Wellness Scout

SAD? Combat the cloudy days with these tips!

For those of us who live in those northern climates and states, the effects of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) are felt in various degrees. Can it happen to you? Sure! Be aware and accept when you have those feelings; learn how to identify, cope, and move forward.

FALL and WINTER SAD
Symptoms specific to winter-onset SAD, sometimes called winter depression, may include:

  • Irritability
  • Tiredness or low energy
  • Problems getting along with other people
  • Hypersensitivity to rejection
  • Heavy, "leaden" feeling in the arms or legs
  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
Sound familiar? Below are some tips from Your Wellness Scout, guest blogger “Dhali Mama,” and WebMD. Great tips for anyone trying to avoid the winter blues.

Your Wellness Scout:
  • Eat a wide variety of vegetables, lean protein, fruit and lots of fish. Choose dark chocolate over milk for an afternoon treat. Both fish (salmon especially and dark chocolate increase serotonin, the mood boosting hormone.
  • Although cold and cloudy weather increases the desire to choose happy hour over exercise, try to not always choose happy hour. Even if the gym doesn’t inspire you, take a walk with friends or enjoy a fun outdoor activity.
  •  Maintain or increase your social activity to increase feelings of connection and social community. Relationships and social connection increases pleasure and positive thought.

Dhali Mama:
  •  Keep curtains or blinds open in the bedroom so you rouse and waken with the dawn and natural light. 
  •  Go to bed with complete darkness at the same time each evening.
  •  Refrain from watching TV in bed.

WebMD
What can you do on your own to feel better?
  •  Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Getting more sunlight may help too, so try to get outside to exercise when the sun is shining. Being active during the daytime, especially early in the day, may help you have more energy and feel less depressed.
  •  Moderate exercise such as walking, riding a stationary bike, or swimming is a great way to get started. But any activities that raise your heart rate-including daily chores-can help, especially if you can do them outdoors or near a sunny window.
  •  Try to do muscle-building exercises at least 2 times each week, such as weight training or stair climbing.
  •  Moderate exercise is safe for most people. But it's always a good idea to talk to your doctor before you start an exercise program.
  •  Some people try complementary treatments to help with SAD. If you want to use them, be sure to check with your doctor first. They may interact with other medicines or treatments. 

Wellness Scout

SAD? Combat the cloudy days with these tips!

For those of us who live in those northern climates and states, the effects of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) are felt in various degrees. Can it happen to you? Sure! Be aware and accept when you have those feelings; learn how to identify, cope, and move forward.

FALL and WINTER SAD
Symptoms specific to winter-onset SAD, sometimes called winter depression, may include:

  • Irritability
  • Tiredness or low energy
  • Problems getting along with other people
  • Hypersensitivity to rejection
  • Heavy, "leaden" feeling in the arms or legs
  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
Sound familiar? Below are some tips from Your Wellness Scout, guest blogger “Dhali Mama,” and WebMD. Great tips for anyone trying to avoid the winter blues.

Your Wellness Scout:
  • Eat a wide variety of vegetables, lean protein, fruit and lots of fish. Choose dark chocolate over milk for an afternoon treat. Both fish (salmon especially and dark chocolate increase serotonin, the mood boosting hormone.
  • Although cold and cloudy weather increases the desire to choose happy hour over exercise, try to not always choose happy hour. Even if the gym doesn’t inspire you, take a walk with friends or enjoy a fun outdoor activity.
  •  Maintain or increase your social activity to increase feelings of connection and social community. Relationships and social connection increases pleasure and positive thought.

Dhali Mama:
  •  Keep curtains or blinds open in the bedroom so you rouse and waken with the dawn and natural light. 
  •  Go to bed with complete darkness at the same time each evening.
  •  Refrain from watching TV in bed.

