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For the past 10 years, I’ve had a garden.  I usually do raised beds with tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and other vegetables.  I also do some herbs and spices…along with chamomile.

Why do I garden?

It’s certainly not because I’m awesome at it!  In fact, last year, I lost my entire tomato crop to some sort of fungus, which is making me wonder if I want to plant again as the risk of the same fungus affecting this year’s plants is pretty high.

It’s certainly not because it feeds my family – because, truth be told, I’m pretty much the only one who eats the stuff.  My daughter will eat tomatoes and my son love garden carrots.  But I’m the only one who likes the rest of it.

It’s certainly not because I have an abundance of time on my hands during the summer months and I just have to come up with a way to spend it.  Ha!  I wish!

It’s certainly not because it saves me money.  By the time I buy the plants and have my tomato plants attacked by fungus, have my zucchini plants attached by squash bugs…the yield is pretty low overall.  No money saved, really.

I’m in love with the process

I garden because I love the process of gardening.  I love watching things change and grow.  And….at the end of a very long, hot summer I get to have the fruits of my labor on my dinner table.

Cucumber vines attaching themselves to the supports. Nature is so cool!

I garden because it’s something my husband and I do together.  He eats nearly nothing from the garden!  Yet, he’s right beside me picking weeds and making sure we get the tomatoes out of there before it’s too late.  He also reports the first sign of critters, or anything else, that may be attacking my beloved plants.

I garden because my children are watching….they learn where real food comes from and how to grow and harvest it.

What has gardening taught me?

Gardening has taught me PATIENCE for what is possible if enough care and planning is put into something.

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It’s taught me that it takes a long time, and a lot of work, for the final result to be worthy.

I’ve learned there is always next year….if a fungus attacks my tomato plants.  And, that I may need to do some research to find out how to prevent, or deal with, it if it happens again.  (Fingers crossed it doesn’t!!)

I can pretty much count on the fact that I’m going to be quite sick of the garden by mid July.  That the sweaty, sticky mess I become in the back yard most evenings will become something I dread but find oddly satisfying.

Why am I telling you any of this??

Because, like gardening, the weight loss journey is one of love/hate.

There will be times you are motivated and nothing can stop you.  But, there will also be times when a fungus attacks your tomato plants and you have to pull the entire crop.  There will be others who won’t eat vegetables from your garden and you must tend to it by yourself….drawing support from the simple fact that you are doing something great for yourself.

You will put in weeks to months of work for very slow, if any, yield.  Watching the plants slowly sprout and grow daily over the summer months, you’ll wonder what kind of success you’ll have when they start to produce.

There will most certainly be times when you must drag yourself off the couch to go pick weeds, or do some watering.  But, you make yourself…knowing that the end result will be worth it.

Finally, there will be times when you are ready to till it all under and just be done with it.  The effort it takes to maintain, even WHEN producing great fruits and vegetables, can become overwhelming and you just want it to be OVER.  Yet….you persist until the end of the season.

In the end…

In the end, the most important thing to know about gardening is how long it takes to get the results you want.  For example, even if you plant tulip bulbs, you will wait an entire YEAR to see those tulips bloom year after year.  For whatever reason, you are patient and understand the process.

If you grow a vegetable garden, you will wait months for most of your vegetables to produce something that you can actually eat.  Yet, you forge on – you put in the time preparing the soil, watering, weeding, pruning, etc.  You UNDERSTAND there’s a process involved to get the RESULT you want.

If you garden, you KNOW the fruit (the thing you want the most) comes at the END of the work.  You also know that to keep GETTING that fruit, you must continue to take care of that plant.  You don’t just pick tomatoes once and call it done.  Day after day, you do what it takes for that plant to keep producing for you.  You are A-OK putting in the time and effort to get the results what you want….knowing they are NOT immediate….but come after weeks to months.

By this time…..

It’s probably obvious what I’m trying to do here.

Everywhere I look, I try to see parallels between what we do in life and the weight loss journey.  What lessons can we learn?  What skills that we already KNOW, or already DO, can be applied to our efforts to lose weight?

Friends, this is what I try to do – show you that weight loss doesn’t have to be anything that starts from scratch.

