I Hate Vegetables

asparagus

When I asked you a couple of months ago about your biggest nutrition issues, a lot of people said, “I don’t know what to do with vegetables”. Or, “I don’t like vegetables”. Honestly, this surprised me. Vegetables are that much of a problem for others? I thought it was just me!

Maybe I didn’t really hate vegetables. Honestly, “hate” is a bit strong. And, it’s is no longer true. I actually love vegetables now.

How did I go from disliking vegetables to loving them? I learned how to choose and cook veggies in ways that are quick, easy, and actually taste good. There are certain veggie dishes that I now crave. Yup, c-r-a-v-e.

This is a long way from when my brother and I would make chicken fried steak (I grew up in Texas) and instant mashed potatoes. Do they even still make instant mashed potatoes? Never mind. I really don’t want to know.

“Good” vegetables came from Luby’s (a cafeteria) where I got mashed potatoes with gravy and fried okra. Other than that, vegetables were something to be avoided if possible and tolerated if they couldn’t be avoided.

Another reason I have a hard time with vegetables is that I’m a Super Taster. Super Tasters have a genetic variation that makes some vegetables – particularly cruciferous veggies – broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts – and some greens very bitter. The research has shown that Super Tasters eat fewer vegetables than non-Super Tasters. There! My genes made me do it! (Note: If someone in your family doesn’t like these vegetables ask them why. It could be because they are a Super Taster.)

How did I go from avoiding vegetables to craving them?

Lia Huber and her Cook the Seasons website* changed my relationship with vegetables. Lia has a passion for cooking – especially vegetables. She focuses on providing recipes for vegetables that are in season (which means they are less expensive), easy, and quick. Using Lia’s recipes, I’ve become more comfortable in the kitchen, have expanded my repertoire of cooking skills, and am eating more and a wider variety of vegetables than ever before.

One of my favorite recipes is for Brussels sprouts. Yup. One of those foods that Super Tasters typically avoid. I can’t eat Brussels sprouts steamed. However, Lia’s Crispy Mustard-Coated Brussels Sprouts recipe has me actually craving them. My mouth is watering just thinking about this recipe.

In addition to all of the vegetable recipes, Lia provides recipes for proteins (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian), flavor builders (sauces and other ways to add flavor to your meals), and occasionally beverages. Lia also tells you which recipes go well together as well as how to transform one recipe into another so you aren’t eating the same leftovers day after day.

Cook the Seasons also includes a weekly meal plan (that generates a grocery list – score!) that you can use or not. You can also create your own meal plan using the Meal Mapper. The system will then generate a grocery list for you.

If you want to learn how to work more vegetables into your meals, and actually enjoy them then I’d encourage you to join Cook the Seasons. You can use this link* and in the code area enter “FRIEND” in the “Apply Coupon Code” are and get $10 off either a quarterly or annual subscription.

If you’re ready to love your veggies, then give Cook the Seasons* a try.

And, let me know what your most and least favorite veggies are in the comments below.\

*Note: This is an affiliate link (meaning I’ll get a small referral fee if you choose to purchase using it; I’d recommend it even without the affiliate link).

Ready To Put The “Happy” Back In Your Holidays?

holiday-happiness

By: Jessica Waclawski, Kara Wickman, and Penny Wilson

I know it’s “only” October.

I know you may not be ready to face the Holidays. But. . .

By starting to think about them now, you can start getting ready to have the Holidays you want. . . .To focus on family, friends, food, and fitness. To put the “Happy” back in your Holidays.

What do you expect?

The holidays are filled with messages of joy, peace, and love. But, in reality, it’s a time of high stress and high expectations! We tend to get caught up in what we “should” do, how the holidays “should” be, and spiral into a cycle of comparing the “should” to reality.

We never feel like we’re doing enough, like we’re enough, like the life we created isn’t enough.

What most of us really want – I mean really, really want – is to focus on our family, friends, food, and fitness.

Not all of the artificial “happiest time of the year” stuff that doesn’t ring true. And, doesn’t really make it the “happiest time of the year”.

Rates of depression and anxiety drastically increase during the holidays. If you’re alone, you may feel that loneliness even more. It appears as if everyone else is having a great time with their loved ones.

If you’re a perfectionist (to any degree) your expectations go through the roof as you worry about entertaining guests and family and making every event the “perfect” event. Your bank account shrinks as demands to choose and buy the perfect gifts grow.

Is your heart rate increasing just thinking about all the demands of the holiday season? Mine is! But here’s the thing that we seem to forget… we get to CHOOSE. We get to choose what makes our season Merry and Bright. We get to CHOOSE how we want to spend our hard earned money. And we get to CHOOSE what will fill our hearts with joy and peace.

But, here’s the thing that we seem to forget… we get to CHOOSE. We get to choose what makes our season Merry and Bright. We get to CHOOSE how we want to spend our hard earned money. And we get to CHOOSE what will fill our hearts with joy and peace.

