2017 Health Goals

This January I implore you to not make a New Year’s resolution (they don’t last long enough), but to strive to build habits that help you gain on your health year round. Here are a few ideas:

  • Research shows a strong correlation with those who note, lose weight by eating better. This process makes us accountable and I recommend clients use old school pen and paper. This process, verses an app like MyFitnessPal, helps us zero in on our appetite with no calorie counting distractions. Data from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found those who wrote everything down lost 2x as much weight as those who didn’t. How is that for motivation? A small task can give big results.
  • Pack your meals. When we pack our lunch, we can control the portion size and ingredients. Use the structure of going to an office to your advantage. Having this boundary and packing meals/snack, you can leave your options to healthy ones, even when at home you wouldn’t follow through. For example, my afternoon snack in the office used to 1-2 cups of raw vegetables and nuts. At home, I’d forgo the vegetables and likely eat more nuts, but if I was in an office and was hungry, I’d eat what I had on hand.
  • Make sleep hygiene a priority. When we lock this in, many other healthy habits fall into place. First sleep needs to be appreciated and then it needs nurtured. On average the clocked hours in bed are as appalling as the current obesity rates. This might be common sense, but we will never have more than 24 hours in a day and the best ways to slow down time is to 1) organize ourselves, 2) be mindful (do you ever pause before eating?) and 3) meditate. So back to sleep – as adults we need a bedtime and a bedtime routine, just like children. We shall not abuse caffeine as it not only hurts our sleep it can hurt our hormones. More tips on sleep here. 
  • Move with interest. Likely we can all agree that movement is good, but make sure it’s something you enjoy. Yes, we may judge an interval workout will give a bigger burn than a walk, but if walking is something we really want to do, it benefits the body and the mind. Find new things that excite you, and rotate the activity each month, before it dulls.
  • I am 100% stealing this brilliant idea from one of my favorite podcasts, The Health Bridge. It’s a 100 day Gong, or what can be defined as in Chinese, it’s a designated amount of time to practice a daily task. Data shows a habit takes about 90 days, so this time-frame is a beautiful amount of time to commit to a healthy action. January 1 I am committing to a 100 day Gong to #1) have warm greetings with my husband, and #2) have a 1 sentence gratitude journal. As for warm greetings, this encompasses just that. Rather than yelling to my husbands office, “good-bye” when I am off to an errand, I intend to put in more effort with our departure and my return. What type of task would you like to commit to?
  • Theme/word. What theme or word would you like to empower for 2017? This year I want to be my best self and expect more out of myself. My word for 2017 is, “Rockstar.” I will believe in myself to accomplish more things and to be pleasantly surprised with what I can succeed to.

Life and health is a journey. No need to hold guilt over your head if you fall off track of what you intend. Just aim to take 3 steps forward with less back. Progress is a win.

Cheers to good health and Happy New Year!

Kelly Schmidt, RD, LDN

Cyber Monday Promos!

Tis the season to be social, but it is possible to keep your health in check while still enjoying yourself. Aim to maintain your weight from November to the New Year, as it’s more than common to gain 5 lbs this time of year. Not to worry, here are a few pointers on how to enjoy holidays healthfully.
This Cyber Monday I am offering some deals on facilitating a healthy and LEAN holiday season. Ends midnight tonight.
  • 25% off all of my services. This is a first, and jolly discount! I am thankful for my clients, and I want to show the love!
  • 15% off supplements from Standard Process and Thorne. If interested, please reply to this post via email ([email protected]) with what products you want, the quantity and the address to have them shipped.
  • $9.99 for my 21 Day Self-Guided Real Food Challenge. This is an eBook chalk full of education on what foods to eat, including a grocery list, sample meal plan, supplement recommendations, a progress chart, and additionally a separate day-to-day journal, including a daily tip, recipe and motivator.
Additionally, if you are thinking of doing a Cleanse in the New Year, stay tuned on updates from me regarding the 21 Day Detox I am hosting, starting January 9th. Commit this weekend and you will get 15% off the Cleanse Kit.
Above all, have a safe and happy holiday season.

My Skinny Jeans and The Holidays

white-sparkler-fire-holiday-festive-background-62500607On average, can you guess how much we tend to gain this time of year? MedPage Today has the details, and while I can layout all the calculated percentages, the gist is, people gain. Above all, the time it takes to put weight on, is nothing compared to the time it takes to shake it off.

