How You Can Create a Happy, Healthy New Year in 3 Simple Steps

Life Coaching is the favorite part of my job. I love sharing personal stories and real-world experiences as I help clients overcome addictions to food and other substances. When they understand that challenges with food are just symptoms of greater core issues, often related to emotions, they begin to overcome them as I teach how to change the behaviors for good.  

I was a cake decorator for over thirty years. This was my life’s passion, but it ultimately ruined my health. Giving this dream up was a huge sacrifice but one that led to greater health, energy and joy in my life. From this experience and others, I understand what it feels like to be an addict and the behaviors associated with it. I also understand the emotions and fears that come when giving up comfort and an artificial kind of love.  

Food is meant for fuel, nutrition and energy but we take it a step further and use it for comfort, love, and numbing out so we don’t have to feel what is truly going on inside. Emotional eating creates health challenges like addiction, obesity, fatigue, mental instability, and eating disorders of all kinds. It is fine to derive pleasure from food, but that should be a secondary result of making healthy food choices. 

We know now that scientists have engineered processed food to increase our cravings and desire to keep coming back and purchasing their products. Sweet tastes, for example are what we are biologically programmed from infancy to gravitate toward. Mother’s milk is sweet and toddlers often choose fruit over vegetables. High fructose corn syrup is added to many products from ketchup to cereal to satisfy the cravings for sweets. The unfortunate consequence of eating it, however, is that it turns off the mechanism in our brain saying we are full, so we continue to eat until we are stuffed or feeling sick. Processed sugar feeds candida and causes a host of health problems if eaten regularly over time. 

So, we are not completely to blame for our addictions, but there are things we can do to change our behaviors around food and make wiser choices that will reap greater benefits. As we enter a new year, I’d like to give 3 suggestions to help you make better decisions before going into the kitchen. 

  1. CREATE A PLAN: People who fail to plan, plan to fail right? Look through your recipe books and decide what to make for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Go shopping and get the ingredients needed.  
  2. PREPARE AHEAD:Prepare your mealsahead and refrigerate or freeze them for use throughout the week to save time and money.  
  3. ASK YOURSELF QUESTIONS: Sometimes we eat because we’re bored or tired and we aren’t even hungry. Here is a series of questions you can ask yourself before going to the refrigerator or pantry for a snack.
  4. What do I want to eat?
  5. Is it something that will give my body nutrition,fuel and sustained energy?
  6. Why do I want it?
  7. What emotion istied to thisfood? 
  8. Will _____ serve me for the better or worse?
  9. What physical symptoms will I feelafter eating _______ ? 
  10. Is it worth it?

 

Asking yourself these questions will help you become conscious of your decisions and help make better ones. If you want to eat it, just because, then own that and don’t make yourself feel bad. Good habits are learned as we practice over time. Taking baby steps forward will help us see and feel the progress. Create a Happy New Year! 

 

 

The answer is YOU!

This time I was determined to fix this on my own. After all, I had a certification in corrective exercise, how could I not fix this? At that point I realized the only person that can help me was me. I was sick of paying chiropractors and doctors to temporarily ease the pain, but never giving me a path forward so that I could enjoy aggressive sports, lifting heavy, snowboarding, or whatever I felt like doing. I thought to myself, shouldn’t these professionals know how to fix this? Well yeah, but their answer was surgery. Not mine. By the way, I realize that sometimes the only answer is surgery in certain cases. And that’s okay. But I wanted to give my body a chance to see if I could figure this one out on my own. Feeling frustrated, but hopeful, I started to study every article about sacroiliac joint pain related to exercise and nursing it back to full strength, if it was even possible. There was a lot of trial and error, stumbling along the way, and figuring out which exercises were doable and which ones I needed to avoid. I slept different. I changed my posture. Patience was needed because this was a slow process. I slowly began building up my joint strength, my core strength, hip mobility, working in different planes of motion, and finally lifting heavier and heavier weight. I succeeded. I felt as if I had never experienced this injury because I was pain free and felt strong enough that I could do anything. This was probably one of the most satisfying experiences of overcoming something that seemed impossible to do. 

I feel like we all have something like this, whether it is losing fat, getting stronger, eating healthier and living a healthy lifestyle, training for a difficult event, overcoming an injury, getting over an addiction, succeeding at a business or career, and so on and so forth. My challenge to you is to be patient and be hopeful. Don’t give up. If it’s worth it to you, then give it all that you can whether that be physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Be your best self. You have the potential and you are well worth it! 

