Wellness Scout

Healthy Doesn't Have to Mean 100% Perfection - What's Your Health Challenge?

Guest Blogger Cheryl C provides us her recent health challenge and solutions. She didn't let a kitchen remodel stand in her way!

We have been renovating our kitchen for three months. Yes, THREE months. When we started the demolition, I thought it would be a three-week project, but one surprise after another has kept pushing our timeline out. We keep an organic garden and generally try to eat healthy and smart, but this has been quite the challenge without a stove, oven, or sink. Here are three tips that have made this temporary situation a little more bearable:

1.      Find any excuse to get vegetables on the plate: Vegetables might taste great when steamed, sautéed, or roasted, but they’re just as good when raw. Not to mention better for you. In some ways, our eating habits have improved sans kitchen because so many of our meals center around vegetables. Salads and green smoothies are almost a daily staple in our diet; a habit I hope we keep when our kitchen is functional again.
a.      YWS Says: Awesome idea and adaptation! Embrace the opportunity to try a new health habit or revisit an old!
2.      The microwave is your friend: Granted, there are risks to frequent microwave use, but there’s no way around it when you want hot food without an oven or stove. I like to buy frozen side dishes from our organic grocery store and jazz them up. One of my favorites is a frozen package of lentils, kale, carrots, and peppers. After heating the package, I top it with a poached egg done in the microwave (super easy!).
a.      YWS Says: If you have a choice, use the oven or stove, but if in a pinch I’d rather use that than eat the packaged 10 ingredient foods. Try thawing the veggies first to reduce the time in the microwave. And love that egg idea –breakfast too!
3.      Don’t feel too guilty about eating out: Without a kitchen, everything is more work. After a long day at work, sometimes eating out is all we have the energy to do. And that’s okay…our kitchen-less house isn’t a permanent situation (I hope), so we allow ourselves to indulge and try to make smart menu choices when doing so. Put that sauce on the side!
a.      YWS Says: Mental health is as important as physical health! The time to unwind and regroup is key for self-nourishment and recharging. Choose wisely - focus on veggies and quality protein and don’t fear the quality fat!

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When Cheryl relayed her kitchen experience I asked her to submit her challenge because it exemplifies how we can’t be our healthiest selves 100% of the time. Life goes on. Habits take time to create. And during the habit making process kitchens are remodeled, jobs have crunch times, kids (or you) get sick, friends have parties. The list is endless. But one doesn't have to suffer. The tips here represent one of my main coaching themes- make the best of your situation and choose wisely along the way. She developed some great habits – I’ll check in with her on those green smoothies. She also ensured that accomplishing clean eating during this upheaval time didn’t add more stress. She cut herself a break by smartly eating out!


So I challenge you to make the best of your situation. Find the resources that help achieve health vs adds stress. Do you have a challenging health situation? Do you have tips to share? Or maybe some questions? Let me know! Submit your guest contribution or challenge to yourwellnessscout@gmail.com, comment to this blog, OR post to www.facebook.com/yourwellnessscout

Wellness Scout

Spring Clean Your Mind! - Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapies are any type of various systems of healing or treating a disease that is not included in the traditional curricula taught in U.S. and British medical schools. They have the healing effects of medicine, but do not originate from evidence gathered using the scientific method. They can be very successful based on the healer and the appropriateness of the method used. Common alternative therapies include Homeopathy, Chiropractic, Naturopathy, Ayurveda, Faith Healing, Reiki and more. They can provide numerous immune boosting benefits, preventative health and optimal health maintenance.
Below are the definition of some with many more to research!

A colonic is the infusion of water into the rectum by a colon therapist to cleanse and flush out the colon. It is also called colonic hydrotherapy or colon irrigation.

Acupuncture is key component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) involving thin needles inserted into the body at acupuncture pointsAcupuncture is commonly used for pain relief, though it is also used for a wide range of other conditions.

Reflexology is the application of appropriate pressure to specific points and areas on the feet, hands, or ears. Reflexologists believe that these areas and reflex points correspond to different body organs and systems, and that pressing them has a beneficial effect on the organs and person's general health. 

Aromatherapyis the practice of using natural oils to enhance psychological and physical well-being. Oils are used in everything from direct ingestion to topical use, to drops on pillows and in clothing and can be a great additive to a nightly humidifier. Scents such as lavender are popular for relaxation and peppermint for clearing the sinuses and mind.