So this season, aim to maintain. Yes, don’t try to lose weight, just maintain your weight. By New Years, you will be 1-5 pounds ahead of the average. A few tips on how to maintain:

  • Solidify your ongoing good habits. While eating predominately healthy, real food, we need to have a casual plan for meals throughout the week. Don’t skip meals, and stick to a meal routine. Meals should include fat (yes, we need more fat than most people think), protein and moderate carbohydrates. The golden rule I provide to clients is start the day off with protein (20-30 grams) to prevent cravings and snacking later in the day and then follow-up lunch and dinner with a palm-sized portion of protein, 1/4 of the plate coming from fruit or ancient grains, and the other half of the plate being vegetables, starchy (potatoes, parsnips, plantains) and non-starchy kinds. Have more of the starchy vegetables if you are active.
  • Eat breakfast. Even if you wake-up some mornings and decide you are not hungry, go about eating around the brunch hour and assess how much more you eat in the evening. I am not saying everyone carries their highest calorie intake into the few hours before bed, but more often my non-breakfast eaters do, and this time of day is the hardest to make the cleanest and healthiest choices.
  • Cap your time on Snapchat and Instagram and start organizing your kitchen, recipes and grocery list. The more organized and prepared we are with easy to grab snacks and batch-cooked meals, healthy eating is the obvious choice. Don’t overhaul your diet, just take one step closer to the farm. Instead of chips and granola bars, have nutsand fruit or vegetable. Instead of a protein bars, have hard boiled eggs or grassfed jerky.
  • Grocery shop every week. Even if there are more social gatherings this month, still purchase plenty of produce. When I am busy I am the queen of buying frozen items like berries, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, mango, etc. This season is a great time to enjoy warm food, and warm berries in the evening is a great treat, and roasted vegetables (from frozen) can go a long way for a healthy dinner and leftovers.
  • If you are not getting 60 ounces of water a day by the afternoon, up your game. Being hydrated is one of the best things you can do for yourself. And it’s cheap!
  • Buddy up. Find a partner who has a similar health goal, and communicate daily with food ideas and challenges, using each other for support.

If you are the host, or attending parties:

  • If you are overseeing most of the food, make all you can ahead of time and freeze Approaching the event with fewer to-do’s will make the experience more fun and manageable.
  • When reaching for a treat at a party, opt for something you are honestly and truly going to enjoy and have time to chew and taste. Additionally, contribute to the party and bring a healthy app and dessert.
  • Indulge in the memories at holiday parties verse food. Not often do we think back on a memory and say, “I was so glad I ate all that food.” Keep portions in check, but also see how much you can laugh.
  • If you have a day of baking on the calendar, be sure to taste only what you need to. A teaspoon should be more than enough. If you need a distraction for your mouth while the house begins to smell like chocolate, write down your goal, pour yourself some tea, and pop in a piece of gum.

Secondly, the holidays are so much fun. Keep your perspective positive during this busy time of year and take care of yourself inside and out. Above we touched on food, yet, prioritize mental health too.

  • Pencil in a few extra sessions of yoga, briefly write up a gratitude list each morning, download a meditation app (Calm, HeadSpace, 10% Happier, etc) and or enjoy a good book.
  • Be sure to clock in enough sleep. Strive for at least 8 hours. When we are sleep deprived we tend to eat more food, make poorer food choices and move less overall.

Happy holidays, and cheers to the New Year in good health!

Kelly

Healthy (Real Food) Holiday Recipe

This weekend I am headed to a Friendsmas party and will be bringing one of my favorite paleo-based bread recipes. I have really enjoyed the ideas presented on paleoleap.com, which this recipe came from.

Since my son is allergic to eggs, I have altered the recipe to include flax eggs (1 tablespoon of flax meal soaked in 2 tablespoons of water can replace 1 egg). I also sometimes add gelatin to increase the protein content and add a punch of gut health. Lastly, I make this recipe into muffins verse a loaf, which helps with portion control.

What recipe will you be bringing along this holiday season?

pumpkin-banana-bread-main-large-2

Pumpkin Banana Bread

  • ½ cup coconut flour;
  • ½ cup almond flour;
  • ½ cup very ripe banana, pureed;
  • ½ cup pure pumpkin puree;
  • ½ cup melted clarified butter or almond butter;
  • 1 tsp. baking soda;
  • ¼ cup raw honey;
  • 4 eggs;
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract;
  • ½ tsp. salt;
  • ¾ cup pecans, chopped; (optional)

Prep:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the eggs, clarified butter, honey, ripe banana, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract. Mix everything together until you get a smooth texture.
  4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until thoroughly combined. This is also a good time to add the chopped pecans if you’re using them.
  5. Pour the batter into a well-greased loaf pan and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean.
  6. Let the pumpkin banana bread cool down for about 10 minutes before serving.

Make 2014 Your Healthiest Year (With These 5 Tips)

Tis the season for us to think about personal goals and health initiatives. Before you decide where you want to go, understand where you have been by asking yourself these questions:

Where would you love to be at the end of 2014? How could your life be better? How could you feel more in control of your health? This vision you conjure – hold onto it, and believe you can reach it. Why would you accept anything less? Make it your intention and your reason why your goal is important. Make it your motivation each day, and celebrate every day and choice that will get you there.

