Crown Point, IN

October 21, 2021

The “No Diet” Approach to Health

As promised last week, I’ll present the last 5 principles of Intuitive Eating. In review, the first five are: Reject the Diet Mentality Honor Your H

October 14, 2021

Diets vs. Intuitive Eating

Diet: a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight; to eat sparingly or according to prescribed rules. (Merriam-Webs

October 7, 2021

This Weather is Making Me Tired

Some of us haven’t seen the sun in…well, days. There’s been so much rain that I’ve been looking around town to see if anyone is building an ar

September 30, 2021

Knocking Excuses Down for the Loss

If you’ve been reading my blog for the past year, you probably recall the weekly countdown to the birth of baby Angelos. We followed his size in the

September 23, 2021

Have Fun While Staying the Course

Yes, it truly is possible to do both. Many believe it’s an EITHER, OR situation. This past week I received the following text: “Down 1 pound 🙂

September 16, 2021

Celebrate September with Food

Now that we’ve gotten past the almost official end of summer, Labor Day weekend, thoughts of pumpkins and turkeys begin to dance in our heads. Not.

September 9, 2021

Pinky, the Ice Cream Truck

Last Sunday I was outside and heard the familiar sound of an ice cream truck in the neighborhood. I hadn’t seen one of these in…well, quite a long

September 2, 2021

Delicious Memories and a Recipe

I recently received a head of green cabbage as a gift. Now, I’m not one to buy cabbage, although I like it on occasion. Roasting it seemed like a go

August 26, 2021

Love Chocolate

The good news is that chocolate is actually healthy for us. The bad news is that we must be selective in the quality of chocolate we choose in order f

August 23, 2021

Chocolate Nut Clusters

1 cup bittersweet (at least 70% cacao) chocolate, chopped or wafers 1 cup raw almonds                                           

Cool Crisp Days and My Craving for Waffles

As we turn the corner into cooler days and nights, my body thinks it needs more carbs.

My mind agrees.

This is typical for me. Every year when the seasons change, I notice a slight increase in my potato, pasta, and bread consumption. (Gluten free and equally as satisfying.)

I feel like a bear storing up for a long winter’s nap. Some mornings I feel as though the hibernation process is already in progress.

And it’s only October.

A week or so ago, I took a self-care morning. It was very refreshing.   

I decided to indulge my intuitive voice—the one that is often overridden by the dutiful voice.

“What is it I need TODAY to promote good health and happiness?”

In response to this question, I stayed in bed longer than usual and skipped my morning workout. I then proceeded to make waffles from scratch for Mr. Non-Compliant and myself.

It was wonderful.

Sometimes it’s good to listen to that voice that tells you to step back, break a self-imposed rule, and take some time to get off the hamster wheel of life.

Sometimes you just have to eat waffles. (Not the frozen variety either.)

Your method of self-care may look much different than mine, however the result is that you experience great joy in the moment.

Stepping back for an hour, a morning, or a day, has the potential to change your attitude and offer you a fresh outlook on current situations. You will probably find that when you get back into your routine, you are more focused and more productive.

My waffle morning was a mini-retreat and I didn’t even have to leave my home.

As for the carb cravings, the situation is not out of control. It is my “normal” for now. This too shall pass.

One really chilly day, I baked some potatoes so that I could use the oven. It was a win-win, since I wasn’t quite ready to turn on the furnace.

Meal prep is in transition mode. I’m pulling out the crock and instant pots, turning on the oven more, and picking the last of my garden tomatoes. So long tomato pie… 🙁

New adventures in eating are possible with fall produce in abundance. It’s time to roast winter squash, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. Make extra so you have leftovers for snacks or another meal.  

If you’re craving a few more carbs these days, take comfort in knowing you are not alone. This girl is right there with you.

FUN OFFER: What are you craving these days? Send me an email and share your out-of-control cravings and I’ll gift you with a 50-minute coaching call to help you come up with a way to manage them.

Peace, potatoes, and pumpkins,

“People who love to eat are always the best people.”—Julia Child

Do You Suffer from Food Trauma?