WebMD
What can you do on your own to feel better?
  •  Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Getting more sunlight may help too, so try to get outside to exercise when the sun is shining. Being active during the daytime, especially early in the day, may help you have more energy and feel less depressed.
  •  Moderate exercise such as walking, riding a stationary bike, or swimming is a great way to get started. But any activities that raise your heart rate-including daily chores-can help, especially if you can do them outdoors or near a sunny window.
  •  Try to do muscle-building exercises at least 2 times each week, such as weight training or stair climbing.
  •  Moderate exercise is safe for most people. But it's always a good idea to talk to your doctor before you start an exercise program.
  •  Some people try complementary treatments to help with SAD. If you want to use them, be sure to check with your doctor first. They may interact with other medicines or treatments. 

yourwellnessscout@gmail.com

Learn three simple steps to remind yourself daily to mitigate the “damage” from the holidays, lessen the pain from the recovery, and keep your body functioning more regularly.

Wellness Scout

Tips for Maintaining your Health during the Holiday Party Season

The holidays are here! Do you have a holiday party or two to attend? Maybe a few work gatherings? Lots of food, drink, and fun to fill your day and bring some added variety to the week! However, does your stomach start to constrict with a slight increase of anxiety wondering how you will be able to indulge but not wreak havoc to your waistline, sleep, skin, and more? Do holiday party invites inspire you to cook that new, healthy dish on Pinterest, but you wont have time to actually make it? Dont know what to cook, bring, or eat? I can provide quick easy solutions to many of these questions and more to help you maintain your health and culinary adventures, without adding hours to your weekend in the kitchen.

Whether hosting or attending a party, below are some tips to ensure your health needs are met without sacrificing your guests' needs:

                  Hosting:
o   Include a variety of healthy menu items to please all palates. Focus on vegetable sides, but also include one or two hearty, creamy dishes and some meat appetizers. Dips, fruit based desserts and one chocolate or more savory dessert can round out the menu.
o   Consider serving bean-based dips like hummus and spicy black bean dip or olive and/or pepper-based dips like tapenade.
o   Offer non-alcoholic options such as sparkling water with cucumber and mint, low sugar sparkling fruit juice or tea infusion juices. Kombucha is a fun alternative as well.
o   Prepare what you can days in advance to avoid relying on processed foods. Chop your vegetables along with dinner prep one night and store them in the refrigerator. Make your dips a day or two in advance. Even cook one weekend prior to the party and freeze the dish. Make sure you choose one that stands up well in the freezer.
o   Look to ethnic foods for fun alternatives such as roasted chickpeas, mini-sushi rolls, beans and olive oil based sides, and smoked fish.
o   Incorporate chia seeds into desserts. Chia seed and almond milk with cinnamon make a tasty and unique textured alternative to traditional puddings.

Attending:
o   The tips for hosting can also be applied to attending. Your host might even appreciate the unique item you bring versus the typical potato chips and ranch dip.
o   Need recipe ideas? Try one of these
o   Don't cook? But dreading what to bring? Don't rely on the conventional. Use the opportunity to share the health alternatives you may be trying.
o   Below are substitution suggestions for typical holiday potluck items.
§  Pita chips vs. Ruffles
§  Hummus, pestos, bean or veggie dips vs. Ranch dip and processed cheese dips
§  Gourmet cheeses and tapenades vs. cheese logs
§  Prosciutto and asparagus spears vs. pigs in a blanket
§  Spicy baked chicken or mini meatballs vs. fried chicken tenders
§  Artesian bread vs. packaged yeast rolls
§  Chocolate dipped fruit vs. packaged cookies.

