Healthy Treats for You and Your Sweet

I hope you had a chance to check out the Superfood Super Sunday healthy snack recipes I posted for Super Bowl Sunday! Super Bowl Sunday is followed up with that awesome day of LOVE, Valentine’s Day-or, for some of you, perhaps you’ll be celebrating the joy of your female friendships with Galentine’s Day! Either way, I’ve got you covered with some super yummy, yet super health sweet snacks to celebrate with! Share your love of yummy, healthy treats with someone you love this holiday-or just enjoy them while treating YOURSELf-after all SELF LOVE is the BEST LOVE!

Check out this superfood, super healthy treats and be sure to share the recipes with friends! Happy Love Day!

Low Carb Strawberry Banana Cake

4 small ripe bananas

1 cup wheat flour

½ cup buckwheat flour

¼ cup coconut oil

2 tbsp. stevia/xylitol or Swerve

1 egg

1 tsp. baking powder

10 strawberries, halved

Pre-heat oven to 350°F Directions: 

Peel the bananas and place them in a food processor or high-speed blender. Mix until smooth. Add in the egg, oil and sweetener, then mix again. Next, add in the flours and baking powder, and mix until a smooth batter is formed. Transfer the batter into a greased or silicon cake tray.  Place the halved strawberries on top and bake for around 60 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and cooked through.

Serves 16

Nutrition per serving:

104 cal  5g Fats 16g Carbs  2g Protein

HEALTHY FERRERO ROCHER

Ingredients:

1 cup + 12 hazelnuts

2 tbsp. cocoa powder

2 tbsp. agave syrup

1 tsp. vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

2 tbsp. dark chocolate chunks

Directions:

Add 1 cup of hazelnuts into a food processor and blitz until chopped into tiny pieces.

 Next, add the cacao powder, agave syrup, vanilla extract, sea salt and chocolate. Pulse until all the ingredients start to stick together. If the mixture is too dry, add 1-2 teaspoon of water.

 Roll the mixture into bite-size balls and insert one hazelnut into the centre of each ball.

 Serve right away or store in the fridge for later.

Nutrition per 1:

91 cal    8g Fats 6g Carbs    2g Protein

Dark Chocolate Banana Bites

Ingredients:

3 ripe bananas

⅓ cup natural peanut butter

½ cup dark chocolate chips

2 tsp. coconut oil

Directions:

Peel and slice the bananas. Line a tray or chopping board with baking paper. 

Place about ½ teaspoon of peanut butter onto the banana slices and top with another banana slice to make a little ‘sandwich’. You should be able to make around 30 sandwiches.  

 Place the bananas on the prepared baking paper and store it in the freezer for about 1 hour. 

Next, melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil in the microwave or using the water bath method.

 Once the chocolate is melted, dip each frozen banana sandwich into the melted chocolate so that half of it is coated.

 Place the chocolate covered sandwiches back on the baking paper platter, and into the freezer for another 15-20 minutes.

 Once the chocolate is set, you can transfer the bananas into a container and store in the freezer for up to 1-2 months. 

The longer the bananas stay in the freezer, the harder they will get. So remove them from the freezer for about 5 minutes before eating.

Nutrition per 2 bites:

99 cal   6g Fats 12g Carbs    2g Protein

Superfood Super Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, and in my family-that means HOLIDAY! As a child this was always one of the biggest days of the year in my house as we also celebrated my football obsessed dad’s birthday on the same day. The amount of food bought and consumed was ridiculous! We usually started off the day with a huge breakfast, and about 2 hours later the table and countertops in the kitchen would be completely covered with lunchmeats, chips, cookies, various chips, potato salad, macaroni salad, and brownies. My father would cook his yearly kielbasa sausage and sauerkraut in the crockpot, and the stove top would be covered in hotdogs, chili, and all the fixens. Beer, wine, and mixed drink rounded it out for this all day feast-which also ended with birthday cake. Needless to say, many people left our house with tummy aches over the years, but they always returned for another crazy football feast.

Super Bowl Sunday is thought to be the second highest food consumption day of the year, right after Thanksgiving. Some online articles suggest that the average viewer eats almost 11000 calories on that day, with the most popular foods being pizza, wings, chips and dips, deviled eggs, chili, and hotdogs. Men’s Fitness magazine stated that American’s drink 345 million gallons of beer each Super Bowl Sunday! This is, of course, considered a holiday for many, and it’s perfectly ok to splurge on occasion, but if you are thinking about keeping focused on your health goals while enjoying this year’s big game (or any big event with food!) this article is for you!

Consider this average list of consumption during a regular sports party:

2 slices of pepperoni pizza

6 wings

Nachos with cheese and toppings

Endless amounts various chips (but let’s say 2 servings)

4 cookies

2 beers (only 2!)

2 sodas

Does that sound about right? Have you found yourself eating this way? I know this happens in my house!

This, my friend, is 2800 calories worth of food-with a whopping 100 grams of FAT. Add a loss by your favorite team, and you might find you had a really bad day! (I can attest to this…I once threw a vacuum cleaner off an upstairs balcony after a loss-and my dad was famous for breaking doors after bad games….mediation has helped!:))

Having a great time and enjoying great food while ALSO sticking to your health goals is completely possible. It can easily be done by making a plan, sticking to a few guidelines, and having a few good recipes for tasty, healthy party food.

When I approach a day that revolves around food, I like to go in with a plan. I start my day with a super healthy, filling, but light breakfast like oatmeal and fruit. I focus on getting my exercise for the day in before game time, and drink as much of my water as possible. It’s important to get something healthy and nutritious into your stomach BEFORE showing up where there is lots of party food!

The guidelines I follow and lay out for my clients in any situation that involves an “all day” food situation are as follows.

-Stay hydrated! Keep drinking that water. If you chose to drink alcohol, match each drink with an equal amount of water. This will flush your system, as well as help avoid overindulging and getting a hangover.

-scan the food offerings and make a plan: what will you enjoy as your actual meal? What will you snack on? What will you indulge in for dessert? When will you eat these foods?

-remember portion control! Take small amounts of the foods you want to enjoy and be sure to put them on a plate and actually take time to enjoy them. And, to remind you and ME-potato chips DO fit on a plate and it’s a great way to eat only a serving size! (I’m a chip girl-just don’t let me stand by the bowl!)

~always have healthy options available. Veggie and fruit trays with hummus or lower fat dip are a great start.

~choose mustard over mayo on your sandwich or hotdog and consider skipping the cheese.

~cheese or veggie pizza instead of pepperoni or fatty meats and stick to one slice for a very healthy change.

~use a smaller plate for your choices, eat slowly, and don’t eat out of giant bowls or packages.

~make the decision to only eat at a certain point of the day perhaps at halftime.

~instead of pizza, hotdogs or hamburgers, try some grilled kebabs with lean meats, veggies and fruits.

~do a search for some healthy game day snack recipes (there are TONS) and try a new one out each week. And check out the recipes that follow this article!

Now, to add some fun to your day! Let’s get up and move and get everyone involved with fun and exercise!

~make some bets with your family and friends, with crazy exercise as the consequence. Your team scores-they have to do pushups, their team scores-you have to do jumping jacks. This can be done with all aspect of the game, even down to ref calls and uniform choices!

~get up and move during commercial breaks, long replay decisions, and halftime. March around the house, step outside for some fresh air and take a quick walk around the yard. And don’t forget to get up and dance during that old school halftime show!

~have a themed “party game” available during game breaks-shoot hoops into a wastepaper basket, throw the ball around in the front yard, be creative and have some fun with it!

 Above all, remember that this time is for having fun, relaxing with family and friends, and socializing. The food and drinks are just an added attraction to the day and partaking in a huge feast of food is not a requirement or expectation. Focus on your family and friends, and your team, and have a great and healthy time.

GO TEAM!

Check out some of these healthier choice recipes for your game day, and be sure to check out these awesome DIP recipes as well!

Healthy Deviled Eggs

Make your deviled eggs with Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise and turn your deviled eggs into a superfood explosion! These are packed with protein and super yummy!

 Ingredients:

Hard boiled eggs, cooking the yolks well (leave in hot water for 13 minutes)

Plain whole milk Greek yogurt

Dijon Mustard or your other favorite spiced mustard

Salt and pepper

Favorite spices-paprika, cayenne pepper, or try a Maryland favorite-Old Bay for a yummy twist

 Directions:

Cut each egg in half lengthwise. Scoop yolks into a small bowl. Place egg whites on a serving dish.

Mash egg yolks with a fork and add the rest of the ingredients until it is smooth and to your tasting and texture.  

Spoon mixture into egg whites, or for a fancy decorative look, use an icing bag with a tip and squeeze into whites.

Sprinkle with paprika or old bay, or use another topping as desired-bacon bits, relish, hot peppers. 

Keep chilled until ready to serve and enjoy!

Zucchini Fries

Ingredients:

1 lb.  zucchini

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 egg

1 tsp.  milk

4 tbsp. breadcrumbs

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. dried thyme

3 tbsp. olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 430°F . Cut zucchini into fry-like pieces. 

Crack the egg into a bowl and whisk with the milk. Season with salt, pepper, add the crushed garlic, oregano, and thyme. Mix well.

On a separate plate, have your breadcrumbs ready. 

Grease a large baking tray with 1 tbsp. of olive oil. 

Dip the zucchini in the egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs and place on the baking tray. Place the tray in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the fries 2-3 times during this time, drizzling them with the remaining 2 tbsp. of olive oil. 

Season with salt and serve.

Nutrition per serving: Serves 4

177 cal     12g Fat. 14g Carbs   5g Protein

Veggie Chili Salad

Ingredients:

14 oz. can black beans, rinsed, drained

7 oz. can sweet corn, rinsed, drained

1 red bell pepper, sliced

bunch coriander, chopped

5 oz.  hot salsa

Directions:

Rinse the black beans and corn under cold running water, rinse thoroughly and drain well. Slice the pepper into small strips. Chop the coriander coarsely.

Mix the beans, corn, pepper and coriander with the salsa in a medium bowl. This salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Serving suggestions:

Guacamole Baked Tortilla chips Veggies

Nutrition per serving: 4 servings

 144 cal    2g Fats 28g Carbs     8g Protein

Looking for Some Fresh Inspiration?

We are one month into 2022 and spring weather is hopefully right around the corner! It’s been a long, cold, dark winter here on my island in the southeast-we even had snow! I’ve stuck to my winter workout plans consistently, but I am SO ready to get back outside to bike, hike, beachcomb, kayak and paddleboard under the warm sun! I hope that your winter weather has not been too horrible, and that you’ve managed to stay active in recent months.

Sticking to those health and wellness plans that we tend to make at certain parts of the year can be hard! We start out excited and motivated, but for many, after a bit of time, we tend to feel tired, burned out, or lacking in motivation. When that happens, we need something to get us excited and motivated again-and that’s where this blog post comes in!! If you are feeling slightly less than motivated this winter, let’s try to shake it up and get refocused and excited again with some new ideas!!