Qigong is an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention. Breathing has become more popular to fight chronic inflammation and techniques such as Qigong can focus one’s breathing in a disciplined and useful manner.

Check out one of these today! Maybe there is a free info session at a local health center or maybe your yoga studio is having a demonstration. Many of these practitioners will welcome your curiosity and interest to try so don’t be shy think about how you can expand your wellness tool kit.


It is all about finding what works for your body, to not only heal but also spring clean the mind

Wellness Scout

A TASTE of Spring - weather & recipe wise!

SPRING IS ALMOST Here!
With a few rainy mild days in our midst, it's easy to get the taste of spring and the motivation to renew those health goals. With Spring comes new vegetables, maybe a pantry make-over or finding foods that energize you through the inconsistencies of a rainy March. Check out this vegetable dish that has the comforts of a wet spring but the hints of what's to come - Kohlrabi Carrot Fritters with Avocado Cream Sauce. Kohlrabi is a versatile, crunchy vegetable that pairs well with other root vegetables. The cream sauce adds enough fat for dissolving those fat soluble vitamins (A, E) in the veggies! Get energized and strong to avoid injury on these rainy runs, outdoor workouts or even just the daily commute. 

Stay tuned for more from Your Wellness Scout in her Spring Equinox of her quarterly newsletter. 
Interested in receiving my Quarterly Newsletter - Subscribe on my homepage

Wellness Scout

"How can you NOT go to the gym"! - I get it. Do you?

When I was unmarried, without a daughter, I recall not understanding how a mom coworker couldn't make the time to go to the gym that was IN our office.
Now, married and with a 1 year old, I get it.

A year has almost passed since our daughter was born and I ask myself “Am I fully recovered? Is my husband?” Maternity coverage would have been over 9 months ago and I reflect on that time with a fog and haze. Does it really take 3 months for one to recover; physically, mentally, emotionally? I know that this 3 month maternity thing is a concept to return women to the work force to make money to keep up the cycle of buying. I know many woman don't have a choice on whether to return or not, but that’s not the argument I’m tackling here, rather is our body - in all forms and ways - “healed” after 3 months?

I can only talk about myself, so hopefully in doing so I'll spurn some questions about your own wellness recovery after a life changing event, trauma or even set back and the choices to get yourself back on track.

Physically I had a very intense labor - both types really – vaginal and cesarean. Even the nurse said, " You got the best of both" - jokingly of course. Prior to labor, I was in very good physical condition so I thought I would bounce back, be at the gym within 3 months and have my physical strength back with the hopeful added bonus of my physique despite breastfeeding.

Nope.

I underestimated birth, life, and my own state of mind.

I go to the gym maybe once or twice a week, but it’s not my priority and I find that going religiously isn’t necessary when not sitting at a desk all day. However, the last few months I have lost the last remaining bits of strength from my pre-pregnancy days which has resulted in more aches and pains. As the gym isn’t as feasible I’ve taken up some home workout videos (Jessica Smith TV). I despise exercising at home. Despise. However, I have mustered the motivation and found a video I like. Even my daughter has embraced it. So how can I not even try!


With a C -section it takes longer than expected to heal and varies for every woman. I was exercising on my own within the 3 month mark, however, now I understand why some things in the abs didn’t feel so good. Now my organs finally feel in place. A year later. Certain moves no longer feel odd nor have some aches a day later. Although, now I have to work harder on my abs to keep my strength up and back pain low. On the plus side, exercise through daily movement and actions has kept the need for the hamster wheel (gym machines) at a minimum. I have a little extra weight on me and I need to work on that strength and tone, but it will come. All in due time. Slowly. Organically. Naturally. When my body is ready.

This is the same emotionally, with self care, relationships with your spouse, your career - give everything time to understand the new you, adapt and modify to meet your new priorities.

My point? Priorities shift when your health has been adversely or traumatically affected so recognize when it is time to adapt. Use it as an excuse to figure out a new way to challenge your body, redefine it. Set new goals. But most of all, give yourself the break you deserve that it takes a year or more for a woman to “recover”...to feel herself physically. Mentally...that’s another story...ask me in 18 years.

Wellness Scout

"How can you NOT go to the gym"! - I get it. Do you?

When I was unmarried, without a daughter, I recall not understanding how a mom coworker couldn't make the time to go to the gym that was IN our office.
Now, married and with a 1 year old, I get it.