You have arrived at the party! How can you navigate the party in order to focus on socializing versus what you will eat?
  • Move, move, move! Change your position at the party. Don't just sit in one spot. Mingle. Dance!
  • Always have a glass of water in your hand. Take sips in between bites. Drink some water before you sip that eggnog, sugary beverage, or wine.
  • Accept that you will have one or two full plates, a dessert and two drinks. Determine what your limit will be. Allow yourself to enjoy and indulge just in moderation. Going into a partying denying yourself all the fun sets you up for sabotage and it often leads to overeating later on once you have had a few drinks.
  • Eat before you go. Having a light, fiber rich snack will help you choose more wisely at the buffet table. An hour before the party, enjoy an apple with peanut butter or a cup of lentil or minestrone soup. Try washing that down with a glass of milk for added satisfaction.

Remember, the party is about unwinding with friends, making new friends, and sharing good food without producing a lot of guilt. You can enjoy your traditional comfort foods and enjoy some new ones by incorporating a variety on your holiday plate. After all, you may have another party just around the corner!

Wellness Scout

Three ways to avoid Holiday highs and lows

Halloween has come and gone, Thanksgiving is upon us, and Christmas is around the corner. Not to mention the various other holidays and celebrations such as Hanukkah, Kwanza, and New Years Eve parties. Its the time of lights, feasts, gifts and more! So indulging is on the menu for today and for the next month or so. How can you partake without significantly impacting your health?
Craving the holiday candy at Halloween is natural. Stuffing yourself over Thanksgiving is a holiday right! And enjoying multiple parties with sugar and bread comas is what the holidays are about. Right?  Well, maybe not every year and maybe this year, your body needs a break.  So how do you maintain a year of health without experiencing the highs and lows in sugar, weight gain, and exhaustion?

Here are three simple steps or mantras I remind myself daily to mitigate the damage from the holidays, lessen the pain from the recovery, and keep my body functioning more regularly.

1) Drink water: When I say drink water I mean it. Like a ton. Like 3 liters. Like you should be going for water before you take that sip of coffee or juice, before biting into that salad or sandwich, and even when you are bored. Drink water. Drink it first thing when you get up. Drink it before you go to bed. You will fill fuller, hydrate continuously and ensure you arent mistaking hunger for dehydration. Carry around water as often as you carry your wallet. Hydration is your key to health.

2) Move: If you exercise, keep the same pace. Make the extra effort to just maintain. Dont add during a time when schedules are tighter with more demands. And if you miss a regular session, accept it as part of the holiday slide. If you dont have a regular exercise regime, dont necessarily start one just to offset the holiday gain. If you have more motivation during this time of year, then definitely capitalize on that feeling, but find exercise that you will assuredly be committed to doing daily, weekly or bi-weekly. Aside from formal exercise (gym, classes, sports designated times of movement), MOVE THROUGHOUT your day! This means taking the stairs, parking further away from your destination, taking long walks on the weekend, cleaning your house more, dancing, standing and mingling at the parties. Find ways to continually move through your day to burn the calories and keep mindless nibbling at bay.

3) Indulge: Indulge? Yes, I said indulge. Why? Because in my experience, deprivation only creates a stronger need of wanting. If this sounds familiar, then I would highly suggest accepting that during this time of year, you may indulge, but responsibly and moderately. Is there Halloween candy at a desk you frequently pass or in the break room?  Allow yourself to walk by that area at two designated times during the day to take a piece. Dont walk by other times and if you do, remind yourself you have allotted a time to indulge. If you dont feel like taking candy at the indulging hour, dont. Its all about accepting your indulgences and not creating guilt. Attend a holiday party with the goal of enjoying one full plate and two drinks. Dont go convinced you will NOT eat those delicious peanut butter buckeyes or macaroni and cheese. Dont assume you can rise above the temptation. If you dont indulge at the designated moments, you may find yourself overindulging out of sure loss of will power and then youll overdo it.

All three of the above work in tandem as well. Remember to drink water between those sips of alcohol, eggnog or punch and move every time you feel the urge to pick at the party food table. This way, you will enjoy the holidays with a feeling of empowerment and will power. And, youll be prepared for indulging so you can enjoy the holidays without feeling guilty.

Contact me if you need some more tips on maintaining your health during and post-holiday season.