Try Some New Recipes

Adding some healthy new recipes to your life is always a great way to mix up your goals and get excited about those meals. Try adding a new fruit or vegetable to your diet each week or preparing old favorites in a new way. Switch out your proteins in your favorite recipes to get a new taste-instead of beef chili, try chicken, or even tofu, and see what you think. Adding new recipes to our weekly rotation is a great way to change things up. If you’re looking for a whole new set of healthy superfood recipes, check out my free cookbook with 19 awesome recipes made with only FIVE ingredients each!

Try New Movement

Our exercise routines can get monotonous fast, so mix it up a bit. The BEST decision I ever made was to try a reformer Pilates class last spring! I was feeling bored with my usual strength workouts and while I love yoga, it wasn’t giving me the burn I was looking for. I tried Pilates reformer, and I was hooked. I then added group Pilates mat classes several times a week to my routine and I have never been more excited to exercise! Look for new ways to add movement to your routine and see what you truly enjoy. The BEST workout is one that brings you joy, and a workout that you WILL get done!!

Buy Some New Workout Clothes or Gear

This was my latest “go to”. The long, dark, cold days here at the beach had me feeling lazy and wanting to do little but cozy up under a blanket and binge watch Netflix until spring. As I dressed for my 7am Pilates class in the pitch black dark one morning, I realized-my winter workout clothes were an uninspiring multitude of many shades of gray. I spent the afternoon online ordering new workout gear with pops of bright colors, and the following week I was feeling joy as I put on my bright pink gear to head to class on a freezing, gray day.

Try a New Playlist or Two

Music can be very inspiring to most people and has been proven to change our mood. Whenever I’m in a funk, I put on music to lighten my mood, and it ALWAYS works. I often blast music when I am cooking or cleaning, and it lifts my spirits and gives me energy. Choosing the right music for your workouts can be a game changer. My original game changing song was Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”. It’s impossible for me to hear it and NOT feel like moving my body. If you have playlists for your workout, consider creating a few new lists. Add some songs from your younger days or find a genre that gets your heart pumping. Having a variety of playlists ready to choose from will make your exercise time more enjoyable for sure!

Find Support

If you need a real push to get your health and wellness plans in gear, consider finding some support through friends or groups-online or in person. Having a friend or two to encourage you to workout/set goals/plan meals can really inspire you to get it done. Sharing ideas, recipes, and workout space will only add to your motivation, provide accountability,  and help push you to succeed. I have found that when I am with a supportive friend, my walks and bike rides get longer, my workouts go by faster, and I am more inclined to “show up”. Find those friends and get the support you need!

Try a Challenge

Being challenged always gets me moving. I like a little competition-whether it’s with a group or just within myself. Challenges can be anything you want them to be! Challenge yourself to hit a certain number of steps each month, or to find and add several new recipes to your meals each month. Set up challenges with your friends to see who walks the most miles or completes the most workouts. Join an online group or program that holds challenges each week or month. (Openfit app challenges are the BEST and keep me inspired month after month!)

Change Your Routine

If you’re feeling as though you’re truly in a rut and need to shake things up to get your mojo back, consider changing your routine. Maybe evening workout would work better for you, maybe your current eating plan needs a change-whatever it is that is not leaving you feeling motivated or inspired-CHANGE IT!  Give some changes a try and see how it goes-you can always change it back if it doesn’t fit your life.

Hire a Health Coach or Trainer

This is where people like me enter the picture! If you’re truly in need of support, motivation, new ideas, and knowledgeable guidance, consider hiring a health coach or a trainer. These people are educated and trained to help you find what works best for you, help you outline the small steps you need to reach ultimate success, and offer the motivation and support that you need to reach your goals. Personalized guidance and done for you plans can make all the difference in finding the absolute BEST in health and wellness for you. If you’d like to chat about how a health and wellness coach can help you reach those goals, reach out to me: Sami@beewell.com and let’s chat-no pressure!

Forget Those Resolutions! (It’s About Routines)

Hello dear readers, and blessings of the New Year ahead of us! Despite my best intentions, I found the end of 2021 quite exhausting, and though I spent a wonderful holiday with my family, I felt great need to take a step back from my business duties and practice a bit of self-care. I hope the holidays treated you with joy, and you were surrounded by much love and peace.

As we head into this new year, I am feeling very aware of the emotional impact the last few years has brought us during pandemic, and I take that into consideration as I write my New Years post. In the past, my excitement for a fresh new beginning was very evident in my writings, and I wrote of setting goals and making changes with nothing but inspiration and motivation in hopes that most would be feeling the same way. I realize, after speaking with friends, family, and clients, that for many, excitement for the new year has diminished to simple hopes, a sense of uncertainty, and a bit of exhaustion.

Usually, at this time of year, I encourage people to find a word to be their defining start to the new year. In recent years I have focused on yearly words like “boundaries”, “balance”, and “mindfulness”. I would choose a word to set my intention for the year, and work towards that one word as needed in all aspects of my life. (My word, when heading into 2020 was “balance”, it may have saved me, or perhaps, just simply been an impossible word!)

Although I absolutely believe in my “word of the year” philosophy, and I encourage you to give it a try, I decided to encourage another line of thought as we head into this new year. That thought is-take charge of the things you CAN control, and secondly, simply focus on finding some joy!

In this time of constant change and uncertainty, we absolutely hold the capacity to control some of the most important aspects of our being. We have the power to control how we nourish our bodies, how we tend to our physical well-being, how we manage the stress.that is placed upon us daily, and the control of our spirit-creatively, passionately, and mindfully. In the general busyness of life, it is easy to lose sight of the ability to control these things, and in turn, we ultimately pay the price with feeling and being unwell, feeling fatigued, and losing interest in the things that can bring us joy and contentment.

I encourage you to put routines ahead of resolutions this year. Creating routines in life builds habits and allows us to ease into making time for the things that bring us joy. Take a moment and consider these questions:

~What routines could you create in your daily or weekly life that would help you achieve the life you desire?

~What routines can you create that will lead you to find the health and wellness you desire? ~When approaching this new year, who do you want to surround yourself with to ensure feelings of happiness and love?

~And, lastly, what things do you want to add to your life to bring yourself joy, and how can you create a routine that brings those things into your life enough to FEEL that joy?

Taking some time to consider these questions, instead of making some huge, blanket, lofty resolution of change, can help provide some clarity, and clarity is what helps us see where/who we are, and where/who we wish to be. Once we have clarity, it’s only a matter of planning and taking the SMALL steps that can ultimately lead us to making BIG changes in our lives over time.

When exploring the prospect of finding the life you desire, consider journaling your ideas, plans and thoughts as we start this new year. In 2018, I began journaling regularly in hopes of discovering who I was going to “be” after 22 years of devoting myself to homeschooling four children. Journaling led to sketching, which led to painting, and I began to tap into the artistic and creative side of myself that had been completely focused towards educating my family for so many years. It brought me a sense of renewed joy that I had long forgotten.

If health and wellness is a focus of your upcoming year, be sure to set SMART goals for yourself. Smart goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely goals. These are small goals with reasonable objectives that can be reached without frustration or pressure, which makes them easier to achieve with many small successes along the way. Instead of making a resolution to say, lose 20 pounds or eat a cleaner diet, a SMART goal would focus on cutting out sodas or sweets, or perhaps planning your meals out for better nutrition. Adding to these small goals as you move with success will lead you to your bigger goals. It’s the small steps, one by one, that provide us with the motivation and inspiration to continue our journey towards the big changes! As you plan your small steps, create a routine to ensure that they become a part of your daily life-a HABIT! Building upon these small routines (habits) as you go will create a pathway to success.

When planning out your goals, be sure to know your ultimate WHY. Knowing your WHY will always bring you back to the inspiration you need when things seem tough. The WHY is the thing that keeps us focused as we complete the small steps along the way and is the main purpose of achieving our ultimate goals. Deciding to run a 5K is a great goal-but WHY do you want to accomplish it? How will it make you feel? How will it lead to positive changes in your life? Losing 25 pounds can better your health, get you into clothes that you love, and make you happier with the scale-but the WHY may be more important; perhaps you want more energy, perhaps it’s needed for better health, or maybe it’s because you want to feel more confident about doing activities you enjoy. Every goal has a true WHY. Be sure to find yours, write it down, keep it visible, make it a part of each day. Use that WHY to plan the SMART steps and routines you need to hit those small goals, and each small success will bring you closer to your ultimate goals.

If nutrition plays a part in your goals, be sure to start small. Cutting out ALL the foods you love only sets you up for failure. Some examples of small steps that can lead you to success would be cleaning processed snack foods out of your pantry, buying and preparing more fresh vegetables, replacing sugar drinks with water, learning more about basic nutrition, setting up a pattern of meal prep and planning or removing sugar from your diet. Pick one goal to work on each week, creating a routine, and adding another goal and routine as you find your success each week. A routine could be adding a new fruit or vegetable to your diet each time your grocery shop or making sure you start each day with a glass of water. Add to these as you go.

If adding more movement to your life is a goal, follow the same idea. First, find something you enjoy! If you hate to run, don’t pick running. If you have no access to a pool, don’t pick swimming. (seems crazy-but I’ve literally had clients do this!) If you enjoy dancing, try a dancing workout. If you haven’t worked out in forever, and have no idea where to start, try a little yoga to get you moving, stretched, and limber. Plan your choice of exercise, make sure you have the equipment needed, and physically schedule your workout times on your daily calendar. Start small-2 days a week for 20 minutes and build on days and times as you hit each goal. And, if you can’t seem to find an exercise you are comfortable with, just WALK. Add distance each day, explore new areas and routes, and just get out and move. Make it part of your daily or weekly routine, and it will be a habit that is easy to build upon.

If general wellness is your goal for the year, consider the 8 pillars of wellness and decide which one will bring you the most satisfaction first. The pillars are nutrition, movement, emotional well-being, hobbies/creativity, intellectual growth, sleep, spiritual health, and relationships. When these pillars are balanced, we find overall wellness. Which pillar feels most unbalanced in your current life? How can you grow within it? How does the unbalance affect the other pillars of wellness in your life? Discover this, and that is where you need to start. If you are lacking in sleep, you are likely too tired to get proper exercise, or maybe being tired affects how you plan (or don’t plan) your meals. Focus on your sleep routine, create a healthy sleep routine, and see how that affects your overall life. Building healthy habits in one of these areas is likely to have a positive effect on other aspects.

Find time for a little joy in your life this year. Times have been challenging and we all need a bit more joy in our lives! If you are not sure where to find joy, take some time to think about a time in your life when you had more joy. Perhaps a hobby or favorite pastime that has been forgotten over the years is waiting to be rediscovered! Spend a little time and thought and explore what it was that brought you happiness at a more joyful time of life, and bring it back-add it to your routine, and build on it!

I’m wishing you happiness and great health and wellness in this new year! If you are considering acquiring assistance with your goals, I hope that you will reach out to me to chat about how health and wellness coaching can greatly change your life. I do not sell products, and I am not salesy/pushy in my approach. My only goal is to reach, motivate, educate, and inspire others to find and live their best, healthiest, most joy filled life possible. My education, experience, training and knowledge, mixed with personal motivation and inspiration focused on YOU and YOUR life provide a path to success and great health! Please feel free to contact me to see how I can help you reach your goals.

