Facebook Event: 30-Day Real Food Challenge

For the month of May, I am challenging myself to eat nothing but REAL food, meaning no processed stuff. I hope you’ll join me! This challenge is FREE!

We will be following the rules in Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. I’ll post a couple of the rules every day on our private Facebook group, but you can get your own copy at http://amzn.to/1k42M3Z for $5-6.

We will not be banning entire food groups during this challenge, nor will there be any calorie restrictions. This is not a diet. Our aim is simply to cut out the CRAP we are putting into our bodies. That means no processed food, food from a box, can, or fast food window. Anything with a package that has more than a couple of ingredients, or ingredients that you can’t pronounce or identify the source of, is processed. Fast food is processed. Sorry, no Diet Mountain Dew either. We will be eating lots of real, wholesome, natural, DELICIOUS food!

As a nurse, I know how hard it is to eat well when you are juggling work, family, kids, etc. Especially when you work 12-hour shifts or other odd hours, as I do. That is why I am putting together this challenge, so we can support each other!

We will have a private Facebook group for the challenge where we can offer support, recipes, ideas, etc.

Join us, you have nothing to lose but your addiction to processed food, maybe a little weight, and that feeling of being tired and weighed down by all the chemicals that you’ve been putting into your body.

Click here to join in on the challenge!

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Get your head out of the sand.

U.S. childhood obesity rates have reached 30%, and could be up to 70% in the next ten years.  As of 2007, 2.7 million children in the U.S. are on medications for ADHD.  Today’s children are the first generation who are predicted to have a shorter life span than their parents.  Up to one in ten children in the U.S. are diagnosed with some degree of autism.  Childhood cancer has risen dramatically over the past 20 years.

What’s going on?  Could it be the food supply? Processed crap, GMO’s, preservatives, artificial colorings?  Water and air contamination?  Sedentary lifestyles caused by technology? Any and all of the above, probably.

Why doesn’t someone do something about it?  Because the food and pharmaceutical industries, among others, are big business.  It’s all about the dollar.

What can I do about it, you ask?   Read labels!  Don’t eat anything with ingredients you can’t pronounce.  Try to avoid things that come in boxes.  If you see it advertised on TV, don’t eat it.  If it comes to you through your car window, don’t eat it.  If you couldn’t make it homemade yourself, don’t eat it.  If you COULD make it yourself homemade, don’t eat  it and MAKE IT YOURSELF!  If it contains high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils, don’t eat it. If it’s genetically modified (most corn, soy, and canola in this country), don’t eat it.  If someone wants to give your child medication for being hyperactive (ie. acting like a kid!), tell them to go to hell and let your child be around people who love him for who he is!   Get outside! Play! Stop caring what the neighbors think! Plant a garden, and only use heirloom seeds (non-GMO). Support a local farmer and join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  Stop supporting the big food and pharmaceutical companies. They don’t give a damn about our health, they are in it for the money.  Vote with your dollars.

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What IS Integrative Health Coaching?

Here, Dr. Shelley Roth of Duke Integrative Medicine gives a good overview of I.H.C.
Dr. Roth was one of my instructors when I attended health coach training at Duke Integrative Medicine.

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Diabetes: A Different Approach to Care through Health Coaching

When you have diabetes, life can be a challenge. You must be careful what you eat, monitor your blood sugar several times a day and make sure you take your medication. You may also be concerned about complications such as neuropathy, glaucoma and gum disease. All this worry can lead to feelings of helplessness and defeat. Learn how health coaching can give you a fresh perspective and put you in control in the effective management of your diabetes.

What is Health Coaching?

Health coaching is a person-centered approach to wellness, not just disease management. When you visit with a health coach, he or she will get to know you as a person and work with you to create a personalized wellness plan that educates, motivates and empowers you.

Unlike some diabetes treatments, health coaching is not a lifelong commitment. You may have heard the phrase, “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime”?

Well, health coaching operates on the same principle. It is designed to help you find the tools within yourself to make positive changes in your behavior and lifestyle. Just like any new skill learned, these techniques will become a part of you and the coach will no longer be necessary.

Why Health Coaching?

Doctors are busy in their medical practice. If you have a question or concern you need addressed immediately, it’s often hard to book a quick appointment or get the doctor on the phone right away. This can be discouraging. A health coach can step in to fill these gaps between visits.