I guarantee we all have things within our lives, like gardening, that require many of the exact same skills it takes to be successful at weight loss.  And, remember, that has nothing to do with “you didn’t tell me what to eat.”

It has to do with routines…habits…mindset!

It’s all about how you LOOK at the task at hand.

If you’re ready….

If you’re ready to learn more about what skills you already have that can help you with your weight loss journey – book a call with me.  If I can’t help you, I’ll try my best to point you in the right direction.




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Truth time – I don’t always like to cook.

I love making healthy meals for my family and myself, but I often run out of motivation and ideas for meals.  I can get into a rut just like everyone else.

So – I’m listing my best “fun” cooking tips for you!  (And also for me…because I need to remind myself of these, too!)

Fun Cooking Tip #1: Check Out New Recipes

Sometimes, just seeing the beautiful food photos and reading recipes can spark some inspiration and get your motivation going again.

Recipes can be found online or you may prefer to invest in a quality cookbook found at your favorite bookstore.  Did you know there are websites where you can put in the ingredients you have and it pops out a recipe??  AMAZING!  This is my favorite website for that very thing.

Super-Pro-Tip!!!…..  Set a timer!  Going down the recipe rabbit hole can easily burn an afternoon.  Before you know it, you’ve spent a lot of time looking…with no time left for cooking!

Here are a few of my favorite cookbooks to browse:

  • Jimmy Moore’s Keto Cookbook
  • Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain (If you’ve not read her story – it’s amazing!)
  • Thug Kitchen – Eat like you give a f*ck  (Sorry…no offense intended here…but this is one hella cookbook!)

Fun Cooking Tip #2: Make Grocery Shopping Fun and Inspiring

When planning your trip to the grocery store, try to think of things you haven’t had in a while.  Think back to a time in your life that felt less hurried and stressed – is there a food or dish that you remember enjoying during that time?  What about something you haven’t had since childhood?  Has someone served something at a get-together that you particularly liked?

You can also browse around the store for something you’ve never had if you are feeling daring!  Being adventurous can go along with way with keeping things fun in the kitchen.  Buy the ingredient and then go home to find the perfect recipe to match!

Fun Cooking Tip #3: Keep It Simple!

Seriously, y’all….I can NOT stress this enough!  Not every meal has to be a production.

There are those rare times when I’m inspired and feel like getting fancy, but on regular days…. I have a 4-5 ingredient limit (including spices!).  The second I see the ingredient list, I already know to scroll on past depending on how long that list is!

There are a few ways to keep things simple:

  • Search for recipes with fewer than X ingredients (you can decide your limit)
  • Search for recipes that can be made in one pot or pan
  • Search for recipes that are exclusive to crock-pot cooking (set it and forget it!)
  • Buy ingredients that are ready to be used such as pre-washed greens, diced vegetables, frozen vegetables, etc
  • Cookbooks with simple recipes:  5-ingredient Keto Cookbook, Trader Joe’s Cookbook

Fun Cooking Tip #4: Put on some music and have some company!

You should already have a “feel good” playlist – if you don’t…stop reading this and go make a playlist of songs that get you up and hopping!  Put on that playlist when you are cooking.

If you have kids that need to learn the critical skill of cooking, or have friends that would like to come over for a visit – invite them to join you in the kitchen.  Use the time to flirt with your partner or have a mock competition to see who’s better at chopping vegetables.

You could even have a party where everyone contributes one ingredient to the process.  Obviously…give them the menu unless you want a Frankenstein of a meal.  🙂   But that could be fun and interesting too!

Fun Cooking Tip #5: Buy some swag

Having proper kitchen tools makes cooking so much easier and faster.  When’s the last time you sharpened your knives (or just bought a new set)?  Is that dull, crummy blender taking the fun out of your smoothies?

Here’s a list of my favorite kitchen things and why I like them.

