Love what you do, you’ll feel better.

do-what-you-loveOne of the aspects of my coaching that is so important for my clients’ health, is to really look at their work and whether or not it makes them truly happy. Are they just collecting a paycheck and counting the seconds til Friday at 5:00pm? Are they always wishing they could make more money, move up in the company or have a nicer boss that valued their work? Are they binge eating from the vending machine at break time and then rushing home to veg in front of the TV or computer? The majority of us could say yes to all of these questions without hesitation. In today’s economy, we take what we can get, even if we have a first rate education. There is very little job security left in America and we all just do the best we can.

Still, knowing all of this, I vowed that after my kids were in school I would go back to work doing something that made me happy and would help people. It was scary and daunting to even think about. I never graduated from college, so I knew I’d have to go back to school in order to have a real chance at doing the work I wanted to do. Before my kids, I was working in a cancer treatment center as a secretary/receptionist. I had started out as the file clerk and over the years, worked my way up to the front desk. It was rewarding in it’s own way, but mostly it was stressful and depressing. It wasn’t how I wanted to spend the rest of my working days until retirement. There are many wonderful people that make it their life’s work, but it just wasn’t for me. Having a passion for health and nutrition made it easy to know what direction to go in. It took me a while to zone in on health coaching, but once I found it, I knew it was the perfect fit. Guiding clients to better health through nutritional education is what I was put on this earth to do. I light up when I talk about it at a party and my heart speeds up when a client, friend or family member texts me with a random nutrition question. I’m just that into it! That’s why I am so glad that part of what I do is to help people find happiness in their own work.

To clarify, I do not tell all of my clients to go in on Monday and quit their job. Ever. What I do is help them to see how their relationship with their job effects their health. From how stressed out they are, how valued they feel and how it effects their eating to how many times a year they are out sick. Sometimes this leads to them seeking out new employment and sometimes it helps them to see how they can make their current work a healthier place to be. Sometimes it’s can be as simple as a shift in how they view their work and other times they need to make some major changes in their work day to feel more fulfilled.

So today I’d like my readers to ask themselves, “Do I love what I do?”.

Eating Healthy Doesn’t Have to be Scary.

I’ve noticed that many of the nutritional posts floating around Facebook, Twitter (and the internet in general) seem to be based on creating fear in the readers.

“5 Foods to Never Eat For a Flat Stomach”

“5 Negative High Protein Diet Effects”

“Top 10 Worst  GMO Foods for Your GMO Foods List”

“4 Major Health Risks of Drinking Soda”

“Is Your Food Killing You? Super Foods to the Rescue!”

Now, are some of these worth reading? Sure. Are all of these worth reading on the same day during your lunch break? I’m going to say no.

The reason I became a health coach was to educate people about the best ways to become a healthier human being. Teaching people the best ways to boost their immune systems, adopt healthy lifestyle habits and to focus on filling their plates with pure unadulterated nutrients,  has always been my mission. So I feel that bombarding my readers with negative headline after negative headline, is not the best way for me to go about getting my message to the masses. It’s like only reading the crime log or obituaries when you read you daily news. You start to feel that everyone around you is a criminal or dropping like flies. Fear and negativity breeds more fear and negativity, so that eventually you just sort of check out of the game. You throw up your hands and say, “What’s the point?! Everything is bad for me, so I might as well just be eating Cheetos and drinking Mountain Dew with a Red Bull chaser!”. I have heard and read variations on this statement many times in the past few months. Sadly, it has become a common thought pattern.

I know that at some point I have been guilty of spreading some of these articles and memes on my own blog and Facebook pages, for that I am sorry. I have tried very hard to make it my goal to only write and or post positive, yet informative articles for the last few months. When I consider sharing a post, I ask myself a couple questions before I do.

-Is this sending a positive message?

-Is this going to add confusion to an already confusing topic?

-Is this really helping, or spreading fear?

-Do I agree with everything in this article, or just one point?

