health goals

The Joyfully Balanced Diet

The Joyfully Balanced Diet

Last week I was terribly sick. This is a very rare occurrence for me, as I work so hard to stay very healthy. At the same time I realize that this illness in a way was a blessing. I had worked so hard before the holidays and the week before preparing for a new year for my business and I have noticed that I often have a hard time deciding when to stop working. I just love to get things done and achieve goals! However, there is a time where my body says: "This is enough, I'm slowing you down with this illness so that you can get the rest that you need." Ok, it really doesn't say that out loud, but it did tell me with aches and extreme fatigue.

For quite a few days I stayed in bed and drank water and herbal tea. I also didn't have much of an appetite. However, I paid attention to signs of hunger and what my body was craving. Strangely, I found myself wanting dried apricots, corn chips and applesauce (sometimes with a little bit of homemade granola on top.) Towards the end I did want some soup, chili and some other things, but I was down to the basics at the beginning. I later found out that dried apricots have a lot of iron in them. I found that I was feeling much better with eating things with more iron in them and that is what my body was searching for. 

This experience taught me a lot about the complexities of eating, nutrition and listening to how we and our bodies feel with different foods. I think everyone reacts to foods in different ways. I know that I react well to a high protein, high vegetable diet. However, I do feel the need for some grains in the form of brown rice and oats sprinkled in. These help round out my diet as do thing such as Greek yogurt and a splash of milk in my coffee. 

When I was sick there was a bright joy to those orange apricots. A joy that carried me through the day and let me know that I was going to get better and that I would have my energy back soon. At the beginning of January I experimented with a few days of a more Keto-centered approach to eating and really cut back on carbs and fruit especially. I found that I was still hungry often and that a lot of the joy of food was taken away from me. That is when I decided that I would take some things that I liked about that diet and add back in some more fruits and some grains. This has left me with a joyful balance. I will continue to experiment with my daily food choices and see what feels best to me. Food is a very joyful thing to me, but I believe it is highly personal too, and one approach doesn't work for every single person the same way. The fundamentals for me going forward are: 

3 vegetable servings a day

8 glasses of water a day

A joyful balance of high protein, brown rice, oats, lots of vegetables and fruits that I love

This feels right to me as I felt myself at the beginning of the month bewildered about what to eat (to be honest) and hungrier way more often than on my "listening/joyful" approach. I felt myself looking up different kinds of snacks instead of choosing from some great things I already had on hand. I was second-guessing myself way too often. I find that we all have lots of wisdom already in our bodies and that it is important to tap into it. That being said, studying nutrition and getting help from nutritionists has great merit as well as they can often tailor your choices especially for you. 

My final thought is that we should all experiment more and find out what foods bring our bodies the most joy in the form of health. Here's to balance and a great 2018! 

With lots of care,


My Health and Fitness Goal for 2018

My health and fitness goal for 2018

Happy 2018! We are 3 days into the new year and I know everyone is working on goals this time of year. I love to work on goals and most of the time I really follow through they have a lasting effect, other times old habits creep up again. That is why it is important to do some things to guard against those old habits overtaking the new again. I am using an amazing journal called The Freedom Journal to help me in this process. This is my 5th Freedom journal to date and I just love how this journal helps you set daily action plans and intentions along your journey to your goal. Check out the journal here:

For example, last year I set a health goal to lose 15 pounds in 100 days. I set the intention to eat 3 servings of veggies a day, drink 8 glasses of water a day and workout 5 times a week. I did lose the weight, but then over time I lost some of those habits and "fell off the wagon." I did keep some of the habits of eating a healthy breakfast every morning and drinking more water, but my workouts at home fell by the wayside. 

At the end of 2017 I found myself thinking about this. I thought about why the workouts didn't stick for me. I began to think back to the past and try to recall a time that I really liked doing a particular type of exercise. That time was probably around 20 years ago for a brief time I went to the same gym as my brother and we did weight lifting and some cardio together. I really enjoyed those workouts. I loved the gym environment, the structure and working out with someone else. So, I paid attention to those thoughts. I encourage you to always listen to your intuition and those little thoughts that pass through your mind like that one did. Because of those thoughts I found out why my at home workouts had not inspired me to keep up with them. Here are the reasons: 

1. I like working out with other people and at home I'm by myself. 

2. I like a structured routine or environment. At home I'd just invent workouts and then ended up doing the same ones over and over and that bored me. 

