Health & Fitness Coach, Employee Wellness - Eat Clean, Get Fit, Be Healthy in NH
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to Tone Up And Strengthen Your Body
I remember growing up I used to love to watch cartoons with my younger brother.
One of our favorite shows was Popeye.
Remember what he was known for?
He had abnormally huge forearms and was really strong because he ate his spinach!
As much as I loved this TV program as a child, it did NOT get me, or my brother, excited about eating spinach. In fact, we wouldn’t go near the stuff.
But as an adult, I have a whole new appreciation for this healthy, leafy green that is loaded with all kinds of nutrients that benefit your whole body.
Spinach is literally a powerhouse food—it is packed good stuff like niacin, zinc, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese.
Not only is spinach really good for you (some of the health benefits of spinach include: keeping cholesterol from oxidizing and protecting your body from free radicals, maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system, managing blood pressure, and maintaining healthy brain function, memory and mental clarity (Mercola.com)….
but there are so many tasty ways to use it in your meals.
Below I’ve shared five of my personal favorite recipes that include spinach.
BTW I highly recommend buying organic spinach whenever possible.
The Environmental Working Group has identified spinach as one of their “Dirty Dozen” – one of 12 fruits and vegetables that contain the highest residues of pesticides.
Super “Green” Omelet
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Her name is Janice.
She just turned 65. And like a lot of women her age, she thought it was too late for her.
She also fooled herself into believing that she was too busy and too tired to make changes in her life to feel better. I mean, when you work two jobs, who has the time and energy?
For her entire life, she struggled with her weight, a negative body image and relationship with food. And after trying different programs and going to the gym, with little to no results, she felt frustrated and a bit defeated.
But, after one chance meeting with yours truly, she decided that it was time to make a change.
She felt a spark of hope, and realized that she had another chance to make things better for herself.
And now, after only two short months of making small and simple lifestyle changes, she is starting to feel like a new woman—she feels in control of her body and her health, and most importantly she feels CONFIDENT!
Here’s Janice’s story in her own words…
My Brief but Fulfilling Journey to Good Health through Friend Your Body
By Janice Edwards - 65 - teacher, singer & legal secretary - Manchester, NH
Melissa Koerner was invited by the Wellness Committee at my office to give a lunchtime presentation in the spring of 2013. I rarely attend these presentations as I either work through lunch or have other plans for that precious mid-day hour (like going to my studio to teach a voice lesson).
I was struck with Melissa’s extremely well presented talk and most of all, the logic of all…Continue
I can honestly say that when I wake up in the morning I feel rested and fully energized to take on the day ahead. And I don’t drink coffee!
But this wasn’t always the case for me.
For many years, I struggled to get out of bed in the morning, and I suffered from a host of nagging health problems like chronic fatigue, brain fog/inability to think clearly, mood swings, weight gain, digestive problems, poor memory, constant bouts with colds, and chronic aches and pains in my lower back—all of which, I now know, were intimately connected to my sleep habits.
It wasn’t until I hit “rock bottom,” and I got so tired of feeling sick and tired, that I decided to revamp my lifestyle and change four areas of my life: my diet, my exercise habits, how I managed my mental/emotional stressors and my sleep/rest habits.
Once I started to effectively make these changes in my own life, I started to notice a huge difference in how I felt, and 6 years later I’m feeling better than I did when I was in my 20s!
Here are six steps that I have taken, and I’ve taught hundreds of my clients, to sleep better and help alleviate nagging health problems.
1. Get to
Bed Sleep by 10pm.
I don’t mean get into bed at 10pm and watch TV, read a book or work on your computer for an hour or so.
I mean get to to sleep by 10pm—that means lights out, book down and computer off. Which also means, if you want to do something relaxing in bed before you go to sleep, you need to get to bed earlier.
10pm is the sweet spot because starting at that time your body goes through a physical…Continue
Tired, irritable, nauseous and bloated…
That’s how I feel when I travel, and I DON’T plan out my meals ahead of time!
