My Top Tips for Healthy Eating, Part Three

Eat what you love. Start with small changes that, over time, make a big difference. What do these two tips have in common? What my third tip really encompasses:

A choice. It all begins in your mind.

We often read up on things, study, analyze diets, ask friends, and scrutinize workout plans. But to see change we have to decide to begin. And this leads me to part two of this tip: Accountability.

My accountability began with a prayer for help. As I said before. I firmly believe whole body health cannot be achieved without our total person being involved. In fact, my next series of posts will deal with four aspects of our life to consider when living our vibrant best.

After asking God for help, I told my mom and husband. I shared with some friends. Knowing they would be cheering me on and asking how I was doing made a huge difference.

Change is active. We decide and act. If something doesn’t work, we tweak it. We learn, grow, and move on. And we get healthier in our minds as we gain confidence, which is then reflected in our bodies.

Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Choose a healthy habit to cultivate

Drink more water? One less soda? Sweets only on the week? The possibilities are endless.

2. Pick an Accountability Partner

This needs to be someone you let ask you the hard questions and you can be honest with without fear of ridicule.

3. Start Now

We often say we will wait until…and until never comes. Start first thing tomorrow.

4. Pray for Guidance

5. Allow Yourself to Learn

Make mistakes, change what doesn’t work, know it’s a process.

6. Know Why you are Doing This

Improved endurance and energy? Longer, better life? Better health markers? It needs to be personal, measurable, and go beyond only how you want to look.

7. Keep a Statement of Your Why Where you See it

Make it succinct. Say it out loud. Remember why when things are hard or results don’t come as quickly as you want,

So there you have it! My top three tips to become healthier physically. Our bodies are a marvelous creation. When we take care of them(without seeking perfection), we will be our best , most sustainable weight. Feel more energized. Be able to do all the things in life we want to do and are called by God to do. Because, in the end, isn’t that your goal? To live well? Go do it!

My Top Tips for Healthy Eating, Part 2

Perfectionism kept me from so many things. Enjoying life, trying new things and, ultimately, from eating in a way I enjoyed and kept me feeling my best. After I gained twenty pounds in my late 40s, I realized my all-or-nothing mentality had to go. That’s when I made the very first change that led to weight loss and better health and it is my tip number two:

Small Changes over Time lead to Big Results

Have you ever seen the movie City Slickers? There is a scene where Billy Crystal’s character, Mitch, asks the tough cowboy Curly(played by Jack Palance) what the meaning of life is. Curly replies with one finger lifted. He goes on to reveal that Mitch needed to find his one thing in life.

Well, for my road to a healthier lifestyle it was similar. The trick is to make one Healthy change at a time. Over time, this adds up to a lot of change.

So the first thing I did was cut out eating after dinner. In a few weeks I felt better and had shed several pounds. Then I decided to eat a veggie at every meal. A few weeks later, and more positive results, I cut out my afternoon snack habit unless I was really hungry. I had been snacking because I thought I had to and most days I discovered I personally didn’t need it.

I now eat mostly whole foods and very little processed sugar. I don’t drink soda(and I guzzled diet soda). I eat meals at lunch rather than eating a PBJ only that led to me starving mid afternoon. But all that change happened over years. As I felt better I decided to experiment with different changes and found out what works for me(low carb, for instance doesn’t).

How do you make changes in your life? Drop me a line and let me know what you think.

My Top Tips For Eating Healthy Part One

Eat Real Food. JERF(Just Eat Real Food). Train Dirty, Eat Clean. You see it over and over on Facebook, Instagram, and all the social media platforms and blogs. Yet the average person experiences so much guilt regarding eating, food, and food choices. I have been there too and still struggle with that at times.

So today I am taking away the guilt and giving you the first of my top three tips to guarantee you can eat healthy. What is tip number one?

EAT FOOD YOU LOVE

Now Cheri, how can that simple statement help? I mean, I love sweets! Or fast food, or soda, or…

Here’s the thing: think about what you love and incorporate that into your meal plan. Just think outside the box and be creative and persistent.

Do you love meat? I would not suggest trying a vegan diet. 😉 Love soda? Look into sparkling waters or half sparkling water and half fruit juice. Wine drinker? Save it for a special occasion or drink a spritzer( half wine half sparkling water. See how useful sparkling water is)?