One of the tricks to managing the sky-high holiday expectations is to step away from what the commercials, your mother, or even your memories tell you what the holiday season SHOULD be. Listening to what everyone else thinks creates unrealistic expectations that everyone falls short of.

So, what can you do? Start now – today – by redefining what the holidays mean to you. Choose what you want most to get from this time of year.

Start reevaluating and CHOOSING for yourself what you desire most!

Stop. Take a deep breath. Think about what you want this holiday season to be like. Choose what you want – what you really want. Get a pen and paper. Now, write down what you want this holiday season to be like.

What about the food?

Food is one of the main focuses of holiday celebrations. And, the person responsible for food is even under more pressure than everyone else.

Is that you?

If so, now is the time to begin thinking about what your expectations are for holiday meals. Just because things have been done a certain way in the past doesn’t mean it has to continue being that way this year.

Think about what your ideal role with the food would be this holiday season. Don’t use commercials or ads to decide what you would want. Think about what you want.

Maybe rather than having all of the extended family over you’d prefer to have a small gathering with just yourself, your partner and your children or just close friends.

Don’t censor yourself. There is no “right” or “wrong” – only what you want.

If cooking stresses you out, whether you cook some or all of the food, what can you do this year to reduce that stress? Can you enlist others to help? Can you order some of the food out? Again, none of these are “right” or “wrong”. They are different ways of getting food on the table.

Because, what’s more important . . .you being relaxed and able to enjoy the holidays with your friends and family or you being stressed out trying to do everything yourself and not able to enjoy the holidays?

Stop. Take a deep breath. Think about what you want the food, and your role in producing the food, this holiday season to be like. Choose what you want – what you really want with the food – going out, staying home and cooking or a combination. You get to choose what you want. Now, write it down.

Choosing what you desire for the holidays, as well as setting reasonable expectations, is such an important part of getting the happy back in your holiday. Lastly, let’s look at goal setting, as it relates to taking care of YOU during this busy time.

Goals?

Have you ever said to yourself, ‘I just need to get through the holidays and then…(insert here)? Then I’ll start exercising. Then I’ll start eating better. Then I’ll deal with that issue.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic to not just get THROUGH the holidays, but actually THRIVE through the holidays?

To be able to get back to a time of genuine thankfulness, celebration, and pure joy. To enjoy your family, friends, food, and fitness.

There will never be a perfect time, no perfect date on the calendar to start making healthier decisions that will affect every area of your life. Why not start now – with some baby steps? Do something small every day and begin to develop those habits.

This holiday season, I challenge you to think about exercise and movement in a different way. Instead of massive, over reaching goals that you save for the New Year, focus on small ways you can fit movement in each day. With busy schedules, parties, shopping, and preparation, how you take care of yourself may look different during this time of year.

And guess what…that is OK.

It may require creativity concerning when and how you take care of yourself. But, if we spend a little time thinking about how we can make this holiday different than years past, that HAPPY that we are longing for, might just creep back in.

In a time where we often forget about ourselves, I encourage you to make the time anyway. Your future self will thank you – not only for beating the holiday pounds, but more importantly for clarity, peace of mind, reduced stress and anxiety…and happiness. When we focus on these bigger outcomes, more intrinsic reasons for movement, we find habits easier to stick with.

Often times a stumbling block to achieving our goals is trying to replicate how someone else does things. Get rid of comparison. Comparison is a destructive thing that keeps us from real joy and from achieving the goals we set for ourselves.

Before the hustle and bustle of the season picks up, sit with yourself and think about what will work for YOU. Remember that pen and paper? Grab it again and write down what you would like fitness to be like during this year’s holiday season.

Ready for a Happier Holidays?

Now, take a couple of more minutes and look back at all of your notes. What do you think? How do you feel when reading them again?Keep your notes handy so you can look back at them when you get caught up in the “shoulding” or unrealistic expectations of the season. Remind yourself that this is your holidays. You deserve to have the holiday season you want.

Keep your notes handy so you can look back at them when you get caught up in the “shoulding” or unrealistic expectations of the season. Remind yourself that this is your holidays. You deserve to have the holiday season you want.

This is just the beginning of some ideas behind what we will be discussing in our upcoming webinar. We’ll be focusing on how to have a Happy Stress Free Holiday. Watch for information on how to sign up for our FREE webinar where you’ll receive our 5 secrets to a holiday free of stress! Join us as we dive into this topic and share more strategies to equip you with the tools to enjoy a truly Happy Holiday. Then come the New Year you will already be feeling successful rather than stressed!

Now, it’s your turn. Tell me in the comments below a few things that come to mind that you’d like to do differently this holiday season.

Want to take a LEAP?

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Have you ever tried to cut foods out of your diet to feel better only to not feel any different? Or, only a little better? Or worse? A lot of people I talk to cut out gluten thinking that’s what’s causing the problems. And, they feel a little better. Or, they cut out dairy and get the same results.