But when I travelled to St. Croix this past November, I actually put some forethought into packing healthy food in my backpack, so I didn’t have to rely on eating crappy airplane snacks and airport food when the hunger pangs struck.
I wanted to get to my destination feeling GOOD so I could enjoy all of the activities we had planned (see my picture below for a snapshot of my favorite activity of all.)
So what exactly did I pack?
Here’s a list of my traveling reinforcements:
These are easy to pack and easy to eat on the go.
2. Hardboiled eggs
Lightly salted with sea salt.
3. Sliced Strawberries and Avocado Topped with “Melissa’s Super Food Mix”
My super food mix consists of equal parts of the following ingredients: crushed almonds, pecans and walnuts; chia seeds; ground flax seeds; and hemp seeds.
4. Trail Mix
Instead of buying a pre-made mix, I always make my own. That way I can avoid the added sugars and put what I want in it.
I put equal parts of the following ingredients in my trail mix: cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, gogi berries, mulberries, raisins, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
I recommend buying raw nuts and seeds.
5. Sliced Carrots and Celery Sticks
I tried packing almond butter to dip them in, but it’s considered a liquid so the airline confiscated it during baggage check—oops!
If you can…Continue
Have you ever looked at the ingredients listed on the labels of cured meats like bacon, ham, salami, bologna and beef jerky?
You’ll notice that some of the ingredients are hard to figure out—you feel like need a background in chemistry to pronounce some of them and understand exactly what they do.
For many years, I ate cold cuts every day for lunch because it was quick to just throw them in a wrap or on top of a salad.
But the more I’ve learned about all of the chemicals used to make cured and packaged luncheon meats, the more skeptical I’ve become about putting these products in my body. And I now have good reason to stay away from them entirely.
The concept of food curing has actually been around for a long time. Curing is basically the process of cooking, preserving and enhancing the flavor of meats and fish by various methods such as salting, drying or smoking.
But the earliest methods of curing differ quite drastically from what the big food processing companies are doing today. Instead, they are using harmful additives like white table salt, cane sugar, nitrites and nitrates.
Well, the use of additives in food preservation is highly controversial because there is a potential for nitrosamines to form when preserved foods are cooked under high temperatures. Studies show that nitrosamines are carcinogens (cancer-causing in the human body.)
Nitrites and nitrates are additives that are used to make meats look fresh and taste more appealing; they actually give meat a blood red color and add a tangy flavor. They are also used to…Continue
A friend of mine was happy to report recently that she had successfully “given up” soda to reduce her caffeine intake—a bad habit she’d started many years ago.
Although she was feeling really good about her decision, she was experiencing SEVERE caffeine and sugar cravings. And she wasn’t sure what to do about it.
To curb her cravings, instead of resorting to soda, she started eating chocolate. BUT she soon realized this was not a good idea because her cravings just continued to get worse.
So she contacted me and asked me for some advice on how to curb food cravings.
This is what I told her…
Whenever you try to "quit" drinking soda it's very common to crave another stimulant in its place.
Stimulants, like caffeine, cause you to release serotonin—a hormone that makes you feel good.
The problem is, this serotonin high is very quickly followed by a serotonin low and accompanying cravings for caffeine and/or other stimulants.
So drinking soda, or consuming any form of caffeine or stimulant for that matter, starts this vicious cycle of cravings that ultimately leads to an addiction to some form of a stimulant.
When you try to kick the caffeine, your body cries out for caffeine or some other stimulant like sugar in an effort to get “a fix” that will trigger the immediate release of that “feel good” hormone.
With that said, it's important that you don't use chocolate as a way to satisfy your craving because what you're essentially doing is replacing one form of a stimulant (i.e. soda, which has both caffeine and sugar) for another (i.e. chocolate, which also has both…Continue
I’d be willing to bet that I can guess some of your New Year’s resolutions.
Are they something like this? …
Am I close? Did I hit most of them?
I used to set very aggressive New Year’s resolutions much like these.
Every year I’d start off with the best intentions to get in better shape.
I’d jump right in to the “best” and latest diet that everyone was talking about (I’ve done most of them,) and I’d get to the gym almost every day and start exercising like I was Jillian Michaels.
