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Celebrate your miracles!

When I started my journey into helping others I could not have imagined being in the place I am today. I am humbled as I celebrate this victory and the miracles it contains.

I felt the call to make a difference in this world many years ago. My goal was to change the lives of those willing to commit. That meant, focus, dedication, and hard work on my part.

Making a difference has taken on many forms and has focused mainly on those who have been told they have cancer. No matter, how young or old you are, this is a tough diagnosis. It is when you truly find out the staying power of your friends and family.

Prior to 2013, most of my work was only slightly challenging. In July of 2013, I took on the most challenging case to date. I was asked to assist with a glioblastoma patient who wasn’t expected to live past the end of that year. She had just had surgery to remove what tumor the doctors could safely remove. Then it was 33 days of radiation and chemo.

She was wheel chair bound, very weak, cognitive and speech skills weren’t good, and she was overweight. The goal, in the minds of her family and herself; give her some sense of normalcy until she passes. She wanted to do as many things on her bucket list as she could possibly fit in and we did do some of those.

However, I had a bigger goal in mind. My goal was to help her thrive and outlive any expectations the doctors may have had.

Each individual is a unique, and her case is no different, therefore, I won’t go into the specifics of what I did with her. On June 13th, 2016, she celebrated her 3 year survivor, thriver anniversary. She is half the woman she used to be, no longer needs a wheel chair, speech and cognitive skills vastly improved, the list of miracles goes on.

Her doctors say she is defying the odds. On multiple occasions, they simply turned to me and said, “Whatever you are doing, keep doing it because it works.” They have no explanation as to why she is still alive. She no longer needs me.

If you had told me I would be used to aid in this type of transformation, I would have told you that could never happen. The fact is, it did, and I was part of that miracle. This was by far, the most stressful 3 years of my career as a coach but I wouldn’t change it.

We all have the ability to heal. The human body is an amazing machine. Listen to the messages you receive from your body even when they seem crazy. Miracles are happening with each breathe you take.

 

Probiotics, the supplement I recommend most often.

Probiotics, are they right for you? What is a probiotic? I will do my best to answer those questions and more in this post.

First, is a probiotic right for you. I’m not a physician, nor do I play one in real life 🙂 so when in doubt, always consult your physician.

I believe that there are very few people that wouldn’t benefit from more healthy gut bacteria. Read what Harvard Medical School has to say about probiotics. This just scratches the surface.

This leads to the second question. What is a probiotic? Probiotics are healthy living microorganisms that can aid in keeping the unhealthy microorganisms at bay. Consider them your gut soldiers. Their mission, destroy the bad guys and help repopulate your digestive system with the good guys.

If you have ever been on an antibiotic, you may remember your doctor suggesting you take a probiotic or simply eat lots of yogurt. He/she knows that the antibiotic will destroy the healthy bacteria in your gut which can lead to some unwanted side effects.

By far, the one supplement I would never be without is a good quality probiotic. The answer is simple, the immune system starts in the gut and I want to give mine a boost with some good bacteria.

If you want to read the technical jargon about how your digestive system effects your immune health you can get more information here. The long and short of it is that what you put in your body in large part, determines your health.

Most of us grew up hearing, “You are what you eat.” Today we know that is more true than ever. I know for myself, this saying holds true…”Eat like crap, feel like crap.”

There are some wonderful food sources for probiotics if you aren’t inclined to take a supplement or are simply confused by which one to buy.

What do I use? I won’t do brand promotion because I don’t want anyone to think I’ve been paid to say what I’m saying on here. I will tell you, I use a shelf stable probiotic created for women. If you really want to know the specifics, email me.

Eating fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, or even fermented vegetables is another great way to get your probiotics.

Eating a nutritionally dense diet will help you to feel great and increase your resistance to illness. If you enjoy food, as most of us do, why not use it to up your game!!

The Power of Your Habits!

We all have habits we wish we could change. The first step to changing a habit is to acknowledge that you are stuck in a repeat pattern.

habits, good vs. bad

Habits aren’t necessarily good or bad. There are however, habits that don’t serve you or those around you and those are the ones you want to replace.