(The following article first appeared in the October 2018 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times.) Online version

If you’ve ever had a disturbing experience involving food and gastric upset, then you are no stranger to food trauma. This can show up in a variety of ways and have different causes. Food trauma, in my case, involved Cream of Wheat when I was about 5 years old.

Cream of Wheat was a breakfast staple in our house, especially in winter. My mother would brown butter and pour it over the top so it fell around the sides of the bowl, enveloping the steamy farina. The idea was to swirl a bite of cereal around in the butter before eating, and have a delightful breakfast experience. I was usually fine with it, unless I came across a lump of uncooked cereal that hid beneath the surface. The taste of that made me gag. On this particular day I wasn’t feeling well and told my mother that if she made me eat the cereal I would throw up. She must have thought I was faking it, since she made me eat it anyway. Being an honest child, I kept my word. To this day, I will not eat Cream of Wheat. Interestingly, I still really like butter.  

What was not a favorite food to begin with, got the boot when it pushed me over the edge. I was already sick and that did me in. It’s not really the cereal’s fault, however, the association is one that I don’t care to try and overcome.

My husband feels the same way about chipped beef. As a youngster, he ate so much of it on an occasion of extreme hunger that it came back up. In all our years together, he has never requested chipped beef for dinner. My father felt the same way because he was served way too much of it in the Army.

In my sampling of those I surveyed about food trauma, most of the people that had this experience as a youngster had no desire to try to overcome their adversity to the food. Ever.

Some of the food trauma stories from my group: food poisoning from seafood salad; Red Hawaiian Punch thrown up in front of entire kindergarten class; too much cheesecake at a party with resulting tummy trouble and pain; chicken, after chomping on a tendon or something in a chicken breast that caused violent gagging to the point of sore abdominal muscles; those perfect little ham cubes thrown up all over the desk in fifth grade.

Other foods of trauma, with no particular story: guacamole, tomato sauce, pasta salad, spaghetti, peanut butter, coconut, kale, hard boiled eggs, fruitcake, and green peas. Oh, and tequila was mentioned numerous times, even though it’s not technically a food.  

There are also the stories resulting from pregnancy and the foods that came up, so to speak. Pregnancy presents a different category of “trauma” altogether. A few of the foods that are on the permanent unwanted list include: lamb, ice cream (bummer), and oregano.

There are some instances when after getting sick on a favorite food, the person was able to overcome adversity and return to a happy relationship. One individual had the flu and chocolate was the innocent victim. It took time, and I’m happy to report that they now get along great again.

Extinction is a process that can help those individuals who have had a negative experience with food, remove the stress it causes. By repeatedly trying the food over time, the stress associated with it will eventually diminish or become extinct. In other words, after trying the food and not getting sick, the fear of it causing gastric upset goes away. This is probably how the chocolate relationship was repaired.

It seems as though the really intense, negative reactions with food happened when these people were children. The memories associated with food involve all our senses and are the strongest of associative memories. Basic survival tactics also come into play, which is why when you get food poisoning, your body says “No,” to eating that particular food, ingredient, or visiting that particular restaurant again. This is what is known as conditioned taste aversion.   

On the flip side, these same powerful associations help us remember the good times we had at grandma’s house, enjoying her apple pie. The power of food memories, along with where we were, the people we were with, and the occasion, create nostalgia. This explains why we tend to make the same traditional foods for holidays.

If there is a food you’ve had trauma with, odds are good that you’re fine never eating it again. If there’s a food you once loved that you are struggling with, give the extinction process a try. You may fall in love all over again. As for tequila, it managed to make a successful comeback for all the folks in my survey group. Cheers.

A Little Secret

This may come as quite a shocker.

People in the health and fitness industry sometimes fall off the health and fitness wagon.

Yep, it happens.

Some “fall-offs” I’ve recently learned about:

  • Several fitness instructors found themselves overindulging in wine during the Covid lockdown.
  • Another fitness guru stopped teaching yoga and working out (Covid related) and is having a really tough time getting back in the groove.
  • And yet another trainer/coach ravenously eats whatever is in the fridge when playing video games at night.
  • Oh, and one more. You’ll love this: mindless snacking on chips and sweets.  

Can you relate with any of these? Are you surprised?

We KNOW BETTER! We help others overcome challenges, and yet…

…we all have our struggles.