Wellness Scout

Eat Greens the easy way!

Eat your greens! We hear this all the time. Not everyone has the time to consistently shop, wash, and chop greens to eat on a daily basis. However, you can make smart choices especially when on the road for work or even just to enjoy on one of those crazy days. Try drinking GREEN JUICE!

Am I only referring to the kind in a juicer or blender? No! When I say "green juice”, I am referring to a complete solution to ensure you have received your daily dose of greens with the health benefits similar to when you eat a salad. The green juices I recommend also contain a probiotic, which provides an added gut benefit . When I shop for a green juice, I look for powdered forms of pressed organic grasses and greens such as wheat grass, barley grass, alfalfa, spirulina, spinach, broccoli, acai, maca, carrot, green tea, flax seed and digestive enzymes for the probiotic part. It's quick, portable, and provides me the peace of mind that I have at least eaten my greens for the day. The one I use the most is Amazing Greens. There are several other good brands too-- Complete Greens, Shakeology (more of a meal replacement), Garden of Life Perfect Food Raw Greens, and Vibrant Health Green Vibrance. I like Amazing Greens the best not because it’s a meal replacement for me, but a complement. In regards to taste, I like green juices that have little to no sugar and Amazing Greens has the least amount of sugar for my taste without any artificial taste. I also love the fact it contains a probiotic because although I usually get mine through fermented foods, it’s another source. Amazing Greens also has a great superfood profile. Learn more about that here.

Why I swear by green juice… Last year when I was pregnant, my husband and I went on a trip to Nicaragua and we were wary of eating some of the fresh salads and veggies there due taking extra precaution with my pregnancy. Also, Nicaragua has wonderful meat and we knew we would be indulging in more of that and less of the veggies. We made sure to drink our green juice every morning and we felt great, didn’t have any constipation and maintained our strong immunity while enjoying the Nicaraguan food and drink. Conversely, on other trips when we had forgotten our green juice, we felt sluggish, foggy headed and we craved sugar and carbs. Bringing along our green juice is an automatic staple when we go on trips now.

How can you introduce green juice into your diet? I usually start my day every morning with one. I find that the green juice provides me with a cleanse and some extra nutrients that help me to focus on tackling some tasks before I have a savory, filling breakfast. Most of all green juice is simple, quick, and it doesn't require a lot of cleaning and preparation.

For more information on how to integrate green juice and other healthy solutions into your daily life, please contact me .

Note: Your Wellness Scout recieved no endorsements or compensation for this blog or recommendation of Amazing Greens. 

Wellness Scout

Think clearer, breathe more and maintain weight - just by eating outside!

Fall is now upon us. Depending on where you live, you may have already taken out those long-sleeved jackets, jeans and cardigans. Eating outdoors is one habit that we may think ends with fall. However, my goal this year is to bundle up and brave the cooler temperatures. Why? I have noticed four benefits to my mental and physical health when I sit outside, which result in better weight management, mental clarity and focus.

Eating Slower:  Sitting outside gives me calm, which allows me to eat more slowly. I savor my food. I chew more and focus on my surroundings, people watching or nature as opposed to inhaling my food provoked by a lunchroom rush or a glaring computer monitor. I find eating outside taps into the biological zen of calm created by fresh air and colorful surroundings. Because I eat slower, I don't engorge more than I should before my "full sensors" kick in (typically 20 minutes after eating) and I eat just the right amount.

Breathing - I find that the calm from nature and the fresh air remind me to breathe. Not just unconscious breathing but inhaling deeply up to three times. Since the birth of my daughter, I have done a 180 in breathing - none. My yoga practice is nil and I'm not engaging much in cardiovascular exercise so I've pretty much forgotten the deep breath. Sitting outside reminds me to slow down, savor, refocus and breathe. Breathing means I feed by body with oxygen first rather than with other highs such as sugar, caffeine or refined carbohydrates.

