Wednesday, April 9, 2014


 As some of you know, I've had digestive problems for years. And years. I thought going 100% gluten free in 2012 would resolve the problem, but it didn't.

 I thought other grains like rice and even quinoa, which are hard to digest, might be a contributing factor, so I went on the Paleo Diet, where I ate a lot of beef, bacon, chicken, and vegetables. I also started juicing every day.

Nothing changed much.

Finally, last summer, I had to go to the emergency room due to extreme nausea and constipation. I thought maybe I had an intestinal blockage. X-rays showed I didn't, but there was no diagnosis.

I continued to be sick all fall and winter. There were days at a time, sometimes three, sometimes as many as five, where all I could eat was a banana, and take a few sips of filtered water. I was so nauseated that I could barely get out of bed, my stomach was hugely bloated and inflamed, and I was so constipated that even an enema would not resolve the problem.

So I did the only thing left to do. I prayed for guidance about the problem. And the answer to what was causing my problem was revealed to me.

But first...

I'm not exactly sure when I first fell in love with cows, but I suspect it might have been during visits to my maternal grandparents' place in North Mississippi when I was about 3 or 4.

I have faint yet comfortingly vivid memories of my mother taking me out into the fields, showing me how to chew on sassafras root (a bitter taste that I still love), and being surrounded by quiet, open space, love, and cows.

Or maybe it was the time, thirty years ago now, that I drove from Memphis to Denver. I stopped in Kansas to visit the chalk caves, and found myself out in the middle of nowhere, all alone in the universe except for an enormous blue sky and a group of cows crossing the road.

The wonder of both of those experiences is still with me.

It felt heavenly.

The cows in the photo above were taken in Cheatham County, TN, in 2008. They belong to a friend who raises black Angus.

We also had cows a few houses down from our place in Ashland City, big fat red cows, and there were more big, fat, red cows across the street from me when I lived in North Mississippi as an adult. While I was scared to get too close to them, I cherished their solid, gentle presence so close to my home.

I loved to listen to them in the evening, at dusk, as they made their way back "home".

As much as I love cows, I've also enjoyed eating beef all of my life. My favorite meal has always been steak, and ground beef has been a dietary staple. Easy to cook with, inexpensive, endless ways to prepare it.

As I learned more about nutrition, I began buying grass-fed beef whenever possible, preferably local. Still, the more I walked down the path of studying nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and the more I evolved spiritually, the more I felt that eating these beautiful, gentle creatures...cows...was not for me anymore.

But...doctor and nutritionist visits over the years had shown that I needed "high levels of protein". When I expressed the desire to be a vegetarian or vegan, I was told, "Maybe someday...but now you need meat, especially beef."

I'm sure you've guessed by now what was revealed in the answer to my prayer this winter. What was causing my severe digestive problems that were leaving me incapacitated for days at a time, and leaving me wondering whether I would be able to hold down a job, and pursue my passion, health and wellness coaching?

Beef. The answer was beef. So, I stopped eating it. It's been six weeks now since I've had beef, and I have not had one single digestive problem. My life suddenly feels calm, less stressed, and less worried.

And, I finally feel in alignment with my true self. I still eat small amounts of chicken, and some pork, as I transition into a vegetarian lifestyle, with vegan being the next step, and then finally going fully raw.

Listening to myself, I feel it's best to take it slowly, as I discover new flavors, new ways of eating, and new ways of being. (Side note: the more vegan/raw meals I eat, the more I rediscover tastes that had been dulled for years. Even colors seem brighter!)

 I'm not kidding myself that I'm saving cows, nor am I going to "hate on" people who still eat beef, especially since my husband still enjoys his burgers and steaks.

It's just that...

It's wonderful to feel good, and it's wonderful to have finally learned to listen to myself and how to meet my own needs through eating...and not eating...what's right for me.







Saturday, January 18, 2014

January Newsletter

Greetings, Everyone! It's with great enthusiasm that I send out this first newsletter of 2014!