It takes time to develop a habit. It will take time to replace it with a new one. You don’t simply stop doing something, you replace it with a new behavior. It isn’t a measure of willpower. This is why resolutions don’t work.

Picture this, December 31, you tell yourself, “this year I will eat less sugar.” The thought that you have been eating a sugar rich diet for most of your life never crosses your mind. You’re intention is good.

There is no magic in “December 31.” Now that you set the intention to eat less sugar, all you can think about is eating sugar. Try this, for the next 5 minutes you can think of anything but a white elephant. 🙂 You can’t stop picturing that white elephant. It is the same with your habits.

You need to create a new sequence of events that, as a side effect, brings you what you want.

The best place to start is to go from mindlessly doing what you do to doing things mindfully.

Start by looking back at your day and writing down each time you found yourself doing whatever it is you are trying to change. What were you feeling? What is the sequence of events happening at that time? Can you uncover the causes of what you are doing?

You need to see where you can begin to make changes before you can create a plan to do the work to build something new. Find ways to disrupt the environment that make your old habit nearly impossible to exist.

Here is a simple example: If you are trying to reduce your consumption of sugary snacks, you can start this change in the grocery store. On your next trip to the store, replace those snacks with fruits. You can start with one at a time if this seems overwhelming.

Changing habits may not be pleasant. You may question why you are doing this. In those moments you need to think back on why you started on this journey. Do you want to go back to where you were?

Engaging with other, like-minded people is extremely helpful. You need a support system. Family, friends, coworkers, may or may not be a good support system. How do you know if someone is a good fit for helping you achieve your goals?

It is easy, will they be brutally honest when you need it? Will they hug you when you need it? Will they consistently push you to better yourself?

Are you looking for someone with the expertise to push you, cheer you on, and be honest with you and the ability to know what you need and when? Schedule your complimentary initial consultation today.

 

Gratitude-Pay it forward contest!

Gratitude is the open door to abundance! I start each day with an exercise in gratitude. Wellness isn’t just about nourishment for the physical body, we need to nourish the spiritual, mental and emotional bodies as well. What are you grateful for today?

I’ve been sewing off and on since I was a teenager. I was in my early 20’s when I first saw a Baby Lock machine and I was hooked. They were way out of my budget and I believed that owning one would only ever be a dream. I would dream and then let it go, always grateful for what I did have.

Last year I took a step up the sewing machine ladder and bought a Singer Stylist with all the bells and whistles. It was more than I ever had in a machine. Gratitude is a constant in my life and I was happy.

Fast forward a year, I started a project sewing special pillowcases for cancer patients, inspired by the work I do at Unlimited Smileage. The dream resurfaced as I sat and stitched.

I decided I would go look at them again. This time the universe had other plans for my dream. I was lead to a shop that is locally owned and wanted to see me with the machine of my dreams. Long story short, my new Baby Lock is now sitting on my sewing table ready to start the Pillowcase Challenge. My goal is to see how many pillowcases I can stitch in the month of March, all of which will be donated to charity.

Paying it forward!

In keeping with the gratitude theme, I’m giving away my Singer Stylist to IMG_4404one lucky winner. This machine with all the added accessories is valued at over $500. I want to see someone using it in love and service to their family, friends, and community.

There are two requirements. The first, sign up for the Begin Within Wellness newsletter. The second, comment on this blog post and tell me in 150 words or less how you would use this machine in service to others(family included) and why you feel you should win. If you prefer not to comment and would like to keep your response private, I will also accept email submissions.

It’s that easy.

  • There is no cost to enter.
  • It is open to individuals as well as not for profit agencies.
  • Deadline to enter is March 15, 2016.
  • The winner will be notified by email on or before March 30, 2016.
  • The contest is open only to those in the U.S. with the exception of Hawaii and Alaska. (I’m sorry shipping would be an issue outside of the lower 48.)
  • The winner may be required to pay a small fee to assist with shipping. If the winner is local to me, I will be happy to deliver.
  • Although I will do my best to ship safely, the machine doesn’t come with any expressed warranty. Unfortunately, I have no control over the shipping process. The machine works well and as you can see by the picture, it comes with tons of accessories.