 

 

Winter Can Be Enjoyable

As we roll into the winter months, fitness can be more and more difficult to stay on top of. To help avoid the “Utah winter hibernation” I want to give 4 tips that have helped me to take control of the bleak Utah winters and be able to maintain my fitness lifestyle!  

 

 

  1. Make time for exercise. The most difficult thing about transitioning from summer to winter is planning. During the summer it can be easy to be active just be default. We can ride our bike, go for a walk, and participate with friends and family in outdoor activities without thinking twice about it. During the winter, these activities are not anywhere near as easy to do, if possible at all. So it requires planning to attend a fitness class, go to the gym, etc. So be sure and plan your workout and make it a priority. 
  2. Find a friend to workout with. We all know how hard it can be to get a fitness routine going in the winter. When it is cold outside the thought of leaving our warm bed and going to work out is less than desirable. Finding a friend that has similar fitness goals will help keep you motivated and accountable! Another substitute for this is hiring a personal trainer, even just initially, to help develop those habits.  
  3. Find a new winter hobby. During summer, it can be easy to get a quick workout in by just stepping outside and going for a walk. The cold brings unique opportunities to try something new! I personally love snowboarding, and it provides a great workout. Other things you might try is joining an indoor sports league, fitness classes at a local gym, indoor cycling, etc.  
  4. Be safe. In applying these tips, be sure that you have the right equipment and proper dress attire. One problem that I see, in the winter time is that people don’t dress adequately for winter sports and this can cause physiological problems. For example when running outdoors it is crucial to warm up properly, if we begin a jog by jumping right into it, the cold air can cause our respiratory tract to constrict, decreasing our flow of oxygen when our body needs it. This can lead to lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea, hypothermia, and other problems. If you are unsure on what might be needed, ask an expert. 

 Winter can be an excellent time for fitness goals if combated properly! I would love to hear about the fun winter experiences that you have and any new winter activities that you find. You can reach out to me with these experiences and any questions you might have on instagram @trainerkelli or on Facebook! Have fun and be safe!  

Originally published on Utah Valley Health and Wellness Magazine

Make Family Meals a Routine Success

 

Backpacks, sharpened pencils, and carpools. Check, check, check.

The new school year is underway, and in a few more weeks most families will be settled into their new normal routine for the school year.

Are regular family meals part of your routine?

Consistent family meals are just as important to your student’s academic and social success as homework and study sessions. Research is replete with the developmental benefits including better performance in school, fewer risky behaviors, and fewer eating disorders among kids who share meals with their families.

When kids and adults are engaged in food preparation and sit down to eat together, everyone eats more fruits, more dark orange and leafy green vegetables, more whole grains, more calcium-rich foods, and fewer sugar sweetened beverages and fast convenience foods.

Children and adolescents are actively growing and essentially building their body a little bit every day. What raw ingredients are provided for building materials?

Food nourishes more than our cells and body systems. It also transmits a sense of identity and culture. Food gives us an opportunity for connection.

Researcher and best-selling author Brené Brown, PhD, often states that humans are hard-wired for connection. Each of us requires genuine authentic connections with others to give meaning to our lives. Food gives us a common ground to nurture those connections. Eating with others improves our well-being nutritionally and psychologically.

To have successful family meals, consider the following suggestions:

Plan ahead

People who plan meals ahead of time eat better, weigh less, and have fewer incidences of chronic disease. When we sacrifice time to think deliberately about our food, we make better choices.

Try these time-saving tips:

  • Make a list of all the entrees your family enjoys eating and keep it in a visible place. When you’re stumped about what to plan, consult your list instead of re-inventing the wheel.
  • Chop vegetables in advance on slow nights so they’re ready to cook or have plated for dinner another night.
  • Take out meat to thaw the night before so something is ready to cook when it’s time for dinner.
  • Try-slow cooker meals you can begin in the morning and enjoy later.
  • Double or triple an entree when you cook so you can have leftovers or freeze a whole batch to eat later in the month.
  • Prepare as much of dinner as you can while you’re cooking breakfast or lunch so you have less kitchen clean-up at the end of the day.

Ditch perfectionism…(read the rest of the story)

Written by:

Originally published on Utah Valley Health and Wellness

Food Preservation & Emergency Preparedness

 

Growing up, I used to help my mother weed our garden on a little plot in our backyard. She would hand me a trash bag and ask me to pick one hundred weeds as a chore each week. This was something I fought against, but now I realize and appreciate the value of her lessons as she taught me how to work hard at a young age from tasks like this around the house. We also preserved the fall harvest each year by canning and dehydrating what we didn’t eat.