  • Immersion Blender – a must if you make soups.  I used to have to use the regular blender then transfer liquids to a pot.  Not any more!  I can put everything into one put and use an immersion blender to take care of it all.  Faster…AND less mess.
  • Silicon Baking Mitts – my husband thought I was nuts buying these, but I couldn’t keep my oven mitts clean.  Now, he loves them too and I can even use them to open jars because they are a bit “sticky.”
  • Instant Pot – OMG…if you don’t have an Instant Pot…you are missing out!  I steam my eggs (poached) in my IP each week, we can do ribs in less than 45 minutes (no grilling for hours), frozen salmon in less than 5 minutes!  The link shows the exact one I have, but there are bigger ones and ones with more technology as well.  Of course, be sure to read all the safety info….it is a pressure cooker after all!
  • Air Fryer – We’ve had 2 air fryers.  Our first one worked just fine but wasn’t big enough.  Last year, we upgraded to the one in the link.  We use the air fryer at least 3-4 times per week cooking fries and tots, wings, and steak (surprisingly good!). I’ve even cooked a whole chicken in the air fryer with great results.  I really want to try scallops in it, but haven’t had a chance.
  • Ulu Knife – I use my Ulu Knife to chop veggies, chicken, and even to slice pizza.  This is not the one I have, as my husband bought mine as a gift from a local knife shop.  But, I do have the bowl that comes with it and love it for chopping veggies.  It’s great for cabbage for my tacos!
  • Small Ninja Blender – I am NOT a big fan of traditional blenders. I’ve just not found one that can withstand ice cubes and frozen vegetables for smoothies.  But, I bought this little guy years ago and still use it a ton.  It’s a small blender that is super easy to wash.  I use it to shred chicken, vegetables, and even put burger in it when I want the burger small so it lays flat inside my lasagna.
  • Spiralizer – This is not the one I have.  Mine is almost 10 years old and I’m not even sure of the brand.  But, they all look similar and work the same way.  Zoodles anyone??  My favorite is to use this to make sweet potato ribbons that are baked and then I put them on super-spicy chili.

We don’t get too crazy around our house – but the items above are a few that we’ve found very useful and fun to use.  Not to mention time-saving…like the IP and the air fryer.  We’ve also switched to silicon utensils (spatulas, etc).

Conclusion…..

You know that cooking is key to healthy eating.  But, yes, it does get boring at times.

Try one, or all, of my fun cooking tips to inspire you to get back into your kitchen and cook yourself some great dishes.  Your body and mind will thank you!

Check out this recipe!

ONE-Skillet Fritatta

Serves 4

8 eggs
¼ cup almond milk, unsweetened
1 tsp olive oil, extra virgin

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 handful baby spinach
1 small zucchini, sliced into thin coins
1 clove of garlic, minced

1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved
1 dash herbs and spice to taste (parsley, sage, paprika, turmeric, etc.)

1 dash salt and pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375F.

Whisk together eggs and almond milk.

Heat an ovenproof skillet (e.g. cast iron) on the stove with the olive oil.

To the hot skillet add garlic, spinach, and zucchini. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the spinach wilts and the zucchini starts to soften.

Add the tomatoes, herbs, spices, salt, and pepper.

Pour in the eggs.

Place the skillet into the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, until eggs are set.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Feel free to substitute your veggies and use what you have on-hand. Try diced pepper instead of tomatoes, or chopped kale instead of spinach. Have fun with this!

Ready to make that next diet be your last?  My online program addresses how to be 100% ready for your next weight-loss endeavor so you can finally be done with dieting forever.

Click here to schedule your 60-minute discovery call to see if my program would be a good fit for you.


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*What’s with all the links??….  Easy!  I’ve done a ton of research so you don’t have to.  I take what I use and know, mixed with other research, to provide you with products and services I feel are quality and could be of use to you.  I do make a small percentage from the sale of these products – but it costs you nothing extra to purchase them.  Please know that I’d never push a product I don’t believe in.  I value your trust in me more than I value making $0.75 from the sale of a product!  Always read reviews and do your own research before purchasing products and services.

Inflammation….unfortunately, it’s not just a hot and sexy catch phrase that attracts your attention.  It’s a super-bad fact of our chronically busy and stressful lives.

The past several years, the research into inflammation has shown that it plays a key role in many chronic health issues including obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Type 2 Diabetes, dementia, metabolic syndrome, vascular disease, blood clots, and more.

Reviewing the research into what causes inflammation would take days and a multi-post series!  It really is that complicated!  So, for the sake of time and simplicity – let’s focus on some foods packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants that are proven to help reduce it.

Anti-Inflammatory Food #1: Berries, Grapes, & Cherries

How lucky is it that some of our favorite treats are some of the best anti-inflammatory foods?

