It’s that time of year when snowbirds travel to warmer climates and leave us hearty Michiganders to weather the storm together. Which leads me to this week’s topic: helpful tips for digestion for snowbirds and ‘staybirds’. Eating healthy when you are traveling can be tricky. Healthy choices may not be available while you are on the road, or you may not know where to find them in an unfamiliar location. For a lot of folks, digestion can get off track whether we are traveling or staying home. Do you know our digestive system is closely tied to our immunity? If our digestive system is functioning optimally, there is a better chance that we stay healthy too. Here are a few convenient ways to keep your digestive system healthy:
And remember to get regular activity each day to keep things – ah-hem – moving smoothly. Did you try something or learn something new this week? I’d like to hear about it below or by e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take great care!
Sara Wolfsen is a Certified Health Coach who provides private health coaching, nutrition education, and weight-loss support. Schedule your complimentary health coaching session and learn more online at www.sarawolfsen.com
For many people who are eating healthy, their beverages can be sabotaging their efforts to achieve the level of health and vibrancy they desire. Are you drinking empty c
alories that prevent you from losing weight? Are you putting excess sugar, toxic additives and chemicals into your body? Upgrading your beverage choices can be the key to taking yo
ur health and well-being to the next level. Consider these tips as you become more aware of your beverage choices:
Warm water with lemon. Instead of reaching for orange juice the moment you wake, try a cup of warm water with fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about two tablespoons). This invigorating beverage cleanses the liver and, with fewer toxins in the body, you have more energy. Juices are full of empty calories and added sugar and the processing removes much of the fiber and other nutrients that a whole orange can provide for fullness and satisfaction. I recommend eating whole fruits and vegetables instead of juice whenever possible for maximum nutrition.
Reduce caffeine. Coffee promotes blood sugar fluctuation and sugar cravings – both of which can send you on the spike-and-crash energy roller coaster. If you drink coffee throughout the day, consider reducing your caffeine intake or transitioning yourself off caffeine gradually with beverages that contain less caffeine (try black, white or green tea). Green tea and white tea, in particular, have much less caffeine and are rich in health-promoting antioxidants. For bottled iced tea beverages, watch the label for junky ingredients. If you don’t recognize the ingredients it’s best to leave the bottle in the cooler and make another selection.
Soda Pop. Sugar in soda can cause many health issues. Diet soda is no better – artificial sweeteners are toxic to our body, causing many health problems including weight gain and low energy, as well as food cravings. Instead of sugary soda, try mixing sparkling mineral water with pure fruit juice. Start with a 1:1 ratio and, as you get used to the less-sweet taste, increase the amount of sparkling water. Eventually, you will feel satisfied with just a splash of juice or a squeeze of lemon.
Special occasions. For parties and social occasions, alternate your alcoholic beverage with water or sparkling water (add a twist of lime and it looks like a gin and tonic!) to help you reduce your alcohol intake while staying hydrated.
Water is best! Clean, fresh water is always the best beverage. Dehydration can cause headaches, low energy and sugar cravings. Drink at least 64 ounces of fresh water each day to prevent these symptoms. Add some fresh fruit for a sweet treat and purchase a sassy new water bottle, carry it with you, and sip often. Cheers!
Sara Wolfsen is a Certified Health Coach who provides private health coaching, nutrition education and weight-loss support. Schedule your complimentary health coaching session and learn more online at www.sarawolfsen.com
Are you racing to get dinner on the table or feel defeated when your dinner plan becomes a trip by the fast-food window? I find I am much more successful by staying on track with healthy meals and snacks for my family when I intentionally set aside time for planning.
Most busy clients I work with are very knowledgeable when it comes to recognizing a healthy diet and lifestyle. The challenge is to make consistent, healthy choices in their hectic and over-committed lives. For busy folks, planning smart is essential to eating smart. If you make healthy choices available to you and your family when you need them, you are more likely to make better decisions. Here are a few tips to help you plan better so you can eat better – and feel better:
Plan ahead. Write out a menu plan for the week and finish all of your grocery shopping in one trip (which will save you time and money too). Then set aside some time during the weekend to prepare your meals (clean and chop veggies, make and freeze a dinner entrée, organize the refrigerator with healthy options in clear, attractive containers, etc.). You could even enlist the help of your kids or spouse and create a new family activity. Kids enjoy helping with meal planning and preparation (and they are more likely to eat the meals that they help prepare).