Below are some of my top tips as an expert in the field of health and wellness. Above all, you know yourself the best, and do not set a goal that is too far out of reach. Making a small goal, and updating it weekly or bi-weekly facilitates initiating action.

Cheers to you and good health this year and beyond!

1. Hydrate

Sounds so simple, yet, many of us are not drinking enough (filtered) water. Funny enough, I recently went to an Integrative Medicine doctor last week and explained a few things about myself, and while anticipating to hear the doc prescribe me a supplement or herb, he said, one part of health is as simple as drinking ample amounts of water.

Drink half of your weight in ounces. Drinking enough water will help your body remove waste (detox), keep your joints fluid and muscles hydrated, provide mental clarity, and your skin looking young. One practice to help you reach a hydration goal is to have a handy water bottle on hand, like this one. The straw is helpful in making the drinking process quick and easy.

2. Nurture Your Gut

Digestion problems cause inflammation, and inflammation can cause our bodies to go into fat storage mode, and even worse, disease. The first steps to nurturing your gut is to remove irritating foods (GMOs, gluten, soy, vegetable oils, pasteurized dairy, perhaps non-sprouted legumes and grains) and add in superfoods to repair your gut like bone broth. To progress the healing process further, you also want to reinoculate your digestive tract with specific food and supplements like  fermented vegetables, coconut oil and probiotics. Gut health is getting notice and information on this will be trending in 2014.

3. Avoid Vegetable and Man-Made Oils

One thing you won’t be able to read on a food label for vegetable oils (including canola oil) and margarine is the inflammatory status. Bluntly, they are not doing your health any favors. Opt for better fats such as coconut oil, palm oil, grassfed butter for cooking, and olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, sesame oil, walnut oil for cold uses. Like the fact you can fight fire with fire, we can fight fat by eating fat. Fat is essential for our health due to its healing properties, use to increase nutrient absorption and assistance in detoxing our liver. Make sure to have some sort of fat on your plate at each meal, and equally important, the right kind of fat.

4. Plan

I don’t think I can state it enough, “if we fail to plan, we plan to fail.” Mapping out some meals each week makes eating nutrient-dense food a lot easier. I request clients to take a look at their schedule each week, understand how often they will eat home, work, etc, and plan foods to make on a Sunday afternoon, so the meal prep during the week is quick and easy. I surely do this too. I boil some eggs, or make a crust-less quiche, I bake some sort of squash, chop up some raw vegetables for dips and salads and often have something brewing in the slow-cooker. If you need some recipe inspiration, I have a nice collection going on Pinterest.

5. Moderation

Perhaps my favorite tip: moderation. While working hard on your diet, fitness, career, relationships, etc, find a balance in enjoying things like a spa treatment, book/magazine, coffee date, glass of wine, or something I haven’t mentioned but you love. Being healthy is a balancing act, and not about deprivation nor perfection. Work hard, play hard and enjoy the moment at hand.

 

Recipe/Meal Idea: Christmas Brunch

I love cooking and my family loves it too. This year, I am in charge on brunch Christmas morning. What do I have up my sleeve? A meal that is savory, protein and nutrient-rich and satisfying. Happy Holidays!

Sun Dried Tomato, Mushroom, Spinach Basil Crustless Quiche 

Ingredients

  • 12 organic eggs (pasture-raised preferred)
  • 2 small cartons of cage free egg whites (I do this to optimize the macro-nutrient ratio of the meal)
  • 1 1/2 cup sliced mushroom
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth (gluten free)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 bushel of fresh basil
  • 1 package of sundried tomatoes
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • coconut oil

Method

Grease a Pyrex 9×13 (size of cake pan) with coconut oil. I do this by using a sandwich bag as a “glove” and scooping the oil out of the jar.

Preheat oven at 375F.

Layer the sliced mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes and basil in the pan.

In a bowl whisk the eggs, egg whites, baking soda, salt and pepper and vegetable stock.

Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until there is no liquid in the center. I usually test the “doneness” by poking a toothpick in the middle.

*If you want the quiche to be more moist, I recommend adding 1/4-1/2 cup of organic heavy cream and/or some shredded cheese.

BaconUS Wellness Meats has awesome sugar free bacon. If you can’t get their bacon in time, I recommend pasture-raised pork bacon and/or bacon that is sulfite free and organic.

Gluten free Oatmeal – A side of oatmeal helps round out this meal, especially to those who are not used to eating a more strict paleo diet. Gluten free oats are less inflammatory than those cross-contaminated with wheat, and I prefer to boil the oats for a creamier texture. Mix in warm spices and a little sea salt.

