Holiday Travel Guide for Clean Eating

gordes-france

Gordes, France

I get way too much happiness from good food.

~Elizabeth Olsen

Nutritional integrity can be as easy to lose as your luggage when you head off on an adventure.  But there are things you can do to stay the course whether you’re traveling for a nearby picnic or around the world.  Why not plan ahead and come back without your body feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation? Here are a few tips to plan, pack, and put into action:

Pack Your Snacks

You can’t always guarantee that you can find clean, unprocessed snacks in airports or anywhere else.  But you can leave a little space in your luggage to bring what you need along with you.  Many people can’t eat any of the snacks offered by major airlines; things like pretzels, cheese crackers, etc. are all processed, and many are allergic to the peanut fall-back position.  So bring your own.

Here are a few samples of foods that travel well during a travel day that you can bring in your carry on:

  • apples
  • baby carrots
  • sliced cucumbers, celery, and bell peppers
  • hummus for dipping
  • dried fruit and nuts
  • Ginger CocoNUT Balls   click for recipe

Homemade raw vegan sweets in coconut shavings in ceramic plate on old wooden table overhead view

Forage for Good Fuel

You never know what you’re going to find as you travel, but you can usually find a few standbys in most airports, and most communities you travel to.  Always look for whole foods to eat, and wash your food as thoroughly as possible (using bottled water and small amount of vinegar or straight veg wash if outside the US or Europe.

There are usually a few clean or cleaner options in many airports.  Let’s face it, Starbucks is everywhere. If you go for coffee, make it black without adding anything and choose a Protein Bistro Box; 1 hard boiled egg, grapes, apple slices, a couple of cheese slices and a whole grain and raisin bread.  Pass on the cheese and bread if you’re Paleo or Vegan.  Works in a pinch if you forgot snacks.  Otherwise, bananas and apples are more frequently being offered at many in airport cafes.  Just know that they are a lot pricier than the ones you might bring from home, and are wrapped in plastic.

A great way to get to know a culture is to visit the local farmer’s market or fresh grocer.  Try what the locals enjoy.  Travel outside your self for a more authentic experience.  Again, do wash your foods wells with vinegar or a veg wash you bring before consuming.  That just a smart thing to do.

Use Google, Travel Adviser, or Open Table to find local stores and restaurants that meet your needs.  Put this technology to good use for your health!

 

Rent a Kitchen

These days it’s easier to find a place to stay with a Kitchen included.  Using AirBnB, I’ve had more control over the good food I consume while staying in some amazing locations.  And the people I’ve met this way have been pretty amazing too!  Not your style? Search for hotels or chains that offer kitchenettes.  Or, bring your own small set of bowls and utensils and stage a kitchen area on a coffee table or desk in your hotel room.  Where there’s a will there’s a way.

 

More Veggies Please

I always encourage my clients to eat at least 50% veggies, and as much of that as green and cruciferous as possible.  This can be very challenging if you’re eating at some restaurants, and is another reason to scope out where the local farmers sell their wares.  But DO ask for extra veggies, opting for less proteins, sugars and processed foods.  You’ll be doing your health a huge favor and you’ll travel with more energy.

 

Have Bottle, Refill!!

Make sure you’re well hydrated with clean, purified water.  Water treatment has been an increasing issue here and there around the world; sometimes even in the U.S.  So avoid tap water, and opt for bottled water on a temporary basis until you can ensure the water you’re drinking is purified.  Best if you get water bottled in glass.

 

Indulgence vs Enjoyment

You’re traveling. You’re on vacation. You’re out of your element. You’re busy on business. You’re visiting relatives.  These are all reasons we get into odd nutrition patterns on the road.  This makes those snacks you bring yourself CRITICALLY important.  A little indulgence is no big deal, but if you’re eating sugar and drinking alcohol daily there will be a waistline and detox issue to deal with once you’re back.  It’s your choice.  Look at eating consciously and make it your choice one way or another.

Breakfast in Strasbourg, France would put any Diabetic into a coma.
Breakfast in Strasbourg, France would put any Diabetic into a coma.

 

Use Your Knowledge

You don’t have to lose your mind unless you choose to do so on vacation.  If you aren’t sure you know enough about how to eat clean and improve your nutrition, don’t worry that you’re the only one (you’re not) and don’t be shy.  Contact me.  I’ll help personalize a plan for you and help you revamp how to cook and eat clean.

Use your nutritional smarts to order well when going to restaurants, and choose wisely the rest of the time.  Remember to:

  • Ask servers how vegetables are prepared. Do they use Olive Oil?
  • Opt for dressing on the side, and request olive oil and lemon, or olive oil and apple cider vinegar only. Balsamic vinegars are full of sugar just as most house dressings are, and red wine vinegar is processed too.
  • Get the simple grilled animal protein instead of pastas, meats and foods that are cooked or slathered in tasty, yet sugar enhanced sauces (even the savory ones usually are).
  • Order a big green salad without the candied pecans, croutons, etc. Insist on eating whole, unprocessed foods.
The Port in Marseilles. This was a choice on National Day in 2015.
The Port in Marseilles. This was a choice on National Day in 2015.