Cook once, eat twice (or more). When it comes to healthy eating, nothing beats home-cooked meals made from scratch with an emphasis on natural, whole-food ingredients. Scrambling for dinner each evening can be challenging, so the “Cook Once Eat Twice” plan can help you save time and headache. You can prepare more than one meal worth of food so you have leftovers for another meal. You can also cook a big batch of grains (brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat noodles) on Sunday evening and use them in different food combinations throughout the week.
Stock Up! Stocking your work space with healthy snack alternatives prevents you from cafeteria surfing or the vending machine with less desirable options. If a refrigerator is available at your office, try some hummus with celery sticks, carrots or broccoli. Always on the go? A smart handful of nuts with dried fruit or an apple with nut butter can be great pick-me-ups. Keep in mind that fresh, whole food is always better than processed foods. There are many “bars” on the market with “health claims” – however, most of them contain added sugar, artificial additives or processed food products that are less than desirable. If you must rely on packaged foods, always read the labels to make smart choices. Choosing packaged items with only recognizable ingredients is a helpful rule of thumb.
Team up with other families. Organize a meal plan that allows each family to prepare one dish in a big batch, and then trade dishes. You will walk away with a variety of options and a week's worth of dinner.
Taking time to plan your meals and snacks minimizes mealtime stress and helps restore a sense of control over your eating choices. Consider creating a four-week plan of healthy meals and snacks, then repeat the plan and add new, seasonal recipes as desired. Planning ahead and setting yourself up for good choices is a worthwhile investment in your health. Happy planning!
Sara Wolfsen is a Certified Health Coach who provides private health coaching, nutrition education and weight-loss support. Schedule your free health consultation and learn more online at www.sarawolfsen.com
Each New Year offers a fresh start. We make plans for ourselves, and promise that we will actually follow through this year. Then, life gets in the way. Things don’t go as planned. We get discouraged, and eventually vow to do better next year. We’ve all said it…but this year really WILL be different if you follow these eight tips for making (and keeping) your resolutions:
Make Reasonable Goals: Creating goals that are attainable is the first step in reaching your goals. There are probably many things you feel you should accomplish this year, and choosing the right ones will put you on the path to success. Instead of making your list full of “I shoulds”- create a list of things you truly want this year. You will be more likely to succeed in accomplishing these desires.
Time to make that list: With the previous tip in mind, start compiling your list of what you want to accomplish this year. Write your goals on a piece of paper and post it to your refrigerator for easy reference. Remember… don’t overextend yourself. While there may be ten things you want to accomplish this year, start with a short and reasonable list.
Remember “why”: As you are creating your list of goals, write down what benefit you will enjoy as each goal is accomplished. When things get tough along the way, these end results will motivate you to keep going.
Tell your friends: Accountability will be a key factor in your success. Tell your friends and family about your goals. Ask a few of them to check in for a progress report periodically to see how you are doing with your list. And be honest. Tell them the truth when they ask. If you haven’t been on track as planned, this is a great opportunity to reevaluate and make a new plan of action to reach your goals. Trial and error is a normal part of this process. The first plan you make may not work out as you hoped, which gives you an opportunity to find the right path for your best success.
Baby steps: Begin your process with baby steps. Maybe your goal is to lose 20 pounds. Instead of changing your diet completely overnight, decide to add one healthy food per week. Each small (but obtainable) step will help you ease into reaching your goals and will successfully begin new habits. Change is a process, not a race. Pace yourself for success.
Don’t be so hard on yourself: if a plan of action doesn’t seem to be working out as planned – don’t fret. Ask yourself why your goal route isn’t working, and see where the holes lie in your course of action. It could be as simple as re-planning your goal to fit your schedule better. Allow yourself some wiggle room to figure out what works best for you.
Think positively: Keeping a positive mindset each day is powerful. Positive affirmations are a great way to begin your day. Write down some of your favorite affirmations on sticky notes and post them on your bathroom mirror. Say them aloud to yourself each morning as you begin each new day.
Consider a Health Coach: Having your friends and family hold you accountable is helpful, but having a personal Health Coach to assist you along your journey is priceless. Health Coaches are trained to support you in reaching your goals and attaining an optimal level of health and happiness while providing encouragement and accountability.
Setting realistic goals and making small changes with consistency, support and patience is essential for your success. Best wishes for a fantastic year!
Did you resolve to adopt healthier habits in 2014? If so, try these handy tips to jumpstart your wellness goals in no time:
Drink Up! Hydration is a crucial part of health. Commit to drinking half of your body weight in ounces of fresh, pure water per day. For example, a 180-pound person should drink 90-ounces per day. For consistent hydration, space this consumption throughout the day.