I used to down diet soda and tried the waters and didn’t like them. But drinking iced tea without sugar was very tasty to me so I switched to that.

The reason I love smoothie bowls so much is that I used to crave ice cream. And now I never want it. The smoothie bowls and smoothies fulfill that love for creamy and sweet in a much more nutrient dense meal.

Love sandwiches like grilled cheese or PBJ? Can you pump them up with good quality whole grain breads, natural peanut butter and raw honey or make your grilled cheese with good quality cheese, olive oil, and other added things? I love adding in carmalized onion, apple slices and hummus. Yum!

Life becomes better when we recognize how to play. Approach meals this way. How can I make healthy, delicious french fries, good quality burgers, delicious, filling salads or pizza…whatever you love you can have! Just see how you can add nutrients to it.

The bonus is that when you get good quality ingredients in your body, your cravings go down. You feel satisfied and fuller. Your energy soars, your sleep improves, your mood is better. I didn’t believe any of that either but experienced it first hand.

So try my tip and make it work for you. You are so worth it! And be looking for my next post with tip number two.

Drop me a line and tell me your favorite meals or healthy eating tips.

New Beginnings

So I disappeared because I worked full-time in December. In retail. On my feet. It was crazy and I had to let some things go and blogging was one of those.

Now a new year has come and I have been introspective. That’s just me. We have had a “bit” of snow, unusually cold weather, and more time indoors, Thank heavens for Pilates and my dog, Tucker, who make sure I get exercise.

I have decided to change things up here a bit. Be more authentic, which means bringing my faith into things a bit more. I don’t think you can be “fit” physically without being fit spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and relationally…or pursuing that. So my posts will begin reflecting that.

In the meantime, I would love to hear what you are doing for your new beginnings of the new year. My big decision is just yo do things that scare me(I am a worrier so this definitely pushes me out of my comfort zone). How about you?

Where I’ve Been Lately…and a Delicious Seasonal Twist on Pancakes

I took a couple of weeks off from blogging. Why? Honestly, I started reading more about improving your blog and found out I’m doing everything wrong.

I take pictures with my iPhone…or use free stock photos. I don’t have an email list. I don’t offer some great product, have sponsors, paid ads, etc.  Just about all conventional wisdom about blogging is the opposite of what I do.

But then I realized something: I didn’t set out to have a successful, monetary blog. I set out to do something different: share what I know for free. Take it, leave it, ignore parts that don’t fit you. That’s what I wanted to do.

You see, this past year has been one of the hardest of my life. And in the midst of that pain and stress, I felt like God wanted me to write and share what I know. Give it away, and be an encourager. So now I’m back to do just that.

I worked on Black Friday and we all took in dishes for a potluck meal to eat as we were very busy. I took in a family favorite called Spiced Winter Fruit to combat all the rich, gooey, unhealthy stuff that I knew would be present. And I discovered a new way to use it: pancake topper.

See, I love pancakes. I mean LOVE. ❤ Mostly for dinner on Sunday nights. It’s just a tradition for me. I make pancakes various ways. Sometimes with bananas and eggs and a bit of flour(always gluten-free since I’m sensitive to wheat). Sometimes with oat flour instead of regular, or other times using almond flour. (Not almond meal, as it’s coarser. Get the finely ground almond flour for pancakes). Or sometimes with a quick mix from Aldi, my favorite gluten-free biscuit and pancake mix( which is also very low in sugar…score!)

Oh, one simple tip: If you use oat flour save yourself the money buying it. Take regular oats and grind in the blender until they form a fine flour. See? Inexpensive, healthy and gluten-free(if you get gluten-free oats).

Anyway, I don’t like syrup and butter on my pancakes/oatcakes because the meal doesn’t stick with me. I want something with a bit of protein and natural sugar that’s got the fiber, etc. I always use almond butter in place of butter because, well, I LOVE almond butter. 😀 And for the topping, I often use frozen blueberries/cherries that I thaw a bit in the microwave. But the other night I covered the pancakes with the winter fruit and it was amazing.

So here’s my mom’s recipe. It’s very versatile as it uses canned fruit since fruit can be hard to come by in the winter. You can use fresh fruit-you just have to cook a little longer in the oven to get the dish to be tender.