Years later, as a young mother, money was tight with me taking care of our four little ones and my husband working. I learned in my youth how to make meals from scratch and stretch the money by growing and preserving a garden, which proved invaluable to my growing family.

Many of these skills have become lost through the recent generations. With fast food and packaged meals, we are able to keep very busy schedules for ourselves and our families and not have to worry about food preparation. As a result, however, our health has deteriorated and our stress levels have increased.

Getting back to the basics, for me and my family, has improved our health and brought us closer together. I do work at home most of the time and I teach outside on occasion. I continue providing home cooked meals the majority of the time with occasional visits to restaurants when schedules are tight. I also teach my children these skills so they can take care of themselves when they are ready to go out on their own.

Creating balance in life can be a challenge, but as we have lightened our schedules, getting rid of things that aren’t as important, and focusing more on our family, we have noticed a big difference. We often visit our “family store” in the basement and enjoy jars of canned peaches or pears, green beans, and the many other foods we have stored up. This has also helped us greatly as we live further out in the country and access to a store has not always been convenient.

FOOD PRESERVATION OPTIONS:

Preserving food is important for many reasons, one of which is for emergency preparedness. It is always good to have a year’s supply of food on hand, where possible. There are three things that destroy the nutritional value of food: water, heat and oxygen. Here are different methods that can be used to preserve food and the pros and cons of each.

Canning: This method uses high heats, which destroys over half the nutritional value of the food. Because there is water involved, it only lasts about 3 to 4 years. Get a good recipe book that accounts for altitude adjustments. If not done properly, botulism can develop, which can be deadly. Always be sure the lid is sealed before opening for use. If not, throw it away.

  • A Hot Water Bath is for foods that are high in acid such as tomatoes, peaches, pears, etc. Using a little sugar or lemon juice and salt will help preserve these foods for several years.
  • The Pressure Cooker method is for foods with lower acid content such as beans, squash, meat, etc. Because of the low acid, they need to be processed at higher heats and pressure to be sure they do not spoil on the shelf.

Dehydrating: This method can be done out in the air to dry produce and herbs using mesh dryers for a day or two. Be sure to keep it out of the sun. An electrical dehydrator may also be used for produce and meats for jerkies. Most of the moisture is removed from the food and dried. Heat is present and about 40% of the nutritional value is lost. The food will last about 2-4 years.

Freezing: Using freezer bags, food may be frozen from 3 months to one year. The longer it is in the freezer though, the more prone to freezer burn it becomes. The nutritional value of frozen foods decreases by about 20% or more and the texture of beans, cheese, and other foods often changes.

Freeze Drying: There are companies who offer freeze dried foods including fruits, vegetables and pre-made meals in cans. This is how the astronaut food is made. It is very light weight and dried quickly, taking all of the liquid out. There is no heat applied during the process so the nutrients stay intact. When rehydrated by adding water or allowing your saliva to mix with the food, it tastes like the original version and has a very similar texture. These are expensive to purchase but there are now home models available to freeze dry your own food that takes about 24 hours to process about 6 pounds of food. The food lasts 20+ years, making this the best method to preserve.

Fermenting: This process is done with a brine which is a mixture of salt and water and sometimes vinegar, which produces lactic acid. This is the way our ancestors would preserve food without refrigerators. The added benefit of fermentation is that probiotics naturally form which are excellent for gut health and highly recommended to eat regularly. Sauerkraut, kimche and other vegetables like carrots, onions, garlic, etc. may be fermented. Again, water is present so the food will go bad over time.

Preserving food in a variety of ways is great to do with your fall harvest to ensure you and your family have nutritious and delicious food to eat during the winter. You may also buy produce at local farmer’s markets in bulk to preserve. Always be sure to label and date each jar or package and rotate using the FIFO method (first in, first out). It takes a little work but when you get your family members involved, it can be really fun. Teach them the value of preparing their own food and they will take these skills into their adulthood to help feed and care for their families, too…(click here to get an awesome Dill Pickle recipe from Wendy)

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Originally published by Utah Valley Health and Wellness

Eating Your Emotions

  Have you ever felt like you either had to avoid eating a certain type of food, or you had to eat it all, and there was no in-between? This way of thinking is often linked to emotional eating and can cause you to feel out of control with food. Emotional eating can impact your […]

The Cardio Fat-Loss Myth

It amazes me how many people I see at the gym doing endless cardio—particularly those who are out of shape. Granted, some are training for a race, but most aren’t. Regardless, you all deserve a big high five if you’re putting in that kind of effort, because it can be exhausting.