Health coaching can be a very effective way to manage diabetes because once you’ve developed your wellness plan your coach is available via phone call, email or text message throughout the period you’ve agreed to work together. This means if you have a question while you’re on the commuter train or a concern while sitting in a restaurant, your coach is just a call or click away.

How Will Health Coaching Help with Diabetes?

According to a clinical trial done by Duke University, health coaching improves patient accountability and clinical outcomes.

During your meetings your coach will help you connect with what’s most important in your life. This will help you set realistic goals and help you better stick to a long-term program. You’ll learn how to make simple, yet critical lifestyle changes that will compliment your current diabetes treatments and may even eliminate the need for them altogether.

Examples of these changes are:


Diet is crucial in the effective management of diabetes. There are certain foods that help and others that hinder effective diabetes management. Your health coach can tell you more.

Exercise and Weight Management

Weight management is another critical component in the effective management of diabetes. You and your health coach will tailor a fitness plan just for you.

Stress Management

With the hustle and bustle of modern life, stress can add to diabetes complications. A health coach will help you learn to use your own inner resources to keep stress levels low.

When you work with a health coach, you’ll receive the tools, guidance and support you need to effectively manage your diabetes and reach your wellness goals.

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The Dirty Dozen.

This list is posted in several easily-accessible places around the internet, but it a very important resource for people who are striving for a healthier lifestyle, so I am reposting it here.  Print a copy and use as a guide when buying produce.

Source: Environmental Working Group, www.ewg.org and Food News, www.foodnews.org
12 Most Contaminated

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (Imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

12 Least Contaminated

  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Corn (Frozen)
  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Papaya

More Information
For easy reference, download a copy of the wallet guide!

Environmental Working Group

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Integrative Health Coaches Help Patients Achieve Personal Health Goals

Reposted from Emaxhealth.com

Working with a personal health coach is increasingly recognized as an effective strategy for achieving health goals and improving overall well-being.

The need for health coaches has grown exponentially in recent years as the demands of balancing work and life stresses have taken a toll on personal health. Coupled with an aging population, a growing number of people are seeking assistance in efforts to improve their health by addressing such issues as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and excess weight, while others simply need help optimizing their overall well-being.

“Healthcare has long been about ‘fixing’ people – treating disease to return a person’s body and mind to an acceptable state of health,” said Julie Kosey, MS, CPCC, ACC, integrative health coaching manager at Duke Integrative Medicine. “And separately, people have sought the support and guidance of coaches in a wide range of disciplines, such as athletics, career and life, to help them move to new levels. Health coaching brings these two worlds – healthcare and personal coaching – together.”

Duke Integrative Medicine is the first major academic medical center to take the emerging field of health coaching to a new level by developing a specific role for the integrative health coach on the clinical team. By drawing from different coaching disciplines as well as integrative medicine principles, the integrative health coach helps clients improve their health and enhance the quality of their lives.

Integrative health coaching is a critical element of the “personalized health plan,” which practitioners at Duke Integrative Medicine help patients to develop and implement. Offered at its new state-of-the-art building – designed specifically for healing – patients participate in an intensive “immersion” program. Together with Duke physicians and healthcare professionals, each patient develops an individualized plan tailored to his or her needs. After the patient leaves the center, this plan serves as a blueprint for the patient and health coach as they continue to work together for months or even years.

“As part of Duke Integrative Medicine’s innovative model, coaches assist patients in recognizing their inherent creativity and resourcefulness, and help them use these to attain their wellness and life goals,” said Ruth Q. Wolever, Ph.D., director of research at Duke Integrative Medicine and assistant professor of psychiatry at Duke Medical Center. “Rather than simply motivating them, effective coaches help their patients find inspiration by connecting them with what matters most in their lives.”

Wolever added that clinical research is demonstrating that coaching increases adherence to health goals by helping patients sustain the mindset needed to make lifestyle and behavior changes for the long haul. For instance, a study funded by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services and conducted by Duke Integrative Medicine showed that integrative medicine principles, along with the assistance of health coaching in supporting behavior change, improved cardiovascular risk compared with usual care.

“By identifying reasons for making changes and setting realistic goals, patients are more likely to stick to a long-term program,” she said. “Patients are encouraged to predict obstacles and develop strategies for accessing inner motivation. They learn how to use their personal values and purpose to support day-to-day behavior changes.”