Be sure to check out my newest freebie, The Not So Sweet Ultimate Guide to Sugar Addiction

Beewell.com

Move into Winter

For many of us, winter is either right around the corner or already here. As I write this, it’s close to 80 degrees and sunny here on my little island in North Carolina, but I know that will be changing quickly in the next weeks. I’m a pretty tough person but have to admit-I’m a big baby when it comes to cold weather! I absolutely despise being cold; I hate wearing heavy clothes, I hate gloves on my fingers, and if it were up to me, it would be 40 degrees and snowing from Christmas Eve until New Years-and then right back to 80 degrees for the remainder of the year! Cold weather makes me want to stay inside, bundled under blankets, in front of a fire, doing nothing but waiting for spring, but I know that I can’t do that for weeks or months on end and still feel energized and healthy. Winter, for me and I’m sure many others, means putting a little extra thought and effort into getting my exercise in, as well as making sure I get a little vitamin D from the sun. I thought I’d share a few winter movement ideas to get you motivated, maybe even excited, about the upcoming colder months.

Skating/hockey

I’m not a winter girl, but I spent much of my early life ice skating. It was my obsession in my teens, and I spent hours at the local ice rink and skating on a little pond in my Baltimore neighborhood. Skating is wonderful exercise in all forms-hockey, figure skating, or even in just attempting to stand up! If you have access to smooth ice, whether in a rink or in nature, grab some skates, invite a few others and try it out.

Snow fun!

Snow is not really a thing where I live, and while I find it beautiful and peaceful, my last few years up north gave me more than enough for a lifetime! If you are in an area that gets snow, use it to your exercise advantage! Skiing, sledding, tubing, and snowball battles are all fantastic way to get some exercise in while having a great time with friends, family and neighbors. Bundle up appropriately, grab whatever gear is needed, and get out and enjoy acting like a kid again-you won’t even realize that you’re getting fitness in, I promise!

Winter runs and walks

As much as I consider myself a summertime girl, I do love to go for long walks in the snow. Nothing is quite as peaceful or beautiful. Walking and running in cold weather requires a little more consideration for how you will be dressed, so be sure to take dampness and windchills into consideration. If you walk or run in snowy or wet weather, be sure to keep your feet dry and warm.

Touch football

Because I’m originally a born and raised Maryland girl, I’m a big fan of the phrase “crabcakes and football, that’s what Maryland does!” Touch football was a huge part of my childhood, and it can be so much fun to pick up a game with family and friends. Nothing is better than a cold Saturday tossing the ball around with generations of football lovers. This can be a super fun way to enjoy all aspects of the holiday season while getting some movement in and enjoying those you celebrate with.

If you are in a place with terribly cold or wet weather and winter in especially long, consider scheduling some indoor exercise each day to keep you feeling fantastic:

Yoga There’s something very cozy about winter yoga. I do yoga daily year-round, but wintertime yoga may be my favorite. I love to set up my mat near a window and do my practice in the soft light of the winter sunshine. The poses and the stretches warm my muscles slowly, and the warmth stays with me for quite a while after finishing. For more info on beginning a yoga practice, check in HERE.

Treadmill

If you have access to a treadmill, your exercise plans can be very simple in winter months! Schedule time each day to get your steps in, vary your pace or incline, and mix it up while never venturing outside. Put on a great playlist, or load up some Netflix, and the time will fly right by.

Dancing

Easily my favorite way to get some incredibly fun fitness in! Most nights you will find me cooking or cleaning up dinner while dancing and singing to whatever music inspires me at the moment. It’s a fun way to get my heart rate up and goof around before settling in for the evening. If you have kids around, invite them to join in-some of the best memories of my kids growing up were the impromptu dance parties after dinner time.

Online fitness apps

If you’re interested in a scheduled, focused, trainer type program to get you through the winter months and beyond, consider a fitness app. Openfit, Fitbit, and My Fitness Pal are just a few that offer a wide variety of programs and challenges to keep you motivated and inspired. Choose from stepping classes, yoga, mat Pilates, running, weights, cardio and more, and fill up your winter schedule with feeling GREAT. I’ve used all these apps, and Openfit is by far my favorite! They run both live and on-demand classes with fabulous trainers in an online virtual community experience that is super fun and interactive.

I hope you got a little winter fitness inspiration from this post! As always-make sure you pick movement that you enjoy! If your holiday season is very scheduled and busy, be sure to add some daily movement time into your calendar. Daily movement will keep you energized and focused, keep your metabolism in check, and even help you sleep better. If you are traveling this holiday season, be sure to have a plan for getting your movement in. Check with your hotel for fitness centers, invite your guests out for walks, or do a little yoga in your room each morning.

Get up and get some movement in, spend a little time showing yourself some care and love, and make this holiday season a fun, fulfilling, and healthy one. Happy Holidays!!! ~Sami Bee Scarborough Certified Health and Wellness Coach

Getting Over an Overdone Holiday

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I’m going to be the first to say-I may have overdone it! It’s not that I ate too much, drank too much, or dropped out of my regular daily exercise, but I DID eat and drink some things that left me feeling less than great! I followed my own advice when sampling the foods, being social instead of food focused, drinking plenty of water, and getting out for some long walks each day, but I enjoyed some foods that don’t always agree with me, and had some wine (the sugar in wine gives me more of a hangover than the alcohol!) So, by Sunday morning, I just felt so ICK! My body was sluggish, I was fatigued, my brain seemed fuzzy, and my joints yelled out that they were definitely dealing with inflammation. UGH! I know I’m not the only one, so I thought I’d share some thoughts on how to get over the holiday that was overdone. As I write this, I am on day 2 of a detoxing fast of sorts to rid myself of the holiday funk and do a little “tune up” healing for my gut and feeling better already. It was a GREAT holiday-I hope it was for you as well!

If you’re feeling like you overdid it, whether it be eating too much, eating foods you don’t generally eat, indulging in alcohol, or leaving your self-care or exercise in the dust, you CAN get yourself back to feeling more like yourself quickly by just following a few great tips. Give yourself a few days to try these out, and I’m sure you’ll be feeling great!

Get Rid of Holiday Treats

This is the first step in the process! And, by “get rid”, I don’t mean eat them!! Give them away, throw them out, freeze them for the next holiday, but remove them from your house! Grandma’s leftover pie, Aunt Jane’s mashed potatoes, leftover summer sausage and crackers-whatever it is, get rid of it! It will no longer be a temptation, and you will be so much happier with it GONE!

Stock Your Kitchen with Healthy Foods

That’s right-more grocery shopping! Stock up on the healthy food that you enjoy: fresh veggies, fruit, lean meats, and whole grain foods. Do a little meal planning and prep so that you have easy, ready-made, healthy choices available at all times. Be sure to pick up some healthy snacks as well like nuts, hummus, hardboiled eggs and yogurt. Keeping healthy food available will make mealtime so much easier during this busy time of year.

Eat Small Balanced Meals

Don’t try to “fix” your holiday overindulgence by cutting out meals; this will only set you up for cravings and possible binging. Instead, focus on small, balanced meals scheduled throughout the day. Focus on lean proteins like chicken, healthy fats like nut butters, high fiber foods like whole grains, and plenty of fresh veggies and fruit. If you need a little help figuring out the best choices, check out this article on basic nutrition.

Flush it All Out

Water is your best friend when it comes to getting over any period of overindulgence! It literally flushes the body clean, helps with digestion, removes bloating, and rehydrates the body. Alcohol and foods heavy in salt can dehydrate the body and make us feel sluggish, heavy, tired and even brain fogged. This dehydration can also show up in our skin, causing dryness, wrinkles, and an uneven complexion. Aim for 6-8 glass of water each day. To make this easier, try drinking a glass upon waking, before each meal, after any exercise, and a short time before retiring for the night. Getting the water in can be the quickest way to feel better!

Try Soups!

Get your balanced nutrition AND your water in at the same time with delicious broth based soups! Throw some broth into a pot, add your leftover turkey or another lean protein, and throw in some veggies and seasonings and let it simmer for an hour or so for a tasty, light, healthy, quick meal choice. For a great soup recipe with a big vitamin pack, try this Kale recipe that can easily be made with turkey instead of chicken.

Cut the Alcohol

Whether or not you indulged in too much alcohol this holiday season, try to cut it from your diet for a few days. Alcohol wreaks havoc on our body systems and makes every part of our body work harder. It dehydrates us, causes fatigue, slows the metabolism, and causes all kinds of unpleasant reactions.

Show Yourself Some Love

Going a little easy on yourself is always crucial to your health and well-being, but especially after overdoing it. Get a little extra rest, spend a little time being quiet and still, and see how it affects your stress levels. You may want to spend a little time in simple meditation, or just sitting in silence to regain your peace of mind and re-energize. The holidays can be an incredibly stressful time, so be sure to schedule time to just rest. If journaling is your thing-or you’d like to try it, consider thinking into the New Year and coming up with a “word” to define your future.  

Consider a Sugar Detox

If you truly want to feel and see a huge change in your health rather quickly, consider doing a sugar detox. Sugar is in SO many foods, and we eat so much of it without even realizing. Sugar intake has a massive effect on the body, our hormones, our skin, our brain, our weight, and our emotions. Many people are addicted to sugar! To learn more about sugar addiction and see if sugar might be an issue in your diet, check out my latest freebie! It’s an eye opener on all things sugar related, and even includes a sugar addiction checklist. Giving up added sugar was the BEST thing I ever did for my health!

Find Support

If you are struggling to get back on track after the holiday, and worried about the holidays ahead, consider finding someone to support you. A friend, a relative, an online group, whomever it might be. Sharing support and encouragement while holding each other accountable and offering motivation can make all the difference. If you need a strong support system and personal guidance, inspiration and tools, consider speaking to a health coach. This can be a life changing decision! Setting up goals and plans that are JUST FOR YOU can make all the difference! If you’d like to chat about how this might work for you, please feel free to contact me for a free consultation-no hard sales, no pushing, no pestering-just conversation about YOU and what you need to feel and be your best!

I hope this holiday season brings you many blessings, an abundance of joy, and great health and wellness! Happy Holidays from Sami Bee at BeeWell!

Healthy Holiday Food Hacks and Facts

As I stated in my last post, the average Thanksgiving Day dinner intake, according to The Calorie Control Council, is around 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat. And that doesn’t include our drinks, appetizers or leftovers, or our sampling of food. That’s SO much food! (If you missed my crazy Thanksgiving food video, watch it HERE) While Thanksgiving only comes once a year, and I believe whole heartedly in enjoying everything in moderation, I thought I’d use this week’s post to provide some healthier alternatives to the typical fare served at this American feast. Whether you pick just a few to give your holiday meal a healthier and lighter edge or use these to give your everyday meals a healthier kick is completely up to you. It’s always nice to know some simple tricks to change up your meals to get less fat and more nutrition.

Turkey is a staple of many Thanksgiving dinners, and it’s a healthy choice! 4 oz of turkey has 120 calories, a whooping 24 grams of protein and is very low in fat. It’s high in vitamins B3, B6, B12, magnesium and potassium. If you are a fan of dark cuts of turkey, or the skin of the turkey you will eating a bit more fat.

Use turkey leftovers in salads, soups, curries, and sandwiches for healthy meals in the days following the holiday for extra protein packed meals.