I’ve often wondered why the general population resorts to this method when trying to get back into shape or lose weight. I think something inside us tricks our minds into thinking “if I sweat a ton, then I will lose fat.” I have even found myself in this type of thinking. That was before I really started getting into anaerobic training (strength training/interval training). After all, isn’t it as simple as calories in versus calories out? So, if I run and burn a ton of calories and cut my calories in eating, then voila, I will lose fat, right? That’s not entirely true.

Too much aerobic exercise with a low calorie diet will result in decreased muscle tissue.  This is because you will use the muscle for energy and your body will start storing fat as a survival mechanism. This is bad. Your resting metabolic rate (metabolism) will drastically decrease. That is why most people gain their weight back so easily after throwing in the towel with the cardio routine, coupled with a low calorie diet.

The best approach to fat loss, whether you’re male or female, is in this exact order: 1) A sound nutrition plan; 2) Strength training; and 3) Interval training.

Eating the right balance of healthy carbs, fats, and proteins with the proper portions and timing will allow you to…(read the rest of the story)

Originally published on Utah Valley Health and Wellness

Written by: Travis Lott

Eating Healthy Under Pressure

Comfort is often found in the food we grew up with as a child. I have fond memories of camping in the mountains with hot dogs and s’mores over the fire, pizza at parties with soft drinks, and the decadent desserts we enjoyed as a family. Unfortunately, these foods are what contributed to me getting sick.

After making what many people viewed as a drastic change in my eating, I started bringing my own food to parties and family gatherings. Raw pizza with plenty of green salad and fruit graced my plate as I noticed weird looks from others at the table. Occasionally someone got up the nerve to ask what I was eating, making looks and comments of disgust after finding out. This hurt my feelings as I took their words to heart and I began withdrawing from these events to avoid feeling uncomfortable.

Not long afterward, however, I realized this was only hurting me so I decided not to allow their comments or actions determine what I ate and how I felt. As I took care of myself, I became more confident and healthy and others took notice.

Friends and family asked me different questions with genuine interest. These were perfect opportunities for me to help educate them about the reasons I decided to eat more raw foods and the many benefits I received because of it. Sometimes they asked if they could taste my food followed by a request for the recipes. I was elated and appreciated their authenticity.

Many people struggle in social situations because they have different nutritional needs due to food allergies and ill health. If this is you, here are some great tips to help you navigate the occasion with ease.

TIPS FOR THE GUEST:

  1. Eat before you go so you are full and can enjoy socializing without worrying about the food.
  2. Position yourself in a different part of the room away from the food as you talk.
  3. Bring something to share with everyone that your family or friends love. Be ready to share the recipe.
  4. Choose larger amounts of the foods you can have like the salads, fruit, vegetables, etc. and skip what you’ll regret later.
  5. Go early to help the host prepare the food and politely ask if you can leave the croutons on the side of the salad instead of putting them in, for example.
  6. If the host takes extra care to make something special for you, be sure to thank them and show your appreciation for their extra attention to detail.
  7. Put your thick skin on and don’t worry about what other people say about your food. Realize that many people aren’t trying to be insensitive, they genuinely want to understand your situation. Educate them about it and be open, honest and kind in your replies.
  8. If you are the parent of a child with special food needs, bring something for them to eat and/or share to ease the burden of the host.
  9. Teach your child to be polite and not make a big deal about what they can’t eat or don’t like. They can decline what is being offered and thank the host for their hospitality.
  10. Keep your conversation about a variety of different topics other than just food. Be interesting and genuinely interested in others.

TIPS FOR THE HOST:

If you are the host of the event, you may want to prepare ahead with the following suggestions.

  1. On the invitations…(read the rest of the story)

Originally published on Utah Valley Health and Wellness

Written by:Wendy Thueson

Well Fueled Family Fun

Footloose and schedule-free sunny days are the hallmarks of summer living for many families. Your children and neighborhood friends bustle in and out of the house, you stretch out the evenings basking in the summer skies, and

you relish the slower pace of life and the longer daylight hours.

But then, you schedule a family vacation.

You work and re-work schedules, sleeping arrangements, entertainment, campsite reservations, and credit card points. You beg and plead with the powers above that no one will fall ill, fall injured, or fall out of favor with other members of the family.

We all want to get a good return on our vacation investment in the form of fond memories. One way to improve your chances of a fun-filled trip is to feed your family so they are well fueled.