3. I like the accountability of being in a group environment or class. At home I'm again, by myself and was only accountable to myself. 

4. I like a combination of weight lifting and cardio/aerobic exercise. At home I was only doing body weight exercises which didn't really excite me a whole lot. 

Now, I decided to change my routine into a routine where I can: enjoy the activities, stick with the program, have variety, be with other people & have accountability. How? Here is how: 

1. I joined a gym that is very close to home. It is the closest one that has the classes and programs that I enjoy. 

2. I found classes Monday to Friday that I can join. 

3. I will have 4 training sessions so that I can learn how to use the weight lifting equipment on days that I am not doing classes and want to do that. 

4. I have a friend who set up a daily Facebook accountability group for exercise so I can check in there. 

5. I just tried my 1st class at the gym: Tread and Shred- a fun class on the treadmill. I loved it! Can't wait to go back! 

I'd say that the changes that I made in my fitness routine alone have really made a difference and I feel much more confident that this is an overall lifestyle change rather than just a goal I only stick with for 100 days. 

Here is my nutrition goal for 2018: 

I am sticking to a keto (low-carb, high fat + veggies) type of diet. That doesn't mean that I won't have the occasional treat, but I feel much better on this eating plan. I have had much more energy so far and I am really loving it. I absolutely love food and I love that this diet has a lot more dairy in it because I have always responded well to dairy. I do believe that there is a different way of eating that works for each person, their body, their lifestyle and their goals. This is simply one that I am exploring to see how it works for me. 

Here is my current goal: 

"Get down to 125 pounds by March 31st by: Working out at the gym in classes and weight lifting/group coaching sessions 5 days a week, eating a keto/paleo diet at least 6 days a week, eating 3 servings of vegetables a day, drinking 8 glasses of water a day and remaining accountable to my online fitness group." 

This goal is much more specific and I have many more ways to keep myself interested in the fitness and the nutrition aspects. This does not mean that I will be perfect, but I will do my best and strive for the best. I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2018! I look forward to cooking many healthy meals for you as well! 

With care,


Coffee & Cacao Granola

coffee and cacao granola

Ah! Breakfast really is my most favorite meal of the day! I absolutely love to eat and love food, so along my health journey this year I have looked for ways to creatively make all of my meals very healthy but at the same time very interesting and pleasing to the palate. I believe this is the way that we will eat healthy. Our eyes and our tastes must be happy at each meal. Each dish must evoke joy in its presence at the table. This is living! 

Coffee is something that really wakes you up not only with the caffeine but with the strong flavors. That is why I was attracted to the original recipe in Food and Wine magazine that this granola is based on. This granola has a wonderful combination of the pungent taste of coffee, the yummy flavor of cacao and the kosher salt really keeps your taste buds going back for more! 

I added in some almond flour for some additional protein to this recipe and also I love the combination of the coconut sugar and the maple syrup. This granola is not cloyingly sweet like most are. It has a balance of flavors that intrigue the palate and go perfectly with the tang of yogurt and the sweetness of fruit to make an amazing start to your day! 

I hope that you make a batch of this granola and enjoy it to start your day or make it for a friend for a lovely gift. I plan on giving this away to my friends and meal clients this week. Enjoy! 

Coffee and Cacao Granola: 

Adapted from a Food and Wine recipe, May 2017

7 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats

1/2 cup finely ground coffee or decaf coffee

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/3 cup gluten free flour mix

1/4 cup almond flour

1/4 cup cacao powder (or plain cocoa powder)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 sticks vegan margarine- cut into small pieces and frozen on plate (I like to use Earth Balance) 

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup brewed coffee (cold) 

1/4 cup molasses

1. Heat the oven to 350F. 

2. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. 