Add In Healthy Foods: Choose to add one healthy food into your meal plan per week. Green vegetables are an ideal place to start. Dark greens such as broccoli, spinach, kale, cabbage, arugula, endive, collards, water cress and mustard greens are packed full of nutrients and are great helpers to transforming your health and boosting your immunity.
Processed Foods: Processed foods are convenient, but are detrimental to our health. To avoid turning to processed foods for convenience, commit to preparing meals and snacks ahead of time. If cutting out processed foods seems unattainable, commit to eating whole, unprocessed foods for majority of your meals and snacks.
Move Your Body: Choose one activity to do for at least 30 minutes per day. This can be as simple as sledding with the kids, marching in place as you watch television, following along with a yoga video, or a finishing a challenging workout at the gym. Pick an activity that you truly enjoy so that it doesn’t seem like a chore. Chores often get pushed aside – so choose wisely!
Be Grateful: Commit to writing down three things per day that you are grateful for. Consider keeping a Gratitude Journal and create your list at the end of each day, and give thanks for your items on your list. Consistent gratitude is incredibly helpful for overall health. And reviewing your journal entries is extremely empowering.
If following all of these goals at once seems overwhelming, try a new tip each week for the next five weeks. Making an intentional effort to consistently replace bad habits with new ones is crucial for success. Best wishes for a fantastic new year!
Did you know that the TYPE of calories you are consuming is just as important as the NUMBER of calories you intake? Here is an easy guideline to help with weight loss.
Eat More Vegetables. How many vegetables do you eat each week? My recommendation is to start with a variety of fresh vegetables and aim for at least three servings each day. Which vegetables? Choose non-starchy veggies, such as greens, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, avocado and mushrooms. Limit starchy vegetables such as corn and potatoes to a couple of servings per week. Buy fresh produce and enjoy the vitamins, nutrients and goodness these veggies bring into your body!
Choose Healthy Fats. Contrary to popular diet myth, eating healthy fats can be good for you. Fats fill us up, provide satisfaction, and make us less likely to overeat. We need fats for our bodies to run smoothly. And there is absolutely no reason to think that adding fats to our diet is a bad thing. Consider adding responsible portion sizes of olive oil, nuts, avocado, fatty fish, and flax seeds to your everyday food choices.
Eat Enough Protein. Check on your protein intake to be sure you are getting enough, and don't be afraid to experiment with adding more. The National Academy of Science says we can safely eat up to 35% of our diet as protein, and protein tends to be self-limiting. In other words, it's really hard to eat too much. Adding small servings of lean beef, chicken, turkey, eggs, plant-based proteins (beans, tofu) and low-fat dairy items to your meals will boost your protein intake. An occasional protein bar is okay and convenient, but fresh, natural ingredients are best.
Go for Quality over Quantity. As you are increasing your vegetables, healthy fats and protein, cut down on the portion sizes of your high carbohydrate foods. Did you know that you should eat about a cup of pasta in a meal? Half a cup of potatoes or rice is a standard serving size. Use a measuring cup to serve your portions and become acquainted with how much a true portion is by remembering what the portion size looks like on your plate. Eliminate the open spaces on your plate by using a smaller plate to feel full and satisfied.
Be Choosy About Taste. Don't waste your food choices on boring or less-than-delicious food. Have a 2 x 2-inch piece of a really great cake, or a small scoop of premium ice cream. One square of really good dark chocolate can satisfy anyone.
Choose Brown over White. Select brown rice instead of white rice, and whole-wheat bread instead of white. When possible, eat your grains whole instead of ground into flour. Look for whole-grain ingredients on food labels. Some people find a "no white diet" to be an easy way to cut back on carbs -- no white potatoes, white rice, white sugar, or white flour. If that seems too extreme, become aware of white ingredients and cut-back on portions, or choose a healthier alternative.
Change Up your Eating Habits. Start substituting lower-carb foods for high carb counterparts. Trade sugary cereals for a high-fiber option (3 or more grams of fiber per serving is a good guideline). Cook with whole-wheat pasta or spaghetti squash instead of white pasta. Have a package of nuts at the movie instead of popcorn. Replacing your white potato with a sweet potato offers a nice change of pace and boosts your fiber intake too.
Choose just one of these suggestions and implement it into your meal plan this week. Making an intentional effort to consistently replace bad habits with new ones is crucial for success. Best wishes for a fantastic new year!