We are busy people and not enough of us make the time to take care of our health. Eating well is much easier when we plan ahead, and even easier when we get other people involved. When we designate one day for food prep, we allow ourselves more time during the week to rest, relax, and enjoy our pre-prepped food. I recommend Sunday as the day for cooking and preparation. This way, when our lives our full of stress and things to do, we have pre-prepped meals to look forward to.
Top tips for eating better during the week:
1. Make a batch of your favorite whole grains
Whole grains can be very versatile. I love to cook a big thing of rice or quinoa that’ll last me through the week. For breakfast I personally love putting eggs over rice with avocado and hot sauce, and then for other meals top the rice with vegetables or other forms of protein. Fried rice is an easy enough recipe that’s always a favorite. For more information and a list of all whole grains, click here.
2. Designate one day for prepping
As mentioned above, one of the most useful tips I have is to prep ahead of time. On your designated prep day, slice all your veggies, cook your whole grains, and soak your beans. This saves time and makes eating healthy more realistic.
3. Cook once, eat twice (or more!)
Prepare enough food while cooking to have leftovers. Take advantage of the time you have to cook, because it can be hard to guarantee you’ll have time or even want to cook the rest of the week.
4. Keep a food journal
It’s easy to forget the meals we eat. If your goal is to lose weight or discover what foods work best for your body, I always advise my clients to keep a food journal. Keeping a food journal not only helps us track what we eat eat and our portion sizes, but we can note things we are feeling emotionally or physically when we eat or after we eat. Identifying our emotions or even things we are feeling physically from eating helps us pinpoint food intolerances or allergies, and can even answer questions about other physical ailments.
From my own experience, it wasn’t until I started noting how I felt physically and emotionally after I ate processed foods and sugar that I was able to solve feelings of anxiety and depression. I realized those foods made me physically sick to my stomach, and I was also experiencing high levels of serotonin while eating the food, and suffering from low dopamine levels after the sugar high wore off. Most of us probably aren’t conscious of these things as we’re eating and going about our lives, but once we stop and think about it, we may discover things we didn’t realize about our bodies.
6. Cook at home
I love going out to eat. It’s convenient, there are lots of options, and the food tastes pretty good, but why not save some money and calories by cooking yourself? When we eat out, there’s no way of controlling what exactly goes into our food. I enjoy cooking because I know exactly where my food comes from, I have control over what I put in my food, and I get to pick what I want to eat. Aim to eat at least two homemade meals a day, then work toward three meals at home a day.
7. Plan your meals
It’s much easier to eat well during the week if we take some time to plan meals ahead of time. Make a grocery list and write out what you plan to eat every day. There’s no need to get fancy. If you like having oatmeal for breakfast every morning and vegetable stir fry for dinner, then go for it!
8. Add in vegetables, nuts, legumes, fruit, and whole grains
By adding in more vegetables, nuts, legumes, fruit, and whole grains to our diet, we can naturally crowd out unhealthier foods and prevent unhealthy food cravings. When we fill up on foods that nourish our body, we become more satisfied quicker, so we’re less likely to go for the desserts or snacks after we eat.
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Western medicine is extremely necessary and saves many lives every day. That being said, doctors are busy people, so it’s not often we get the time we deserve with our doctors to get a full health assessment. Wouldn’t it be nice not to feel pressured by the doctor’s time constraint so that we could address everything that may play a factor in our health and wellbeing? Think about the times you or someone you know was prescribed a pharmaceutical drug. Did the doctor ever take the time to go over nutrition, lifestyle, and the role stress plays in our health before prescribing that little pill? Does that pill even get to the root of the problem, or does it simply act as a Bandaid, a temporary solution, for your problem?
John Oliver talks about the relationships between doctors and pharmaceutical companies the other night…
Over the years, I have had several instances with doctors where I was diagnosed for something or prescribed something without receiving proper education or a full health check, like what was going on in my life at the time or what my diet consisted of. Here are some experiences I’d like to share with you:
I think there have been at least three occasions in my life when I was prescribed antibiotics, each time by a different doctor. Antibiotics are used to kill bacteria, but in the process also clean out the healthful bacteria inside our intestines that we need, often causing leaky gut syndrome. Probiotics is a term I never ever heard until just a few years ago through my own research, but is absolutely something I should have been educated about by my physician. Whenever taking antibiotics, probiotics are essential, as they add back healthy bacteria to our guts. Definitely if you suffer from any type of digestive disorder, if you’ve ever been treated with antibiotics, or if you just want to do something amazing for your body for the hell of it, try taking probiotics. For a list of probiotics, visit my article here.
