I have been a little silent on the blogging front for the past few weeks. This is the first week without any new posts (I usually post twice each week), but it has been a few weeks since I have written something new. I was so proud of myself for having several weeks worth in the queue, but those disappeared quickly.Read More
wife, mom, coach, & entrepreneur
Filtering by Tag: healthy
Watching the movie Ratatouille with my family inspired my 13-year-old to want to do some cooking. I enjoy cooking for my family, even trying new recipes, but doing this task with my son was a true treat! AJ's first task was to choose a recipe. I was open to just about anything and he is willing to eat just about anything so the options were endless. He ventured into the notebook titled, "Traci's Favorites".Read More
Sunday, October 5, Joe and I completed the Sleeping Bear Dunes Half Marathon. Because of my foot injury I had only run one time in the previous three weeks without pain. That run was five days before the race and a distance of 3.5 miles. Also, the longest distance I had run before the race was 8.02 miles and 8.5 miles for Joe. Race day was filled with many firsts, personal records, and (of course!) life lessons.Read More
made a decision years ago to embark on the journey toward healthier eating. The philosophy I chose then and still believe in today is that of eating low-glycemic. I also chose long-term lifestyle changes rather than short-term diet fads. This has definitely been a journey of progress, not perfection! (If you would like to learn more about low-gi eating and the program I use and recommend, click here.) I am a simpleton when it comes to cooking. I thrive in baking more than cooking because I am good at following directions, but not so good at improvising with a little this and that in the kitchen.Read More
Whenever a commitment is made to remove something from our lives, it is important to find a positive alternative. I made the decision to remove sweets, treats, candy, and soda from my life beginning back on February 20, 2014. The cravings for candy bars, soda, and sugary treats are lessening for which I am very grateful! As part of this health journey, it is fun to find healthy treats that fit within the boundaries of my commitment.
I do not know the origination of the "No Bake Energy Bite" recipe. (If you do, please send me the info). The recipe was passed along through a friend on Facebook. Many good recipes have made their appearance on social media platforms. I hope you will enjoy this one and pass it along so others can enjoy it too!
Recipe: 1 cup slow cooked oats 1/2 cup ground flaxseed 1/2 cup peanut butter 1/3 cup honey 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (original recipe calls for 1/2 cup)
No need to bake. Simply refrigerate for 30 minutes and then enjoy. It may be helpful to store them in an air-tight container so they don't disappear too quickly!
Replacing old habits to keep us in line with our commitments is an important step to success on this extraordinary journey called life.
I am a yo-yo. Not a silly, goofy girl (although some have seen that side of me). I am a yo-yo goal-getter. I'm on, then off, then on again. I'm on health kicks and business runs and then I'm not. This is very problematic when it comes to achieving big goals. The short goals (30 days or less) are not so bad, but some of the things I want for my life and business as well as dreams that Joe and I have together are bigger than a 30-day challenge or even a 100-day challenge! After many years playing yo-yo, I am finally saying "ENOUGH!" I want the goals - the life of my dreams - more than I want to stay in my yo-yo comfort zone.
How do you stop the yo-yo?
Determine what is holding you back. When you look at your goals and dreams, what is that one (or two or three) constant that keeps showing up and robbing you of those dreams? If you are like me, at least one of these answers will come to your mind without any hesitation. Most of us know what our Achilles heel is in life. And, if you're like me, you won't want to speak that answer out loud. Why? Because acknowledging what holds me back now makes me responsible. From this point on, I choose. I either choose to address this beast or ignore it, but either way I choose.
Maybe you can relate to one of the three biggies that are holding me back: #1 Moomers Moomers has been voted the best ice cream in America by Good Morning America and I would have to agree - it's amazing! Moomers is not actually holding me back, but represents one of my biggest struggles - sugar! I love sweets! When I consume sweets . . . I eat too much, I crave more sugar, I have less energy, I gain weight, I am moody (more than usual), etc. Sweets do not serve me.
#2 Paper Piles These paper piles include bills, junk mail, important mail, receipts, forms for the kids. Paper piles are overtaking my desk, kitchen counter, table, bookshelf, and any other available flat surface. Seeing the piles causes me stress. I don't work well in the chaos; phone numbers are misplaced; important documents are missing and we don't even know it. Do I need to continue? I think you get the point. All of these things cause me stress and I am not very productive in the midst of them.
