides...it doesn't take a lot. Sprinkle salt & pepper on both sides then place on a non-stick baking sheet. I did not need to spray the baking sheet as the olive oil kept it from sticking.
Place baking sheet in the oven for 25 minutes on one side, then flip over and cook for another 25 minutes. Ovens vary greatly so make sure to check on them the first time you cook them so you don't over do it. When the outside edges are brown and crispy, they are ready.
Serve hot & enjoy!
While many people took the time over the last few days to write down their resolutions, I glided into 2014 without any list. As a matter of fact, I haven't done resolutions since I was in college or maybe even before that. I just don't really believe in them.
What I do believe in is striving for your best and being open to set backs, or gasp, even failure! I like to think of what I do as intentions rather than resolutions. If you write down 10 things that you are going to do, or stop doing, in 2014...you run the chance of missing the boat on all of them. That is why intentions are so much better for me in my life. And here is why:
Mirriam Webster defines resolution as "the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc. The act of resolving something." Hmm...that doesn't really sound right for me.
But if you look up intention, you will find this: "The thing that you plan to do or achieve. An aim or purpose." Okay, this is exactly what I am talking about!
What is it that you plan to do or achieve this year? That is where the real juicy stuff comes up. Where do you want to be this time next year? And how do you see yourself getting there? These are questions I ask myself and check in with throughout the year. Am I getting closer to my intention? What is holding me back? Am I in sync with my values and morals? If not, then I need to look at things again to find a new way to reach my set intentions.
And the great thing about intentions is that they can change over the year! We all grow and learn on a daily basis so this is not something set in stone. It can change and grow along with you.
There's no "one size fits all" when it comes to setting your intentions for a new year. We are all different and unique. So what may work for your friend, may not work for you.
I challenge you to look at the new year with intentions and see how it works for you.
Happy New Year!
I know there are so many people that truly want to get healthy
but don’t know where to start. Then there are those that know what is good for them and what isn’t, but they still choose the unhealthy route. I see it in my health coaching practice.
Someone pays for my services because they want to feel their best. We start by making small changes that will last over time. It is truly a blessing when I see real results. But it is frustrating when others complain about not being healthy, eating and drinking too much and not taking time for themselves to actually accomplish anything.
To these people, I say “get out of your own way!”
Here are 8 steps to guide you on your path to health, IF you are truly ready:
1. Put yourself first. Your health should be one of your top priorities. If your car runs low on gas, you fill it up. You put air in the tires and change the oil every three months. Some people actually take better care of their vehicles than themselves. It is time to put yourself first and make the effort to gain better health. No one is going to do this for you.
2. Stop making excuses. We can make enough excuses to talk ourselves out of almost anything. Trust me, I did this for years thinking "oh I will start eating better tomorrow..." If you eat bad in the morning, that doesn't mean you have to eat bad the rest of the day. I know how it is when you are hungry and there is a drive-thru on the corner. But we all know that is the worst choice when it comes to food. Instead of driving thru a fast food restaurant, find somewhere that you can get a healthy salad with grilled chicken instead. I hear people say they don’t have the time for eating healthy, exercising or anything else that is good for them. But they do! You just have to stop making excuses and get real with yourself as to why you are choosing unhealthy options. Once you admit this, then you can figure out how to make room for health in your life.
3. Use what you have paid for. I know people that purchase great, healthy recipe books and never look past the cover. Dust it off and seek out something new. How many exercise DVD’s have you purchased that never made it out of the plastic wrapper? I personally just donated a pregnancy DVD (brand new) and my daughter is almost 12. I had high hopes of using it, but just never scheduled the time. And how many people have their purses and coats hung over the treadmill bars? Clean it up and jump on!
What about the gym membership you signed up for last January and went a few times? If you have already invested the money, put it to use.
4. Grocery shop. This is one simple thing you can do but is very hard for some people. I used to get intimidated and flustered at the store trying to figure out what to buy. It took a few trips with a list and now I can get in and out in less than 30 minutes. I personally go at least twice a week so I always have fresh fruits and vegetables. Making the time to shop for healthy food means when you are hungry, you have good options already at the house. There is no need to go out for dinner.
5. Plan your menu. When you first start your path to eating healthy, planning out your meals is essential to being
successful. You will only do this for a few weeks until you figure out what you like and what you will actually cook and eat. Then it becomes so easy to grocery shop as you already know how to feed your family since you planned it out and stuck to it for a few weeks.
6. Don’t say, “Oh I could never live without…” This could be bread, milk, beef, nuts… the list goes on to what I have heard. Be open to trying new foods and making healthier substitutions. You really can survive without macaroni and cheese from a box, I promise! By saying you could never live without a certain food automatically shuts your brain off to being open to new and delicious alternatives.
7. Schedule exercise or movement into your week. We schedule conference calls, meetings, dentist appointments and the list goes on. But most people don’t actually schedule exercise into their life. This means you are less likely to get active. Block out 30 minutes of your day and take a walk. Or check
the schedule at your gym and put a yoga class into your planner. By doing this in advance, you are more likely to stick to a routine. Find something that you like and that motivates you to get moving. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive, just get out there and get your heart rate up!
8. Get creative. Do you have a stack of journals that you haven’t opened or art supplies that haven’t been touched? Get them out and get your creative juices flowing. This is something that is great for your health. It is calming and relaxing while allowing your brain to focus on something besides work, chores, kids, etc. And if you think you aren’t creative, that just isn’t true. We all have creativity inside of us that just hasn’t had the opportunity to come out.
Often, we are our own worst enemy when it comes to our health
We know we should do things differently, but just don’t make it a priority. Get out of your own way, stop making excuses and schedule health into your life. If you find there are obstacles, identify them and work to overcome them. Start with small changes if you want to see lasting results. If you change everything in one day, you will most likely set yourself up for failure. Take it one step at a time…your body will thank you for it.
If you need help making changes in your life, please check out my Winter Clean Eating Program HERE!
My mission as a Certified Health Coach is to make the world a happier, healthier place, one person, one meal at a time, with love and gratitude. I work to inspire others to live a life of prevention and overall wellness!