A year has almost passed since our daughter was born and I ask myself “Am I fully recovered? Is my husband?” Maternity coverage would have been over 9 months ago and I reflect on that time with a fog and haze. Does it really take 3 months for one to recover; physically, mentally, emotionally? I know that this 3 month maternity thing is a concept to return women to the work force to make money to keep up the cycle of buying. I know many woman don't have a choice on whether to return or not, but that’s not the argument I’m tackling here, rather is our body - in all forms and ways - “healed” after 3 months?

I can only talk about myself, so hopefully in doing so I'll spurn some questions about your own wellness recovery after a life changing event, trauma or even set back and the choices to get yourself back on track.

Physically I had a very intense labor - both types really – vaginal and cesarean. Even the nurse said, " You got the best of both" - jokingly of course. Prior to labor, I was in very good physical condition so I thought I would bounce back, be at the gym within 3 months and have my physical strength back with the hopeful added bonus of my physique despite breastfeeding.

Nope.

I underestimated birth, life, and my own state of mind.

I go to the gym maybe once or twice a week, but it’s not my priority and I find that going religiously isn’t necessary when not sitting at a desk all day. However, the last few months I have lost the last remaining bits of strength from my pre-pregnancy days which has resulted in more aches and pains. As the gym isn’t as feasible I’ve taken up some home workout videos (Jessica Smith TV). I despise exercising at home. Despise. However, I have mustered the motivation and found a video I like. Even my daughter has embraced it. So how can I not even try!


With a C -section it takes longer than expected to heal and varies for every woman. I was exercising on my own within the 3 month mark, however, now I understand why some things in the abs didn’t feel so good. Now my organs finally feel in place. A year later. Certain moves no longer feel odd nor have some aches a day later. Although, now I have to work harder on my abs to keep my strength up and back pain low. On the plus side, exercise through daily movement and actions has kept the need for the hamster wheel (gym machines) at a minimum. I have a little extra weight on me and I need to work on that strength and tone, but it will come. All in due time. Slowly. Organically. Naturally. When my body is ready.

This is the same emotionally, with self care, relationships with your spouse, your career - give everything time to understand the new you, adapt and modify to meet your new priorities.

My point? Priorities shift when your health has been adversely or traumatically affected so recognize when it is time to adapt. Use it as an excuse to figure out a new way to challenge your body, redefine it. Set new goals. But most of all, give yourself the break you deserve that it takes a year or more for a woman to “recover”...to feel herself physically. Mentally...that’s another story...ask me in 18 years.

Wellness Scout

Fat Doesn't Make You FAT!

Don't misunderstand your need for fat! In a nutrient dense diet, the fats found in natural, whole foods are needed to help your body function—especially your brain and intestines. Fats are necessary for insulation within in your body. They enable vitamin absorption and provide energy to the brain. So don’t fear fat!

We’ve all heard about heart healthy fats such as olive oils and avocados, but there are other important fats to include in your whole food diet:
  • Omega-3s - Found in fish, nuts, chia, and flaxseeds.
  •  Monounsaturated fats - Found in olive oil, nuts, and avocados.
  •  Saturated fats - Found in butter, eggs, and grass-fed animal protein. These fats are the most stable of all the fats. They are safe to cook with and do not go rancid easily. Refined and processed vegetable oils can have a toxic effect when cooked at a very high heat. Our bodies cant process these oils as efficiently as they can the natural oils found in butter, ghee, and coconut oil. 

If fat has all these benefits, how can it make you fat? It doesn't necessarily, which is hard to believe after reading and hearing alarming messaging about it for over 30 years.
Here are are a few reasons why fat is good for you: 
  • It assists with the slow entry time of refined carbohydrates, and keeps blood sugar levels even.
  • Vitamins A, D, and E are fat-soluble vitamins and along with calcium, need fat for absorption. Butter is a wonderful whole food as it contains these fat-soluble vitamins and the fat necessary for absorption. In fact, butter is far better for you and more nutritious than margarine or cream cheese.
  • Although fat has more calories, its satiating quality safe-guards against over eating (unless it’s coupled with sugar). Fat can lead to weight gain when it’s paired with sugar and refined grains. When you eat fat in large quantities it is often paired with sugar or refined carbs such as ice cream, cakes, cookies, donuts, and/or fries.
  • Fat in and of itself will be used by the body and has the least impact on insulin. A high fat diet that includes sugar and refined grains increases your insulin, which is the hormone controlling fat storage. Swings in your blood sugar lead to spikes in insulin, which ultimately effects how calories are stored as fat. Try to avoid the desserts that contain both sugar and fat since it’s the tastiness of that combination that is addictive and causes you to overeat. Instead, focus on eating fat found naturally in butter and other dairy and oils and I bet you won't overeat the fat. Some good snack options are a banana with peanut butter and nuts or whole wheat (spelt) toast with grass fed butter. Or try a full fat yogurt with some berries and local honey or homemade granola with grass fed cow or goat milk.