Potatoes are my absolute favorite holiday food, and I’m pretty famous for mine! Potatoes are loaded with nutrients like fiber, vitamins C and B, potassium, magnesium, niacin, and folate when eaten with the skin. Peeling potatoes reduces the nutritional value. Potatoes are also rich in antioxidants, and colored potatoes (red or purple) offer even more nutritional value.

I don’t cut any corners with my mashed potatoes on holidays because we eat them so rarely. If you’d like to cut down on the amount of fat in your mashed potatoes, try using less butter, and either skim milk or chicken broth instead of full fat milk or cream. If you’d like to get that extra punch of nutrition, consider mashing your potatoes with the skins still on them. And be sure to go easy on adding gravy!

Sweet potatoes Are known to be superfoods! However, adding all the sugar, butter, and marshmallows can turn this holiday dish into a dessert food rather quickly.  Sweet potatoes provide 400% of daily vitamin A, and provide high amounts of B, C and D.  This antioxidant food boosts brain, heart, and even reproductive health, and can help control blood sugar levels. If you want to make delicious sweet potatoes without all the sugar and unhealthy fats, consider replacing the butter with coconut oil, and using unsweetened applesauce instead of sugar. Walnuts or almonds can be used in place of pecans for a healthier nut choice.

Squash is super healthy, with butternut being the best. This low-calorie superfood is packed with vitamins A, C, E, B1, B3, B6, and tons of minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium, and folate. Great for bone health, eye health, immune function, and tissue repair. Try adding some squash to your plate this holiday season for a colorful and healthy change.

Greens make a super healthy addition to any meal. Kale, collards, spinach, cabbage, beet greens, watercress, turnip greens are all fantastic choices. Greens are super super low in calories, high in vitamin A, C, K, calcium, fiber, magnesium, calcium, and iron.

Cranberries are low in calories, and a superfood with vitamin C, E, K1, and many minerals. They are 90% water when served fresh, but when canned add another 24 grams of sugar to your meal. To make cranberry sauce without the added sugar, try using stevia and orange juice to sweeten your berries.

Grain bread with olive oil dip and seasonings I love bread and staying away from the rolls is a huge feat for me at most holiday meals. To add a little health to your holiday breadbasket, consider using a chewy whole grain bread with a side of olive oil for dipping. Add seasonings to your oil and heat briefly to get the infused flavors in each bite. The whole grains will up your vitamin B, and olive oil is one of the most nutritious fats, as well as having anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

Brussel sprouts are low in calories and high in anti-inflammatory properties. They also offer vitamin k for bone and blood health and contain healthy fatty acids which boost brain health.

Green peas contain almost every vitamin and mineral! They are high in fiber and antioxidants and help regulate blood sugar as well as aid in digestive health and immune function. Be sure to get these green jewels on your plate this holiday!

Sauerkraut  was a huge family favorite when I was growing up in Maryland. This food made from fermented cabbage is a probiotic that aids in digestion and improves gut health. For the healthiest version of this tangy dish, avoid canned versions as they are super high in sodium. 

Pomegranates are considered one of the most nutritious fruits on earth – and they are sweet and delicious. Pomegranates are high in fiber, offer protein, and are packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and potassium. They have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. The juice may cut your risk of heart disease.

Pomegranates also help lower blood pressure, can ease arthritis pain, and are great for brain function. They can also help with workout/athletic performance and fatigue.

Nuts although high in fat, 1oz of most nuts contains 170 calories, 5 grams protein, 3 grams of fiber, vitamin E, and magnesium. Nuts are an antioxidant powerhouse can reduce free radicals that cause cell damage and can help lower bad cholesterol and reduce inflammation. When choosing nuts, keep in mind that a serving is only 1 ounce, and for most nuts that is less than a palmful.

Cocoa for a hot holiday drink consider a cup of real cocoa! The properties in cocoa aid in maintaining blood sugar, can reduce bad cholesterol, support brain and heart health, and   can even aid with depression. Look for cocoa made with dark chocolate with 70%cocoa solids and little added sugars. To give your cocoa a holiday flair, consider adding some peppermint.

Peppermint Mint adds holiday flavor to many of our treats, and it’s super soothing to our stomachs! Mints, like peppermint, can help relive headaches, can boost energy and concentration, and have even been known to relieve symptoms of allergies. Mint provides antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties.

 Pumpkin is a super popular holiday flavor that seems to show up EVERYWHERE and in EVERYTHING! When choosing pumpkin for your recipes, be sure to purchase plain pumpkin, and not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin is super filling and low in calories while high in vitamins A, C, B2, and E. Pumpkin also offers minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and copper. It’s great for vision, lungs, heart, skin, and can help lower blood pressure.

I’ve added an amazing Pumpkin Cake recipe (below) for you to try and enjoy this holiday season!  Only 5 healthy ingredients and super easy! Enjoy!

I hope that you got some great nutritional info, as well as tips to get you in a healthy state of mind for the holiday season. For more great tips on surviving the holidays and staying in great health, download my free Holiday Guide! And, if you find yourself nervous about how you will approach and navigate your health during this holiday season or are looking forward to making awesome changes in the wonderful new year of 2022, I SO encourage you to get in touch with me and invest in your health and well-being NOW. As a coach, I can motivate you, keep you goal oriented, develop strategies to get through tough situations, help with managing stress, controlling sugar cravings, balancing hormones, finding the right exercise and eating plan, and guide you as you invest in the most important asset you have-YOUR HEALTH.  Let me, help you, be the BEST you, and live your BEST life! I look forward to hearing from you! Contact me!

Easy, Tasty, Healthy Pumpkin Cake

Serves: 8.

Prep: 10 mins

Cook: 50 mi

Ingredients:

3 eggs

¾ cup (150g) coconut sugar

1 cup (230g) pumpkin puree

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup (125g) self-rising flour

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

In a large bowl, combine the eggs and sugar.

Beat with a hand mixer for 5 minutes until the mixture is fluffy and has tripled in volume.

Add the pumpkin puree and cinnamon and beat until everything is well-combined.

Sift the flour into the egg mixture and very gently fold, making sure that you do not deflate the eggs.

Grease an 8-inch (20cm) diameter cake pan and pour the batter into it.

Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven, let it cool, then slice and serve. Store this cake in an airtight container.

Nutritional Info

154 kcal   2g Fats   34g Carbs  3g Protein

Let’s Have Some Food Fun! Thanksgiving Edition!

The average Thanksgiving Day Dinner intake, according The Calorie Control Council, averages 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat. And that doesn’t include our drinks, appetizers or leftovers, or our sampling of food. I thought we’d have some fun and see what that actually looks like!

Watch below! And, as this was originally recorded in 2020-I need to edit a bit and say Happy New Years 2022 in advance! Enjoy!

Looking for guidance in you health and wellness journey?? Need help with habits, mindset, nutrition, motivation, or stress relief? Let’s chat! Also, be sure to get you awesome 22 page Holiday Survival Guide for FREE right HERE!

Enjoy my video:)

Some fun Thanksgiving food facts! Eat mindfully!

Gift Yourself a Healthy Holiday

It’s that time of the year again! In keeping with my current holiday theme, I’d like to address some of the habits that seem to fall by the wayside for many of us each year during this time. For many, it’s the comfort food, sedentary behavior, extended darkness, and cold weather that tend to affect our health goals just as much as parties and social events. My goal, as a health coach, is to make people aware of the habits and hidden traps that can lead people into the land of temptation and help them create tactics and plans to avoid those added pounds and that sense of exhaustion we often feel around this time of year.

Many factors play into us losing sight of our healthy plan during this busy, and usually stressful, time of year. Aside from the parties, dinners, and social events that fill our schedule, we also may find that our time for movement is cut short. Cold weather and long dark nights may keep us indoors, therefore limiting our time spent getting exercise outdoors, and keep us from getting the fresh air and sunshine that keeps our bodies happy and healthy. Daily walks are cancelled due to inclement weather, and most outdoor physical activities like gardening, tennis, and running are impossible in most areas. It’s important to take some time to evaluate how you used the outdoors in your exercise plan and come up with a replacement that can be easily done indoors. Yoga, treadmills, dancing, and streamed workouts are a fantastic way to bring your movement into warmer settings. It is important to continue to get some fresh air each day, and a bit of sunshine to boost our vitamin D and prevent depression and seasonal affective disorder. Seasonal affective disorder, or “winter blues”, leads to symptoms of depression in healthy people due to a reduction of daily sunlight. Symptoms include depression, lack of energy, loss of interest in things that bring us joy, issues with concentration, and sleep disorders. Spending a small amount of time each day in the sunshine can alleviate these issues, even if you spend it sitting inside a window basked in sunshine.

Holiday parties and dinners often include decadent foods, adult beverages, and lots of treats we wouldn’t otherwise have in our health plans. The important thing to remember is to ENJOY without OVER-INDULGING! It’s absolutely fine to enjoy a few “only baked once a year” cookies, just remember-it’s about TASTING them and ENJOYING them! It’s not about eating the entire plate of them!! Enjoy your favorite foods and treats in small amounts and move on to the main focus of the holidays-making memories with family and friends, enjoying those around us, and appreciating the time we have together.

When planning your meals during the busy holiday season, be sure to focus on quality over quantity; Eat foods with BALANCE in mind. Consider eating a small healthy snack before heading to parties or big dinners to calm your hunger. Fill your plate with healthy filling foods to begin your meal, and then have small bites of more decadent fare. If you are asked to bring a dish, consider a dish that is veggie based so that you know for sure that you will be getting those healthy bites in. ALL foods are fine in MODERATION! Take small bites, be mindful in enjoying the taste, and enjoy!

Most families have what I call a “food pusher”. It could be your mom, your aunt, or a friend that simply gets her holiday joy from watching people eat ALL her treats. You know who these people are, and you need to have a plan to deal with them in advance-they generally do NOT take “no” for an answer. There’s lots of ways to say no politely, after trying a small sample, of course, but these people usually don’t settle for a simple “No thank you!” Have a plan of action going into this situation and be strong about it. Some people think they must announce their health goals, diet plans…But that often leads to too much attention and discomfort from the food pusher. Always remember, “NO.” Is a complete sentence, and that food pusher will likely move on to a new hungry victim quickly! 

I’ve put together a pretty little resource for surviving the holidays, and it’s free to you HERE. You’ll find great tips for self-care, healthy holiday travel, getting exercise during busy holiday weeks, optional food choices for meals, and a few tracker templates to print out to help get you organized and motivated. I hope you will grab yourself a copy and make your holiday season a little healthier and happier.

New Years is coming up super soon, and with it comes the blessing and promise of a brand new year! If you’re looking for a great way to start your year off with health goals in mind, consider booking free chat with me to discuss putting together the perfect, personalized plan focused on YOU and YOUR goals. Whether it’s getting your nutrition in order, finding time in your schedule for building healthier habits, dropping a few pounds, or finding ways to relieve stress, focus more on self-care, and gaining the energy you crave in life-I can guide you to your goals and keep you motivated for success. Learn more about health and wellness coaching HERE. Find out more about me and my passion for great health, and feel free to drop me a message here to start a conversation about YOU!