Eating clean is a choice.  Life is a bowl of cherries.  But you have to choose whether those cherries are whole, or maraschino.  Right?

salad with fresh fruits and berries

candy-in-the-airport-lounge-france

 

Continue Reading

5 Things You Can Do About Stress TODAY!

Words Stress Free with Pink Roses on a Rustic Wooden Background.

“One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.”
– Viggo Mortensen

Stress is a part of life. It comes in all sizes, shapes and forms. Similar in effect to low-quality foods, small doses of stress every day contributes to chronic disease; a big dose can be lethal. Learning simple pathways for identifying and managing stress daily not only decreases your risk factors for chronic disease, but increases your resilience when disaster strikes.

Whether stress is temporary and acute, or prolonged and chronic, it pays to invest in regular stress management BEFORE serious health consequences that can and do shorten life take hold; higher blood sugar, plaque build-up in arteries, and chronic tissue inflammation for instance. These consequences put you higher risk for diabetes, heart attack, stroke, weakened immune, and everything else from Alzheimer’s to allergies. 

A word of caution: people develop patterns and habitual means of dealing with stress in early childhood that can become hardened and difficult to unravel. If you are experiencing significant, chronic stress, panic, anxiety, depression or the like, seek help that matches your need.  And if the first person you work with doesn’t work for you, try again. You’re stronger than you know.  Contact me as a place to start.  If I can help, I will.  Otherwise, I can help you understand where to where to look for assistance or refer you for help.

Here’s a list to set you on your path to bring balance back. 

Admit Your Stress Exists

Consciously identify when and how you become stressed. Stress a sign of frustration that a perceived need or desire is not being met.

Feeling overwhelmed is NOT weakness.  Take a hard look at what your actual needs and desires are; health, more sleep, less or more interaction with people, a job that supports you in both, a healthier relationship, a safe place that mom or dad can live supported.  Even if you don’t yet have a vision for how the stress will dissipate, this is a first step toward diminishing it. Rather than deny stress exists, admit and embrace it.

Learn to Act Instead of React

Observe, respond, let go.  Sounds simple. Yet, this is where a lot of folks get stuck in emotion, react quickly, regret what’s been said/done, and hang on to negative emotion.  This adds to stress instead of diminishing it.

The key is to develop the ability to find balance between the comfortable and uncomfortable by actively letting go of whatever emotion arises (positive, neutral or negative).  Learning to observe what is occurring this way takes practice.  Practice this in a quiet space, eyes open or closed, allowing any emotions that arise to come and go without holding on to them in mind.  This is a critical tool in allowing emotion to go, instead of sticking around until ruminating on the “problem” becomes excessive worry, chronic stress, anxiety, or depression.

I’m not suggesting that emotions should be shunned or ignored. Any denied emotion can become more entrenched in the bodymind. But allowing emotion to be there, coming and going without become concerned about those emotions, allows peace, calm and balance to return more quickly.

This, along with Community Resilience Model (a form of psychophysical, body-connected resilience building model developed by the Trauma Resilience Institute), and a couple of great coaches, proved to be the best tools I’ve found to alleviate my own PTSD issues.  I’ve walked through stress, I can help you.

Make a Plan

A Plan is a form of positive action.  Though it can feel overwhelming in the beginning if you’re unfamiliar with what you’re planning, push through. You can do it.

Start by writing about everything that is causing you stress.  Put everything that comes to mind down on paper; stream of consciousness style. Don’t stop writing until you feel you’ve gotten everything out.  Then walk away for a while; about 10-15 minutes.  When you return, organize and prioritize your thoughts, making steps to achieve each. More on this here . . .

The process of organizing your thoughts and putting them down on paper gives your plan a higher chance of succeeding.

 

Enhance Coping Skills and Resilience – Make Regular Deposits in your You Bank.

This part of your stress reduction plan requires a simultaneous two-pronged approach, but both prongs represent investments in you and your resilience.  Actively work on your coping skills; practical tools that enhance your ability to walk through stressful situations.  And, add regular self-care to your hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual routine.

The combination of enhancing your copies skills while engaging in more self-care is like saving pennies for a rainy day.  But more than that, it helps your brain to function optimally.  More on this . . .

Stress Free Zone Next Exit, Creative Highway Sign

Seek Help from Experienced Stress Management Coaches and Professionals.