What are you waiting for? I can’t wait to hear your stories and find a new loving home for this machine.

Exercise your way out of an unhealthy diet?

Do you ever find yourself justifying the sugary drink or the pastry you consume by telling yourself you will just spend an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill? We have all been there.

The problem is you can’t fix the damage that occurs to your body from unhealthy foods simply by running it off or burning extra calories.

The problem goes much deeper than that. We get wrapped up in counting calories and spend little time thinking about what we are actually consuming.

Take for example, refined sugar, whether in the form of a doughnut or the soda you drink there are many effects. Studies show that too much can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and more.

The problem with sugar is that it is highly addictive, take it from someone who knows. I spent many years fighting this one before I was able to gain control of my cravings. I was what is now termed, skinny fat. On the outside, I looked like the picture of health, not an ounce of fat to be found. The inside was a different story, sugar was taking it’s toll on me and I wasn’t even aware. I’m still on the road to healing some of that damage.

Does that mean I no longer crave sweets or eat anything sugary? Absolutely not. I do however pick and choose and I never drink sodas or other sugary drinks. The way I look at it if I’m going to indulge, it is going to be something I can savor, not something I chug down.

So how do I squash the cravings? It really can be as simple as a few dietary changes. When nothing but sugar will do, I reach for a piece of fruit. Whole fruits are loaded with nutrients and natural fiber which slows down the absorption of the naturally occurring fruit sugars.

Eat plenty of fresh vegetables, small portions of whole grains, healthy fats and some form of protein with each meal. These foods will keep you full for longer and will help balance out your blood sugar levels.

Don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works for you. Only keep the foods in your house that you want to consume. That piece of cake on the kitchen counter is most certainly going to look better than a piece of fruit. If it isn’t there you most likely won’t run out to get it, you will eat what is readily available.

If you have the sugar blues, I can help guide you to healthier options. Feel free to contact me, leave a reply here, and subscribe to the newsletter to get healthy living tips sent right to your inbox.

No Time To Cook?

Do you ever feel as though even with all the advances in technology meant to make life easier you have less time, not enough hours in the day? Your to-do-list just carries over from one day to the next? Who has time to cook!

Not having time to cook each day, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your health and well-being. Where do you start?

The first thing I recommend, take a long, hard look at what is eating up your time and eliminate anything that isn’t moving you toward your life’s goals. For example, maybe you are spending too much time on social media or checking email. Set limits on those things, such as agreeing to only check them twice a day. Turn off your automatic notifications.

Here are a few suggestions for eating nutritious food when you just don’t have the time or maybe the energy to cook.

  1. The crock pot, or slow cooker needs to become your best friend. There is nothing better than coming home, after a hard day at work, to the smell of a homemade dinner. Throw in some simple ingredients in the morning, set it and forget it. Come home, get the plate or bowl and dig in!
  2. The pressure cooker. Okay, so maybe you forgot to throw something in the slow cooker and you really want something quick and nutritious. Say hello to the pressure cooker. They come in a wide variety of price ranges and anything from stove top to electronic. If you like dried beans but never seem to be able to get them soft enough, this will be your new favorite kitchen gadget. Dried beans cook in very little time and come out wonderfully creamy.
  3. Batch cooking is another great option. Pick a day when you know you have a small block of time and cook enough food for the next five days. For example, cook chicken breasts in the way you like them best and then use them as the protein in your meal, on top of a salad, or in tacos.
  4. Salads are a great option. No cooking involved.
  5. Got kids, need to make a kid friendly mac-n-cheese that doesn’t come prepackaged and is fast. Use the microwave to make your own quick cooking mac-n-cheese. Maybe it is the grown-ups that are craving comfort food. I say go for it. Who says mac-n-cheese is just for kids.
  6. When none of these options will do, order from your favorite restaurant but choose wisely. Don’t be afraid to ask them to eliminate the salt, sugar, or other not-so-healthy ingredient. Ask for the nutritional information on the food you are ordering. You have a right to know what you are eating.