Speaking of Stress ~A Holiday Story~

As the holidays approach each year, I find myself watching friends and family post their pics of big meals, decorations, and crafts, as well as several posts about being stressed. It seems we all love to go BIG on the holidays, but it’s also an incredibly stressful time for most. Hosting family, baking cookies, shopping, and social events fill our schedule quickly, but the aftermath of all that activity and fun is often exhaustion. I’m no stranger to going BIG on holidays-I’ve had up to 7 decorated trees in my house, huge, haunted yards, and dinners with more guests than house space. Pandemic gave me a chance to scale back in a huge way, to avoid the expectation of bigger and more, and take a step back into simply enjoying the holidays with less stress for a bit. Stress, is without a doubt, the biggest issue I hear about during the holidays. Whether it be schedules, finances, food, or simply finding time to rest and enjoy, it all comes down to being stressed.

In 2008 I was a single, homeschooling, working mom to four kids. Stress was simply a way of waking, living, and existing for me as I navigated through each day of lessons, projects, work, chores, and child raising. Being a somewhat “over the top” kind of gal, I refused to allow my rather new single mom status hold me back, and I plowed right into my holiday plans full force. Homemade chicken potpie, guests for dinner, decorated gingerbread house, china and crystal on the table, a freshly cut tree, presents wrapped perfectly, and not a dent in my other life responsibilities. That was the plan…I never considered the amount of stress I was placing upon myself.

As Christmas grew closer, my carefully written out schedule was working out well. We wrapped up our fall homeschool classes, got our decorating done, and brought home a fresh cut tree. The kids were getting excited, and I was completely on my “type A” schedule, just marching forward into a perfectly done holiday…or so I thought.

At 7pm on Christmas Eve, I bought pizza for the kids, and settled them with a holiday movie while I began to make my famous chicken pot pie-our holiday dinner. The tree was lit, beautifully decorated, and the outside lights were glistening. Everything was perfect. I began mixing my pot pie sauce (condensed milk based, which means it burns quickly) and chopping my veggies while listen to Christmas music play from the living room. 2 of my children (I never say WHO, because no one admits to this!) were rough housing. As I opened my mouth to tell them to knock it off, the smaller child catapulted from the back of the older child-right into the Christmas tree! The tree swayed, and I ran from the kitchen attempting to grab it-but it crashed to the ground. The kids stood in horror. I was stunned. Then I smelled the burning milk…. 

I ran back to the kitchen to pull my pot from the stove as my youngest stood in tears above the fallen Christmas tree. My favorite pot was filled with stinky burnt creamed mixture. The smoke alarms were blaring.  I opened the windows to get the smoke out and returned to the living room to upright the tree. At this point, all four kids were upset and yelling. I had no idea what to do next….Being a single mom on a very tight budget, I had no extra ingredients to start over, and there was not much else in the house to serve to guests the next day. I packed up the kids and headed towards the only store open at 7:45 on Christmas Eve-a Walgreens-to see what I could piece together to save my dinner. I was happy to see cans of condensed milk and cream of chicken soup on the shelves, and I grabbed them thinking I could now pull this off! I ran to the restaurant I worked in and asked for a few chicken breasts and potatoes to complete my re-do recipe. Feeling quite accomplished, I returned home, had a glass of wine, and started all over again-in a new pot-the other pot was destroyed. It was after 9pm, and I still had presents to wrap and kids to put to bed, but my potpie was ready to be crusted and baked. I gave the filling a taste…..WOW….Did you know that condensed milk also comes in a sweetened version for desserts????

My chicken pot pie tasted like custard! I tried to add pepper and seasonings to mask the sweetness. I tried to convince myself it wasn’t absolutely disgusting. But there it was, my entire Christmas dinner, smelling like vanilla pudding with chicken and peas in it. I had another glass of wine. Let’s be honest-I had a bottle of wine! I looked at my tree with the ornaments now hung in a crazy fashion, the lights drooping to the ground on one side. I looked at my disaster of a kitchen with my favorite expensive pot sitting burnt in the trashcan. I thought about the pile of gifts hidden in my bedroom closet that remained unwrapped. I took another taste of my Christmas dinner and tried to convince myself that no one would notice the insane sweetness. I had more wine.

Looking back now, I absolutely can find the comedy in the situation-which is well documented in hysterical Facebook posts and comments. At the time, however, it was nothing but defeat and stress, and way too much wine. I never took a real moment to take a breath and realize that in all reality, none of the things I was trying to accomplish held any importance. I never stopped to think that simply asking and accepting help would have made a difference. I never took a moment to realize that while “my” version of a great Christmas involved pulling out all the stops, no one else expected to be wowed. Had I known THEN what I know NOW, things would have been very different. I would have realized my limits as a single mom of four on a major holiday. I would have taken more than a few moments to practice some mindfulness and rethink my plan with a much simpler meal. I would have realized that I took on too much, and simply taken the kids to visit family for Christmas dinner. I would not have let such a stressful situation happen-and if it HAD happened, I would have dealt with it much better: deep breaths, mindful thinking, asking for help, and not ending up with a rather bad hangover from the wine.

THIS is the point of my story dear readers! The grandiose ideas that some of us may envision as we approach the holiday season are often the reason for exhaustion, burnout, and even ending up feeling our worst. Saying “yes” to every event, volunteering too much, entertaining too much, expecting too much from ourselves are all just ways to end up not being able to enjoy the real reasons for the holidays we love. We tend to get focused on the decorating, the baking, the wrapping-and we lose sight of the JOY that the season simply presents when we are with family and friends. It’s never the dinner that is remembered, or the way the decorations were so perfectly placed, but the laughter, the conversations, and the relationships that we cherish.

As we head into these 2 months of nonstop holiday whirlwind, be sure to remain mindful of your time and energy. Practice a little (or a LOT!) of self-care and self-love. Give yourself a break, save yourself a little sanity, and present yourself to your loved ones the way they most love to see you-relaxed, well, and happy.

Just to wrap this little story up….

In the end, one of my dinner guests offered to bring a small turkey breast that “cooks in 45 minutes” …”It says so right on the label!”.

She showed up from out of state at noon on Christmas Day, and it in fact, needed to thaw for 45 minutes and cook for 3 ½ hours.

We ended up ordering Chinese Food for Christmas dinner and my kids thought it was the greatest thing EVER because that’s what they ate in The Christmas Story movie:)! THAT is the ending memory-JOY!

Learn ALL the tips and tricks to help make your holiday season more enjoyable and focused on WELLNESS with my beautiful 22 page Guide to Holiday Survival! It’s FREE and ready to download HERE!

If you’re ready to take your health and wellness goals to the next level, treat yourself to some wellness coaching! I’m here when you need me for tips, plans, and motivation to reach all your wellness goals this holiday season! Email me and let’s chat! Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram for great tips and inspiration!

Here Come the Holidays!!

And just like that…What seemed more like an endless 2020 than a new 2021 is suddenly drawing to a close. I personally have no idea where the last 11 months went; They seriously flew right on by in a blur. But now, with Halloween happening this weekend, we are headed into the frenzy of holidays bringing us to the end of another year. With that comes the endless amount of busy schedules, family occasions, parties, and food. It can be a tough time for anyone that tries to eat well, exercise, and stay with a wellness routine.

While many people have been told that the average person gains 5-15 pounds during the holidays, that is simply not statistically true. The average weight gain is 1 pound!! However, studies have also shown that that one pound is often not lost, and over a period of years, adds to unwanted weight. What I find most generally with my friends and clients is the end feeling of overdoing it too often, whether it be with food or alcohol, or the feeling of simply not feeling our best due to too many indulgences during the holiday season. It’s easy to get off schedule with movement, to eat or drink too much, or to allow ourselves to be stressed out for too long. So, I’d like to touch on some important ways to avoid some of the holiday health traps and give some tips on staying on track with your goals this season.

Because it’s Halloween, I’ll start with the obvious first obstacle-candy! If you have children in your life or enjoy treating the neighborhood kids to some trick or treating fun, it’s likely that you will face a large amount of candy at some point this week. It can be HARD having all that candy around and not overindulging. To avoid this, try planning to treat yourself to a small amount of your favorite treats, and find a time to absolutely enjoy them! Eat mindfully, focus on the taste and texture, do nothing else but enjoy. Give into a small amount of deliciousness, enjoy, and move on. If you find that you are simply weak when it comes to sugar (it’s ok, there are many!!) Try to put off buying your Halloween candy until the last minute and give it ALL away-even if this means dumpling all of it into the bags of your last few trick or treaters. Another way to deal successfully with Halloween candy is to only buy candy you do NOT enjoy. Until 2 years ago, my family home was a Halloween destination with a huge, haunted yard. We went very big and had hundreds of people show up. We handed out over 30 pounds of candy in a few hours with none left at the end of the night. My husband, however, would order the candy weeks ahead of time, and I quickly learned to remind him to leave the candy at his office, or hide it in our garage in unopened boxes. It was just too much temptation!

Halloween is just the kickoff to the holiday season, which, honestly, in my family, goes all the way to Super Bowl Sunday. Thanksgiving can present a whole new set of issues for people because it’s literally a holiday focused on eating! One of the biggest concerns I hear from clients is about “food pushers”. It seems that everyone has a friend or family member that takes a “No thank you” to food personally. Generally, this person seems to be a grandma or aunt, and they simply will not accept a “no” to their meatballs/cake/pie/cookies/casserole, nor will they accept that a small taste is “enough”. In my family, it was an aunt that would pout if you wouldn’t take a second or third helping. I can remember leaving Thanksgiving feeling sick because she’d sit next to me as a child and make sure I shoveled every bite in. I like to remind people that “NO” is a complete sentence, and a small taste IS enough to enjoy and give praise to our food pushers. Accept a small amount, enjoy it mindfully, say “no” to seconds, and change the subject or move away from the situation. It’s important to remember that holidays are about family and friends-focus on the social aspect of the holiday, and the food aspect will be much easier to navigate.

Alcohol consumption is another holiday concern for many. These drinks are often full of empty calories, they dehydrate our body, and as we drink, we lose touch with our mindset and goals, and often end up not feeling so great in the days that follow. Alcohol often leads to unplanned eating, tired days, and missed exercise. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that the sugar content of my drinks literally gives me a hangover. I call it the sugar overload hangover. If I do indulge, I find that sticking to vodka with a sugar free mixer saves me from the terrible, exhausting, headachy days that often follow just drinking a glass or two of wine. To avoid feeling crummy after having a few drinks, be sure to cut down on the sugary mixes, drink a glass of water to match each libation, and don’t drink on an empty stomach. If wine is your choice this holiday season, consider mixing it with a sugar free flavored seltzer water for tasty, less alcoholic alternative. Again, focus on the social aspect of your events, and you will find that you not only have more fun, but you will be feeling more like yourself on the days that follow.

The holiday season can be very stressful, so be sure to schedule some time for self-care to avoid burn out and exhaustion. Find some time to sneak in some quiet time to refresh your mind and find ways to stay active as the days get shorter, darker, and colder. Take a long walk and enjoy the decorations in your neighborhood or plan some recreation time with family and friends to get everyone moving. If you find that stress is creeping into your daily life, try a little meditation, or simply sit in silence for a few moments to regain your clarity and energy. Focus on basic clean nutrition to feel your best, and on days in which you plan to indulge in holiday treats, eat small, balanced meals to keep your belly full and your energy level balanced.