Currently, there are various options for health and wellness coaching training. The International Coach Federation (ICF) accredits coach training programs and offers its own credentialing process for coaches. While ICF and other organizations such as The Coaches Training Institute have subgroups dedicated to wellness and mind, body and spirit disciplines, there currently is no formal certification for integrative health coaches.

“At Duke Integrative Medicine, we are exploring the training that might standardize integrative health coaching so that, as the demand grows, there will be consistency in education, skills and experience among coaches to help clients achieve their health goals,” Kosey said.

She added, however, that Duke Integrative Medicine coaches have a graduate degree in health behavior, training in coaching skills from programs accredited by ICF, experience helping clients change health behavior both individually and in groups, and knowledge of integrative medicine and health.

“Skills, education and training are clearly important in helping patients meet their goals,” Kosey said. “But the comfort level a person has with his or her coach is just as important. The patient-coach relationship is very intimate, so trust and respect are critical components.”

To help patients determine if a coach is right for them, Kosey says they should consider the following key questions:

– Does the person have the skills and experience you are looking for?

– Will the coach provide a sample session so you can experience his or her style and approach?

– Is there a good rapport with the person and would you feel comfortable talking about deeply personal issues?

– How will you and the coach work together? Via phone (most typical format) or in person?  Will you have access to your coach through e-mail?

– Does the cost fit your budget and how will payment be handled?  Are you ready to invest in coaching which is typically a significant investment of time and money?

– Will the coach provide references? Does he or she uphold the International Coach Federation Code of Ethics?


Duke Integrative Medicine

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6 strategies to overcome emotional eating

When you eat with your head, not with your stomach, the pounds pour on
By Joy Bauer TODAYShow.com contributor

Emotional eating is when you eat in response to feelings rather than hunger, usually as a way to suppress or relieve negative emotions. Stress, anxiety, sadness, boredom, anger,  loneliness, relationship problems and poor self-esteem can all trigger emotional eating. When emotions determine your eating habits rather than your stomach, it can quickly lead to overeating, weight gain and guilt.

If you find yourself regularly eating in response to emotions, try to break the habit with some of my strategies below.

Learn to recognize your hunger
Before you automatically pop something into your mouth. Rate your hunger on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being ravenous and 5 being full. Make every effort to avoid eating when you’re a 4 or a 5.

Find alternatives to eating
Prepare a list of activities that are personally appealing and handy. Perhaps go for a walk, call a friend, listen to nostalgic music (anything that brings you back to a happy time), take a hot shower or bath, clean your house, polish your nails, surf the Internet, schedule outstanding appointments, watch something on TiVo, clean your purse, organize your closet, look through a photo album, etc.

Keep a food journal
Logging your food will help to identify your toughest timeframes. It will also make you accountable, so perhaps you’ll be less apt to reach for unnecessary food.

Three-food interference
Make the commitment to first eat three specific healthy foods before starting on comfort foods (i.e., an apple, handful of baby carrots and a nonfat yogurt). If after that, you still want to continue with your comfort foods, give yourself permission. However, most of the time, the three foods are enough to stop you from moving on.

Exercise regularly
Daily exercise relieves stress and puts you in a positive mindset, which provides greater strength to pass on the unhealthy fare.

Get enough sleep
Research shows that sleep deprivation can increase hunger by decreasing leptin levels, the appetite-regulating hormone that signals fullness. Furthermore, with adequate sleep, you’ll be less tired and have more resolve to fight off the urge to grab foods for comfort.

Posted in Food and Nutrition, Mindful Awareness | Leave a comment

Easy Raw Avocado Soup.

3 avocados
1 carrot
1 large celery stalk
1 bell pepper, color of your choice (I used yellow)
¼ white or yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1-2 handfuls of spinach
1-2 pinches of sea salt
1 cup of water

Loosely chop veggies and add all ingredients to blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add water as needed to desired consistency.  Serves 4.

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Dry Skin Brushing.

Dry Skin Brushing has been used in different cultures for centuries, and it is now regaining its popularity.

Dry skin brushing is a wonderful, enjoyable detox technique that you can do at home on your own.  A Tampico skin brush, made of natural agave fibers, can be found online for around $10.

Dry skin brushing gets rid of old skin cells, revealing the healthy new skin underneath.  It also stimulates the lymphatic system and encourages the removal of toxins from your body.  Most of the toxins that are released along with the lymphocytes that carry them eventually make their way to the colon for elimination.  The lymphatic system is like the body’s garbage collection system, and it should be kept moving so that the “debris” can be filtered out in an efficient way.