Sometimes acting instead of reacting, or taking time to give to oneself can be real alien territory. This is where an experienced coach can come in and help you develop new positive habits in these areas to maintain balance long term.  It’s much better to seek help BEFORE you’re in crisis.  But if that’s where you are, seek help NOW.  Get to know yourself, your signs, your triggers, and dedicate yourself to living as stress free as possible.  Why not?  Though life includes stress naturally, there’s no law that requires you to ADD to your daily stress.

My practice specializes in helping people develop new healthy habits to reduce stress supported by clean nutrition.  What you eat can have a tremendous impact on your resilience and ability to think effectively through difficult situations.  I have seen personally how a clean food foundation supports stress reduction, and vice versa.  Contact me today to Find You and Your Happiness Within.

 

Continue Reading

Amp Productivity and Relieve Stress: A Positive Action Plan

a goal without a plan is just a wish on blackboard
a goal without a plan is just a wish on blackboard

Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement.
Brian Tracy, Eat that Frog

 

A Plan is a form of positive action.  Though it can feel overwhelming in the beginning if you’re unfamiliar with what you’re planning, push through. You can do it.  And when you do, you’ll see your productivity rise and stress reduce.

 

Get Started: Let Stream of Consciousness Lead

Start by writing about everything that is causing you stress.  Put everything that comes to mind down on paper; stream of consciousness style. Don’t stop writing until you feel you’ve gotten everything out, and have given a full description of the situation of concern.  This is your process.  What you write need not be seen by anyone, so have at it.  The less you hold back, the more creative solutions will present themselves.

 

Walk away for a while

Stay away and clear your mind for a minimum of 10-15 minutes.  When you return, you’ll organize and prioritize your thoughts, making steps to achieve each.

 

Return to your list

Identify what you can do yourself, what you can delegate, what you don’t have enough information about, and what you might need professional help with.  Prioritize what you think needs doing sooner than later, what is more important and less so.  Don’t concern yourself with how achievable the plan is in the short run.  Just make your plan.

 

Get organized

Now take each priority and break it down. Write out as many steps as necessary to achieve each priority of your plan. Don’t feel like it all needs to get done in one sitting now.  Gather all the information you need, for as-long-as it takes.

Check to see if your resulting list conforms to a SMART goal formula; Specific, can be Measured tangibly, are Attainable (don’t involve time travel for instance), are Realistic (without limiting imagination), and have a Timeframe for completion (so you can be accountable to your self).  Then take the extra step of identifying someone you can share your goals with who is non-judgmental, yet strong about helping you stay on track.

Caution: If whatever is triggering stress is urgent, safely address those immediate concerns. You can start by contacting me for help.  If you have a mental health emergency, seek professional help immediately.

 

Act and Let it Go

Just the process of organizing your thoughts and putting them down on paper gives your plan a higher chance of succeeding. People who check in with friends or a coach regularly increase their chances significantly (see below).  Make a written plan and you can feel comforted by the fact that you’re significantly increasing your chance of success.  Then, simply allow the plan to be.  Soon you find that people come into your life that will assist you down the path you wish to follow.

 

Celebrate Your Success

Celebrating success is an important step that many miss.  When you celebrate, your sending a positive message to your self that reinforces confidence for the road ahead.  If you leave that part out, living as if your hard work counts for nothing, you are reinforcing feelings of worthlessness or futility.  So make certain that you include celebration as part of your plan. Decide in advance what you will do for your self once you reach your destination.

 

Still Have Doubts About the Value of Written Plans?

In 2007, Dr. Gail Matthews at Dominican University in California did a study of students who tracked goal achievement comparing groups who wrote down their goals to those who didn’t.  There was a 42% increase in goal achievement when a written plan is in place.  That rises to an amazing 78% increase when regular accountability is part of the effort.

 

When and Where to Get Help with Plans

Not everyone is great at making plans.  There are many pitfalls and personal challenges that can seem to stand in the way.  For instance, some do better achieving goals only when there’s some accountability in the mix.  Whether you’re looking for assisting pulling the pieces of your plan together, or could use an accountability partner for a plan you have in place, contact me.  As a 5th Degree Black Belt, I’m qualified to do both.

Continue Reading

Making Regular Deposits in your You Bank: Coping and Self-Care Skills

 

Group of three friends breathing deep fresh air on the beach
Group of three friends breathing deep fresh air on the beach

Coping skills and self-care represent a simultaneous, two-pronged approach, to investing in your health and resilience; your YOU bank.  Make this area of your life strong, and it’s like saving pennies for rainy mental health days.

Actively work on your coping skills; practical tools that enhance your ability to walk through stressful situations.  Working on these skills actually helps your brain function optimally. Add regular self-care to your hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual routine.  Make a point to build both a little each day. Schedule it in so you don’t forget.

Coping skills and self-care should be personalized to fit you, your needs and desires. And, each should be positive in nature.