#3 Candy Crush I enjoy Candy Crush along with a lot of other games for my iPad. I like the challenge. If I am honest, these games contribute more to wasting my time than building my mental muscles. When I choose to play one of these games I am often avoiding other things that need to be done. I play longer than I intend to, meaning that I stay up later or don't accomplish important tasks. "Just one more time." I've said that more times than I can count - to myself and my family.
So, there they are. Three things that are holding me back from living the life of my dreams. What are yours? Can you identify one, two, or three? Are you willing to name them "out loud" in the comment box below?
Identification is good, but there is more. Part II is coming.
Seriously pursuing the life of your dreams is not easy, but it is worth it!
I love green. It's my favorite color. I love to wear green and I love to see green in the grass and trees in the summer. There are so many beautiful shades of green. I even like to eat green foods - celery, cucumbers, broccoli and spinach. In spite of all of this love for green I have never wanted to drink a green smoothie. Actually, I may have wanted to but couldn't get past the thought of it tasting like wheat grass. I know some of you love that, but I have a limit in eating things that taste too much like the earth. Personal problem, I know.
I decided to get over my fear and brave the green smoothie. I was very pleasantly surprised, in fact, a little shocked. Since my first green smoothie adventure I have tried a few varieties of the beautiful green drink. If you have not yet ventured into the world of green this is a great (and pretty tame) way to do it. If you are a green smoothie expert, please share your recipes below, on my Facebook page, or on my Pinterest Smoothie board.
I have included several "Traci Tested" recipes to get you started.
Very Green Smoothie #1 (this was the first recipe I tried) - Extra large handful baby spinach - Half an avocado - One cup frozen strawberries - Half a banana - 1 cup water
Super Berry Green Smoothie #2 - Extra large handful baby spinach - One scoop Vanilla Nutrimeal - Two scoops Orange Cream Nutrimeal - Half cup Bolthouse Farms Berries + carrot - Half cup water - Five ice cubes
Apple Blueberry Green Smoothie #3 (made by my sister-in-law, Naomi) - Large handful baby spinach - One cup blueberries - Half an apple - Ice - Water
The green smoothie world is a great, healthy adventure!
This is Part 3 of a 4-part blog series about the New Year I am doing with my husband Joe. Thanks for reading and sharing in the journey.
The causes and experiences of stress are different for everyone. I tend to hold my stress inside, often without realizing it. I feel fine and everything seems ok . . then that 'one thing' causes all my stress and frustration to be expressed with great force. At that moment I feel the anger, disappointment, sadness, and exhaustion of days or weeks of underlying stress. I had one of those moments yesterday that turned into an evening of questioning so many things about life, family, and my ability to see circumstances with clarity. I realize I am being a bit vague here, but I hope you grasp the idea. I have let little bits of stress - physical, emotional, mental, financial - go unchecked and it caught up with me. When I feel this kind of stress I make poor choices in how I take care of my physical self. By doing this I actually create even more stress in my body.
In thinking about stress and my response to it, I was reminded of some great tips from Sanoviv Medical Institute about managing stress. Sanoviv says the following about stress:
"Stress is an adaptation response in your body when there is a perceived challenge or danger. In this response, your body readies itself to either fight this challenge off or flee from it. Chronic stress is a pervasive stress response in the body that can have serious health repercussions as this does not allow your body to rest and heal itself effectively. Chronic stress can trigger or exacerbate most of the major health conditions that we face today."
Here are just a few simple daily habits that can help lessen the stress in your life.
2) Increase your intake of healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, and cold water fish while decreasing your intake of damaged fats and oils (hydrogenated oils, deep fried foods).
3) Stress can deplete B-vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and zinc. Take a high-quality, pharmaceutical-grade supplement. See my recommendation here.
4) Engage in regular, moderate exercise.
5) Eat more fruits and vegetables, and less processed foods. (This can be a challenge through the holidays, but is possible and worth it!)
6) Identify the source of your stress and deal with it effectively. When there is an elephant in the room it causes a lot of stress!