Many exciting changes are happening in my life. In August, my husband, Steve, and I moved back to the Nashville area. We are enjoying reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, as well as visiting some of our favorite spots like Leiper's Fork and Radnor Lake whenever we can. We also enjoyed spending the Sunday before Christmas and the Sunday before New Year's with our dear friends at Unity of Music City in Old Hickory. As always the music is amazing, Rev. Denise's messages are inspiring, and love is in the air there!

One of the most exciting changes is that I will be partnering with Connie Jackson, a top food truck owner and caterer, to bring a healthy, home delivery meal service to the Nashville area. Connie's business is called, Your Dish Is Our Command.

We can customize meals to Paleo, gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian. This is great for busy families as well as people recuperating from surgery, seniors, and really anyone who wants to eat healthier.

I also am continuing to offer one-on-one and group health coaching services, and will be offering teleclasses and workshops throughout the year, so stay tuned.

Hopefully you will enjoy this newsletter, but if you decide you no longer wish to hear from me, place "unsubscribe" in the subject life and write me back! No hard feelings, I will remove you from the list.

If you'd like to schedule a confidential health history consultation to find tune your healthy, email or call me at 847=312=5594...I look forward to hearing from you. And please tell all your friends about me!

-- January
True life is lived when tiny changes occur.
-Leo Tolstoy
New Year, New You
A lot of people begin the New Year by making resolutions. We’ve all been there. We take a vow to lose weight, exercise more or spend more time with our family. We start the year with great intentions, but then we quickly relapse into old habits. Why is it so hard to stick to those New Year’s resolutions?
Here are some ways you can make your intentions a reality this year:
1. Write down your intentions and keep them in a visible place, like taped to your bedroom mirror or the dashboard of your car.
2. Get to the source of whatever is keeping you in a rut. Are you in a stressful relationship that causes you to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s every night? Are you stressed at your job and feel too tired to exercise after work?  If you don’t tackle the root of the behavior, it will be much harder to accomplish your goal.
3. Be clear about what your life would look like once you achieve your goal. If you resolve to go to the gym more, how will this benefit you? Get connected to the result of your action, and you will be more likely to stick with your plan.
4. Share your resolutions with friends and family. Hold each other accountable for achieving your goals. If you want to go to the gym more, have a friend call you two or three times a week to check on you or invite them to join you.
5. Reward yourself with every little accomplishment. If your intention is to lose weight and you lose 1 pound a week, pamper yourself with a massage.
Big changes do not require big leaps. Permanent change is more likely to happen gradually than through one big restrictive plan. Allow yourself to climb the ladder one rung at a time.
Happy New Year!




Food Focus: Sea Vegetables
In traditional Chinese healing, sea vegetables correspond to the winter season and to the kidneys, adrenal glands, bladder and reproductive organs. The strengthening, balancing and cleansing properties of sea vegetables are known to help these organs as well as the hair, skin and nails. Sea vegetables (or seaweeds) provide a variety of minerals and vitamins, including calcium, iron and iodine, and can help balance hormone and thyroid levels in the body. Eating too many processed foods or foods grown in mineral-depleted soil can result in a lack of minerals in the body, leading to cravings for salty or sugary foods. Adding sea vegetables to your diet can help balance your energy levels and alleviate cravings.
Recipe of the Month: Mighty Miso Soup
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes
Yield: 4-5 servings
Ingredients:
4-5 cups spring water
1-2 inch strip of wakame, rinsed and soaked 5 minutes
 in 1 cup of water until softened
1-2 cups thinly sliced vegetables of your choice (see notes)
2-3 teaspoons barley miso
2 scallions, finely chopped
Directions:
1.   Chop soaked wakame.
2.   Discard soaking water or use on houseplants for a boost of minerals.
3.   Place water and wakame in a soup pot and bring to a boil.
4.  Add root vegetables first and simmer gently for 5 minutes or until tender.
5.  Add leafy vegetables and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
6.  Remove about 1/2 cup of liquid from pot and dissolve miso into it. Return it to the pot.
7.  Reduce heat to very low; do not boil or simmer miso broth.
8.  Allow soup to cook 2-3 minutes.
9.  Garnish with scallions and serve.
Note:
Any combination of vegetables can be used in miso soup. Here are some classic combinations:
• onion-daikon: cleansing
• onion-carrot-shiitake mushroom-kale: mildly sweet
• onion-winter squash-cabbage: great in wintertime
• leek-corn-broccoli: great in summertime
 Variations:
• Add cooked grains at the start of making the soup. They will become nice and soft.
• Add a tablespoon of uncooked quinoa or millet at the beginning and let it cook with vegetables for 20 minutes.
• Add cubed tofu toward the end.
• Add bean sprouts toward the end.
• Season with 1/2 teaspoon ginger juice for an interesting twist.
• If using dry shiitake mushrooms, let them soak for 20 minutes, slice and add at the beginning.
Forward to a Friend
It’s such a pleasure to help those closest to us become happier and healthier. Please forward this newsletter to friends, family members or colleagues who might be interested and inspired by it.