Spiced Winter Fruit

  1. 1 can (15 ounces) peaches, drained and rinsed and chopped
  2. 1 can (15 ounces) apricots, drained and rinsed and chopped
  3. 1 can (15 ounces) pears, drained and rinsed and chopped
  4. 1 can (15 ounces) pineapple tidbits, drained and rinsed
  5. 15 ounces of unsweetened applesauce
  6. 1 Tablespoon of butter
  7. 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon
  8. 1/4 cup Sherry

Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray lightly. Place all canned fruit in the dish. On the stove top, mix the applesauce,  sherry, and cinnamon together and cook over medium until the mixture begins to bubble. Pour over the fruit in the casserole dish. Dot the entire top with bits of the butter. Bake at 350-degree oven for one hour. Serve warm.

Here are my delicious almond butter fruit pancakes. I worked Sunday night so I treated myself to these for lunch on Monday where I ate the outside in the beautiful autumn weather.

Do you like pancakes? What are your favorite ways to eat them?

My Best Tip for Cooking with Ground Turkey…and a Twist On Traditional Chili

Autumn is in the air in many parts of the US now. I am enjoying cooler temperatures, crunchy leaves, and pumpkin spice everything. Yes…I am pretty “basic.” 😀 As the nights are longer and temperatures drop, I long for familiar, warm comfort foods, don’t you?

I had a discussion with someone who hated cooking with ground turkey and was asked how I can stand using it in recipes. Well, beef gets old after a bit and I have slightly high family-inherited cholesterol so I try to watch my red meat intake. Enter turkey.

The key I have found is this: seasoning. If I cook Italian dishes, I use basil, oregano, and garlic powder and work them into the turkey before browning. Mexican dishes get my homemade taco seasoning and a pinch of red chili seasoning. And in the picture above, I used garlic and onion powder, hot chili powder, and cumin. This gives flavor to the meat as it’s cooked in during the browning process that I love.

So there it is: my simple tip to add flavor to your turkey. I do sometimes add onions, garlic, and peppers, as well, but the picture above was on grocery day when the cupboard was pretty bare.

And just for something different, or for a Paleo or Whole 30 version, I will share my latest chili recipe seen above.

Turkey Sweet Potato Chili

  • 1 pound seasoned and browned Ground Turkey
  • 2 medium to large sweet potatoes, washed, peeled, and diced
  • 8 ounces of tomato sauce
  • 4 ounces of green chilies
  • 2 cans of chili ready tomatoes (or regular tomatoes with 1-2 T chili powder and cumin to taste…we like a lot of cumin here. I usually season myself but I had the preseasoned cans here that I got on sale)
  • Any veggies you like…I like to sautee green peppers and onions with the meat and throw in
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or bone broth, if you like a thinner chili

That’s it. Cook on high for about 4 hours. low for around 6.

Do you use ground turkey? Or chili? Let me know what you think if you try seasoning the turkey before using it.

Açaí Bowls, Social Media, and Being Real

Don’t you love my beautiful chocolate smoothie bowl? Only it’s not. It’s an Açaí Bowl.

But aren’t those a beautiful, vibrant purple? Well, yes…unless it has açaí, blueberries. strawberries, and spinach. Then it’s a muddy brown like this.

Enter VSCO and other picture enhancing apps. Well, and, taking the picture before you add spinach. 😉 You play with the saturation, shadows, tint, and filters. And you end up with this something more pleasing to the eye.

As an aside, check out this beautiful açaí bowl from Honest Cooking -just gorgeous.

My point in this(besides sharing my go-to açaí bowl recipe below] is to remind you: what you see isn’t always real. We put our best face on, filter the heck out of it and clean it up, and present it to the world. Yet our food isn’t always beautiful, we have wrinkles as we age, our homes are messy and so are our lives, at times.

I want to embrace real. Honest. And eat delicious açaí smoothie bowls, even when they’re not pretty.