3. In a large bowl toss together the rolled oats, coffee, coconut sugar, gluten free flour mix, almond flour, cacao powder and kosher salt. 

4. Mix in the small pieces of frozen vegan margarine. Make sure they are evenly distributed and coat all of the mixture. 

5. Stir in the maple syrup, coffee and molasses. Make sure all of the dry ingredients are evenly coated. 

6. Spread the mixture out evenly between the two baking sheets. 

7. Bake the granola for around 30 minutes. Stop to stir every 10 minutes. Make sure it is crisp. 

8. Cool completely before serving. Store in a zip lock bag or a glass jar or container with a lid. 

Serve with yogurt and fruit. I also like to make a breakfast with cut up fruit, put yogurt or coconut yogurt on top, then nut butter, then this granola! Yummy!! 




My Clean Eating Philosophy

My Clean Eating Philosophy

In this post I want to share with you my personal philosophy on what is called "clean eating." A few years ago I embarked on a 5 week health journey on a clean-eating plan with a health coach. I learned so much from that journey and learned a lot of great nutrition habits. However, I soon began to slip back into old habits because they were much more familiar to me. 

This year, in 2017, beginning on January 1st with the help of The Freedom Journal I decided to take a similar health journey, but for a 100 days and really cement those habits I had learned in the shorter program to really make them part of my permanent lifestyle and not a short "diet" plan or something I only did "sometimes." 

My personal 100 day goal is to lose 15 pounds and get back to my ideal weight by eating clean, following a 20 minute workout plan 6 days a week and consistently drinking 6 or more large glasses of water per day. This plan is also to reach the goal of having more energy throughout the day to work on my business, help my family and have fun! I am already seeing great results! I have lost 7.5 pounds so far and I feel much more energetic. 

I want to share with all of you my personal thoughts on eating, and finding out what works for you. I believe that there are basic guidelines, but you need to experiment and tailor ideas to fit how your body works. 

Here are my basic guidelines: 

1. Eating clean can be for omnivores or for vegetarians alike. 

2. Eating clean means including: 

  • lean meats and seafood
  • whole grains (you may choose to go gluten free or have whole wheat or other whole grains) 
  • lots of vegetables
  • fresh fruits
  • cutting back on dairy but I choose to have whole milk Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. You may choose to go dairy free and have alternatives there. I have dairy maybe 1-2 times a day. 
  • choosing small amounts of honey or maple syrup as sweeteners
  • cutting back on large amounts of starches such as bread, pasta and potatoes. I choose to have small amounts of those- perhaps only a 1/2 serving a day. I do however, have small amounts of brown rice with dinner or oatmeal for breakfast. 
  • choosing healthy snacks such as apples/nut butter
  • drinking lots of water and tea without sweetener

I have found this plan to really work for me and it has so many possibilities! I do love fruit, but I have found that it is best to reduce fruit to maybe 1-2 small servings a day and concentrate more on vegetables. 

Also, on the 5 week plan that I was on, by week #4 once a week you chose a "cheat" meal. I actually like to call it a "fun meal" or "celebration meal" instead. I like to keep it positive! It is very interesting how this time around I am really cutting back so much on refined grains and sugar that they do not tempt me as much as before because I feel so great when I am eating lots of whole foods! It is amazing what your body will do! I do always choose a "celebration meal" once a week and it's fun! Last week I had a pasta dish, one breadstick and salad at a restaurant. It was so yummy! I really enjoyed it very much and really took the time to notice that. 

Sometimes you will be in a situation where you are a guest, or you are in a situation where there are not a lot of whole food offerings. Not to worry! Just make the best choices that you can and don't fret about it. It's all about an overall healthy lifestyle and not about perfection. I absolutely love to try new foods and go out to eat on the weekends, so there may be some extras thrown in, but it's all in moderation. When you make the best choices 80-90% of the time, you are doing awesome! 

I have noticed how much more energy I have had since I started to once again focus on eating as clean as possible, even at restaurants, parties and buffets. It's all about balance and living our best lives. I really want that for you too, and I am always here to support you on every step of your journey. Thank you for allowing me to share my journey with you.