Idea generation – This increased focus on breathing allows my brain to receive the oxygen necessary to think more clearly. I find I often release the stress of chores, to do list, or what I should have done yesterday, today etc from my mind. I become in tune with what my body wants and needs-- what my soul needs. From this, some of my best ideas are generated whether it be a business idea, blog topic, refocused goal or just a clearer way to approach the day. It’s Feng Shui for my mind.

Happiness - Breathing deeply, relaxing and savoring it all releases the mood enhancer, serotonin. in the brain. Serotoninis powerful brain neurotransmitter that affects our emotions, appetite, sleep, behavior and more. It is often considered the happy chemical because reduced production can lead to depression.   I feel clearer about the goals I need to accomplish - maybe I have even already accomplished one or two of them. Because of all of this, I feel happier and more re-energized about my day. I find I can tackle most problems and most of all, I feel thankful for having taken the time to sit outside.

Tips for how to make eating outside a regular practice:
Prioritize: On warmer days, prioritize finding a way to sit outside for at least 30 minutes to an hour. The best time is during your lunch break. However, if that's not possible, try to enjoy a mid day snack outdoors or if breakfast is feasible, start the day outside.
Bundle up: Always have a jacket/sweater and a scarf handy to ensure you stay toasty during the outdoor session. A scarf is a great addition as it prevents those chilly drafts from sneaking through jacket openings.
Pack your lunch. Packing your lunch allows you to have a satisfying meal and most importantly, it will ensure that you don't spend time choosing a place to find lunch, which can impede on the time you’d like to spend outdoors.
Get support - Enlist friends and coworkers to support your efforts. Challenge them to eat outside with you. Make it a fun way to catch up without having to fight for seats at an eatery or talk above the lunch rush chatter.

Wellness Scout

Glorious Eggs: How they maintain weight, physique and energy

Recently, a client who had begun eating eggs for breakfast more regularly told me that her sister-in-law was fearful of eggs. Yes, the word "fear" was used. She felt her sister-in-law could benefit from the protein contained in eggs and wished she had a more favorable opinion of them. I could not agree more with my client! In fact, I am amazed that many people think eggs are either too heavy, unhealthy for the heart, too expensive, fattening, high in cholesterol or require too much preparation. I can dispel all theses "fears".

1) First, eggs are full of protein and they contain the nutrients necessary to start life. They also rate high on the satiety index (an index developed to determine how full one feels after a meal). 

2) Many worry about the cholesterol contained in eggs but many resourcesare debunking that fear. The cholesterol contained in eggs doesn't raise cholesterol in the body-- it actually counteracts this as the liver produces less cholesterol when receiving it through the diet. The benefits of eggs also outweigh the amount of cholesterol received from the egg. If you don’t believe me and want to read more about this, then please contact me and I’ll provide you with additional resources. In general, avoiding eggs due to the fear of cholesterol is just not a good enough excuse.

3) Due to the idea that the fattening part of the egg is contained in the yolk, many people think it’s healthier to eat only egg whites. Avoiding egg yolks negates many of the reasons cited above as to why you should eat eggs. The yolk of the egg is the prize-- it is where life is created and it carries all of the vitamins and minerals necessary for building a working system. The yolk contains B vitamins for energy, folate for brain development, lutein for eyesite, biotin for skin, hair growth, metabolism, and more. In fact, when I was pregnant, eating high quality eggs (organic, pasture raised or from a local farm) was at the top on my list of food choices. Eating eggs assured me that I was receiving a boost of B vitamins, folate, selenium and protein-- all vital for the start of a human life and pivotal in preventing birth defects. Even today, my husband and I start our mornings 90% of the time with eggs and I can tell a difference when I don't.