Ladies, some of you may be able to relate to this one. For many years I suffered from debilitating cramps, depression, and unhealthy food cravings the week before my period and during my period. None of my doctors ever talked to me about the importance of eating well, especially around the time of my period. I knew that my hormones were out of whack, but I never knew the science behind what was happening with my hormones. Estrogen levels rise as do our food cravings. I would crave and indulge in greasy foods, and would get awful cramps and hate the way I felt as a result, because my serotonin levels were suddenly dropping after the moments of pleasure while eating all that food. I felt more sad after indulging, and didn’t understand my body really didn’t want those onion rings, and that eating those foods would only increase feelings of depression. Not to mention I possibly had leaky gut syndrome as a result from my antibiotics and some undiagnosed food allergies. Once I learned to eat better, hydrate, and get light exercise instead of pigging out and feeling sorry for myself, I no longer get symptoms of PMS. Food, herbs, essential oils, and taking care of myself have become my monthly medicine. Here’s what someone should have told me to eat:
In high school I was tested, diagnosed, and medicated for ADHD. My mom was anti-drugs and I was all gung-ho about them at the time. After all, high school was tough, college was near, and I was only a B-average student. Not good enough in my mind. I remember telling my physician I wanted the ADHD medicine, Adderall. His response, was “Sure, you want Adderall? Then let me just write you up a prescription, no problem,” about as casual as if I had asked him to borrow a pen.
I grew dependent on my medication, taking unnecessarily large amounts of the drugs every day and paying the price in happiness and in health along the way. I became secluded and distanced myself from friends, stopped eating, developed insomnia, and was unhappy unless I was cracked out doing work. Nobody ever thought to discuss the bigger picture with me when deciding whether to write me a prescription. My diet was crap, I wasn’t properly hydrated, I had just stopped playing sports after being super active my whole life, and I was stressed from social and parental pressure to do well at school and get into college. Nobody told me that changing the way I eat and drinking lots of water could improve my attentiveness. I never heard of any natural forms of healing like essential oils, which can kick ass at assisting in maintaining focus. I didn’t realize that my sudden lack of activity was making me restless and contributing to my lack of energy. When I finally decided to stop my medication midway through college, I couldn’t believe how well I could focus on my own if I put my mind to it and used other techniques to maintain mental clarity.
When I was about 10-years-old I fainted during class. My mom took me to see my physician who diagnosed me with hypoglycemia. I learned that hypoglycemia means your body is in insulin shock, which depletes blood sugar to abnormally low levels. The doctor instructed me to drink some soda or have some candy when I was feeling faint, and especially in the afternoons around crash time toward the end of the school day. What the doctor didn’t mention, however, was that this didn’t mean I could eat as much sugar as I wanted. I learned to make sweets an excuse for eating whatever and whenever I wanted, which created unhealthy habits with food. Another thing my physician didn’t discuss was why I was suddenly hypoglycemic. It was probably important to know that I wasn’t eating enough at or before school, and the foods I ate weren’t the most satiating forms of energy. My diet mainly consisted of cereal, bread, cookies, and soda, when I should have been eating whole grains, healthy fats, protein, and vegetables.
This part is my mom’s story. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer (luckily, very early on) in 2008. She kicked cancer’s ass, but had to continue taking about 10 different types of pills daily, up until about two months ago. After seven years of taking these pills, which of course created other health problems like arthritis, bone density loss, and muscle and joint problems, and depletion of her normal hormone levels, my mom was fed up with taking them and finally asked her doctor why she had never spoken to her about her diet and lifestyle. The doctor’s response was, “Oh sure, nutrition can help,” but offered no prescription of leafy greens, antioxidants, or yoga.
If you have a personal story please feel free to share in the comments below. Most of us have experienced something similar to what I’ve described, even if you’re just realizing it now as you’re reading this article. I know I could go on and on about friends’ personal stories of being misdiagnosed or treated for something with a pill that created a whole list of awful side effects.