  • Avoid negative and low-quality copies skills like using drugs or alcohol; these mask instead of balance stress, and actually can create additional body stress in the short and long term.
  • Positive or Neutral Coping Skills Examples:
    • Positive affirmations
    • Receive and learn to use Community Resilience Model
    • Learn the Tapping process
    • Engage in specific calming forms of exercise like walking and yoga.

Good news is that there are so many coping skills that could work for you that there are too many to list here.  Working with a great coach can help you explore and identify which skills make sense for you.

Self-Care is also highly personalized, but should be aimed at something that soothes, and allows you to drop out of “mind” as much as possible.  Research has shown that people operate at highest performance when taking a 17 minute break for about every 52 minutes of work or focused activities.  But this should be drop out time.  If you’re not used to doing this for yourself, you may need some assistance for a short period of time for guidance and accountability.

bed-swing

I’ve compiled 16 pages of self-care and coping skill suggestions that I walk through with my clients.  Here are a few that I use personally:

  • Go outside and lay in a bed swing looking up through a pine tree
  • Play with my dogs
  • Play piano
  • Garden
  • Color, drawing or painting
  • Walk in nature
  • Get a massage
  • Practice Community Resilience Model

Many of these activities can be done for 15 – 17 minutes, so I can engage them briefly and get right back to work.

If you find that what you’re doing is coming up short, or worse – you’re living with high levels of unrelenting stress that is out of control, I’m here to help you get back on track . . . . whole bodily . . . . right NOW.  Contact me today . . . .

Continue Reading

How to Grill Clean, Juicy Chicken Breast

chicken-breast-olive-oilPrep and Start

Put a small amount of high quality, extra-virgin, cold pressed Olive Oil in a grill pan.

Place the pan over medium heat to get hot prior to adding the chicken.

Trim fat from chicken breast and rinse under water.

 

 


Start Grillinchicken-breast-spicedg

Place cleaned and trimmed chicken breast immediately into your hot grill pan.

Cover with desired clean spice blend.

Grill without moving chicken at all for 8 minutes on this side.

 

 

 

 

chicken-breast-flippedFlip, Spice and Grill Again

Flip the chicken when the timer goes off, cover with spice blend.

Grill for another 8 minutes on this side.

Again, don’t move the chicken at all once its in the pan.

If breast is very wide on one end, tip up and cook the end for an extra minute.

 

 

chicken-breast-slicedRest, Slice and Serve

Take the chicken out of the grill pan right after cooking is complete, and place immediately on a cutting board to rest.

Let the chicken set for 2 minutes or so.

Slice the chicken lengthwise, then in cubes if desired. Or, serve whole.

 

Suggested Recipes:

Mexican Chicken Salad

Chicken Tacos

Chicken Strips and SweetyHi Sweet Hot Mustard

Continue Reading

Reset After Holiday Fooding with an Apple Day Cleanse

apple satisfaction

Searching for a way to reset your metabolism after a day or two, or three, of holiday comfort fooding? Don’t have time to spend 10 hours on a treadmill to burn a few calories? A simple single fruit approach could be for you.  Simplifying your diet for a day allows the body a chance to recover, heal and cleanse after a day of eating rich, sugary foods.  While not suitable as a long term healthy nutrition plan, devoting one day to one fruit all day can be a simple and effective one-day cleanse.

My clients and I have been using the Apple Day as a short term solution to temporary low quality food extravaganzas, planned and unplanned.  It works to get your metabolism back on track fast; giving your digestive system a short break, and your body an opportunity to process any toxins taken in short term.  But let me be clear about one thing, a mono diet should never be considered as a good long term weight loss solution. The bodymind needs a wider variety of nutrient dense food sources to maintain body balance for healthy weight loss that sticks.

An Apple Day is simple. Just extend the old adage of “An Apple A Day Keeps the Doctor Away” to Apples All Day Helps the Metabolism Today!  Pick your favorite apple. Eat them as needed all day.  Drink clean water all day as well.  That’s it!!  If you wish a fun end to your Apple Day, try making my Warm Cinnamon Apple dessert for a special treat.

Famed American magician, juggler, comedian and author, Penn Jillette, recently outlined how he used a mono diet of potatoes followed by a plant-based diet to lose 105 pounds quickly.  His journey, which he describes as extreme, ultimately resulted in reversing serious blood pressure issues and getting off related medications.  I lost 85 pounds quickly by learning how to eat clean with or without including animal proteins, and have helped people like Francie to do the same. If weight loss and long term health is your goal, you have options and I can help .

Just remember, chronic sugar and stress leads to chronic disease, but you can turn that around today.  Like the Apple Day, living clean and healthy is amazingly simple.  Try an Apple Day, and call me in the morning if you need an extra helping . . . . of help.

Continue Reading