I am incorporating these tips in my plan for a healthy 2014. If you would like help, encouragement, and resources in creating a healthy game plan for 2014 please contact me by clicking here. It will take work, but the results will definitely be worth it!
I am choosing to avoid refined sugars. I don't like to admit this, but I feel physically better when I avoid these sugars. I love sweets and want to keep eating them; however, sweets seem to like me quite a bit too. The reality, in this extraordinary journey, is that I must master this vice rather than letting it master me.
During my recent 90-day challenge, one of my victories was eliminating iPad and iPhone games from my daily habit. I made this a goal because I realized how much mindless time I spent playing these games during the day and late into the night. It was tough at first, but today (nine days after completing the challenge), I still haven't played a game. It has definitely become a new, positive habit in my life.
Mastering my iTime played a role in my decision to eliminate refined sugar. The other motivation and encouragement in choosing this new habit is the inspiring story of my son, AJ, completing a one-year, No Candy No Soda Challenge. Here's what AJ had to say, "Without doing challenging things (like this challenge), I wouldn't be ready or able to do other challenging things God has for me later." He's right! I want to be ready. I want to inspire, motivate, teach and coach. I don't want to be in this same space, working on this same vice five years from now. It is a challenge, no doubt, but it is worth it.
I strongly believe in replacing old habits with new ones, replacing iTime with new productive habits, and old sweets that don't serve me with new ones that do. Simply eliminating anything from our lives without replacing leaves a gaping hole that desires to be filled. The easiest thing to put in the empty space is the old habit I am attempting to eliminate. Therefore, I must fill it with a new healthy, positive habit that serves my long-term goals.
I want to thank my friend and blog editor, Sharilyn, for this awesome recipe. If you would like to see the original recipe from Texanerin Baking, click here.
This recipe is delicious and relatively easy (necessities for me to choose a recipe). Here are a few pointers: 1) Make this recipe! 2) Use a food processor. I do not currently have a full-sized food processor and I would highly recommend that tool for this recipe because the ingredients are fairly dry. (Magic Bullet, which can do wonders with so many things, didn't work well here). 3) Follow the instructions for "natural peanut butter". 4) Enjoy a healthy, guilt-free, sweet treat.
- 1¼ cups canned chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (165 grams) natural peanut butter or almond butter - room temperature
- ¼ cup (80 grams) honey (commenters have used agave and maple syrup with success!)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- a pinch of salt if your peanut butter doesn't have salt in it
- ½ cup (90 grams) chocolate chips (use vegan or dairy-free, if needed)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F / 175°C. Combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor and process until very smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides and the top to get the little chunks of chickpeas and process again until they're combined.
- Put in the chocolate chips and stir it if you can, or pulse it once or twice. The mixture will be very thick and sticky.
- With wet hands, form into 1½" balls. Place onto a Silpat or a piece of parchment paper. If you want them to look more like normal cookies, press down slightly on the balls. They don't do much rising.
- Bake for about 10 minutes. The dough balls will still be very soft when you take them out of the oven. They will not set like normal cookies.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature (or in the fridge) for up to 1 week.
Don't want to bake but still want to enjoy yummy, healthy, sweet treats? Click here to see what I use and recommend.
Picking up where we left off in the last blog, I wanted to take the time to interview AJ and get his direct perspective on his No Candy No Pop Challenge. For starters he informed me that he would rather I call it "soda" than "pop" and therefore the name change on this blog. :)
Traci: What was the challenge from your perspective?
AJ: To go a full year without candy or soda.
Traci: Define candy.
AJ: Anything you would get on Halloween.
Traci: What was your first thought when you were presented with the challenge?
AJ: I thought it was impossible.
Traci: It took you two days to make the decision . . what made you change your mind about it being impossible?
AJ: Another person did it meaning it must be possible, so I decided to give it a try.
Traci: Why did you take this challenge on?
AJ: 1) The reward. ($365, all or nothing) 2) To show myself that I could do it. It's not impossible.
Traci: How were you able to accomplish this challenge?
AJ: 1) I kept repeating the Bible verse, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." 2) Support from family and friends. 3) Saying "I am choosing" instead of "I have to". It was my choice. I could end it whenever I wanted.
Traci: What challenges did you face along the way?