Quick Cooking Mac-n-Cheese

Place 1/3 cup elbow macaroni or small shells into a large mug or bowl with a scant 1/2 cup of water. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stir and microwave for 2 additional minutes, stirring in-between. The pasta should be cooked and water absorbed. Stir in a scant 1/4 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of cheddar, jack or other cheese of your choice. This would be the time to also add things like Dijon mustard, hot sauce, or other flavor enhancers. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Microwave for 30-60 seconds. Stir and eat. It is helpful to have the milk and cheese sitting out as the pasta cooks so it starts to warm to room temperature.

Tips: Throw in some broccoli or other chopped vegetables for a more nutritious meal. This is also a great recipe to show the older kids. Now when you just want to relax they can make it on their own.

Picky Eaters-How to get your kids to eat healthier.

As a mom, grandma, great-grandma, and aunt, I spend quite a bit of time with kids of all ages. Each child has their own way of coming to the nutrition table.

When I was raising my children, my son would eat anything you put in front of him, his sisters were a bit more picky.

When trying to get kids to eat healthier, you need to think outside the processed food box. Here are a few things to try, always start with setting the example. Kids won’t eat healthy if you don’t.

Start in the garden or if you don’t have a garden, start with a container. Kids love to grow their own food and in turn taste what they grew. Allow them to decide what it is they would like to grow. When I’m talking to kids, I explain that what you decide to grow, you can learn to cook and eat.

Some examples of what they can grow; fresh herbs, potatoes, carrots or tomatoes. My grandchildren each do their own container of organic potatoes and it is quite a big deal when they are ready for harvest. It’s even more fun when it is something they have never seen before, such as a blue potato.

Next, you want to move to your kitchen. Kids love to get dirty and be hands on with their food. Even more importantly, they love the recognition that comes with preparing food for other family members. The older the child, the more he or she can do. You may find you have a budding chef.

For the food you aren’t growing, plan a trip to a local farm. Allow them to pick the foods they would like for dinner. In some areas, you can find farms that give tours. We have one that has a three day farm day event that includes, homemade ice cream, a wagon ride through the dairy barn and more.

Knowing where their food came from seems to encourage kids to choose healthier options. The food from the farm just taste better. Think “Farm to table.” Fresher is better!

Don’t be discouraged if they don’t like a food the first time they taste it. Prepare it in different ways and remember they need to eat it daily for approximately 2 weeks before you can be sure they don’t like it.

Do you have any other ways you find that work to get your kids eating healthier? I would love to hear them!

 

12 Quick tips for enjoying your veggies!

2768_wpm_lowres-e1410843274119Maybe you aren’t fond of vegetables, or maybe you are just trying to find some interesting ways to add more healthy foods to your diet. The following is a quick list of 12 ways you can get more nutrient dense vegetables into your daily food intake.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and find your own unique way of incorporating these nutritional powerhouses into your diet.

  1. Add the ones you like or “almost like” to foods that you do like. A few examples would be adding them to eggs, add them to mac and cheese, or my favorite, add them to lasagna. I add vegetables between the lasagna layers and I also blend fresh spinach into my ricotta.
  2. Add them to soups or make an entire vegetable soup medley. Almost every soup I make has broth that I have fortified with an extra dose of minerals simply by adding a small piece of kombu as it cooks. Sea vegetables are a great way to up the nutritional value.
  3. Use fresh chopped veggies in your salad. Some of my personal favorites, bell pepper, kale, napa cabbage, and of course my favorite fruit-avocado.
  4. Eat raw veggies with hummus or even your favorite nut butter.
  5. Eat raw veggies with your favorite dip.
  6. Put them in your spaghetti.
  7. Slice them on top of your pizza.
  8. Juice them with fruit for a healthy smoothie.
  9. Grill them, outdoors or on a grill pan.
  10. Season them with your favorite seasonings and saute or roast.
  11. Make them into fun kabobs or stuff them.
  12. Roast them and use them in sandwiches, tacos, meatloaf, or with pasta.

There are many ways to prepare vegetables, I have only touched on a few. What are you waiting for? Enjoy your vegetables in ways you may not have imagined. Do you have any that you enjoy? Share them here.

Healthy eating time savers!