4) What about the cost? Egg prices can range from $2.50 to $7 for a dozen depending on location, type, origination, omega-3 boosted and more. Figure out what your priority is and invest in them. One egg or maybe two a day may be enough for you. That equates to spending $7 on breakfast roughly every 1- 1.5 weeks. Have you considered how much that Au Bon Pain or Panera egg white "healthy" sandwich is? What about that Starbucks latte and cage free egg spinach wrap? Those items average $5 - $8 A DAY. Making and eating eggs at home is a healthier and more economical approach.

5) What about the excuse that preparing eggs take too much time, especially on busy weekday mornings? Or, the opinion that plain eggs taste bland and that you have to eat them in a greasy, heavy, fattening format with many additions in order for them to taste good? Eggs are high in the monounsaturated fats. I personally do eat real fat in small portions thus, the amount in an egg doesn't concern me. Eggs don't need to be overwhelmingly rich with cheese, cream, and bacon to taste delicious. If your diet is full of highly processed, fried and sugary foods, a hard boiled egg would taste bland.

Try adding....
fried egg over hummus, arugula and tomatoes and then add a little salt and pepper. Spice it up by adding an avocado and/or cheese to it. 
OR....add leftover black or pinto beans from a Mexican dish the night before. You could even add some lentils and creme fraiche. 
Chopped up hard-boiled eggs over rice with a dash of cinnamon is also a tasty option. Below I even scrambled eggs into oatmeal topped with tomatoes and sour cream.

There are so many combinations that you could have eggs 5 days in a row with different tastes and textures and you would never get bored or sick of them! Short on time? Try making an egg frittatawith veggies and chicken sausage on Sunday, cut it into pieces and reheat it throughout the week. Below is my summer squash and ricotta galette that is a delicious dinner side or refreshing breakfast!

Like Deviled eggs.?
This one was inspried from my husband's recent boredom with fried eggs (note this was after three months of the same fried egg with all the aforementioned combinations).

Other options include:
Scrambled eggs with leftover veggie
Tortilla Breakfast Cups are a hearty way to start the day while also providing some carbs, veggies and extra protein.


How I vary it up is by eating eggs in various combinations four days a week and then one day a week, I might have a banana and peanut butter, or oatmeal or quinoa mixed with fruit. The weekends are usually devoted one larger, slowly savored breakfast of scrambled or socuklu yumurta (Turkish dish) along with tomatoes, cheese, and cucumbers. The seventh day may even be eggs, too. It's a no brainer for my family!

I devote a whole portion of my coaching services to meal planning, in which I help those who want to loose weight and fight cravings by helping them choose better options to eat for breakfast. Adding eggs to your diet is a simple and cost effective practice that ensures you are getting enough protein at the start of the day. Consuming an adequate amount of protein in the morning minimizes the tendency for post meal cravings and sets you up well for more balanced eating throughout the day. By eating eggs when I was pregnant, I was able to stave off morning sickness and after my daughter was born, eating eggs helped me loose the 20lbs of my pregnancy weight. Eating eggs saved me - let them save you, too!

Wellness Scout

Travel Well, Eat Well!

Your bags are packed, you have a ticket in hand and you’re ready to take off! You have dedicated yourself to eating healthier, cleaner and to exercising more. But you are also determined to enjoy this trip and to stay focused on your goals while indulging a little along the way. Do you have a glimmer of apprehension at being able to maintain those wellness goals? Do you eye every pastry and french fry with carefree abandon saying "hey it's vacation" Are you driven by work adrenaline and social activities to burn the midnight oil over a bottle of red or pints of beer? Or are you the food snob that will drive 10 miles out of your way before resorting to the typical chain restaurant in search of the local grass fed cow? Eating on the road, whatever the reason may be -- pleasure, vacation or business travel -- doesn't have to hurt your waistline or your peace of mind. Below you’ll find a few quick travel tips for eating on the road. Future posts will be dedicated to more specific travel tips such as eating in airports and staying at hotels.