As our year comes to a quick, busy end, be sure to take some time to focus on YOU. Give yourself a break, acknowledge all that you’ve accomplished this year, and give yourself some praise. As we look towards 2022, start thinking about how you want to embrace that new beginning. I always like to find a word that I want to focus on as each new year begins to get my mindset in order and truly start the year with a clear sense of where I am, and where I want to be,

Have a great Halloween, go easy on the sugar, and get some self-love into your life! If you’re looking for a great FREEBIE to guide you through the holiday season, be sure to grab my 22 page Healthy Holiday Survival Guide! This beautiful guide is chockfull of tips and hacks to get you through just about any holiday wellness situations and concerns. And, if you DO find yourself indulging in too much sugar this Halloween, be sure to watch my blog, and IG, for my new 10 Day Sugar Detox program.

If you’re looking for personal guidance and accountability to motivate you through this season, consider a free chat with me to discuss your goals and needs, and see how wellness coaching might work for you. Be sure-I’ve got your back this holiday season!

Embrace the Silence

Sometimes life moves by so quickly, and we get so involved and busy with things, we don’t take a moment just to live in the moment, or even just sit in silence. Being present for quiet moments is extremely important to our overall well-being especially if your lifestyle and schedule is very active or hectic. Sometimes we think we are tired when we are just overstimulated. Taking a few moments to just let the mind be still, to just enjoy doing, or thinking about, absolutely nothing, is an incredibly healthy thing to do.

This was not a part of my life, ever, until very recently. My childhood was chaotic and loud, my twenties were a blur of work, school, and navigating adulthood, and my thirties and forties were packed with raising four children, homeschooling, community involvement, and a lot of work. As my children grew to young adulthood and started to go into their own journeys, I filled my life with throwing parties and events, returning to school, and lots of time in my gym. I found that I stayed as busy as ever, and because that had always been the norm, I just went with it. I was used to the house full of kids and friends, the dogs barking, the constant chatter, the packed calendar, and the endless conversations about the things my family was passionate about, and I made sure to fill my life with equal “noise” as I approached my fifties.  Silence was not a factor in my life, in fact, it was the exact opposite of my life. Silence made me uncomfortable and anxious, often made my brain go to less than happy places, and pretty much drove me mad. My brain was used to being overstimulated constantly, and I didn’t know what to do with silence.

I sat outside on my deck Sunday, on a way too dark and way too chilly for me October evening, and just sat. Alone. Quiet. I could hear the ocean waves crashing on the shore 4 blocks away, and nothing else. I looked at the stars, and realized, this is what “peace” feels like. I didn’t stop myself from enjoying it, didn’t immediately decide that I had better things to occupy my mind and remove myself, and didn’t feel anxious or uncomfortable. I didn’t reach for my phone or come inside to make myself dinner. I just SAT. In silence. And did nothing. And after a bit-a long bit-I went back into my life and realized-I am so REFRESHED.

When we decided to buy a place at the beach in 2019, I envisioned a place with constant family and friends visiting. There would be drinks on the patio and cornhole in the driveway. We set up guestrooms and bought tons of towels and sheets to host a huge crew and made sure everything was set up for relaxing and great times. I was ready for my calendar to be full and lots of beach fun and activity. But…2020 had different plans for us, and I soon found myself in isolation, alone in our vacation home, for “6 weeks”. I kept myself busy, painting the walls, then canvases, I journaled, I talked on the phone to old friends, I meditated, I started doing more yoga. I stayed REALLY busy. 6 weeks turned into several months, and while family carefully joined me from time to time, I was usually alone with just my dog. Projects were completed, courses were finished, and I started to spend more time just relaxing in the quiet on one of my decks. At first, the silence was too much. It made my mind wander to unpleasant thoughts from the past, thoughts I had neatly tucked away without emotion because I was, of course, just keeping too busy. As I began to study meditation, I learned how to sit with those thoughts, recognize them, and let them go. The silence became easier, it became my welcomed friend.

Sitting in silence is different than meditation. While meditation focuses on intention or focusing on breathing, sitting in silence is just as it is.

Sitting. In. Silence.

I sat today, also in silence, but deep in thought as to how these silent moments can benefit our life and bring a wholeness to our overall wellness.

Sitting with stillness gives you a moment to remove yourself from everything, and just view the world as it exists around you. It opens your mind to things we normally may not observe, or notice. It makes you feel that the vast greatness of the earth and connects you to a sense of being just you.

Being in silence rests your brain and your body. It will refresh you and bring clarity to your life. Our minds can get jumbled with the overstimulation from our daily lives; Silence allows for those thoughts to clear, and our mind starts fresh and anew.

Practicing moments of silence can help you tap into your wisdom. Thoughts, feelings, and ideas that don’t have time to develop in the constant busyness of our daily lives have time to make themselves known, and by recognizing these new ideas, we expand our minds.

For me, sitting in silence is a way to connect with my own self. To listen to my mind and body, and ONLY my mind and body. It is the ultimate in practicing self-care and self-love. In silence, we put ourselves first, completely and unselfishly. We honor our own silence, our own peace, and our own journey. In doing this, we inevitably are more able to honor everything around us with a clear, fresh mind.

I hope you will take a small amount of time to sit in silence this week. Sit under the stars, or cuddle in a blanket in front of a firepit, sit in nature, or simply turn off the tv, put down the phone, shut the door, and embrace a few minutes of silence. If you’re curious about more ways to find total wellness in your life, please check out my 24 page guide to wellness, 7 Days to Wellness. It’s completely free and packed with info and tips, trackers and guidance, to get you started on a wellness journey. If you’ve discovered that you truly want to focus on your total health and wellness goals, drop me a message and let’s chat about setting up the perfect personalized plan for you.

Take a Bite into Great Health with Apples!

For many of us, it’s fall, which means apple season! As I packed my pantry bag this week to travel to Monday Night Football in Baltimore (GO RAVENS!) I was sure to throw in a few apples. Apples are truly one of the healthiest and easiest foods to keep on hand-no matter where you are or what you are doing! We’ve all heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, and there is some real science behind the saying!

No matter what type of apple you eat (there are over 7500 varieties, 2500 different types of apples are found in the US alone!!) you will get some excellent nutritional benefits along with a sweet, juicy, crunchy, treat. There are SO many different types of apples you could eat one a day for 20 years and never eat the same kind twice! Because they are so portable, and don’t require refrigeration or preparation, they are perfect for traveling and busy lifestyles.

As I did a little research on this popular fall fruit, I learned some interesting facts. Did you know????

~The apple is a member of the rose family

~it takes the energy of 50 leaves to produce one apple

~apples range in size from as small as a cherry to the size of a grapefruit

~the largest apple ever produced was over 3 pounds

~in Chinese culture the word for apple is “ping” which also stands for peace.

~the average apple has 10 seeds

~top producers of apples are China, US, Turkey, Poland, and Italy.

~Apples were planted by Pilgrims in the Massachusetts Bay Colony

~apple juice is one of the most popular juices in the US

Apples are truly a nutritional marvel, with so many benefits for the body. Here’s just a few facts to get you thinking about grabbing an apple as you go about your awesome busy life!

Packed with nutrition!

The average apple is about 100 calories, and is full of great vitamins like C, K, A, E B1, B2, and B6. Eaten with the skin on, the apple gives us a great amount of fiber as well. Because apples are small, fresh, and portable, this makes it the perfect healthy snack!

Good for elimination and bowel health

One apple with its skin contains 4 to 5 grams of fiber – the most important nutrient in keeping your bowels working like clockwork. Fiber helps with constipation, and an ingredient found in apples called pectin has a congealing effect to also help with diarrhea. Pectin is considered a prebiotic, which means it feeds the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are a healthy gut food.

Keep your body young.

Apples contain polyphenois, which has an antioxidant effect on the body. Antioxidants help protect our bodies from aging, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes. When scientists compared a 1,500-milligram vitamin C supplement to one small apple, the results were astounding – the antioxidant values were equal. That means a fresh apple has more than 15 times the antioxidant power of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C. Apples also contain magnesium and potassium that help regulate your blood pressure and keep your heart beating steadily, and it’s the flavonoid quercetin, a naturally occurring antioxidant, that protects your artery walls from damage and keeps your blood flowing smoothly. Apples are also linked to better brain health and mental clarity.

Excellent For Weight Loss Efforts

Because apples are high in both fiber and water content, they are very filling. In studies, people that snacked on apple slices before meals ate fewer calories and felt fuller for longer periods of time!

Protects your Bones and Joints.

Eating fruit is a great way to maintain bone density and decrease the risk of arthritis. The high amounts of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in apples promote bone health, and the trace mineral boron found in apples aids in joint health.

Be sure to buy apples that are unbruised, firm, and have good color. Take them out of their plastic bag and store them in your refrigerator – loose in the produce bin or in a paper bag is best. And since they will absorb odors, keep them away from strong-smelling foods like garlic and onions. If you have an opportunity to visit an orchard and go apple picking, I highly recommend doing so-there is nothing like the taste of an apple pulled directly from the tree!

For a special treat, try baking apples for a healthy and incredible smelling dessert or snack. Just core your apples and place them in a greased baking dish. Add a bit of apple cider or juice to the dish, and sprinkle the apples with maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, or apple pie spice. You can also fill the hole of the apples with oats, nuts, or raisins. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, checking with a fork for softness. Top with a dash of yogurt or vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

If you are looking for more easy superfood recipes, be sure to check out my 5 Ingredient Superfood Cookbook! It contains power food recipes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts, and snacks. Get yours free here!

I’d love to help you with your health and wellness journey! If you are interested in a 30 minute conversation about your goals, please reach out!

10 Ways to Sneak Fruits and Veggies into Your Family’s Diet

I think that just about everyone knows that we should be eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day-I’ve even heard small children remind their parents while ordering in restaurants. But having the knowledge, and actually following through are very different things! Many times, fruits and veggies are not easily available or convenient, sometimes they are more expensive than junk food, and often, we are just tempted to grab a less healthy food to snack on or add to our meals.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has SO many benefits! These foods are chock full of vitamins and minerals, and many also offer fiber and protein. Antioxidants provided by many fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Antioxidants help reduce inflammation in the body that can cause arthritis, joint pain, brain fog, headaches, and muscle stiffness, just to name a few. Fruits and veggies fill us up and keep us full while providing power packed nutrients without a lot of calories and have no fat. Fruits and veggies offer us nutrients that are good for literally every part of the body-our skin, hair, nails, muscles, bones, and brain. These are absolute super foods!

When my family was young, nutrition was a huge focus in my parenting. Meals were planned in advance, and we often needed to eat while running with a busy schedule. Two of my four children were picky eaters; One of them wanted to exist on chicken tenders and peanut butter for the first 12 years of his life! While getting fruit into my family’s diet was never an issue, getting vegetables in was always a challenge, so I had to get super creative. Fortunately, as the years went on, my family developed a taste for most vegetables, and I’m always impressed when they make sure to fill their plates as young adults. If you are struggling to get fruits and veggies into your diet, or your family’s diet, I’d like to offer some creative tips!