Sure, vacations are the embodiment of leisure and indulgence, but our food choices may spoil our celebrations if they make us sick or over-indulged.

Here are a few tips to stay safe and well fueled during your summer travels:

Fuel for Fun

Hot dogs, s’mores, snow cones, and cheeseburgers are all essential parts of an American family summer. However, in between these “essentials,” fuel your family with nutrient-rich whole foods to keep them running at their best.

Here are a few nutritious on-the-go options:

Homemade or wholesome trail mixes – Think whole grain cereals, dried fruits, nuts, and seeds. A bit of chocolate can top it off nicely.

Nuts and seeds – Seasoned, spiced, or plain, if trail mix isn’t your favorite.

Fresh veggies for dipping – Sugar snap peas, bell pepper slices, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and celery dip nicely in hummus, guacamole, homemade greek yogurt ranch dip, or any store bought dressing in small to-go cups.

Low sugar, high fiber granola bars – like Kind Breakfast Bars.

Hydrating drinks – Water, 100% fruit juice boxes, V8 vegetable juice,  Kefir, and ready to eat smoothies like Naked Juice. Be sure to watch portion sizes on beverages other than water. Without the bulk of fiber, a little juice goes a long way.

Yogurt cups – Aim for low-sugar alternatives. Try plain yogurts with fruit mix-ins and granola.

String cheese or cheese wedges

Homemade or Healthy Choice popcorn

Peanut butter and almond butter to-go pouches

Fruit cups and pureed fruit pouches – You can purchase ready-made or make your own at home with reusable plastic pouches and cups. Try mandarin oranges in a pop-top can. Aim for choices packaged in 100% fruit juice instead of heavy syrup.

Fresh fruit – Clementines and apples are resilient travel fruits. Wash your fruits, except berries, ahead of time for convenience. Bring along nut butter or fruited yogurt for dipping.

Low-sugar dried fruit leather – like the Stretch Island brand that Costco carries.

Whole grain pitas, tortillas, and breads – for spreads, rolls, and wraps.

Flavored tuna foil packets – like the lemon dill or Thai-style from Starkist.

Follow Food Safety Protocol

Avoid dreaded food sickness downers by abiding by these food safety rules whether you’re creekside in the canyon, car pooling with the kids, or curbside at the Ritz this summer:

  1. Separate

Keep raw meat…(read the rest of the story)

Originally published on Utah Valley Health and Wellness

Written by: Erica Hansen MS, RD, CD

Local Food: Good For You, Good For Utah

Since the 1950s, processed food has been touted as more convenient, easy, and,

in some cases, healthier for us.  However, as we’ve seen obesity surge in the U.S., many have started to question, “What actually is good for us?” The recent focus on local foods may provide an answer and a path for Americans to return to healthier eating habits. Local ingredients are almost always more fresh, less processed, and less likely to contain chemicals that none of us know how to pronounce, much less what they do to our bodies.

Beyond the health benefits of buying local ingredients, there are a number of benefits to not only our bodies, but our economies.  At Communal, we are glad that we can get really fresh ingredients, but we’re also happy to be supporting the local economy. Restaurants, consumers, and producers mutually benefit from buying local ingredients.  Most of these producers are small businesses owned by Utah natives.  Snuck Farms in Pleasant Grove, Christiansen Farms in Vernon, as well as Clifford Farm and La Nay Ferme in Provo are just a few of these smaller businesses that rely on local restaurants and consumers to continue to be successful.

In our restaurant, it is also notable to see the authenticity of the connection we have made to the ingredients we serve.  It is easier to treat an ingredient with care and respect when there is a real connection to the land.  I’ve been to these farms and met the families that run them.  When that connection exists, there is a certain thoughtfulness put into the preparation of an ingredient that has this sort of an origin story. In turn, that connection to the ingredient extends to the guests we serve. It’s a way to show that there are indeed lots of great local producers, and that Utahans have access to them.

At home, buying and using local ingredients is easier than most people think.  During the summer, head to your local farmers’ market, and you’ll find that the produce is entirely affordable and usually more fresh than what you’ll find in the grocery store.  Also, supermarkets like Harmons have been working harder to bring in local items.  Keep an eye out the next time you visit—local cheese, meat, and produce is available and usually marked. Making those thoughtful purchases to support Utah producers is good for our economy and good for your family.

As more businesses and local residents support the return to local food, we’ll see healthier communities, and we’ll also strengthen Utah’s economy.  It’s a win for all of us.

Originally published on Utah Valley Health and Wellness

Written by: Andrew Hansen