-Would I say this to a client or loved one?

-Will this turn someone off to the idea of getting healthy?

If I can’t give a solid yes or no answer to any of these questions, I don’t post it.

Also, it’s really, super, duper important to try my hardest to make sure that what I am posting is factual and not just opinion (unless I make it clear that it is in fact just my personal opinion). If I am passing my opinion off as fact, not so great.

My promise to you, dear readers, is to try not be one more voice contributing to the mass confusion in the world of nutrition. I also promise to keep my posts as clear and as positive as possible.

Eat fresh, frozen or preserved produce as often as possible, drink lots of water, sleep as much as you can and exercise lots! Xoxo

 

 

Simple Sweet and Savory Springtime Salad

IMG_1850

 

I  am so crazy glad that spring is finally here. I’m choosing to celebrate the new season by devouring as many delicious leafy greens and asparagus as I possibly can. I invite you to join me in this salad filled celebration, by sharing this very simple recipe. It takes about 20 minutes to whip up and is far more filling than you’d think. Try it (or a variation on it) this weekend!

 

1 cup- uncooked quinoa

1 cup- beef broth (or chicken or vegetable)

1 cup- water

4 or 5- handfuls of chopped kale

1- handful of fresh young asparagus spears (washed and trimmed and cut in to 2 inch long pieces)

1- apple (any variety chopped in to cubes)

a drizzle of sesame oil

a sprinkling of tamari (soy sauce)

 

Instructions: Cook quinoa as per instructions substituting the broth for one of the cups of water. Should cook up in exactly 15 minutes. While that’s happening, put the chopped kale and asparagus in a large bowl. Add the sesame oil and tamari and lightly massage the greens til they are completely coated. When the quinoa is finished, poor it on top of the veggies and mix so that the kale softens. Lastly add the chopped apple and mix again. That’s it, enjoy!

Loving the Lemon Verbena!

Lemon-Verbena

If you’ve never sipped a lovely cup of lemon verbena tea, here’s a little nudge from your friendly neighborhood health coach. Lemon verbena is well known for it’s amazing sedative properties. It not only helps to encourage relaxation for your mind and spirit, but for your body as well. It does wonders for women suffering from the symptoms of PMS including cramps, indigestion and mood swings (ladies, you know the ones). Lemon verbena leaves are also a blessing if you suffer from chronic digestive distress such as IBS, Celiac Disease and even Crohn’s Disease. It soothes the digestive tract, just as it soothes our stressed out minds. It has a light refreshing lemony flavor which is wonderful in the spring and summer months and you can drink it hot or iced.

<Just like with any herbal tea, if you are pregnant or nursing it is wise to consult with your doctor or midwife before drinking.>

Not Your Average Jersey Diner

Americana_Diner

 

Here’s another post I’ve been meaning to write for a while, but never seemed to have the time. Well, with Spring Break here and no new module to work on, now is the time.

A little while back I was invited to join my friend, her mom and sister for a late lunch. They decided to give me my first (and certainly not last) taste of a unique Jersey diner that they had fallen in love with. I know, unique and diner don’t really seem to go together do they? The Americana Diner in East Windsor, NJ however is just that. Most diners are so cookie cutter with their burgers, salads, soups and huge shiny desserts when you walk in the door. Instead of that over the top dessert case, this is what you see when you are waiting to be seated.

 

Americana

Yep, that’s a display case of fresh fruits and vegetables. Not kidding. I all but rubbed my eyes in disbelief. It is the perfect introduction to this amazing eatery. The menu boasts grass-fed beef, free range chicken and locally sourced produce when available. There are so many healthy options to add to your meal that if there wasn’t a sign outside saying it was a diner, you’d never believe it. From roasted beet salad to cauliflower mac and cheese for the kids. I had a the Napa Valley Burger without a bun and a side of Garlic Mushrooms in Truffle Oil. Though I only had water with my meal, there are fresh squeezed juices available. Oh yes, for the non-gluten intolerant, there is a fresh baked loaf of bread and real butter delivered to the table to start the meal. It’s really quite lovely.