1. Start the day with a breakfast smoothie. Simply throw some fruits, low-fat yogurt and ice in a blender. To round out a perfect meal in a cup, add a scoop of protein powder. Just blend for a few seconds and you have the perfect breakfast. If you’d like to get super creative and mega nutritious, throw in a handful of spinach and a few ounces of carrot juice-it will add a powerful amount of nutrients while adding a bit of sweetness. Frozen fruits, like superfood blueberries, work fantastic in smoothies, and removes the need for ice. This is not only tasty and healthy, but portable and ready for an on the go lifestyle.

2. Dried fruit makes an excellent snack any time of the day. Add some small cartons of raisins to your lunch boxes, pack some yogurt-covered raisins in your briefcase and keep some trail mix sitting around for snacking. You can also add dried fruit to oatmeal and cereal in the morning, or mix it with nuts, or into yogurts as an added treat. Dried fruit is a great item to keep in the car for long trips, or in a backpack for hikes or long walks.

3. Add some fruits and vegetables to your family’s sandwiches. You can add some banana, sliced apples or strawberry slices to a peanut butter sandwich. Top a turkey or chicken sandwich with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, spinach….You can even make a sub shop style vegetable sandwich by combining several different vegetables with some favorite dressing and cheeses. Try over ripe banana on toast or switch up iceberg lettuce with spinach or kale to add more nutrition to your sandwiches.

4. Have a salad bar at dinner. This is always a fun way to get those veggies in! Set out a variety of chopped vegetables, some cheese and croutons as well as several choices of salad dressing along with the lettuce or other greens and let everybody create their own perfect salad. Add some fruit choices as well, and they will surely fill their plates.

5. Find creative ways to sneak veggies to your family meals by adding veggies to sauces pasta dishes, and broths. Blended veggies add a thickness to pasta sauces, soup broths, and even gravies. Try adding colorful veggies to homemade pizza-when my kids were small, broccoli was considered a pizza topping, and no one ever complained! Add several veggies like zucchini or sweet peppers to lasagnas, or even try replacing your pasta and rice with veggies versions like cauliflower rice or spinach based spaghetti.

6. Tip for a super yummy dessert. Put a small scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt in a bowl and top it with lots of fresh or frozen fruit. This is not only a winner, but super tasty and refreshing on a hot day. Seasonal fruits make this a real treat!

7. Offer fruits and vegetables as snacks. You can cut apples into slices and top them with peanut butter or cheese. Cube cheese and serve with grapes. Cut up some fresh veggies and serve them with ranch dip. And don’t forget “ants on a log”. Spread some cream cheese or peanut butter on the inside of a stick of celery and sprinkle raisins on it (wow, fruit and vegetable in one snack).

8. Try some new fruits and vegetables. Pick something exotic to get your family’s curiosity. With a little luck their curiosity will outweigh their initial apprehension to trying something new. You could try artichokes, plantains, papaya, mango, star fruit, or anything else you can find in the produce department of your local store.

9. Make a pot of vegetable soup or a stew that’s heavy on veggies and easy on the meat. These can be great comfort food especially as the weather gets cooler.

10. Start “Veggie Day”. Each family member gets to pick a vegetable one day of the week. They qualify to pick a vegetable as long as they tried each vegetable the week before. This gives everyone a chance to try something new, without the pressures involved in usual mealtime “eat what is on your plate”.

Getting, and keeping, these super foods into your regular diet can be a game changer for both you and your loved ones. Keep in mind-tastes change-so even if you didn’t like a certain fruit or veggie when you were younger does not mean you won’t like it now. I did NOT like the taste of anything green as a child, but now love broccoli and kale. I also did not eat tomatoes until I was 20, and now they are one of my favorite foods! Keep trying new fruits and veggies, and new ways to prepare them, and soon you will be enjoying all the benefits to these amazing fresh foods!

If you’re looking for more info on cleaning up your diet, be sure to check out my newest freebie ebook, Learn How to Eat Clean and Feel Your BEST! Grab it here!

If your curious about what Health and Wellness coaches DO, and how it can change your life for the BEST, check out this article, or even better-shoot me an email! I’d love to chat about your health and wellness goals and get a plan started with you!

Traveling with Health and Wellness in Mind

Trying to stick to a healthy lifestyle when traveling can present many challenges. Hours spent sitting in the car, or on a plane, crazy schedules, staying in hotels, and finding lots of local treats when arriving at your destination can wreak havoc on every aspect of your wellness plan. It doesn’t have to be difficult though! Some careful planning and scheduling can remove most of these issues rather easily, and make your travels healthy, and even more enjoyable. 

In the spring of 2018, to celebrate the homeschool graduation of my youngest child, and a huge farewell to 22 years of the home education of four children, I planned what I called “The Ultimate Fieldtrip”. This trip involved a road trip through 9 southern states, with stays in 9 cities, over a period of 16 days, with my youngest son. My other young adult children each picked a city and were flown in to join us to add to the fun. It was long, it was exhausting, but it was AMAZING.

At the time, I was battling serious food intolerances that I later discovered were due to an unhealthy gut (you can read about that total health journey here). Most foods that I ingested led to fatigue, serious hives, rashes, and joint pain, so planning out my food for this massive trip was crucial. I was also accustomed to getting 12-15 thousand steps a day, and doing strength training and Pilates as well. My son, an athlete, was not used to sitting or missing workouts either, so the idea of sitting in the car for up to 10 hours at certain points of our trip was daunting. This led to an incredible amount of research, planning, and time scheduling in order to make this trip fun and healthy for everyone involved.

The most important part of staying focused on a healthy lifestyle and balanced wellness plan when traveling is PLANNING. I spent a little over 2 months planning for this awesome adventure, researching hotels, restaurants, activities, and even rest stops, in order to pull off a trip that was not only fun and active, but healthy and restful as well. So, I’d like to share some great tips for traveling while keeping your health and wellness goals in check, along with a few fun anecdotes from our fabulous field trip. 

Check Your Accommodations

Our travels had us staying in many hotels, so we decided to stick with one chain, become members on the app, and gather “points” for free nights as we went. The chain we chose offered a gym at every location. I thought we would get great use of this accommodation, but in the end, I think we only used one gym. Perfect weather welcomed us through the first 7stays, and all our activity was outdoors until that point. When we arrived in Nashville on day 13, the rain finally caught up to us, and I took advantage of the gym and treadmill to hit my steps, while my son used some free weights just to get some movement in after 5-hour drive from Memphis, (listening to Elvis the entire way.) Although most of our activity was easily done outdoors during our trip, it was nice to know that we had a plan B for getting our movement in.

Most hotels, and even motels, now offer some sort of gym area to their guests, even if it’s just a treadmill or two, and some free weights. One of our hotels offered an entrance to an outdoor fitness trail that was really nice. If your hotel does not offer a fitness area, check with their front desk about possible local gyms that offer nonmembers a travel pass. Or consider keeping a set of light weights or a yoga mat in your car for quick and easy workouts in your room. Yoga is a great way to stretch, release, and relax while traveling.

I hit my steps every single day of our trip, and even hit triple several times just from all the local walking and sightseeing we did. Because our weather was so fantastic (the deep south in March-a wonderful time of year!) we chose to walk everywhere and averaged easily 9-10 miles a day.

Plan Ahead for Restaurants

Planning for meals was an absolute necessity for me. As I stated, I was experiencing serious reactions to food intolerances at this point of my life, and my reactions left me feeling horrible. I needed to do everything I could to avoid having a reaction that might leave me with brain fog, joint pain, hives, or exhaustion in order to make this trip a success. I use an app called Roadtrippers and added my researched restaurant choices into my notes. I spent hours looking at popular restaurants in each city we planned to travel, and making notes about what would be safe, and well as healthy and tasty, for me to order. Having a game plan with several choices made deciding our meals so much easier. Even after I found the cure and solution to my food intolerances, I still travel with my researched restaurants in a notepad, and healthy meals picked out in advance. It takes so much stress out of our travels and ensures that we eat balanced and delicious meals no matter where we travel. If you’d like more great tips on dining out, check this article out!

Stick to Regular Meal Schedule

I have found that many people go completely off schedule when they vacation or travel, and they end up paying for it either ON their trip, or soon after.

It’s important to stay as close to your regular schedule as possible when traveling. Try to keep your mealtimes as normal as possible to avoid becoming famished, or, on the opposite end, indulging too much. Sticking with small balanced meals throughout the day will keep your energy up, and your hunger down.  If you are unable to stick to a normal schedule of meals, be sure to keep healthy snacks on hand for a quick nutrient boost and to keep your stomach feeling comfortable.

Our snack stash travelled in a mesh grocery store box from hotel to hotel and kept us feeling great on the super long stretches of driving between cities. We kept protein bars, fresh fruit, nuts, and nut butter and crackers stocked, and always had a cooler full of ice and waters ready in our back seat.

Stick to Regular Sleep Schedules

It’s also important to try to stick with your regular sleep schedule when traveling as well. Try to go to bed at your regular bedtime, and wake as you normally do to stay on a healthy schedule and avoid feeling tired, or even exhausted. This will help keep your energy level up and keep the rest of your schedule in check.

This was one of the hardest things for us to do on our travels. We found ourselves driving late into the night on several occasions and sleeping in to make up for it too often. After celebrating my birthday in New Orleans and staying up WAY too late several nights in a row, I was absolutely exhausted on our ride into Texas, and ended up sleeping for half a day in Austin. It’s important to have all the fun and enjoy all that your trip has to offer but try to be mindful of not overdoing it and finding yourself too tired to enjoy parts of your travels.

Look for Parks and Recreational Activities

It’s always great to take a break from traditional sightseeing or visitor areas and visit a park or recreation area. Seeing alligators in their natural habitat while outside of Mobile and wandering the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico after a long morning drive was a wonderful break from driving, hotels, and being in crowds of tourists. Check the areas around the towns on your itinerary to see what might be available for a change of pace, or even a new adventure. Hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and zip lining are offered across the US, and can add both exercise and fun to your trip.

Crazy enough, our trip, which started out as a journey to meet friends we had known online forever, turned into a quest to see as many stadiums as possible. Each city we visited dropped an extra 15000 steps a day on my Fitbit just because we ventured out to find the local NFL and college stadiums. (My son’s IG was full of “peeks” into stadiums from under fences and up on walls!) 

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated on long trips is so important for overall health. Dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue, constipation, dizziness, and more. Travel brings about a bit of a challenge when it comes to staying hydrated-especially if you are traveling long distances in a vehicle. While my cooler of iced waters easily kept me well hydrated, the constant bathroom breaks became a bit crazy. Early on in our trip, my son looked at me and asked if I was “OK”, after I told him we needed to stop AGAIN.

I soon realized that I was actually drinking way more than I needed to, considering we were sitting in the car for entire stretches of the day, so I cut back a bit. We did, however, decide that our best plan of action on those “long haul” driving days was to plan stops every 2 or so hours based on the availability. (If you’ve ever driven a stretch like Atlanta to Mobile, or across the entire state of Arkansas, you might understand how hard regular stops can be!) This gave us a chance to jog out some steps, do some stretching, drop some Instagram, and use the facilities.