I understand the impact stress has on our physical and mental wellbeing. As a health coach, I give my clients the time they deserve to talk freely about their health and the areas of their lives that affect happiness and health: relationships, career, spirituality, and physical exercise. Satisfaction in these four areas, along with proper nutrition, is the key to lifelong happiness and health, not a little pharmaceutical pill. Consider all the money you can save on doctor visits and bills by taking control of your diet and lifestyle today. So, next time you need to pay a visit to the doctor, discuss the bigger picture with your physician, and remember that food, rest, and balance are often the answers to healing.
If you have any questions about any of the above topics, essential oils, or health coaching, please drop me a line at email@example.com.
Owner of Jessica Kleid Health Coaching
Essential oils have amazing benefits not just for humans, but for animals too. Anxiety, relaxation, joint pain, breathing, digestion, insect repellant, antiseptic, healthy skin and tissue are just some of the issues essential oils can help animals with. It’s amazing to see what happens when I let my puppy sniff lavender essential oil. The crazy pup lays down and actually drifts off to sleep!
Quality essential oils should be therapeutic grade and 100% pure. I personally use doTerra essential oils, because they are the purest oils- Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade- and work really well for me and my family. On my dogs I use lavender to relax them, OnGuard to keep away ticks and fleas (mixed with some coconut oil along their spines), and Serenity when we leave the dogs or take them in the car (one dog gets anxious in the car).
Below are my top picks for essential oils for dogs (and even for myself!):
AromaTouch: Circulatory Issues, Overworked Muscles
Balance: Promotes Relaxation and Supports Healthy Joints (Add in Deep Blue and Lemongrass)
Breathe: Supports Healthy Breathing, Reduces Inflammation
Deep Blue: Muscle Cramps and Pain Reducer, Wound Care
DigestZen: Supports a Healthy Digestive System
Frankincense: Promotes Relaxation, Helps Promote Healthy, New Cells in the Body, Insect/Snake Bites, Scarring, Supports Healthy Skin and Tissue
Helichrysum: Supports a Healthy Liver and Nervous System, Wound Care
Immortelle: Supports Skin and Tissue Health, Calms the Nervous System, Wound Care, Reduces Scarring
Lavender: Calms the Nervous System, Helpful for Skin Conditions and Wound Care
Lemon: Promotes Relaxation, Electrolyte Balance, Maintains a Healthy Immune Response in the Body, Supports the Lymphatic System, Claw Strength
Melissa: Stress Reducer, Immune Support
OnGuard: Immune Support, Improves Oral Health, Spider Bites
Oregano: Supports Respiratory Health and Maintains a Healthy Immune Response in the Body
Peppermint: Supports Healthy Breathing, Maintains The Health of the Digestive System, Inflammation, Muscle Pain
Serenity: Stress reducer, Burns, Inflammation, Nerve Pain, Scarring, Wound Care
Zendocrine: Kidney and Bladder Support, Liver Support
Essential oils can be pretty potent for animals, so you can mix a few drops of oil with about a tablespoon of coconut oil to put on topically, sprinkle some drops of oil in your hands and let the dog sniff, or use a diffuser. Use caution with puppies under 10 weeks of age, very old dogs, or pregnant dogs. Talk to you vet about essential oils and please make sure you are using top quality oils! If you have questions about how to use the products, which oils to use, or specific questions about doTerra, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about what I do as an integrative nutrition health coach, please visit me at jkhealthcoach.com.
Here are the makings of a homemade pad thai with my very own twist. I like to load up on delicious green vegetables, so here I went heavy on the broccoli, bok choy, and green onions and added shrimp for protein. What I especially love about pad thai are the peanuts. I normally order a side of peanut sauce for my pad thai, but for this recipe I actually added peanut butter. I happened to have a fancy vanilla bourbon peanut butter, but I’m sure any smooth peanut butter will do the trick.
-3 cloves garlic
-2 eggs, lightly scrambled
-fish or oyster sauce
-smooth peanut butter
-lemon or lime
-sesame oil or coconut oil
-pad thai noodles or preferred rice noodles
1. Heat a pot full of water for noodles. Cook noodles. When done drain, but set aside some water. Run cold water over the noodles.
2. Meanwhile, heat sesame oil and a little coconut oil in wok or large pan over medium high heat. Sautee garlic, bok choy, broccoli, and shrimp. Add salt and pepper. Flip shrimp after about 3 minutes and cook until opaque. Bok choy should be wilted and broccoli cooked. Transfer vegetables and shrimp to dish.