The bottom line is that this is definitely a place that I would recommend to my clients as a healthy dining out option. So please, if you are from New Jersey or planning a trip here in the future, make time to enjoy a refreshingly unique meal at The Americana Diner. You won’t regret it.

 

Homemade Pink Limeade

PinkLemonade

 

I always seem to stumble upon nummy, refreshing drinks when I least expect it. This was a total stumble upon moment.

About a week or two ago (I’ve been thinking of posting this for a while, but lost track of time.), I was making my morning cup of hot water with lime juice and I took a little detour. The first odd turn was deciding to pour the hot water into a tall mason jar (to make it more portable) instead of my usual coffee mug. After adding the lime juice, I of course realized that the glass jar would be WAY to hot to handle, so I decided to add a couple handfuls of frozen cranberries to try to cool it off a bit. As I stirred and watched the pretty little red ribbons of color snake their way down the glass, I knew there was only one thing to do. So, I added about a teaspoon of maple syrup and Voila! Homemade pink limeade! Yes, I had to let it cool for a while before I could enjoy it, but it was worth the wait. What a great springtime refresher!

Woot! I Made It!!

FinishLine

 

Well folks, I made it to the end of my March Challenge! At the beginning of the month, it definitely felt like a huge undertaking. For those of you that are just tuning in, I challenged myself to exercise in some way every day for the entire month of March. I started off with a very regimented schedule that pretty much flew out the window after the first week. Even though the schedule didn’t stick, the exercise did. For that I am very proud. As I stated at the beginning of the month, I have never been a physically fit person. I eat better than the majority of people I know, but move much less. So, I decided that if I was going to be an effective health coach and expect my clients to get their bodies moving daily, I needed to walk the talk.

After 31 days of making a conscious effort to be active everyday, I feel pretty great. The chronic back pain that I have dealt with for the past 5 years only bothered me twice this month. That’s a record. I feel much more in tune with my body now, since I made a point to think about what my body needed every day. There were of course days that I just did not want to get off the couch, but I did it anyway. Sometimes it kind of sucked, but mostly it made me feel better afterward. One of the coolest outcomes of this challenge is that I no longer ask my husband to carry the clothes hamper up and down the stairs for me in fear that if I do it myself, I’ll throw my back out. Yay for me!! Yay for him too, I guess. Oh yeah, I’ve got myself a pretty buff husband now too. He was my partner in this challenge and so he has been fine tuning his upper body and midsection this month. 🙂

So, mission accomplished. Today is the last day of the challenge and I got my exercise in for the day with a walk this morning. I think I’ll probably do some strength training tonight as well. But, I’m not ready to just hang up the resistance bands after tonight. I’m in this for the long haul now and couldn’t be prouder or happier about it. I know things will only get easier as the weather gets warmer and I can do more outside. I feel like this is going to be a great challenge to give my clients too, as it has had such a positive impact on my life. Hey, If I can do it, anyone can!

End in Sight

tumblr_inline_murso8R5YQ1r4nkfb

 

My March Challenge will soon be finished. It hasn’t all been easy, or even fun. There have been days when I have been excited to workout and there have been others when I’ve just wanted to veg out in front of the TV. I suppose that’s how it goes with exercise. I can say, that even on the days where I’ve had no ambition at all to move, I did anyway. When I am challenged to do something, I can pretty much guarantee that I will accomplish my goal. So, with only 3 days left in the month, I know without a doubt that I can do this. I hope that in some way, I inspired even 1 person to attempt this challenge with me and that they too have pushed through to this point.

In case you were wondering, I stopped with the Facebook selfies a while back due to the fact that life happens. I got too busy to remember to take the photo, post the photo and change the photo daily. Plus, I decided to concentrate more on the actual activity rather than how I looked preforming that activity. It kept me honest for the first few days, but after a while, I didn’t need the photos to get me moving.