I’ve admitted to occasional emotional ice cream eating.

None of us are perfect, yet we think others have it all together all the time.

They don’t. Not even the health and fitness professionals.

As you practice living your desired life, remember that one key element to creating good habits and having them stick is doing them most of the time. 100% is an ideal that will ultimately bring you down.

The 100% thinking can do you a real disservice. One missed session at the gym or overindulgence of pizza will make you feel bad. Get over it and move on. Most of the time is a winning option.

So, what are those fitness folks doing to get back on track?

One solution is to change the environmental cues that trigger a certain behavior.

The video game player is rearranging the fridge so the first thing he sees is cut up veggies or fruit. This puts distance between him and more enticing foods that are better for daytime.

The chip and sweet eater knows that having those foods in the house is a BAD idea. Replacing them with healthier options that she can grab when the munchies strike is key to creating a habit that makes her feel good.

The wine people didn’t like how they felt, so that was the impetus to discontinue the nightly habit. Also, getting out of the house was the distraction that changed the environment.

The yoga teacher has scheduled workouts in her calendar, so it looks hopeful.  

Whatever it is you’d like to work on, begin by making a plan that’s EASY so that you set yourself up for success.

Small daily wins add up to a life of a champion.

FUN OFFER: I sometimes do Zoom kitchen coaching sessions. In the past we’ve made tomato pie and baked a cake. What would YOU like to make during a future session? Send me an email with your idea and I’ll gift you with a 50-minute coaching call to help set you up for success around ONE habit you’d like to change.

Cheers to you,

“Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.”—James Clear, “Atomic Habits”

Pumpkins, Apples, and Pears, Oh My

Welcome to fall and an abundance of pumpkins, apples, and pears. These are just a few favorites that enjoy a big debut this time of year.

The Great Pumpkin
Pumpkin is packed with fiber and a multitude of nutrients that benefit your health—and no, I’m not referring to the lattés that are loaded with calories and sugar. Sorry.

Pumpkin purée can obviously be made from a pumpkin; however, I prefer to buy the canned variety because it’s much easier. The only ingredient in it is PUMPKIN. Be sure to check the label if you pick the easy route too.  

Some ways to incorporate pumpkin purée into your life:

  • Add a couple tablespoons to your protein smoothie. Freeze the remainder of the canned purée in separate baggies to toss in when you have a hankering.
  • Stir a few spoonfuls into your warm oatmeal in the morning.
  • Blend it into just about any creamy vegetable soup for added fall flavor.
  • Mix with equal parts ricotta. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with pasta.
  • Bake something pumpkinny. Mix up your favorite pumpkin pie filling recipe and bake without a crust. Try pumpkin bread, muffins, cookies, anything.
  • Make pumpkin pancakes. (you can find this in my Recipe section under breakfasts)

The Incredible Apple
My favorite variety is the Honeycrisp. They taste just like their name. The best Honeycrisp apples you will eat are harvested September through November. They are typically more expensive than other varieties because they are hard to grow.

I’ve been adding these to my fall fruit salads, eating them with peanut butter or cheese, and all by themselves. The crunch is very satisfying when you get the urge to snack and have taken on the identity of a health conscious individual.

Apples are also a healthy food, so enjoy. Whenever possible, choose organic apples, as conventional apples are highly likely to be contaminated with pesticides.  

Pears: The Other Fall Fruit
While apples take center stage, don’t forget about the supporting role of the pear. This is their big season too. I believe that you can substitute pears for just about anything you can think of that calls for apples.

Allow pears to ripen at room temperature. They’re one of the few fruits that do not ripen on the tree. Therefore, they need time for the sugars to develop, which is why you may have to leave them on the counter for a few days once you get home.

A pear is ripe when the area around the stem gives a little with a gentle squeeze. Then store in the refrigerator and consume within 3-5 days for best quality.

Like the apple, organic is best. The pear is a nutritional powerhouse and excellent source of fiber.

Pears are a great addition to a mixed green salad with blue or goat cheese, and candied (or plain) pecans. Toss with a homemade balsamic dressing, or other favorite.

With options like these, it’s easy to debunk the myth that eating nutrient-dense food is boring.

Bon Appétit,

“If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re not hungry.”—Michael Pollan