Focus on adding just enough fat to support your body and satisfy your appetite to keep the portion sizes and calories where they should be. In the end, fat won't make you fat! 

Wellness Scout

Fat Doesn't Make You FAT!

Don't misunderstand your need for fat! In a nutrient dense diet, the fats found in natural, whole foods are needed to help your body function—especially your brain and intestines. Fats are necessary for insulation within in your body. They enable vitamin absorption and provide energy to the brain. So don’t fear fat!

We’ve all heard about heart healthy fats such as olive oils and avocados, but there are other important fats to include in your whole food diet:
  • Omega-3s - Found in fish, nuts, chia, and flaxseeds.
  •  Monounsaturated fats - Found in olive oil, nuts, and avocados.
  •  Saturated fats - Found in butter, eggs, and grass-fed animal protein. These fats are the most stable of all the fats. They are safe to cook with and do not go rancid easily. Refined and processed vegetable oils can have a toxic effect when cooked at a very high heat. Our bodies cant process these oils as efficiently as they can the natural oils found in butter, ghee, and coconut oil. 

If fat has all these benefits, how can it make you fat? It doesn't necessarily, which is hard to believe after reading and hearing alarming messaging about it for over 30 years.
Here are are a few reasons why fat is good for you: 
  • It assists with the slow entry time of refined carbohydrates, and keeps blood sugar levels even.
  • Vitamins A, D, and E are fat-soluble vitamins and along with calcium, need fat for absorption. Butter is a wonderful whole food as it contains these fat-soluble vitamins and the fat necessary for absorption. In fact, butter is far better for you and more nutritious than margarine or cream cheese.
  • Although fat has more calories, its satiating quality safe-guards against over eating (unless it’s coupled with sugar). Fat can lead to weight gain when it’s paired with sugar and refined grains. When you eat fat in large quantities it is often paired with sugar or refined carbs such as ice cream, cakes, cookies, donuts, and/or fries.
  • Fat in and of itself will be used by the body and has the least impact on insulin. A high fat diet that includes sugar and refined grains increases your insulin, which is the hormone controlling fat storage. Swings in your blood sugar lead to spikes in insulin, which ultimately effects how calories are stored as fat. Try to avoid the desserts that contain both sugar and fat since it’s the tastiness of that combination that is addictive and causes you to overeat. Instead, focus on eating fat found naturally in butter and other dairy and oils and I bet you won't overeat the fat. Some good snack options are a banana with peanut butter and nuts or whole wheat (spelt) toast with grass fed butter. Or try a full fat yogurt with some berries and local honey or homemade granola with grass fed cow or goat milk.

Focus on adding just enough fat to support your body and satisfy your appetite to keep the portion sizes and calories where they should be. In the end, fat won't make you fat! 

Wellness Scout

Winter Warnings & 6 Quick Solutions! - Guest Blogger!

Forget the blizzard warnings. Winter should come with another weather advisory—rough beauty conditions ahead. The main culprits are cold air, which holds less moisture than warm air, and low humidity and central heating, which makes already dry hair and skin even drier. But cold weather also hits harder as you get older, when the production of skin's natural moisturizers dips with age, says Doris Day, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center. The result: Your skin becomes rough and flaky while your hair feels dry and loses its shine. These simple cold weather beauty tricks will help your skin stay smooth, your hair retain a shine, and your makeup looking fresh well past the groundhog’s springtime start date.

What is the Solution? 
  • Use a humidifier. Add some drops of essential oils to create the relaxing spa feel and assist with sleep. Lavender is a relaxing sleep aid. 
  • Put lotion on at night then wear gloves and/or socks to increase locking in moisture.
  • Don't wash your hair so often. 
  • Take shorter showers - excess washing and with water too hot can dry the skin.  Condition your hair before washing it.
  • If you have static in your hair, calm it with a dryer sheet, new or used.
  • Keep many sticks of lip balm handy so you never go outside without applying. 