By the end of the first week I’d be feeling SO good about the positive changes that I’d made, and I’d tell myself: THIS time is going to be different, and I am going to get in the best shape of my life once and for all!
I’d feel like a NEW woman.
BUT, after going strong for about 2-3 weeks, something would derail me. As usual, life would happen.
I’d have to stay late at work one night, which would mean missing my workout at the gym.
Or I’d have to work through lunch to get something done by the end of the day, which would mean either skipping lunch altogether or grabbing something really quick like a bag of pretzels, cookies or candy bar.
Hey, I mean the Snickers’ slogan says, “Not going anywhere for awhile? Grab a Snickers! It satisfies.” So, that’s exactly what I did! I figured, it’s made with “healthy” peanuts, it’s conveniently accessible in the…Continue
How much do you weigh?
I actually had a guy ask me that once on a date many years ago—can you believe that?
I mean, doesn’t everyone know that you NEVER ask a woman that question!
I think he was trying to compliment me by saying that I looked “thin” and guessing how I probably didn’t “weigh that much,” but what was funny (not so much at the time, but I can laugh about it now) is that he guessed a slightly higher number! AAAHHH!
Needless to say, we didn’t go out again, and the wonderful man that I’m in a relationship with now has NEVER even broached the topic of my weight—he “gets it” that you just don’t go there.
Most of us are very sensitive about our weight, and as a society, we often define our level of health simply by what the number on our scale says.
And with the arrival of the New Year, most people see this as the perfect opportunity to start on a new path by setting the resolution to FINALLY lose the excess weight so they can be healthy.
But I would say one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to equate weight loss with health gains.
I’m going to use myself as an example to illustrate my point.
For many years, I obsessed about my weight (to be honest, I wasn’t significantly overweight, but I did have a pesky 15-20 pounds that seemed to accumulate around my hips, butt and thighs, and at 5’2” that extra weight was hard to hide.)
At the time, I was also dealing with a host of nagging health problems like chronic fatigue, digestive problems, poor sleep and skin problems.
But I was so focused on my weight that I didn’t really give much thought to making…Continue
Eating “clean” doesn’t have to be something that you abandon around the holidays.
Over the last six years I've experienced the amazing health benefits of clean eating, and I’ve started taking our holiday food traditions and creating healthier versions. That way we can still indulge in the holiday goodies without feeling guilty or yucky after.
Here are three of my favorite healthy, yummy and easy holiday recipes that you can enjoy with your family.
Homemade Almond Bread
I started using almond flour several months ago as a healthy gluten-free alternative to white and wheat flours. I have to say, in the right recipe it's quite delicious!
This is a simple recipe I'll not only make as a healthy alternative to dinner rolls, but I’ll also make when I'm in the mood for bread instead of buying your store-bought varieties.
I will warn you--this recipe doesn't make for great sandwich bread, but it's perfect to serve as a side dish with your main meal and it makes for awesome toast.
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Here's what you do:
When you think about being healthy, what comes to mind?
Is it about looking good—having a tight butt, defined abs and toned biceps?
Or is it about feeling good—having a lot of energy, thinking clearly and feeling balanced every day?
Or is it a combination of both?
When most people think about being healthy they think it’s just about looking and feeling good, but I would say it’s more than that.
Here is a five–point criteria I use with clients to help them get clear about what it truly means to be healthy.
As you read through each item, ask yourself where you measure up and where you fall short.
1. Take Personal Responsibility for Yourself
Being healthy means taking ownership of your thoughts and actions. Every day you make a lot choices—you choose what you eat and drink, you choose what time you go to bed, you choose how you manage your stress, you choose whether or not to exercise, you choose what kinds of thoughts you allow to dominate your mind, you choose who you surround yourself by, and all of these choices collectively impact your health. So you can CHOOSE to be healthy, simply by making healthy lifestyle choices or you can choose not to make good choices.
Taking responsibility for yourself also means eliminating all excuses—it means that you don’t blame others for your health problems or your failure to make progress in your life.
Do you find yourself saying any of the following statements?: