Thursday, March 5, 2015

What is Holding You Back From Living Your Best Life?

As a health and wellness coach I often instruct clients to take a real hard look at their life and ask the tough question of; What is holding you back from living your best life?  The answers I get back are extremely varied, personal, and heartfelt.  Answers can range from a persons weight, to a destructive relationship, or not trusting themselves.  It can be a real tough question to face, especially when the person is not ready to make the shift into positive action.  But little do they know, that by simply identifying the answer to the question, this is in fact a step in the right direction.  By reflecting upon the life we are currently living and allowing ourselves to actually identify areas we are extremely happy with and unhappy with helps to bring about healthy change.  It is when we stop trying to engage with our own lives that the slope can get slippery and things can get seriously out of whack.  



As adults, we seem to have conditioned ourselves to serve everyone else's needs first and neglect our own.  It some how gets ingrained into our intellect that to take time for ourselves is either selfish, inappropriate or something we will get to later.  That cycle will always continue until we make a conscious effort to change.  But how can you make peace with where you are at right now and work on making improvements to where you want to get to?  The first step is to simply answer the above question honestly.  By answering the question openly and honestly you will be able to target the areas that need work in your life.  Once you have identified an area that needs work, you now need to figure out how to make that area in your life serve you better and come up with a solid action plan that is both realistic and attainable.  Working at this in small steps and making incremental changes can have such a positive impact in your life and help bring about balance and happiness.  True change can only come about when you truly want to change. 
 


So, What is holding you back from living your best life?   Are you struggling with the answers and need help?  If you need help I am here to coach you and help you discover the answers to your questions.  You can connect with me at:  jessica@newstarhealthsolutions.com and we can discuss how my coaching program or one-on-one session can benefit you in discovering the best you, you can be!                

Monday, March 2, 2015

Turkey Bacon, Black Bean and Greens Quesadillas

If you are a lover of quesadillas you are going to fall in love with this recipe.  Filled with one of my favorite ingredients (turkey bacon) this quesadilla packs a flavorful punch and is pretty darn good for you too!  I love the simplicity of quesadillas in the fact that with just a few simple ingredients you can have an amazing dinner served up in less than 30 minutes.




Turkey Bacon, Black Beans and Greens Quesadillas 

6 slices turkey bacon, cooked and chopped
1 small red onion thinly sliced and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
5 cups (1 cup of each) mixed collard greens, kale greens, mustard greens, turnip greens 
and shard greens
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 15-ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
8 6 inch whole-wheat tortillas
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
salsa

1.  Cook turkey bacon in a large skillet until crisp.  Reduce heat to medium, add onion and garlic and cook stirring until softened, about 2 minutes.  Add greens and pepper; cook, stirring, until greens are wilted.  Add black beans and coarsely mash and stir to combine.

2.  Place 4 tortillas on work surface.  Spread evenly over tortilla, 1/3 of a cup filling and 3 tablespoons cheese.  Place the remaining 4 tortillas on top of prepared tortillas and press gently.

3.  Wipe out skillet and and return to medium heat.  Add one quesadilla at a time, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 2 to 4 minutes.  Transfer to plate prepared with some salsa and enjoy!


This recipe has been a pretty big hit in my house with even my picky eaters coming back for more.  You can also serve these with some sour cream if you wish.  They are super easy to make and pretty easy on the pocketbook as well coming in at under $2 dollars per serving.  I hope you try this recipe out and enjoy it as much as I have!  

What are some of your favorite quick and easy recipes to make during the week?  



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Shift: How I Finally Lost Weight and Discovered a Happier Life - Book Review

The Shift: How I Finally Lost Weight and Discovered a Happier Life
Written by: Tory Johnson (Good Morning America Contributor)




I just finished this book a couple of days ago and all I can say is WOW!  This book resonates not only with me on a personal level but also with just about every client I have ever had that has come to me wanting to lose weight.  The whole book has a profound yet very simple message;  Losing weight is a tough commitment but with the right mindset and being ready to face the problem head on anything is possible.  It is called "The Shift". Tory Johnson takes the reader along for a ride during her "shift" in a very straight forward no nonsense manner during her weight loss journey.  If there is one resounding piece of advice that I heard over and over in this book is that any person that desires to make a change in their life, whether it be losing weight, change of career, relationships...whatever the goal, the person must be READY to let go of all the stuff that has been enabling them to stay right where they are.  In Tory's case that meant totally starting over from scratch in holding herself accountable for every single thing that she chose to put in her mouth to eat and nourish her.  The payoff in this case was not only a triumphant weight loss but also of a woman regaining her confidence and rediscovering just how strong and amazing she really is.  The journey was not easy and at times Tory relays that it was painfully slow and sometimes ALMOST unbearable.  But she kept going and never gave up.  If she fell, she just simply got up and started over at day one again.  

I loved the bare honesty of this book.  I didn't sense while reading it that Tory left any part of the journey out including some pretty personal and intimate details of her family and marriage life.  It is a very easy, insightful read that was hard to put down.  I like the fact that as Tory started her journey she knew she had to be completely honest with herself about what she knew she could handle and what she would be willing to do.  She took a very disciplined approach to her eating habits because she knew that would bring her the results that she desired.  I LOVE that.  I love the fact that she accepted that not every diet works for everyone the same way especially after trying so many of them out.  Deep inside she knew what she needed to do and trusted her instincts enough to guide her along the way.  That is a very powerful and empowering moment in anyones journey and is of course no exception in Tory's case.  I would recommend this book to anyone getting ready to make a "shift" change of their own not so they can copy what Tory did but to show how looking deep within yourself and trusting your instincts and taking action to make positive steps for the desired change can make life long lasting changes and ultimately lead to a happier healthier life.  This was a great inspiring book and I hope you will enjoy it just as much as I have.

If you would like to get your own copy of this amazing book here is a link to purchase your own copy:
                     

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fabulous Black Bean and Northern Bean Turkey Chili - Healthy and Delicious

As I sit here and stare at my thermometer hovering right around the 14 degree mark I am in search of something to make that will warm me up.  Soups, stews and chilis are a big hit in my house.  They are a great way to get a powerful pack of nutrition as well as satisfying the taste buds.  Today I have decided to make one of my families favorites to help us fight off the cold bitter February weather. I can't wait until it gets done cooking so I can enjoy this wonderful concoction.  Try this recipe out.  It is a crowd pleaser and quite easy to make.  Let me know what you think!


Black Bean and Northern Bean Turkey Chili

 Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey
3 (15 ounce) cans black beans, undrained
1 (15 ounce) can great northern beans, undrained
1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 (14.5 ounce cans) diced tomatoes
1 bag frozen corn, thawed
2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste, if needed

Directions:

1.  Heat oil in a large heavy dutch oven pot or heavy soup pot over medium heat;  cook onion and garlic until onions are translucent.  Add turkey and cook, stirring frequently until the meat is browned and cooked through.  Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer an additional 60 minutes or more, until flavors are well blended.  Salt and pepper to taste.

2.  Serve and Enjoy.



Monday, February 16, 2015

30-Day Squat Circuit Challenge

During the winter months I am always looking for fun and new ways to change up the same old workout routine.  I stumbled across this 30-day Squat Circuit challenge on PopSugar and thought it would be a great challenge to pass along to my fabulous readers!  Tried and true this workout will help you build up endurance and build muscle.  Give it a try.  This workout definitely helps give your backside a workout and can certainly enhance your present workout.  Let me know how it works for you!

 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentines Day!

It's the day of love.  If you have ever wondered about the history of Valentines Day and how it became what it is today...Click on the video link below to find out.  The history of this romantic day may just surprise you!  Happy Valentines Day!








Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Sugar - Drug or Condiment?

Sugar.  Oh how we have a love affair with this sweet substance.  From a very early age we begin to crave sugar.  We love the taste, we love how it temporarily makes us feel and we certainly love anything mixed with this sweetening substance.  Some would argue that sugar is just as addictive as any drug or alcoholic substance and there seems to be scientific proof to back this claim up.  So, is sugar a condiment or an addictive substance?



I believe the answer is "yes" to both.  Yes sugar is a wonderful condiment used to sweeten up our coffee and tea and nearly everything else we can think of.  But it should be used sparingly.  Too much of this sugary goodness and it can lead to all sorts of problems.  If you look closely at the food labels of many of the products available in the supermarkets today you will most definitely find sugar as a main ingredient.  It is everywhere and is in just about everything.  It is no wonder that diabetes and obesity are prevalent to epidemic proportions in our society.  Our bodies simply can't handle the sugar load we are putting into it and it gets stored as fat cells until the body needs more glucose.  Too much of this sugary goodness, and it can lead to weight gain, insulin resistance and the end result of diabetes.

Sugar also has the amazing ability to cause opiate and dopamine activity in the reward centers of the brain much like other drugs of abuse like cocaine, heroin and alcohol.  So, "yes", sugar can also be labeled loosely as a drug.  Or maybe not so loosely.  Sugar is very addictive.  As the body consumes massive amounts of sugar it starts to crave more.  Sugar also has the ability to shut off the leptin response in the brain.  Essentially this means the brain doesn't see all the fat stored in the body and thinks that it is starving.  It triggers a response that you need to eat even when you don't need to.  This in turn causes you to consume more and more, leading to weight gain and other health issues.  For certain individuals this type of brain response can lead to a full blown addiction.  These individuals get extremely strong cravings for sugar and are unable to quit or reduce their consumption despite the negative health consequences.

So, what should one do in the face of the great sugar dilemma?  The best thing you can do is really watch your sugar intake and make sure to read ALL of your food labels.  Even in foods you wouldn't think of or suspect sugar can be loaded in there.  If you think you are struggling with a sugar addiction and can't seem to beat it don't be afraid to talk with someone about it.  As a certified health coach I see clients on a regular basis that need help getting past their sugar addictions.  It is not an easy thing to tackle and you should never feel like you have to do it alone.  Best rule of thumb - all things in moderation, and in sugars case - all things in minimum moderation.

What do you think?  Is sugar a harmless condiment or an addictive substance?  Leave a comment and let me know your take on sugar.