Crown Point, IN

February 18, 2021

One of the Healthiest Fruits on the Planet

We are on week #33, counting down with my expectant friend. As some of you know from experience, she is getting pretty uncomfortable. My prayer for he

February 11, 2021

Fun with Jicama

At week #32, baby is a jicama in size. That’s right, a jicama. Starts with a J and sounds like an H. Jicama is a globe-shaped root vegetable with pa

February 4, 2021

Sumo, Coconut, and the Birth Month

If you’re an orange lover, I have some REALLY GOOD NEWS! The Sumo are here. Sumo oranges, that is. I wrote about them last year. If you missed that

January 28, 2021

5 Reasons Why Your Snack Bar May Not Be Your Friend

In a recent conversation, the topic of cereal/granola/protein bars came up. They appear to be a healthy snack, especially for a very busy person who i

January 21, 2021

Getting Back on Track

Baby size at 29 weeks is a butternut squash. And, like last week’s eggplant, butternut squash is technically a fruit. Since I wouldn’t care to eat

January 14, 2021

The Surprising Truth about Eggplant, and a Recipe

A large eggplant. That is the vegetable size of a baby at week #28. Oh, but wait just a minute. An eggplant is actually a FRUIT because it grows from

January 7, 2021

My Least Favorite Vegetable and a Challenge

At week #27 baby is the size of… …a head of cauliflower. Most of you know that I do not care for this vegetable. I’ve tried. Truth is that cauli

December 31, 2020

Cheers to Scallions and a New Year

At week #26, baby is the size of a scallion. The first question that popped into my head is: What’s the difference between a scallion and a green on

December 24, 2020

The Hope and Excitement of a Baby

A bit of background for my new readers: I’m taking the produce journey along with my good friend who is expecting. As we track the progression, we l

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes

2 eggs
2 Tablespoons almond butter
2 Tablespoons canned pumpkin
1⁄2-1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
1⁄2 -1 teaspoon stevia
Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)                                                                    

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Drop by tablespoonful into a preheated skillet with a bit of coconut oil melted in it to prevent sticking. Cook on each side until nicely brown.

Serve with fresh fruit and/or eggs. You could also use the pancakes in place of bread or English muffins to make an egg sandwich.

(Any type of berry may be added for variety. If you are in the mood for a special treat, add a few chocolate chips!)

Freeze leftover pumpkin in pre-measured amounts in baggies and you are all set for for the next batch– or you could toss into your protein smoothie.

How a Dancer Found Her “Happy Place”

Today, I have a story that will hopefully change your mindset if you are one of those people who thinks it is SO HARD to live in a healthy manner and still enjoy your life. You CAN do this, without eating a diet consisting of rice cakes and berries and living at your local gym.

Meet Carol. No, this is not about me. Carol has been slowly incorporating small changes in her life for about a year. She has found her “happy place” with food and fitness and loves to share her tips with co-workers and friends. Even her non-compliant husband has made some changes! There are apparently more couples that are split on this issue than I thought.

Carol’s BIG WHY: She wanted to keep dancing. She has taken ballet for years and it was getting tough. Her weight and energy were not ideal. She knew that if she didn’t do something different, she’d have to hang up her ballet shoes permanently. Sad, and motivating. Lesson: You need a BIG WHY to take a stand for your health. What is yours?

She began by implementing protein shakes for breakfast, Monday through Friday. Lesson: Start your day with some form of protein.

The snack monster shows up at her desk around 10AM and 3PM. The Skittles were eventually dumped for apples or other fruit. When she needs a chocolate fix, she has a homemade protein bar or a glass of chocolate almond milk with peanut butter powder added. Lesson: Be prepared for those times when you need energy.

She had a fierce Mountain Dew addiction that kept her sipping throughout the day to the tune of three 2-liter bottles per week. YIKES! She is now down to one bottle per week and drinks water. Lesson: Switching out your sugary drinks for water is significant, and a great first step.

Her lunches are chicken (she cooks in the crock pot for the week), and a salad. Dinners are some protein done on the grill, a vegetable and maybe potato or some other starch. Lesson: You don’t have to be a great chef or spend tons of time in the kitchen to eat well.  