Interested in eating and living healthier? Ask me about a free health history conultation!

Monday, June 3, 2013


June 


 

The world belongs to those with the most energy. 

 -Alexis de Tocqueville

 


Snack Attack


There’s no denying that everyone, at one time or another, has had a snack attack. Views on snacking differ. Some feel that snacking is bad and that eating between meals leads to weight gain. Others believe that eating many small meals and snacks throughout the day is healthy for maintaining energy levels and optimal weight. If there were one way of snacking that was right for everyone, we would all be doing it!  


To alleviate snack attack guilt, try to understand why you are snacking and what snacks work best for your body. Perhaps you snack because your daily diet is missing nutrition, or because you are eating too little at meals. You might be snacking to soothe jangled nerves when you are emotional, or to entertain yourself when you are bored. Whatever your reason, acknowledge it and start thinking about how to create a life that is nourishing and truly satisfying.

 

Although snacks are no substitute for loving your life, they can be great energy boosters. Many convenient snack foods are highly processed and full of chemicals, additives, damaging fats and refined sugars. When a snack attack hits you, try foods that are filling and satisfying, but also nutritious. Here are some tips:

  • Snack on things that don’t come in a plastic wrapper or a box, like fresh fruit, leftover vegetables or rice cakes with almond butter and fruit spread.
  • Make your own signature trail mix, organic hot chocolate made with almond milk sweetened with agave nectar, or blue corn chips with hummus.

You can also try “upgrading”:

  • If you are craving something crunchy, upgrade from potato chips to raw carrots, apples or whole grain crackers.
  • If you are craving a candy bar, upgrade to a handful of nuts and dried fruit.
  • Instead of a cup of coffee, upgrade to green tea.

Instead of ice cream, upgrade to applesauce with cinnamon.

Upgraded snacks are high in nutrition and give you a greater sense of satiety and satisfaction; you won’t feel physically or psychologically deprived, and you’ll have plenty of energy to sustain your activities for hours.

 

Snacking is enjoyable and there is a wide variety of healthful goodies for whatever you’re craving, be it sweet, crunchy, salty, creamy or spicy. Dive in, be creative and enjoy your snack attack.

 

Food Focus: Fruit                                                                                                 

A healthy lifestyle is the key to longevity, optimum weight, abundant energy and balance. By using fruit to satisfy our taste for sweetness, we can leave behind the use of chemical, processed and refined sweeteners. Fruits are easy to digest, are cleansing and cooling and are great for those who are overstressed and overheated from excessive mental strain or hot climates. Fruits are filled with fiber and liver stimulants, which act as natural, gentle laxatives. Whenever possible, buy fresh, locally grown fruit as opposed to imported fruits shipped from far-off places. This keeps you eating in season, and more in harmony with your environment and climate.

 

Eating raw fruit in summer months is highly cooling, while baking it in the winter months neutralizes the cooling effect. Fruit in the form of juice is a great choice for cleansing the body, but be aware that juice rapidly raises blood sugar levels, leading to an energy crash soon after. Frozen, whole, puréed or juiced fruit can make great summertime cool-down treats. Try frozen grapes, banana-coconut smoothie popsicles or lime juice ice-cubes in iced tea!

 

Whether you are having fresh fruit for a light early morning breakfast, a midday snack or evening treat, enjoy nature's sweetness and whenever possible buy organic. Here are a few summer fruits and their health benefits:

 

Apricots: Great for lung conditions and asthma; used to help treat anemia due to their high copper and cobalt content.

Bananas: Help to lubricate the intestines, treat ulcers, detoxify the body and manage sugar cravings; are rich in potassium (which helps hypertension).

Cherries: Slightly warming in nature; increase overall body energy, remedy arthritis and rheumatism and are rich in iron, which improves the blood.

Grapefruits: Treat poor digestion, increase appetite during pregnancy, alleviate intestinal gas and reduce mucus conditions of the lungs.

Papayas: Tone the stomach, act as digestive aid, moisten the lungs and alleviate coughing; contain carpaine, an anti-tumor compound.

Raspberries: Benefit the liver and kidneys, cleanse blood of toxins, regulate menstrual cycles, treat anemia and can promote labor at childbirth.

 

Recipe of the Month: Fruit Nut Smoothie

Prep time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

 

Ingredients:

1 banana

1 cup soy or rice milk

1 cup berries

1 cup diced melon

1/2 cup almonds

2-4 ice cubes

 

Directions:

1.   Mix in blender for 1-2 minutes and serve.

Note: You can add other ingredients for added nutrition such as a spoonful of bee pollen, coconut oil, flax seed oil, spirulina powder or a scoop of protein powder.

 

Forward to a Friend

It’s such a pleasure to help those closest to us become happier and healthier. Please forward this newsletter to friends, family members or colleagues who might be interested and inspired by it.

 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I've had a craving for kale the past 2 weeks.

Nothing wrong with that, in fact, there is a lot right with it, except that I don't like kale. So I resisted the craving. (Funny...I used to resist cravings for cookies, cake, donuts, pizza, sausage, because I didn't want to gain weight, and now I am resisting a craving for kale...)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I am a health and wellness coach, and that kale is one of the most nutritious vegetables on the planet...that's why it's so hot right now...but I just never liked the taste.

Being from the South, I was raised on turnip, mustard, and collard greens and I love them, at least the way my mother and grandmother cooked them, with a teaspoon of sugar to cut the bitterness.

But I'm not about to put sugar in kale, so...I just don't eat it. I know lots of people who love it, but it's just at the bottom of my personal list for taste.

When my craving didn't go away, I decided to stop resisting the craving and purchase a bunch of kale at my favorite store, Mariano's. www.marianos.com. Because I knew the craving meant I needed one, if not all, of the many nutrients in kale. Stay tuned for more on that.

I decided I would juice the kale and hope that some other fruits or veggies would cut the bitterness.

So as soon as I got home, I got out the juicer and looked up the recipe for Joe's Mean Green Juice. Joe is the creator and star of the film, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead www.fatsickandnearlydead.com, and I just heard him speak at IIN Live www.integrativenutritionschool.com over the weekend.

The film tells the story of how he lost weight and cured himself of an autoimmune disease by going on a 60-day juice fast followed by ongoing healthy eating, juicing, and exercise.

Before I get to Joe's recipe, let me share some of the benefits of kale from www.mindbodygreen.com.

Did you know that kale is higher in iron than beef? Iron helps transport oxygen throughout our body and assists with cell growth.

Kale is high in Vitamin K and antioxidants, both of which can help protect against cancers.

It is also high in Vitamin A (great for vision and skin) and Vitamin C (great for your immune system and metabolism).

And, here's a surprise to most of us: kale is higher in calcium than milk!

It's also a fantastic detox food.

Now for the Mean Green Juice recipe. If you do not have a juicer, I suggest making a green smoothie in your blender, just add a cup of filtered water first and make sure to chop up the apples and other veggies in smaller pieces than you would if you were juicing.

1 cucumber (if not organic, peel)
4 celery stalks (use organic as celery is one of the "dirty dozen"--most filled with pesticides)
2 apples, I use Granny Smith
6-8 leaves of kale, which in Australia, where Joe is from, is called Tuscan cabbage!
1/2 lemon (peel if not organic)
1 tbsp ginger (I use fresh ginger, peeled, about an inch).

Wash all produce
Juice
Pour over Ice
Enjoy!

It. Was. Delicious! So I had some again today. And I might have some more tonight, before bed. Granted, it is not as sweet as the carrot/pineapple/ginger juice I usually fix, but maybe I just don't need that sweetness now...I obviously needed iron, Vitamin A,K, or C, or calcium, or a detox, or all of them...

And it feels so good to have that craving diminish, because whether they are for a Snicker's bar or kale, cravings are annoying!

I think this is a perfect lead-in for a post on intuitive eating and listening to your body, so be looking for that in the next week or so.









Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's a damp, rainy, chilly day here in the Chicago suburbs, and I can't help but wish I was back in the South.

It seems unnatural for it to be this cold and dreary in early November. Unnatural for me, a Southerner, that is. For my husband, born and bred in Chicago and its sprawling suburbs, it's normal.

Quite frankly, it's a bit of a downer for me, and it's tempting to reflect that if I were in Memphis, my hometown, I'd be basking in 50-degree weather, with the prospect of sunny and low 70s over the weekend.

Of course, if I were in Memphis I also might be looking over my shoulder every 5 minutes, too. It's become a dangerous city.

So, rather than be like Lot's wife and look backward, I decided to start blogging again.

This wasn't really a snap decision. I've been thinking about it for weeks, ever since our wedding in September, when I started having more free time again, but I guess the weather-induced lethargy combined with my ancestors' hearty work ethic, finally prompted me to leave the comfort of my warm bed and fire up the computer. Ancestors 1, down comforter 0, at least until about 11 o'clock tonight.

Imagine my surprise when I opened up blogger and  discovered that during my two-year vacation from this blog, I've had nearly 2,000 page views!

I'm stunned, actually.

So, to all those unknown nearly 2,000 people who have viewed this blog during its 2-year vacay, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am humbly grateful to google for bringing you my way, and that you took the time to stop in here.

This gives me the encouragement I needed to continue with Recipe for Life: Make It Fun.

A lot has changed in 2 years. We moved from the beautiful green hills of Tennessee to the Chicago suburbs. My mother passed away three months later. Chicago Man transitioned from fiance to husband, and I wound up with not only a husband, but 2 amazing daughters, a son-in-law, a beautiful granddaughter, a mom and dad, three sisters, a brother, and a host of funny, quirky nieces and nephews.

For an only child, this was the equivalent of winning the Mega Millions lottery!

After a lot of prayer and soul searching, I decided in May 2012 to continue my passion for food and healthy eating by becoming a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition www.integrativenutrition.com with the goal of being a health and wellness coach. I recently passed my second test at the six-month mark, and became eligible to start seeing clients.

When we first moved here, I became enthralled with all the delicious bread, hot dogs, and Italian food that make up a good portion of the food culture here in Chicago.

The end result of that was a 20-lb weight gain, and deteriorating health. I recently was diagnosed with gluten sensitivity and hypothyroidism, and have been on a gluten-free, no caffeine, no refined sugaranti-inflammation diet with good results.

I also started swimming a couple times a week, and walking about the lake near our home a couple times a week. In fact, a walk was on tap for today, but the rain and chill are not too appealing.

Anyway, I want to get back to the roots of what this blog was originally intended to be: one woman's journey to healthy eating and joyful living!

So stay tuned, and to close I wanted to share this beautiful gingko tree in its fall colors (photo credit Mark Turner). November was my favorite month when I lived in Mississippi, more than 10 years ago now, and I always enjoyed the gingko tree on the lawn of First Baptist Church in Senatobia. This isn't that same tree, of course, but it's equally beautiful.

Drink in its beauty and let it lift your spirits as it has mine.



Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Tale of Tat Soi

Last Saturday, with warm weather still lingering in Middle Tennessee like a summer cold, I was on a mission.

My goal: to find some summer-y type produce at the West Nashville Farmer's Market.

Parsnips, turnips, and butternut squash just don't have much appeal for me when the temperatures are still in the 80s.

I wanted tomatoes! Corn! And I was craving watermelon, but I knew that wasn't gonna happen. The best I could hope for was a few straggly tomatoes, I knew...and then I checked my Facebook before heading out.


There it was, a post from the Farmer's Market. They really know how to reel you in with tantalizing descriptions of kettle corn and homemade marshmallows, but what intrigued me was their comment about Delvin Farms' purple-green tat soi. www.delvinfarms.com

I'd never even heard of tat soi--yet, even though it wasn't a summer vegetable I was still intrigued.

So once at the market, I headed straight to Delvin Farms' booth.

And there it was...tat soi. It was indeed purply green, and came in huge bunches with spoon-shaped leaves of varying sizes. I asked the worker about it--could I cook it like kale?

Her answer was yes, so I bought a double bunch for a mere $3. That seemed a small price for something so intriguing, and suddenly straggly tomatoes weren't so appealing anymore.

Once home, I decided to search the internet for recipes using tat soi and came across this gem at http://foodblogga.blogspot.com/2009/05/what-is-tat-soi.html, a recipe for gingery sauteed tat soi with tofu steaks. The recipe was simple, sounded tasty--and, I happened to have all the ingredients on hand.

A bit more research uncovered the facts that tat soi can be used as a salad green, that it is highly nutritious, and also that it can grow in temps down to 15 degrees and harvested in the snow--what could be more perfect since next growing season I will be in Chicago?

Here are a few pics of the tatsoi and the dish. I loved the zing of the lime and the zip of the ginger, and the brown sugar cut the saltiness of the soy sauce. All in all, it was a perfect healthy meal.
And now the temperatures are cooler, so I feel more inclined to cook with homey (and homely) root vegetables and make comforting soups. When I go back to the market on Saturday I am purchasing more tat soi and will try it in soup.



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Know My Own Strength

For whatever reason, I was a total dunce at PE when I was in school.

I was a pretty solid A/B student except for math and PE, and as challenging as math was for me, I'd definitely pick it over PE.

PE really wasn't too bad until 7th or 8th grade...until then it was more like playing.


But in 7th grade our teacher instituted President Kennedy's Physical Fitness program and PE became a state of torture for me.

There was a thing called the 600-yard run/walk...and I and our class "fat kid" Tommy were always dead last. I remember panting, groaning, sweating...OK, there are other activities in which panting, groaning, and sweating can be fun but this was not one of them. It was humiliating.

I was searching the 600 yard run/walk on google the other day and found someone of my generation who also had to do it; he was a football player and said he had trouble with it, so I felt somewhat vindicated. But back then, definitely humiliating.

Then, in high school one of my PE teachers was also the basketball coach...she wanted to use the PE time to get in extra practice, so she told me if I would sit on the bench the entire class, she'd give me a B. So I did, and she did, and my parents actually paid money for me to go to this school.

As far as other sports, I had a horror of volleyball because I was afraid of getting hit in the mouth, or of my glasses breaking.

Volleyball became like a form of bullying to me. I felt absolutely hopeless and helpless when it came to catching a ball or hitting a ball. I actually kind of liked soccer but didn't have much chance to play.


In college, I took tennis. That wasn't so bad, because the summer between 8th and 9th grade I took private tennis lessons. I wasn't good in college, but at least I had some idea of what I was doing.

Ten years later when I returned to college to get my journalism degree, I had to take another PE class. I took folk dancing, and guess what--I never went and never dropped it. Only F I ever made in my entire life!

But somewhere into my 40s I decided I wanted to be an athlete as well as lose weight, and now I am doing it!

Steve practices catching with me and once he told me to focus on the object, hey...I can catch! I am pretty darn good. In fact, when we move to Chicago I am going to try out for the Cubs and take them to the World Series!

And I am pretty good at running, too. The first time my mother saw me running in our yard a few months ago, she asked Steve if it was me! Yes, it was and I love it. No more huffing and puffing, just a feeling of coming into my own skin.

I love feeling strong and empowered from running, from yoga, strength training, and even catching.

I wish I could have experienced this feeling when I was younger, but for whatever reason I didn't.


This is what I call growing old gracefully!

Next up--kickboxing...I wanna punch something!!!