This weekend is going to be jam packed with crazy, so I have no doubt that I will get my exercise in with ease. I will check in on the 31st to wrap things up and take some physical inventory. See you soon!!

Nori Roll-ups!

NoriRolls

Yep, I’m still trying to tackle this thing called wheat free living. My newest wonderful experiment in sandwiches with no bread, is the nori roll-up. It’s simple, just take some flat toasted nori sheets, meant for sushi and fill ’em up with whatever you like to eat for lunch! Turkey, avocado, hummus, greens, cheese, hard boiled egg, tuna… whatever floats your boat! They are a little crunchy on the outside and if you love the taste of sushi, you’re going to love these. You don’t even need a rolling mat. Just do it freestyle.

What would you put int your nori roll-up?

NoriRolls2

The Jena Kayne Interview

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Jena. Jena was troubled, unable to control her emotions. She was thought of as a “problem child” by her parents, teachers and doctors. It took years and a huge toll on her health, to get to the bottom of her real problem. For years she suffered from undiagnosed celiac disease. Now she is a 17 year old high school senior and I was lucky enough to speak to her and hear her story.

Me: Tell me a little bit about your childhood and what some of the challenges were that you faced.

Jena: Well I was usually very happy, but I acted out a lot. I got sick a lot and I would stay home from school. I didn’t like going to school. I was very aggressive and yelled. Acting out with my brother and parents, I was very physical. Which if you know me now, you know, not at all the way I am. I didn’t really know who I was, I didn’t know how to express myself.  So it was hard, because it wasn’t me.

Me: Physically, did you feel off after you ate? Did you feel anything different, or did it just feel normal to you?

Jena: I think it really did just feel normal to me. When I was maybe 5, I was sent to the ER because they thought I had appendicitis. I had severe abdominal pain and then it went away within 2 days. That was actually how I was diagnosed 2 years ago. I was in the ER again with severe abdominal pain and it didn’t go away this time. So they finally reluctantly gave me the test for celiac disease and they said,”Maybe you should go see the GI doctor.” and from there I was diagnosed. I always had stomach aches and chronic headaches and we didn’t know what it was. There were a lot of headaches in middle school. I just didn’t feel right. I wasn’t really healthy.

Me: Did it effect your appearance in any way? Your skin, skin quality or your hair?

Jena: Not really. I was just pretty overweight. When I was little it was OK, but when I was in middle school, it got more intense. So now I’ve lost 35 or 40 pounds and I feel much better.

Me: Why do you think it took so long to be diagnosed?

Jena: I think my symptoms were so scattered and they didn’t all happen at the same time. Like, they thought the headaches were just light sensitivity or my mom gets migraines so they thought it was migraines. But it wasn’t that intense, nothing like what she has. And they didn’t really know about my anger and that the outbursts were a symptom. They just thought I was a troubled child.

Me: Did you have treatment for the outbursts and anger?

Jena: Yeah, I when to a psychiatrist that prescribed ADHD medication. Maybe 6th grade I think. Yeah, we worked a lot with that and ironically as soon as I was diagnosed with celiacs, I didn’t need to go anymore. Now I go every 6 months to get my medication refilled.

Me: So you’re still taking the ADHD medication?

Jena: Yeah, but we dropped it down. I do have some trouble concentrating in school, but it’s just who I am. I’m kind of all over the place.  (Laughs)

Me: So, what would you say are some new challenges that you face now that you’ve had the diagnosis?

Jena: At first the diagnosis was very hard for me, especially dinner with my family. If they would have something that wasn’t gluten free and I had to have my gluten free pasta (because we hadn’t found any good brands yet) it was so disgusting and they were eating such delicious foods. That was hard. Or going out to restaurants and not being able to eat everything that I wanted to and them having a very small selection, or going to parties. I had to bring my own snacks and that was kind of weird. But it’s gotten a lot easier now. So, I’m kind of like, “Eh, whatever.”