In everyday life, I follow the 90/10 rule and while on vacation the 70/30 rule. What this means is 90% of the time I eat in moderation and choose clean, unprocessed food that's homemade while 10% of the time I indulge in my vices (desserts, wine, bar food). On vacation this shifts to 70% "healthy" and 30% not. Sometimes it's 60/40 and on one trip it was 50/50 but the point is that I've set these expectations and accepted them. This way, I can ensure that I go into my vacation prepared while also giving myself the space to enjoy a few treats.

Be prepared! Mentally and literally. Bring snacks. Line up dining options in the area to choose from so you don't resort to a place your body and your wallet may regret the next day.

Make that first trip on the road be from home. I've recently used an upcoming trip as a way to clean out what is remaining in my refrigerator. Before our last trip, I threw everything into a salad, “my kitchen sink salad” as I like to call it. I ended up with a creation that my husband and I really enjoyed and one that I intend to repeat for our usual repertoire of mealsIt consisted of salad greens, veggies, leftover cooked chickpeas & raisins, leftover sautéed chicken dish, and lentil fritters. Bring snacks from home on your trip such as apples, nuts (almonds and walnuts are ideal), hearty crackers or rice cakes and small packs of hummus or peanut butter. Or, try oatmeal buttermilk snack cake which is a delicious snack and perfect for satisfying your sweet cravings on the road.
 
Greens, Greens, Greens. If you can't eat all your greens, buy a powdered green drink. Theses contain a variety of greens, herbs and nutrients for on the go especially if you aren't able to eat your greens. Mix with water or a little bit of low sugar juice. Here's my favorite but there are many on the market. Find the one that works best for you, but just watch out for those added sugars!
 
 
Locate the nearest grocery store that carries some staple items to store in your car, room, or bag. Examples are nuts, high fiber fruits such as apples, pears, and individual packs of nut butters. Think of a grocery store as an oasis of control. If you have access to a refrigerator, buy small yogurt containers and individually packaged cheese. While on the road, it’s OK to resort to some packaged items that you wouldn’t eat at home such as pre-made chickpea snacks or bean based chips to ensure your blood sugar stays level. However, try to avoid the store made trail mix and instead make your own to avoid the added oils and salts. I bring these items or spend a little time at a grocery store so that I have something on hand in case I can't find the food of choice or that best meets my body's needs.

Finally don't over caffeinate, and drink LOTS of water. The water will help to stave off the low blood sugar and staying well hydrated during a trip helps to flush out bad toxins! Keep in mind that coffee is a diuretic so for every cup of coffee or latte you have, you need one 8oz. glass of water.

Have fun, just have your remedies! Don't sabotage your efforts, prepare accordingly and enjoy your trip without making the travel all about surviving!

What have you eaten during a trip that was healthy and kept you focused until the next time you could stop for a good meal? Let me know about it!

Wellness Scout

Spring Cleaning - Pantry & Refrigerators too!

Warm weather has finally hit Boston, which means windows stay open, more picnics in the park and drinks on outdoor patios. Warm weather can also inspire some people to SPRING CLEAN!!! The desire to feel a renewed sense of cleanliness, weightlessness, and clarity is not only a physical achievement, but also a mental one that can be applied to all areas of life; not just the proverbial spring cleaning of the home. I have found that even our kitchen cabinets and refrigerators need a good "spring cleaning". So what exactly is a kitchen "spring clean"? Just like in the home, when you clear out the clutter, clean off the dust and review old items, you are remembering why you chose them in the first place. Similarly in the kitchen, once it’s cleaned out, you can feel refreshed, enlivened to try new recipes, more motivated to use up old ingredients, and you’ll save money and time to repurpose what you have. Most importantly you can start fresh with items you may have learned about or want to incorporate into new health goals for you and/or your family.