Using an untargeted elimination diet is like using a shotgun to hit something tiny, say, a fly. You scatter your attempts over a large area and you might find the food or foods that are causing your symptoms. Or, probably not. If you were trying to shoot something small, like a fly, wouldn’t it be better to use something that you could aim at that small target? Like a laser?

Although there isn’t a gold standard for food sensitivity testing, I’ve started using Mediator Release Testing (MRT) in my practice. MRT looks at the mediators, or chemical messengers, your immune cells give off when exposed to food and chemicals. The test looks at 120 foods and 30 chemicals. These mediators then cause you not to feel good – headaches, migraines, fatigue, brain fog, or digestive issues just to name a few of the issues they can cause.

One of the reasons I like MRT is that the test quantifies the response of your immune cells to foods and chemicals. We can then develop an elimination diet based on how your immune system responds to the tested foods and chemicals. We start with the foods that have the smallest reaction. You eat those foods for a couple of weeks, until you start to feel better. Most people begin to feel better within a few days to a couple of weeks.

After you feel better, we add foods back in to your diet and start adding in untested foods. Before you know it, you feel better, know what foods to eat to keep you feeling that way, and know what foods cause you to feel worse.

So, what would you rather use – a shotgun or a laser – to shoot something small? I’d rather use a laser. And, with MRT I have a laser in my toolbox to help you feel better. If you want to know more, just click here to contact me.

It’s all so confusing! Is it an allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity?

allergies

Our bodies don’t always like the foods we eat and beverages we drink. I’m sure this is no surprise. What can be confusing, though, are the different types of reactions to food and beverages that our body can produce. Understanding the differences can help figure out what is going on. However, even understanding the differences and labels for those responses can be confusing. There isn’t a standard definition of allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity that is agreed upon in the medical community. The definitions I use below are the ones I use with my clients.

The first type of reaction is a true allergy. With a true food allergy, there is an anaphylactic response. This means the person gets an itchy mouth, closing of the esophagus, swelling of the tongue, etc. These require an immediate response, usually with an EpiPen and a trip to the hospital.

Next, are food intolerances. These are when someone is intolerant to a food it is less serious and typically involves digestive issues. For example, lactose intolerance is a food intolerance. You are missing the enzyme lactase that is needed to break down lactose. Irritable bowel syndrome may be a cause of food intolerances. Stress and psychological can come into play – the thought of food can make you sick.

Food sensitivities are when your immune system releases mediators. There are about 100 different mediators that your immune cells can release in response to a food. Mediators can cause inflammation, edema (water retention), mucus secretion, and pain receptor activation among other symptoms. When you eat a food and your immune system responds by releasing mediators you feel a symptom from that food that may not necessarily seem to be related to the food. Some mediators are linked to migraines. Others to IBS. Others seem to be associated with arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

There is no “gold standard” for food sensitivity testing. That’s another reason that is confusing. However, that doesn’t mean that food sensitivity testing shouldn’t be a tool you can use to figure out what is causing your problems.

Have you been tested for food sensitivities? If so, post your experience below. I’d be interested in hearing about it. If you’re interested in food sensitivity testing or seeing if it is right for you, you can contact me here.

Got aches? Pains? Migraines? Have you asked, “Could it be food?”

Tired woman

Are you tired of hearing, “You’re not as young as you used to be. You’ve got to expect to not feel as good as you did when you were younger.” Maybe you’ve got some aches and pains you haven’t been able to figure out. Maybe you’ve developed migraines. Maybe your having stomach issues. Have you ever wondered if these things could be connected to the food you eat?

Your body is a mass of chemical reactions going on all the time. All of the systems – cardiovascular, muscular, digestive, etc. – are all related. No one system functions without affecting the others. And, the food we eat comes into play in a lot of ways.

You may have heard that somewhere between 70-80% of your immune system resides in your digestive tract. When I first heard this, I thought it couldn’t be true. As I started learning more, I found out it is true. And, it actually makes sense.

Like our skin, our digestive tract is constantly in contact with the outside world. We are putting things from the environment (things that are not of our body, if you will) inside our body to get nutrition from it. As the food, drink and supplements pass through our digestive tract, your body has to be sure that things that you don’t need, or may harm you, don’t get into your body. Your digestive tract does this by having a highly acidic environment in your stomach (unless you are taking medications to reduce your stomach acid) and by having a lot of immune cells in your small intestine.

These immune cells in your small intestine act like bouncers by keeping your body from absorbing things that it shouldn’t and fighting off things that could harm you. Sometimes when your immune cells encounter things they need to fight off, they release mediators. These mediators can then cause the symptoms you feel – aches, pains, migraines, etc. And, tracking down the underlying cause of these symptoms can be difficult because most doctors and internet searches won’t look at food. But, maybe it is the food. . . .

Next week, I’ll cover how to figure out if it is the food.

If you want to talk about if what you’re feeling could be related to food, just click here and get in touch. I’d be happy to talk it through with you.