Her fitness routine: Ballet fit, which is similar to Pilates, belly dancing, walking her dog and Zumba. Her fitbit typically reads between 10,000 and 20,000 steps per day. She suggests you get one because it is addictive! (Better than the Mountain Dew.) Lesson: You do not need to join a gym or do activities you hate to be fit. DO WHAT YOU LOVE!

The best part: Twice a month she eats fast food because she really enjoys it. Taco Bell and McDonald’s are her “fast food go-to spots.” Sometimes she eats pizza with her family and has a cookie. She doesn’t eat the whole pizza or a handful of cookies, and she does not feel deprived. Lesson: It’s about the balance.  

Measurable statistics: She has gone from 155 pounds to 136 pounds, lost 2 inches around her mid-section and lost weight in her thighs. She has maintained this for months. If she “cheats” a bit too much, it is easy for her to get back on track and return to her “happy place.”

Thank you, Carol, for allowing me to share your journey. I loved it when you told me you could wear a smaller belly dancing costume. Smile. May your story be an inspiration to others.

“Practice ONE new habit at a time until it becomes your way of life, a life that is filled with abundance… and your favorite dancing shoes.” — Carol Slager

It’s Not Just About the Food

When it comes to being a picture of health, it’s not just about the food. Granted, that’s mostly what I write about and I often say, “You can’t out-train a bad diet.” And yes, you still need to eat your vegetables! 

Today, however, I’d like you to think about some other factors that will lead you to better health–body, mind and soul.   

Ten Things to Consider Besides the Food:

  1. Are you getting plenty of sleep? Seven to nine hours seems to be the ideal amount for most people. Sleep plays an important role in metabolism, immunity, mood, focus and of course, energy.
  2. When you go for the food, are you truly hungry? If you eat for other reasons besides hunger, note what those reasons are and see if you can make an adjustment.
  3. Do you get proper exercise? Or, are you getting any exercise? We are made to move.
  4. Breathing is extremely important. Do you take a bit of time each day to focus on your breath, slowing it down and deepening it so you even move your belly? (Also known as belly breathing, as opposed to shallow breathing.)
  5. Expressing gratitude to your Creator, God, the Universe—a higher power that’s bigger than you. Prayer, meditation, and living in the present moment are good practices.
  6. Proper hydration can be a challenge for most people. Drinking plenty of water alleviates a multitude of crummy symptoms and keeps your body in proper working order.
  7. When you eat, are you distracted? Focus on the fresh flavors of your food and eat slowly. Stop before you are 100% full. Practice eating to only 80% full and see how that works for you.
  8. Being around positive people is awesome! If you find yourself in the midst of negativity, see if you can help raise the energy a notch or two with your loving kindness.
  9. Spend time relaxing with family and friends. If you have a pet, hang out with said pet and enjoy the companionship.
  10. Seek work, service, or a hobby you are passionate about and do it. We all need to feel purposeful in our days.

This is a pretty full list. See if there is one thing you can do just a little bit better today. You don’t need to do everything perfectly. Practice whatever “tugs” at you and feel a sense of accomplishment. 

During Carol’s Kitchen Coaching 101 on September 14 from 6-9pm, some of the above topics are sure to come up while I’m teaching about vegetables. I’ll address questions like: How do you have time to make, let alone eat the vegetables, when you are on the go from 7am until 9pm? How can I be positive when I can’t stand my work? I’ve never met a vegetable I like so what do I do with THAT?

My coaching practice focuses on food AND the stuff that goes with it. If you’d like to experience small group coaching in my kitchen, click HERE here to sign up today! (I’m offering a discounted rate for early sign-ups through September 7.)

3-Ingredient Brownies

3-INGREDIENT BROWNIES (Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free)

3 medium, overripe bananas (approximately 1 cup or so)
1/2 cup smooth almond butter (or any smooth nut butter)
2 T – 1/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder (more = richer taste)
You may like to add a small amount of coconut oil to make these a bit moister.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small cake pan or loaf pan and set aside.

In a small glass bowl (for microwave) or in a pan (for stovetop) melt your nut butter. In a large mixing bowl, add the banana, nut butter and cocoa powder and mix very well. If you prefer a smoother texture to your brownies, use a mixer or blender.

Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing into pieces.

These are best refrigerated–or frozen, my favorite–and they keep longer too. They may spoil rather quickly if kept at room temperature.