So how do you "spring clean" your kitchen? It’s a practice that’s similar to purging out your closet – just follow these tips:
  • Designate 4 piles on an open space (table, island, or floor) as USE NOW, STAPLES, NOVELTY/OCCASIONAL and DISCARD.
  • Review items in your pantry and refrigerator to determine how they fit into one of these four categories. Physically put those items into the piles. The importance of this is to visually see your purchasing and storing habits. What will you have room for once you review your inventory?
  • While you are assessing items for the four piles, the first way to determine importance is by looking at the expiration date. IF ANYTHING IS EXPIRED, DISCARD IT! Tired of the excuse "well if it wasn't in the house, I wouldn't eat it". Now’s the time to put that mantra into action.


Once you have designated the piles and discarded all the expired items, determine what goes into each of the four piles. First consider the items in the USE NOW pile and try to use those items up first!

  • USE NOW: Fresh items bought within the last week, half used grain packages, containers of chicken broth or anything that you no longer want in your pantry/refrigerator.
  • STAPLES: Items that you use on a consistent basis. This can include perishable and non-perishable items such as condiments and sauces - store bought or homemade. Take note if you would buy some of these staples again. If not, use them up this week. Make a game out of figuring out how you can use the most ingredients in one dish. While cleaning out the staples, review the ingredient labels for added preservatives (anything you can’t pronounce) and sugar content. Reflect on whether these items are healthy for you and your family. How many chemicals are in the ingredient list? Do you understand or know all the ingredients? How much sugar is there? For example, BBQ sauce can have upwards of 12g of sugar per 2 Tablespoons (daily suggested limit is 20g). These are all questions I'll discuss in a later blog, but for now, be conscious of how your staples may be affecting a goal of clean eating.
  • NOVELTY: Items that are fun, occasional buys, and are considered treats. Keep these if you want, but also note how many fall into this category. If you have more novelty than staples, you may need to review your shopping habits. Are you compulsively buying? Are you hungry when you go shopping?
  • DISCARD: Near expiring condiments, sauces, or anything canned or bottled opened but unused in a month. Anything you no longer desire or want in your house. Have you replaced your instance packaged oatmeal with old fashioned oats or steel cut oats? Have you replaced those high sugar granola bars and packaged soup mixes? If not, throw out these items. They are only going to be tempting on days or nights when you have little time or energy to prepare a fresh meal.


Now, what do you do with the USE NOW items? EAT them--CONSUME in a week. Be creative. Fresh vegetables? Make a root vegetable soup or cut up all the veggies for a salad. Cook that half package of grains with the remaining chicken broth for a more savory grain dish or base.  Here's a recipeI made when I had some beef broth to use and lots of quinoa. The vegetables can also be used in scrambled eggs the next day. The dish can be topped with a fried egg for a savory, satisfying breakfast, or topped with cooked chicken for a protein packed power lunch. I find I always have just random amounts of grains left over from previous recipes. Cook in beef, chicken or vegetable broth and stir in a variety of cut raw veggies. The veggies will cook al dente in partially cooked grains. Add lemon juice, salt, pepper and any other seasonings. Voila! A quick, easy way to use up items. Sometimes being economical and fresh can provide a sense of fulfillment just as much as cleaning out that closet!

The final step is to REPLACE! This means every time an item is discarded, review whether it's a regularly used item. If not, then figure out what you would want to replace it with that fits your health goals. If a goal is to move away from canned beans and use dried, use up the cans and at your next grocery trip buy a selection of dried beans from bulk or in the prepackaged bags. Store dried beans in glass containers to preserve freshness. If you are interested in moving away from commercial peanut butter, at your next trip to the grocery store, buy the natural kind (with the oil on the top) or the freshly ground. Task yourself with buying one or two veggies you haven't bought before. Regain interest and intrigue in cooking and make it fun!.

My task for you: try this "spring cleaning" with your pantry or your refrigerator to start. Make this a new start for creating sustainable eating and cooking habits. Let me know how you do and if you come up with fun recipes along the way!!





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