It’s not hard to get the recommended amount of water in while traveling if you just plan it out. A glass of water upon rising, a glass with each meal, a glass about an hour before bed, and 2 glasses during the day-perhaps before and after a brisk walk or some other planned exercise will do it.  

Stock the Hotel with Healthy Snacks or Meals and Use a Cooler in the Car

Whether your trip is long and involved, or short and sweet, it never hurts to keep your hotel room and car stocked with some healthy choices for meals and snacks. For the first part of our trip, I actually had homecooked meals prepped and ready in a cooler in the car. Small containers of steamed veggies, baked chicken, and homemade soup found their way to the first 3-4 hotels that we stayed in and made easy and healthy snacks and meals when heated up in our room microwave. These small, prepped meals along with fresh fruit, instant oatmeal packets, and bags of sliced veggies, made eating healthy super easy on the road. Other ideas for healthy travel snacks are individually wrapped cheeses, small packs of nuts, grapes, berries, yogurts, rice cakes, crackers, pretzels, kale chips, dried fruit, jerky, and trail mix.

Taking healthy foods along for the ride not only keeps you from fast food temptation but can save you a lot of money otherwise spent on less healthy choices from hotel pantries, vending machines, and convenience stores.

While traveling, be sure to check out local markets or bodegas for local foods and treats to restock your stash and give you a chance to try local favorites.

Evaluate and Plan for Indulging in Alcohol

For many, traveling and vacationing often includes indulging in fun spirits; local brews, regional wines, and frozen specialties can be fun and tasty, but, if overdone, can result in a whole set of negative issues-including not feeling well. I learned this twice on my excursion; once in New Orleans, and again during 3 days of rain in Nashville when a friendly bartender introduced me to a super yummy lemonade flavored vodka that did not taste like alcohol. (UGH! Hard lesson!)

If you plan to indulge, be sure to plan accordingly. Make sure you eat before drinking and match each drink with a glass of water. Too much alcohol will leave you feeling drained and tired, and unable to enjoy all the activities and fun you plan. And of course, never drink and drive. 

Focus on the 80/20 Rule, Try Local Treats in Moderation

Traveling gives us the wonderful opportunity for trying different foods and treats from all over. Because “everything in moderation” is a key belief to this wellness coach, I encourage you to try as many new things as possible, while not over-indulging. Try following the 80/20 plan for a maximum taste experience while still sticking to a healthy plan of eating. To do this, plan to eat 80 percent healthy, and 20 percent “local yum”.

For me, traveling the south, this was a whole lot about BBQ! Every section of the south has a completely different version of BBQ, and it was my quest to try them all and find the best. BBQ is usually served with all kinds of decadent sides and sauces that can increase your intake of calories, fat and sugar quickly, so I had to be mindful. I soon realized that the key was to order healthy sides with my meal, and then just grab “tastes” of my son’s sides. A small bite of cornbread, a forkful of baked beans from his tray, and then focus on my cucumber salads and coleslaw to top off my many, many styles of BBQ. I also took half of my BBQ to go when able, and my son later ate it as a snack.

We tried the local favorites in each city and town, but usually, it was me simply having a “taste”, which worked out really well. I managed to stick to my healthy eating, while indulging in small, incredible, local favorites.

Focus on Mental Health

Traveling can be exhausting. Long drives, different hotel beds, waiting for flights, dealing with weather, crowds, traffic, and time zones can all be a bit daunting. Sticking to a wellness plan is very do-able and can leave you feeling healthy and even rested and recharged at the end of your trip. When planning for your travels, be sure to focus on your mental health. Getting quality nutrition, regular exercise, and sleep are key, but be sure to put some thought into your mental well-being as well. Find time for rest and relaxation, perhaps a little pampering, and check in with your stress and energy levels each day. If you find yourself getting a bit out of balance, consider a little meditation to calm your nerves and clear your mind.

I hope that the coming months give you an opportunity to do a little traveling and exploring, all while keeping your wellness goals in check. If you’d like to discuss your health and wellness goals and find a plan of action that works with your life, drop me an Email-I’d LOVE to chat with you!

So, What Exactly is Health Coaching Anyway?

From my site BeeWell.com

This is a popular question that I hear all the time! Health Coaching is a relatively new field that many people have no knowledge of. It’s an amazing concept, and it fits right in to our current pandemic world because it can be done virtually in the safe comfort of your home. A health coach can be so helpful, in so many ways, and can literally change your life with some guidance, support, knowledge, and motivation.

Over the last few years, I’ve worked with many people that contacted me asking for advice, knowing that I had a degree in nutrition, and had taking many classes in wellness and mindfulness practices. After helping those people find the guidance and motivation they needed, they always encouraged me to take my knowledge and passion to the next level, and start my own business, which is exactly what I did-I became certified in my field, and absolutely love what I do! Helping people find the tools to help themselves is a blessing. 

So, what is Health Coaching? It can be many things, because it is uniquely tailored to the needs of each person. Health Coaching is about discovering the personal health goals of each individual, and putting the knowledge and steps into place to reach those goals. Its about personal attention, open conversation, and lot’s of motivation. It’s about discovering the things that often block us from our ultimate goal, and pushing those blocks out of the way. It’s also about dealing with our health from a proactive and holistic starting point to avoid, or reverse, issues that concern us.

Some health coaches specialize in specific fields, while others use their varied education and experience to help with a variety of goals and needs. My passion leads me to many areas of health coaching, and I’d like to share some of the successes I’ve helped people achieve.

“I’m so stressed out, I can’t make a decision, and my nerves are making me crazy!”  A huge life decision had this person unable to think clearly, and the anxiety of the “what ifs” was keeping them up at night and almost on the verge of tears for days. Big life choices are extremely stressful, and stress can make us physically sick, so the first thing we did was focus on some breathing exercises, followed by some guided journaling and mediation which soon led to calm clarity, and the choice soon became obvious. The ultimate choice ended up being the absolute best choice, and all the stress involved dissipated quickly.

“Everything I eat seems to go right through me, I’m unfocused, tired, and not sure what to do.” This is a common complaint that I hear, and more than often, it comes down to a food intolerance. This client, a young athlete, had been working with me to increase his speed and strength through nutrition, but wasn’t seeing results because of embarrassing stomach issues. When we got to the root of the problem, an elimination diet along with some serious nutritional education revealed that dairy was the culprit. 3 weeks later, this client reported a 15 pound drop in weight, razor sharp focus in school, better strength and workout intensity, deeper sleep, clearer skin, and the stomach issues were completely gone. Nutrition is now a focus in his life, and the physical and mental gains have been life changing.

“I had a baby, and I cannot drop the weight…and that baby is now 10!” Losing that baby weight is HARD. I’ve done it 4 times. It’s HARD! As a mom, you are so busy, so tired, and in a constant state of giving yourself to others, the struggle is REAL. I’ve guided many through this life changing part of life and provided the support and tools needed to drop the weight, gain control of daily schedules, and find a bit of time for some self-care and self love. Learning that it’s ok to take care of your self is the quickest way to getting all that chaos of motherhood to fall neatly into place.

“I’m putting the work in at the gym, wearing out my Fibit with steps, but not seeing the results I want.” The famous saying, “Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym” is very true! I’ve worked with athletes and gym rats that spent hours sweating in the gym only to see results slow down after a few months. Working with them to balance their macros to fit their goals, whether it is weight loss, muscle gain, speed, energy, or focus, correct nutrition is what helped them reach their goal.

Fifty sucks! My hormones are crazy, I can’t sleep, I crave sugar, I can’t lose weight, I can’t sleep, and I feel like I’m losing my mind!” Oh, those lovely hormone changes that greet us as we enter a new chapter of life..! I’ve been there my friend, and I did, indeed, think I was going to lose my mind. I found the keys though, and in a matter of weeks, I was feeling so much better! In a few months, I had forgotten that it ever happened. For me, it was done without hormone therapy or meds-completely through changes to my nutrition, my exercise, and my habits. This is a common issue, and I’ve shared this with lovely ladies that have managed to regain their sense of youth and feel happy and sane again! This chapter of life CAN be as awesome as you want it to be!

“We are living on fast food! Our schedules are so crazy, we are running nonstop, and we need to eat healthier, but life is so crazy!” This was a popular issue pre-Covid for most of my friends with busy families. Grabbing takeout was the easiest way to get everyone fed, even if it meant eating unhealthy and spending too much money-it got the job done, but in a less than desired manner. The solution was clear-MEAL PREP! I’m a bit of a meal prep queen-it got me through 22 years of homeschooling, working, four kids in soccer, football, basketball, art/dance/guitar/karate/co-op…etc! Meal prepping, when done right, not only provides quick, healthy, nutritious meals on the go, but saves you money, time, and sanity! I’d love to show you how this can be done!

“2020 has been unbearable to me. I’m anxious, angry, agitated, stressed and foggy headed.” It’s been a rough year, and, from the looks of it, it’s not ending anytime soon. I’ve worked with several people this year, giving them the tools to find calm in their lives, to gain perspective on making the best of their situation, and seek out the positives-no matter how small-in order to become more grateful and mindful during this seemingly never ending crisis. Helping them boost their immunity, find creative outlets, and focusing on meditative and mindfulness skills has led to them feeling empowered, less anxious, and even setting out to accomplish goals and hobbies they always dreamed about. I’ve enjoyed watching these special people make a complete 180 with their attitudes and spirits this year!

“My doctor said I can’t have (insert foods) while taking this medication.” Or, “my doctor said I need to change my diet for (reason) and I don’t know where to start.” Or, “My doctor said if I don’t change my lifestyle I could be at risk for (insert illness) Where do I begin?” These are red flag statements telling me that change is not only needed, but crucial. Navigating health and lifestyle changes when faced with possible serious future health issues is scary and daunting. As a health coach, I can work with your doctor’s orders to make them easy for you to understand, and help you make the many, usually small but important, changes to your nutrition and lifestyle that will ultimately make a huge difference.

“I’m dealing with crazy symptoms, but no diagnoses. Eczema, hives, fatigue, brain fog, food insensitivities …I don’t know what to do next.” This is my own story, and it was 4 years of no answers, many meds that made it worse, reactions to many foods with no positive allergy test. I was miserable, covered in burning hives, tired all the time, and doctors were no help-literally Googling my symptoms and having no answers. The problem is a common one, yet very ignored and often misdiagnosed. Other symptoms can include inflammation, bowel discomfort, headaches, joint pain, and weight gain or loss. Finding the solution to this took years of research, elimination diets, and supplements, but ultimately, when the answer was found, the problem completely went away-and stayed away. Nutrition and lifestyle was the absolute key, and my quality of life improved 100%.

So, as you can see, the answer to the question, “What is a Health Coach?” leads to many answers and situations. In short, as a health coach, I provide strategy, accountability and support to achieve goals and objectives to help people solve problems and live better, healthier, lives. I do this with personal attention and care, and with upmost concern for your well being and happiness. I am not a sales person, I do not push potions or products, and my only goal is helping you live your best life. I keep my fees low and manageable, and take great joy in seeing the changes that my clients make on their journey.

I’d love to help you on your journey, and if you are interested in discussing how we can best work together to reach your health goals, please feel free to reach out to me at sami@beewell.com  Let’s DO this!