3. Add about a teaspoon more oil to the pan and add eggs. Scramble eggs and add noodles to the pan. Add fish sauce and peanut butter. Add shrimp, vegetables, and chilis and turn off stove. Mix everything, squeeze some fresh lemon or lime, and add more sauce and peanut butter to taste.
We live such busy lives that we deserve an easy, warm, home cooked meal. So many nights I find myself digging through the pantry looking for an quick dinner. This rice dish with kale and cashews is great because it’s simple and it offers a little bit of everything- whole grains, protein, healthy fat, and leafy green vegetables. I also love it because it can last a few days, so you only need to cook once and eat three or four times, something that’s ideal for the average busy person.
-1 cup uncooked arborio rice
-3 cups water or chicken broth
-a couple handfuls of cashews
-1 bunch laciano kale, stems removed and leaves massaged
-1/2 cup chopped onion
-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Saute onion in oil and butter in a skillet for three minutes.
2. Add rice and stir for two minutes.
3. Stir in 1 cup broth or water. Cook and stir until liquid is absorbed. Gradually stir in next cup of liquid. Add kale to rice and mix in.
4. When liquid is absorbed, add remaining one cup liquid. Meanwhile, toast cashews until golden brown, about three minutes. When the last of the broth/water is absorbed and kale is wilted, add toasted cashews. Serve and enjoy!
Humans are creatures of habit. Most of us have a daily routine of some sort, whether we are conscious of it or not. Life can definitely be hard and full of stress. The more out of control we feel, the more a routine will benefit us. There aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, so keeping a routine helps greatly with time management, efficiency, energy, and motivation. Through personal experience and through my health coaching practice, I have realized that maintaining a routine is repeatedly one of the best ways for achieving success and happiness.
Everyone has their own morning ritual, but the day should begin with some type of routine. My morning routine begins with my puppy’s cold nose on my arm every morning around 6:45am. I get up, let him out and feed him, drink a warm glass of lemon water and have a small bite to eat while I journal for a little, brush my teeth, get dressed for the gym, work out, and then eat my post-workout meal. This doesn’t need to be everyone’s routine, but for me, I anticipate my morning going as mentioned. When these things don’t happen, my entire day is thrown off. Work gets put off, my energy is low, I get crabby often because I’m stressed from my routine being altered, I procrastinate more, forget to do certain things, crave foods I shouldn’t be eating, and just feel out of balance.
Think about the times you’ve traveled or had a reason to change your normal schedule. Did you notice any differences in your day? Perhaps differences in your eating, sleeping, emotions, motivation, or stress levels?
Sleep- Going to bed and waking up at the same time is crucial for healthy sleep patterns and deep sleep. Sticking to a schedule also gives our minds a sense of a starting and stopping point with work during the day. For example, if you work a 9-5 job, our minds know that those hours are working hours. But if you work a job with inconsistent hours, you’ve probably experienced your mind and body getting out of whack, and that it becomes more challenging to get in the mindset of work mode.
Meals- Try to eat at the same times daily. This keeps our blood sugar levels steady throughout the day and gives us a sense of consistency. Even eating the same foods (or similar foods) every day gives us one less thing to think about.
Morning Routine- In my opinion, having a morning routine is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Wake up at the same time, brush your teeth and wash your face, have a glass of water, and get dressed, even if you work from home. This pattern helps get our mind prepare for the day and for work. I also find I stay more organized and have more energy during the day if I stick to my morning routine.
Exercise- Even if it’s just stretching or getting off the subway a few blocks early so you can walk the rest of the way to work, a morning routine will help your success. Exercise is a great way to escape stress and it gives us a sense of accomplishment. This initial success in our day prepares us to take on the rest of the day and the obstacles it may throw at us.
Friends and Family- Spending time with the people that make us happy is important for maintaining balance in our lives. Even with a busy schedule, find a little time during the week to catch up with the people that matter most.
Personal Time- “Me time” is so important! Our lives are so busy that we often forget to make time for ourselves. This alone time is time to decompress, reflect, relax, and to do the things that make us happy. Don’t use this time to respond to emails or phone calls… that does not count as personal time.
Interested in health coaching? Check out my website jkhealthcoach.com for more information or contact me at email@example.com.