- Dahli Mama!

Wellness Scout

Winter Warnings & 6 Quick Solutions! - Guest Blogger!

Forget the blizzard warnings. Winter should come with another weather advisory—rough beauty conditions ahead. The main culprits are cold air, which holds less moisture than warm air, and low humidity and central heating, which makes already dry hair and skin even drier. But cold weather also hits harder as you get older, when the production of skin's natural moisturizers dips with age, says Doris Day, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center. The result: Your skin becomes rough and flaky while your hair feels dry and loses its shine. These simple cold weather beauty tricks will help your skin stay smooth, your hair retain a shine, and your makeup looking fresh well past the groundhog’s springtime start date.

What is the Solution? 
  • Use a humidifier. Add some drops of essential oils to create the relaxing spa feel and assist with sleep. Lavender is a relaxing sleep aid. 
  • Put lotion on at night then wear gloves and/or socks to increase locking in moisture.
  • Don't wash your hair so often. 
  • Take shorter showers - excess washing and with water too hot can dry the skin.  Condition your hair before washing it.
  • If you have static in your hair, calm it with a dryer sheet, new or used.
  • Keep many sticks of lip balm handy so you never go outside without applying. 

- Dahli Mama!

Wellness Scout

Do your grocery habits impede your health goals?

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? Or “challenges” as I called them in a piece I wrote this time last year. If you are one of the many that tackle weight loss, cooking more, eating out less or anything dealing with food and nutrition, then consider your grocery shopping habits as one factor that can positively or negatively affect your goal’s progress and outcome. Many people just tackle what they eat and how they prepare the food. This is important, but take a few steps back and consider how you obtain the food. Is it grocery shopping, prepared meal delivery, CSA/Farm Share box, and/or grocery delivery? Do you enjoy the process or do you view it as a cumbersome necessity to reach your goal?

When I begin working with a new client, one of my services includes going on a grocery store tour with them. Why a tour of the grocery store? How can you obtain the most nutritious food in an efficient manner if you don’t know how to navigate your grocery store or a new one you want to visit? Some of the time-saving tactics I suggest include shopping the perimeter of the grocery store, choosing name brands over store brands for certain items, identifying effective substitutes, and selective choosing of pre-chopped veggies and sale items. We all can’t spend hours at the grocery store so the key is creating the knowledge for efficient shopping with usually less money spent. Lack of knowledge and time often leads to over spending. Don’t be left making one of these excuses: “I don’t have time to shop around” or “I have no clue how to use these ingredients so I’ll just buy this prepackaged all in one item.” These excuses result in dining out more often then in.

What about the size of the grocery store you visit? Is it massive with aisle numbers well into the double digits? When you forget an item on one end, does it take you over five minutes to walk to the other side? Is the size so daunting that you find yourself dreading to go or needing to budget over an hour just for the shopping and checking-out process? If so, you may need to rethink your grocery habits. Is there a smaller one closer or farther away? Sometimes two quick trips are the same as one long one and can lead to more deals and better quality food. For example, we shop at a Whole Foods that is farther from us than the Star Market nearby. However, the Whole Foods is smaller and I can easily navigate it within 10 minutes. I shop the perimeter mostly and buy about 75% of my items there. The rest come from our bi-monthly organic vegetable delivery box, sometimes a local butcher, and then random items at Star Market, which are usually last-minute needs. This has equated to more piecemeal shopping however, we have saved money because I’m not buying EVERYTHING at Whole Foods (which can add up). We have guaranteed organic, and I’m using everything I purchase with no waste. Plus, I love supporting local vendors when I can!

So choose a store that feels accessible and approachable, not overwhelming. Familiarize yourself with the store so that at each return trip you know where to go. Consider proximity, but also think outside the box so that you can have more variety for your body and mind! Variety creates interest and ultimately, leads to success in developing and sustaining a new habit.

The benefits are threefold. You’ll learn to like grocery shopping more, you will ensure you reach your wellness goal by providing a solution that tackles many impediments to improving health and you may even find yourself motivated to search out and try new ingredients.


Need help navigating your local Whole Foods or health food store? Contact me!

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