KEEP CALM AND JINGLE ON

If you are reading this blog it means that you have survived Thanksgiving. Congratulations! It also means that we are officially embedded in the holiday season. This translates into more exposure to treats, parties, treats, stress, treats, crowds, treats, shopping, treats, family, treats, chaos.

It is so easy to get caught up in all of the holiday eating. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that January 1st is right around the corner so you’ll rein it in then. It’s not. It’s a full month away and you can do damage in 30 days if you’re not careful.  I’ve seen this pattern with many of my clients: The holidays bring a few extra pounds that, come January, don’t come off. This is not a problem if it weren’t recurring. However, several years down the road, you might find yourself shocked to be 10-15 pounds heavier. This weight gain is sneaky!

While it will be harder to eat healthier during this time, you can do it. Thanksgiving keep_calm_and_jingle_rustic_holiday_party_invite-r1ec2da3de3334414b7f618dae591eb41_6gd4r_140.jpgwas just one meal. One party is just one party. Christmas dinner is just one dinner. If you are more vigilant at your very next meal, you will walk away from the holiday season unscathed.

Many of my clients find that they eat healthier when exercising consistently. This holiday season, JINGLE ON! (Think of it as the holiday word for exercise.) If you keep calm with your holiday eating and jingle on, you won’t be stuck feeling overwhelmed in January!

Leave a comment »

WILD RICE, ALMOND, AND MUSHROOM STUFFING

I will be trying this NY Times recipe this Thanksgiving. I love the nuttiness of wild rice, love that you can make it a few days in advanced AND it seems like an interesting alternative to bread stuffing. (Also a great gluten free option!)  You can stuff the turkey or serve as a side dish. 

ingredients

  • 1 ½ quarts chicken stock, turkey stock or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups wild rice
  •  Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion or 4 shallots, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ pound mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • ⅓ cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • ⅓ cup dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, to taste
  •  Black pepper, to taste

directions

  1. Bring stock to a boil in a large saucepan, then add wild rice and salt to taste. When the liquid returns to the boil, lower heat, cover and simmer 40 minutes, until rice is tender and has begun to splay. Drain through a strainer, and set aside.
  2. Heat oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet, then add onion or shallots. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about five minutes for onions or three minutes for shallots. Add a generous pinch of salt and the garlic. Cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add mushrooms and celery and cook, stirring, until mushrooms have softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in rice and remaining ingredients. Cook, stirring, until sherry has evaporated. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  3. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool before stuffing your turkey. Or place in an oiled baking dish and cover, then warm for 20 to 30 minutes in a 350-degree oven.

(recipe found on https://cooking.nytimes.com/)

Comments (4) »

CAN’T GET STARTED? BE CURIOUS!

Many people come to see me wanting to lose weight. (I would love for people to focus, instead, on being healthy, but that’s a topic for another blog.) In most cases, the greatest obvious nutrition obstacle is the time needed to plan, prepare and prep. Even if you’re not cooking a lot, eating healthily still requires having a plan and executing one takes time. My clients and I also talk about the fundamentals needed to be successful, which include:

  • Paying attention to hunger and satiety
  • Drinking a lot of water
  • Trying to eat as many whole foods possible. (Or, trying to eat as little processed food as possible.)
  • Having healthy snacks on hand
  • Watching the amount of unhealthy carbs consumed
  • Moving your body as much as possible

Then, we proceed to the specifics of their life—their lifestyle, their food preferences, their willingness to cook, their family unit, their work, how social they are, and how much time they are willing to dedicate to good nutrition. All of these will factor into creating the right plan for them. Since we are all different, no two plans will be identical.  Once armed with some structure, many people do very well. And many don’t.

If you are stuck and can’t seem to get started, I want you to be curious. Curiosity is a IMG_1275positive!  Unlike self-deprecation, curiosity keeps your mind open. It makes you take a closer look at your behavior, without judgment, so that you can unpack WHY you act (or not) in a certain way. Often times there is a less-obvious obstacle preventing you from achieving your goals. Being curious might uncover something much bigger—something deeper, that you need to address.

A client of mine wanted to lose weight and so we had several discussions and created a plan. When she got stuck, she became curious. And after some painful introspection, she realized that the underlying issue was that she had to  start focusing on her social life (or lack of one). It was much easier for her to zoom in on weight loss—she kept convincing herself that losing weight would be the answer to all of her problems. Once she uncovered this, she was able to address her deep-rooted issue, which was far more important than simply losing some weight.

From my experience, the worst thing that you can do for your mental sanity is to keep starting something, not being able to maintain it, and stopping. This is so damaging and deflating to your sense of well-being. In this blog, I used the example of weight loss but it applies to anything in your life that you keep starting and stopping: exercise, cooking, meditation, making time for yourself, reading more, learning something new, spending more time with loved ones, etc. Instead of yo-yo-ing, take a breath, stop and be curious. Be a detective so that you can uncover the deeper, hidden issue. You will then be better able to tackle your obstacles once and for all!