AJ: 1) We moved to Michigan, on a camp, where they have pop and candy. It was tempting especially during my week of camp. 2) Right before it ended - I really wanted to be done. 3) Friends and family would forget and offer candy and soda. It felt like they were doing it on purpose to taunt me.
Traci: How did you handle these challenges?
AJ: I knew I wasn't going to back out anytime during the challenge so I just kind of stepped through them.
Traci: Would you do this challenge again? Why?
AJ: (A moment of pause). Yes. Without doing challenging things (like this challenge), I wouldn't be ready or able to do other challenging things God has for me later.
AJ is a pretty wise 12-year-old. What challenge or challenges have you been putting off? What new challenge are you willing to step into that will move you in the direction of your dreams and goals? 1) Choose your challenge. 2) Clearly define the parameters. 3) Enroll family and friends as your support team. 4) Give yourself a reason or set a reward that will motivate you along the way.
Will it be worth it? According to AJ it is worth it.
My 12-year-old son, AJ, is a stud! :) He is smart, athletic, witty, focused and a generally good kid. I love spending time with him - watching football, playing cards, or seeing him show-off some of his own sweet athletic moves. I love many things about who AJ is, but one really stands out to me: determination. When AJ decides to do something or to save money for something it is an opportunity to witness amazing determination. One time he was saving money for an iPad and in that situation every penny counted. In the summer all the kids decided they wanted to get smoothies. I told them I was happy to take them to the smoothie shop, but I wasn't going to pay - they were on their own. The girls got their money, but AJ told us to go ahead without him. When we returned he was having a smoothie. He had made his own with things we had in the house so he didn't have to use his money. Creative determination.
August of 2012 I threw out a challenge to AJ: no candy and no pop for one full year. This may seem an easy task for some of you, but believe me it was a challenge for AJ. This came about after a fellow USANA associate shared at International Convention how his daughter, AJ's same age, had gone one year without candy or pop. There was a monetary reward for this girl and I put a $365 reward out there for AJ, all or nothing. If he had candy or pop even one time in 365 days then his reward would be $0.
It took AJ two days to make his decision. He was in - all in! Consider, as AJ did, some of what this would mean . . .
Halloween - no candy, school (yes, they still have candy at school), friends and siblings (they do love to torture), Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, birthdays (his own and others), going out for burgers or pizza - no pop. Then to top things off, we moved to a camp with pop machines in the dining hall and candy in the Red Canoe (store). AJ was so determined that he wouldn't even eat a cookie that had M n' M's inside. He eliminated every possibility of missing his goal.
WOW! It is so convicting to consider what was accomplished. I have goals (desires) that I want with my health, family, income, business, etc. and yet I often find myself saying, "It's too hard!" Sometimes, as I've written before, these goals are only 30 or 90 days long. What could I accomplish in 365 days with the determination and focus of my son, AJ?
To be continued . . . because I want AJ to share with you how he was able to accomplish this great challenge. I think there will be lessons for all of us in what he has to share.
I love cookbooks, especially ones with beautiful photos. In fact, I actually love cookbooks more than I love cooking. If I could look through wonderful food photos and simply pin them in the kitchen for my personal chef that would be a dream come true.Since the personal chef is not yet in the kitchen, I am making attempts at some beautiful, healthy, new recipes. I made one the other day that met my criteria:
1. Simple 2. Tastes good 3. Contains ingredients I usually have on hand 4. Turns out reasonably close to how it should
Bonus: Gluten and dairy free for the many who choose to avoid those ingredients.
This recipe is from a new cookbook of mine, Raw Food Chef, by Dr. Libby Weaver. I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Libby speak at USANA's 2013 International Convention. Dr. Libby is super knowledgable about how our bodies work and I am inspired to eat healthier and take my USANA supplements every time I hear her speak. She also has a fantastic Australian accent - so jealous! Recipe: Nut Butter Muffins
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit Blend nut butter until smooth Add banans and eggs and mix until combined Add baking powder and apple cider vinegar until well mixed Fold in the blueberries Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups and bake for 10 minutes (took my oven 12-13 min.)
I hope you will give this recipe a try and share similar (healthy muffin) recipes in the comments below or on my Facebook page.