Berries, grapes, and cherries are packed with fiber and antioxidant vitamins (such as Vitamin C).  Not to mention their phytochemicals (phyto = plant), such as resveratrol, also act as anti-inflammatories.

Anti-Inflammatory Food #2: Broccoli and Peppers

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that contains the antioxidant “sulforaphane.”  This anti-inflammatory compound is associated with reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.

Bell peppers, on the other hand, are one of the best sources of Vitamin C and the antioxidant quercetin.  The anti-inflammatory effects are best found in RED bell peppers and aren’t found in quite the same levels in other peppers or peppers that aren’t fully ripe.

Anti-Inflammatory Food #3: Healthy Fats

Hopefully, you don’t still have the anti-fat mentality and cringe when you hear the term “healthy fats.”  Sure, there are some fats that PROMOTE inflammation, such as trans fats.  But there are also plenty of fats that are anti-inflammatory.

The best anti-inflammatory fats are the unsaturated ones, including Omega-3s.  These fats are linked to reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

You can opt for fresh avocados, quality olive oil (or other specialty oils…my favorite is avocado or macadamia nut oil), fatty fish such salmon and sardines.  You can also obtain Omega-3s from seeds like chia, hemp, and flax.

Anti-Inflammatory Food #4: Green Tea

Green tea contains the anti-inflammatory compound known as ECGC (I’ll let you google that).  This compound is linked to reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, and Alzheimer’s disease.

L-theanine is another compound of green tea that has many benefits, including mood elevation and relaxation.

Drinking green tea is great, but have you ever considered taking this one step farther and drinking matcha green tea?  Matcha tea is thought to contain much higher levels of antioxidants than other green teas.  Here’s my favorite!

Anti-Inflammatory Food #5: Turmeric

Hopefully, you already knew this amazing food would make the list!

Turmeric is an herb that contains the antioxidant curcumin.  Curcumin has been shown to reduce the pain of arthritis, as well as have anti-cancer and anti-diabetes properties.

Anti-Inflammatory Food #6: Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate may rival #1 for the most decadent anti-inflammatory food! Dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa is packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants, namely flavonols.  One of these powerful flavonols is quercetin, mentioned above. These chemicals reduce the risk of heart disease by helping keep arteries healthy.  They’ve also been shown to help prevent neuro-inflammation (inflammation of the brain and nerves) and may help with long-term memory and reduce the risk of dementia and stroke.

This does NOT include sugary candy bars!  You already know those aren’t going to be anti-inflammatory and will actually PROMOTE inflammation.

When buying dark chocolate, remember to go for at least 70% dark.  The higher the percentage, the less “sweet” it will be and a little goes a long way!

Conclusion

There are just so many amazingly delicious and nutritious anti-inflammatory foods to choose from!  They range from colorful berries, vegetables, herbs and spices…. to fats and even cocoa!

Check out this RECIPE!

Recipe (Broccoli, Pepper, Turmeric): Anti-inflammatory Quinoa

 

Serves 2

¾ cup dry quinoa (pre-rinsed)

2 tbsp coconut oil1 medium onion, diced1 bell pepper, chopped1 dash salt½ tbsp turmeric1 dash black pepper

2 cups broccoli, chopped

 

In a saucepan place 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add the quinoa and simmer until the water is absorbed (about 10-15 minutes).

Melt coconut oil in a skillet. Add diced onions, turmeric, pepper and salt, and lightly sauté for a few minutes.

Add broccoli and lightly sauté for 5-6 minutes, until it becomes softened.

Add the cooked quinoa and stir everything together.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Add some cayenne pepper or curry spice for an extra spicy kick.

Ready to make that next diet be your last?  My online program addresses how to be 100% ready for your next weight-loss endeavor so you can finally be done with dieting forever.

Click here to schedule your 60-minute discovery call to see if my program would be a good fit for you.


Buy My Book On Amazon – Paperback or Kindle

References:

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/13-anti-inflammatory-foods/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4717884/

https://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-green-tea/

https://authoritynutrition.com/matcha-green-tea/

http://neurotrition.ca/blog/brain-food-essentials-cacao

http://leesaklich.com/foods-vs-supps/foods-vs-supplements-the-turmeric-edition/