Easy skin brushing technique:

Brush your skin when it’s dry.  Before a shower or bath are the best times to do it, since that will allow you to wash away the dead skin cells you have loosened.   Use long strokes, always trying to brush from the tips of your extremities inward to your core.  Use circular, clockwise brushing motions on your abdomen and back.  Use as much or as little pressure as feels good to you.  The stiff bristles of the skin brush may take some getting used to, but this is supposed to feel good!  Think of it as a mini-spa treatment in the comfort of your own home.  If you have a partner, you can trade dry skin brushing sessions to make it even MORE enjoyable!

Afterwards, your skin may be slightly flushed due to increased circulation, but don’t brush so hard that your skin turns bright red.   You can brush your entire body in just a few minutes, then step into the shower to enjoy an invigorating, tingling sensation over your entire body.

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The message is there if you are ready to hear it.

I’ve been fighting a nasty cold for the past two days, and when I woke up this morning I wasn’t ready to get out of bed. I really wished I had my laptop in the bedroom, but decided that it was too cold to get out of bed and retrieve it from the office. I remembered that I had a book in my bedside table drawer, so I reached over and picked up “Ask and It Is Given” by Esther and Jerry Hicks. The book had been there for months, maybe even a year, and I had only read the first chapter. Although I have some Abraham-Hicks audiobooks that I have also listened to periodically, the message just never really clicked with me. I have preferred other books on the Law of Attraction over the Abraham-Hicks ones.

I picked up the book and turned straight to chapter 2, entitled “We Are Keeping Our Promise to You–We Are Reminding You of Who You Are”. My interest was piqued, and I imagined that “they” were speaking directly to me. (If you’ve never read any Abraham material, “they” is Abraham, which is supposed to be Source Energy, as channeled by Esther Hicks).

They say, “We write this book to reawaken within you your memory of the power and inevitable success that pulses through the core of that which you really are. We write this book to assist you in returning you to your place of optimism, positive expectation, and expanding joy; and to remind you that there is nothing that you cannot be, do, or have. We write this book because we promised you we would. And now, as you hold this book in your hands, you are completing a promise you made as well.”

I closed my eyes for a few minutes and focused on my breathing, feeling Source Energy flow through me. I focused on the idea that “they” (Abraham, Source Energy, whatever you choose to call it) is me, and I am them. I really do believe that I chose this life before I was born into it, and everything that has happened thus far have been part of the path that I chose. The broken hearts, the love lost, the addictions, the struggle… I cannot and will not regret one bit of it because it has brought me to this place.

Now, in the 42nd year of my life, I feel that I am awakening to my purpose. I am choosing joy now, I am remembering why I am here. Every day, however fleetingly, I feel inspired to follow my heart on this, and to help other people understand what I know from my years of seeking. I know that I am ready now for the second half of my life to be joyous, fulfilling, and productive.

This reminds me of a Daily Quote I got in my email the other day, also from Abraham-Hicks. (I highly recommend you subscribe…it’s free and very uplifting!) The quote was:

“Every single person on the planet and every single Consciousness in the Universe has the same experience of being here and having a desire to be there. In other words, it is the promise of this eternal Universe… You’re always, always, always going to be on your way to something more—always. And when you relax and accept that, and stop beating up on yourself for not being someplace that you’re not, and instead, start embracing where you are while you keep your eye on where you’re going—now life becomes really, really, really fun.”

In other words…we will always have unfulfilled desires. It’s human nature. We are never supposed to be fully satisfied, because if we were, we would stop evolving. Instead of thinking from a place of lack, we should be excited about the things that we want that we don’t have yet, because we know they are coming. If we can find joy where we are now, while we still look forward to the things we don’t have yet with excitement, we have learned a very valuable lesson. If we are constantly feeling sorry for ourselves because we don’t have our desires, then we will NEVER be happy because we will always, always want more than we have.

We must choose to be happy NOW!

Right now, I am sitting at my desk, looking out the window at today’s clear blue sky, watching the leafless trees sway in the breeze, and hearing my two young boys laughing and playing in the next room. I am grateful that I am not spending today at a soul-sucking job, and my children are not being brainwashed and oppressed in a classroom full of other bored, oppressed children. I am grateful for my health and my friends. This is a wonderful life that I have chosen, and I am excited for my future.

Thank you for reading! Make a list of the things you are grateful for today!

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