Leave a comment »

WHITE TURKEY CHILI WITH KALE

This chili is amazing!! I added a small piece of chopped chorizo into the onions, which really spiced things up nicely!!! A perfect dish for this cooler weather.

ingredients

2 T olive oil, divideddownload.jpg

1 lb. ground turkey or chicken

2 t chili powder

1 t each ground cumin and dried oregano

½ t sea salt

1 large yellow onion, chopped

2 cups stemmed and chopped kale

4 scallions, chopped light and dark green parts divided

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1, 15-oz can cannellini or great northern beans, drained and rinsed

directions

In a Dutch oven on medium-high, heat ½ teaspoon oil. Add turkey, chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt and cook, breaking up the turkey with a spoon, until no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer turkey mixture to a plate and set aside.

In same Dutch oven still on medium-high, heat remaining 1½ teaspoon oil. Add yellow onion, kale, light parts of scallion, celery, jalapeno,  and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in turkey mixture, broth and beans. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring, until heated through and slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.

Divide among bowls and sprinkle with dark green parts of scallion.

(recipe found on https://www.cleaneatingmag.com/)

 

 

Leave a comment »

THE SNOWBALL EFFECT

Isn’t it crazy how bad habits, even when kept at bay for a long time, come back? I imagine a knock at the door, opening it and saying “Hello bad habit, welcome back!” Often times one bad habit leads to another. I see this all the time with exercise and clean eating. I’m not sure which one comes first but either a lack of exercise causes a decrease in motivation to eat well, or not eating healthily leads to inactivity. This becomes a snowball effect which is “a situation in which something increases in size or download.jpgimportance at a faster and faster rate” (Cambridge Dictionary). The good news is, the snowball effect can work for you.

A year ago, a new client, “Margot”, came to see me. Margot was in her mid-sixties and not in the best shape. In fact, she wanted me to train her in order to build up her leg muscles so that she could eventually have her knee(s) replaced. Margot was unconditioned. I wasn’t sure how we would get through the first session but we did. Slowly but surely, Margot started making some progress. As she got stronger, she started to do more activities on her own. Her walks around the block with her dog grew longer; her short stints of swimming at her local pool increased. The more she did on her own, the stronger she became, and the more she was able to do with me. All of this exercise and movement motivated Margot to eat healthier. She started paying more attention to her diet and began cooking. She lost weight, felt more energetic and this allowed her to become even more active. A year later, we are both stunned at what she can do. There is no talk of a knee replacement. While I understand physiologically what is happening to her body, I still find her transformation to be nothing short of miraculous. Often times, in our sessions, we  giggle when she is able to do yet another more challenging exercise.

In Margot’s case, the snowball effect is at work in the most positive way. I can visualize the snowball traveling down a hill, getting bigger and gaining momentum. It’s all so glorious when it’s working for you.

If you’re stuck in a rut, have no fear. Focus on one small change and stick to it. That small change can lead to another, and then another and before you know it, you, too,  might find yourself in a wondrous snowball effect!

 

 

Leave a comment »

APPLE CIDER GLAZED CHICKEN THIGHS

This is a PERFECT chicken recipe for the fall! delish-190912-apple-cider-glazed-chicken-0176-landscape-pf-1571156445

ingredients

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

2 apples, sliced

2 tbsp. olive oil, divided

1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed

2/3 cup apple cider

2 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. Grainy mustard

1 tbsp. butter

3 rosemary sprigs, for skillet

directions

Preheat oven to 425°. In a medium bowl, add potatoes, apples and chopped rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss until combined.

In a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, heat remaining olive oil. Add chicken and sear, skin side down, until golden, about 2 minutes. Remove chicken from heat while you make the glaze.

To the same skillet, add apple cider, honey and grainy mustard. Bring mixture to a rapid simmer and cook until mixture has reduced slightly then whisk in the butter. Return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up, and scatter the sweet potato mixture and rosemary sprigs around the chicken. Turn off the heat and transfer the entire skillet to the oven.

Bake until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. (If potatoes need longer to cook, transfer chicken to a cutting board to rest and continue cooking until tender.)

(recipe found on delish.com)

Leave a comment »

PARMESAN BRUSSELS SPROUTS SALAD

Here is a different way to enjoy Brussels sprouts. A lovely Fall salad with gorgeous colors!!

ingredientsdelish-brussels-sprouts-salad-1528221412

4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

4 tbsp. lemon juice

¼ c. freshly chopped parsley

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 lb. Brussels sprouts, halved and thinly sliced (about 8 cups)

½ c. chopped toasted almonds

½ c. pomegranate seeds

Shaved Parmesan, for serving

ingredients

In a medium bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper until combined. Add Brussels sprouts and toss until completely coated. Let sit, tossing occasionally, for at least 20 minutes and up to 4 hours before serving.

Fold in almonds and pomegranate seeds and garnish with shaved Parmesan before serving.

(adapted from a recipe found on https://www.delish.com)

 

Leave a comment »