Whether you are caring for others as a profession, caring for ailing or aging loved ones, you’re a parent, or just a busy professional, it seems there are plenty of days where healthy eating seems to take too much time.

When you are on the go, it’s much easier to grab food from the nearest restaurant or even worse, the fast food joint.

Who hasn’t gone to the grocery store and picked up a ready made meal from the freezer section for those nights when you get home late and just want something to eat and you want it fast? Guilty!

Here is what keeps me eating healthier when it seems there aren’t enough hours in the day. Try them out and let me know your time savers.

First, I never leave home without emergency food. I bought a soft-sided cooler that I love to carry. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m an avid cyclist and I found a small cooler with a cool bicycle on the side. It has been my experience that if you buy something you find fun, you will be more apt to use it.

I pack things that would hold me until I can get home, fresh fruit, nuts, peanut butter, and extra water. If I know I will be out for an extended time, I pack salad or sandwich, or maybe even leftovers. I make sure to keep it simple, have it accessible and get it ready the night before so that I can grab it and go.

Some of you are saying, “Well what if I don’t even have time for that?” I say, “How badly do you want to be healthy?” Make smarter choices, don’t wait until you are famished to decide what you will eat. Look at the menu for the healthiest option you can find. It is much easier for me to make the time to get my food ready the night before than it is to decide what food is healthy on a restaurant menu. You decide what works for you.

Another time saving tip for eating healthier, cook once, eat twice or maybe three times. I’m a big fan of leftovers. There are certain foods that taste better the second or third day.

Save time by cooking soups and meals that freeze well. When I make a pan of lasagna, I make a 9×13 size pan. After it has had enough time to set up, I cut it into individual serving sizes, wrap tightly, and freeze. I can have lasagna any time I have a craving for Italian.

If you like pizza but don’t have time to make your own dough, check with your favorite Italian pizzeria. Many of them will sell you the dough for your freezer. Thaw, add your own healthy toppings and you will never go back to frozen ready made pizza again.

The slow cooker is your best friend when you are short on time. Throw your ingredients in when you rise in the morning, have a wonderful dinner when you get home in the evening.

How about a pressure cooker? This is a great kitchen appliance for those of you who may forget about the slow cooker but want to eat something healthy in the evening when you are tired and short on time.

Salads, a great go to, can be made up to five days in advance and kept fresh if you pack them correctly.

My favorite breakfast short cut–steel cut oats that have been soaked overnight. Rinse before cooking. They take almost no time to prepare, add some fruit, chopped nuts, ground flax, and a tablespoon of your favorite natural sweetener(for me it’s maple syrup) and you will have a nutritious start to your morning. This meal is filling enough to keep you going until lunch without feeling like you need a snack.

These are just a few of the many ways you can eat healthy when you are busy, tired, and there seems to be no time. You will enjoy the side effects of eating more nutritious food, feeling better and having more energy.

What are your favorite healthy eating time savers? Share your questions and comments below.

Happy Health Coaches Week!

Please join me in celebrating health and wellness coaches worldwide. January 12th through the 18th is National Health and Wellness Coach Week.

Together we are working toward a happier, healthier world.

A big thank you to Congressman Tim Ryan for his wonderful recognition of Health Coaches as an important component in overall healthcare.  Health and Wellness Coach Letter

Is a health coach right for you? When trying to determine if a health coach is right for you there a few key things to look at. You may not being doing anything bad, but are you doing the things that you know are good for you?

Are you eating well? Are you exercising on a consistent basis? This doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym. Daily activity can be as simple as functional fitness, walking the dog or playing with the kids. Are you stressed, overworked, over tired? Do you feel stuck? If you answered yes to any of these questions, a health coach may be able to guide you to becoming healthier and happier.

According to CDC reports, more than 66% of American adults are overweight or obese. Are you out of touch with your body? When we listen to our bodies, we eat when we are hungry, stop when we are no longer hungry and not stuffed. We enjoy food, rest when our body tells us to slow down, play because we know that joy is an important factor in overall health.

Being healthy is about so much more than the food we take in and a health coach can guide you on your journey to a happier, healthier you.