My Go-to Açaí Smoothie Bowl

1/2 cup Califia Farms Toasted Coconut Almond Milk

1/2 scoop Designer Whey Vanilla Almond Whey Protein

1 Tablespoon Almond Butter or Peanut Butter

1 Packet Frozen Açaí

1/2 Frozen Banana

1 cup frozen berry mix( I love cherries, blueberries, and strawberries)

1 handful of spinach

Have you tried açaí? And how do you stay grounded in an age of illusion and social media? Share your thoughts!

Experiencing Autumn

I love seasonal changes. It is the perfect balance between newness and vitality and stability. The seasons come over and over but each time a new one begins it feels fresh and new.

If any of my readers are Myers-Briggs personality junkies like I am, I will admit that I’m an INFJ. We are the introverts who often function as extroverts, the dreamers with our heads in the clouds, the worriers, the ones reading everyone in the room and ignoring our inner self. Our five senses are often underused.

My husband is an ESTP. They’re the comedians and people persons of the world. Think Jim Carey and take it down a few notches and you have my husband. The great thing about him is he will take a morning walk with his oatmeal, not caring a bit who sees him, to breathe in the fresh air, look at the trees, and chat with anyone who comes by. He often stops mid-sentence in awe of creation.

This year I’m trying to think in those same terms. Fall is my favorite season and I adore the weather and blue skies of October. There is nothing else like it to me. So I’m trying to slow down and experience it. Here are a few things I’ve done:

  • Tried new recipes with fall flavors
  • Slowed down during my meals, really tasting my food
  • Eaten outside
  • Taken walks to new places
  • Watched new-to-me movies with my kids…mostly to experience their laughter and joy
  • Traveled
  • Read books that had fall settings
  • Changed up my fitness routine

Are you a person who experiences life or is so busy in your mind and with your hands that days slip by without notice? Share with me your tips and tricks for really experiencing the here and now.

What I’m Eating Lately

I thought I would share my big eating health tip. I do this almost daily and it is versatile, delicious, filling, and packs a punch nutritionally:  salads.

Salads are so easy. I honestly take lots of leafy greens, veggies I have on hand in the refrigerator, a few seeds, some craisins, usually, and a bit of feta cheese. I often throw my leftover protein on there, too. Chicken, chopped or shredded, meat, beans, even chili, all make a great topping for a healthy salad.

I usually have a salad for lunch. It’s easy to throw together while I’m doing other things and I can even make it the night before and take it to work on days that I work a longer shift.

The biggest key for me with salads, honestly, is HOW I eat them. I revert to the childhood method of eating one thing at a time. 😉 Or, hey,  let’s say the fancy way of eating one course at a time. Sounds better! I eat that salad before the main course. I find I slow down and have to chew more and it’s filling so I don’t gobble up too much of whatever is following. It seriously has helped me get in touch with my hunger and satiated signals and that’s such a great benefit.

Other benefits include lots of nutrition, ease of preparation, versatility, no need to cook so minimal clean-up. There are also tons of digestive benefits from eating more raw foods and I find that is so important to my gut health as I get “older and wiser.” 😀

Do you eat salads or other raw foods for your health? Show me your pictures or send me your favorite salad recipes.

What I Learned about Life from taking a Pilates Reformer Class

Last Monday I got to do something I had been dying to do for two years: take a private Reformer class. And, for those curious about what a Reformer looks like, here is an example:

The instructor lives in a beautiful loft apartment in my town and teaches there to keep costs affordable. I love that! I was excited and nervous about going but mostly eager to be learning something new and getting some hands-on instruction to use in my personal mat practice.

This sweet lady got on to demonstrate and told me I would be doing some innocent sounding exercises called “footwork.” Piece of cake, right? Well, except for the fact that this is Pilates so every exercise is designed to be total body and is never simple.

I loved the lesson and can say I was a bit sore for two days after that! And the biggest takeaway for me was this: Nothing is as easy as it appears to be.

We often watch other people flow through life. Things seem easy and success effortless. But there are always hours of learning, re-learning, sweating, and shaking that precedes any change.

If you are doing Pilates “right,” your entire mind and body are engaged and in the moment. And so it is with life off the mat. But the time spent to learn how to do something right is crucial to living your best life.

So please, don’t compare yourself to others. Try something new. Let yourself be a beginner. And live in deep satisfaction of soul that comes from knowing that you experienced the adventure of being yourself.

What lessons are you learning lately? Head over to my Facebook page and let me know.