Me: It’s getting better, the gluten free selection. I personally can not have wheat and it’s starting to move towards it being that I can’t have anything with gluten in it. So it is nice that you can get the better selection now.

Jena: What’s hard now is that I’m looking into colleges and I’ve had to check if they could accommodate me. It’s kind of stressful. So far it hasn’t hindered anything and I’ve gotten into the school that I want to go to. I’m glad because they can handle it, but the thought of me not being able to go to a certain college that I want to go to because they can’t accommodate my diet is… I never thought I’d have to think about that. I want to go to a school because I want to learn, not because I can eat there. But I’m going to school in New York and they are very aware. I’m going to be in Brooklyn.

Me: Congratulations, what are you going to major in?

Jena: Architecture.

Me: Wow! High five! (through the computer)

Jena: (Laughs)

Me: So, what kind of changes do you see in yourself in your daily life, now that you are taking a proactive approach to your health?

Jena: Well, I’m much healthier and I have a ton more energy. I walk like 5 miles a day. I love exercising. I didn’t use to. I have so much energy and I’m sleeping so well. I’m happy all the time. You’re never going to see me not smiling. I don’t act out anymore. I know how to deal with my feelings now. I don’t know if that’s just partly because I’m older, but definitely a lot of that was the celiacs. It changed a lot, I feel more… ME.

Me: How do you see your future now as compared to what it would have been without the diagnosis?

Jena: I think I’m a lot more spontaneous now, which is ironic because with celiacs it’s much harder to be spontaneous. It’s like, whatever happens happens, you know? I wasn’t as close to my mom and my dad as I am now, so that’s changed. I want to go to school closer to home, so I can be with them.

Me: Why do you think that is?

Jena: I think that I resented them a lot when I was younger. I thought that they were the reason that I was like I was. That they were causing all my anger. But now I know how to deal with it and we’re very close. It’s very nice.

Me: That’s so good to hear. Is there any advice you would give to other teenagers that are dealing with similar health issues? Somebody that might be feeling some of the same things that you were, but don’t know what’s happening to them.

Jena: Yeah, I would definitely say to advocate for yourself. With my mom, when I first started having the pain, she wasn’t sure if it was real pain, but maybe some subconscious thing. I took a couple of days to think about it and came back and said, “This is not subconscious, I’m feeling this.” Maybe if I hadn’t said that, I wouldn’t have gotten a diagnosis so quickly. And it was very important that I got the diagnosis when I did. You are going through what you’re going through and you need to advocate for yourself so that your parents know what’s going on and don’t minimize anything. You can put on a brave face, but you have to make sure that the doctor knows what your symptoms are. Tell them how much it hurts.

Me: Have you done a lot of research yourself or have you kind of left it in the doctor’s hands?

Jena: Well my parents both have their PhD’s in science and my mom is a nutritional scientist, so whenever a doctor tells us to do anything we do tons of research.

Me: You’re very lucky.

Jena: Yeah, my dad is very on top of things and my mom too.

Me: Well, that’s all the questions that I had, but I just want to say thank you so much. I think that your story is not going to help just teenagers and young women, but people of all ages who just go through this painful situation everyday. Some people who have celiacs don’t even have symptoms, so there’s no connection. If they don’t feel anything after they eat, they don’t know. It’s great that you have discovered this so early in your life and that you are able to control it now.

Jena: Yeah I’m very fortunate that it was a diagnosis, not like diabetes like my cousin has, where he’s dependent on insulin. It was just a diet change for me. It effected my life at the beginning, but now it’s just such a part of me I don’t even realize it. It’s been 2 years and a long road. This feels like the light at the end of the tunnel.

*I’d like to thank Jena’s parents for allowing me to interview their daughter and to publish the results on my blog.

http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/symptomsofceliacdisease/a/Silent-Celiac-Disease.htm