Drinks

  • Coffee with cinnamon (my blood sugar loves this; I add about 1/2-1 tsp of cinnamon to each cup)
  • Moscato
  • Tea

Happy MLK Day!

‎”I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.”

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Let’s Talk New Year’s Resolutions

Do you have one? I have a few in mind, and while my yearly goals do not always last the 12 months, they are still good to have.

Come 2013 I will be embarking on an auto-immune diet protocol during my January Paleo Infused Nutrition Pledge. I am doing this because it will be a good challenge that will bottom-line improve my health. Most recently my thyroid has been showing some variation (signs of hashimoto’s) and ensuring my gut integrity is optimal for my well-being and defense in thyroid problems.

If I suggested this resolution to be last year or the year before, I would have set myself up for failure. It will (hopefully) work for me for this year coming, because I have a clear understanding of what I need to do, and my food intake is already rather restrictive, and more than half way in meeting the auto-immune protocol guidelines.

Overall though, the Paleo Infused Nutrition Pledge is not about restriction. It is a Pledge you come up with that aims to improve your health. You make a commitment/goal to yourself and to me your dietitian. And through the 4 week Pledge I help you stay on-top of your health game and propose some guidelines of being your healthiest you. So if you are interested, just let me know. It’s nothing to be scared of, it’s an opportunity to learn a whole new way of looking at food. Best part, you don’t have to spend time commuting to appointments, etc. The Pledge is an online private forum, where you have a dietitian, me, at your fingertips for questions and/or to voice your successes and struggles. Who wants to join?!

If you want something more hands out, I can also offer a Clean Eating Bootcamp developed by myself and an excellent Personal Trainer, Becky Schlageter, here in Chicago. Our Bootcamp is composed of 6 sessions, giving the client personal attention to their diet and fitness program. This Bootcamp will start the second Monday of every month. Who wants to join?

As a health professional, I make it my duty to create programs that are appealing, yet attainable for consumers. If neither of the above attract you, let me know what does. Nonetheless, aim to be your best person this year. Because you deserve good health, and the quality of life that goes with it.

Cheers to you and good health,.

Happy Holidays,

Kel

If This Is Out Of Order Then Everything Else Falls Apart

Can you guess what I am going to say? If you are thinking sleep, you are close! And nearly correct, but I am putting my finger on the root of the problem, which also disrupts sleep: Stress.

Stress is defined as a constraining force or influence. That is it. Just a force. But now, how can this force call for so many problems? When we are stressed our capillaries constrict, our thought processes are interrupted, focus is lost, we either reach for sugar and can’t touch food, sleep goes out the window, perhaps cholesterol levels go up, along with blood sugar and blood pressure, and geesh! We forget to breath. Yet, I know I am not addressing anything new, but the reminder this post serves to cope successfully with stress is needed; especially around the holiday season.

What are your go-to mechanisms for coping with stress? Do you call your mom? Does that do you worse? Do you go on a walk? Drink tea or water? Watch a comedy? Run? Walk? If you said yes, to any of the above, you are on a great path. But what other simple things can help you de-stress and reach your best health? How about some of these ideas?

  • While in Australia I had the pleasure of meeting with an inspiring lady who was a psychologist. We had a chat about the mad increase in anxiety currently being experienced by the common person. What is the cause? Well, there are probably a hundred things including technology, which makes us all feel like we need to know everything about everything. But the important thing to spend time on, is learn how to manage anxiety. This lady suggested for people to listen to their breathing, yet, quite often this can cause more stress. As a second recommendation, or perhaps first, she tells her patients to take 3 deep breaths every day. Or maybe twice a day. No matter what, whenever someone thinks of it, take 3 deep breaths, and soon one will find out their anxiety is less overall.
  • Gratitude. Start every morning by writing down something you are grateful for. This will assist you to practice mindfulness which is much stronger than stress.
  • Pay it forward. I think we all understand what it means to “pay it forward,” and in doing this everyone once in a while, allows us to stop and smell the roses and realize whatever race is running through our minds does not have to the tone of our day.
  • Use online free resources to help consumers manage stress, steps, food diary, labs and more.
  • Journal. Very much like the suggestion to write down one thing you are thankful for, it is also good to journal your thoughts. This is especially handy before bed. With a calm mind, comes a solid sleep.
  • Meditate. Using free resources again, iTunes has some free meditation downloads. Take advantage and decide which podcasts works best for you.
  • Exercise. Most recently I have been participating in FitGirl’s candlelit yoga sessions and they are just wonderful. I perform yoga poses in ambiance and leave with a clear mind.

Between holiday shopping, cooking and entertainment, take care of yourself with a mind, body approach.

Cheers to you and good health, Kel