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Women, Food and Desire -15 Minutes to Feeling like a Super Hero!

Women, Food and Desire-15 Minutes to Feeling like a Super Hero!

Give me 15 minutes (including the time to read this blog post!) and I’ll give you back a super hero – YOU!

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Bet that headline got your attention, huh?! The new book, “Women, Food and Desire,” by Alexandra Jamieson arrived (I think End of Dieting by Dr. Joel Fuhrman is the only other book I’ve ever pre-ordered!) two days ago. The only time I’ve been taking to “read” lately is listening to audio books while I do dishes – which is great – because it’s better than nothing. However, at the end of the day, there’s almost nothing in the world that decompresses me like reading. And we all know how much better we sleep when we read for an hour before bed vs watching TV.  The point is – apropos to this book – I couldn’t wait to sit down and savor it. So I did. In a couple of hours (with a few kid interruptions) I was at page 88. And I hope to finish it tonight! I can’t put it down.

If you don’t know who Alex Jamieson is, you may remember her as the (then) wife of the Supersize Me guy, Morgan Spurlock. She made the movie with him and is in it. At the time she was a vegan chef. She’s no longer vegan, but she is a holistic health coach, with a lot of experience and wisdom. This book seems to bring together so much of what I’ve been reading (um…I mean…listening to) about forming and breaking habits, such as The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

In my upcoming Healthy Family Healthy You book, I say, “Substitution is your strategy.” So far, Alex’s tips, along with the social science information I’ve studied, back that up. Most of what we do every day is pure habit. There are three aspects to a habit, which can be called by different names. This is what Jamieson writes: “Urge felt, action taken, need met. Impulse. Action. Satisfaction. Where we have a choice is at that middle place, the place of action.”

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I love this and suggest you read the book as I am only giving you a tiny tidbit of its fantastic revelations. My point is this: Don’t make yourself wrong for choices you don’t love. When you beat yourself up you think you’re not good enough or don’t deserve to change.  Most choices are actually habits, not choices. Most of our habitual choices don’t actually help us, at least not for long. We eat the cookie to reward ourselves at the end of a tough day and, after the 5 minute sugar high, all it does is contribute to more stress.

Jamieson suggests that when those types of urges hit, instead of doing what we always do, we sit with our feelings and write them down. First, you’ll find out what you are really feeling so you can figure out a way to actually address those feelings, rather than stuffing them down with food. Second, you’ll see that the feeling will pass, even without the cookie. And finally, you’ll feel so good about yourself when you resist your usual impulse. You don’t even have to grin and bare it. You can simply make a new choice, and, with playful curiosity, see what happens. The next day you can choose something else and figure out what will work best. If you miss lots of sugar and cream in your morning coffee, maybe there’s a specific smoothie or tea that will replace the feelings you’re looking for from the coffee. You won’t know unless you try!

That’s what I mean by 15 minutes to feeling like a super hero. You don’t have to lose 50 lbs in the next two weeks to make yourself feel good. You will feel mentally and physically fantastic, literally in 15 minutes, by changing what you do in that middle place of action.

What habits make you feel like you’re always making the wrong decision? Maybe it has the opposite effect of your intention? She suggests starting there.

So, where does the sex come in? Come on, I know that’s what you were waiting for! Well, I’m not quite up to that chapter, but I would imagine from I’ve read so far, that a woman who feels terrible in her own body won’t feel a great connection to her partner, or feel confidence in or ownership over her body (and its desires). But we’ll see what she says in the second half of the book. Maybe I’ll tell you. Maybe I won’t!

 

The Healthy Mama’s recipe for peace, love and health… in the kitchen…and beyond!

When the new year is not (only) about you!

My friend overheard her (awesome!) kids telling my daughter how everything I make at my house is healthy (and fun!), so they always know they can have it. Unfortunately, I don’t know if that’s exactly true…I feel like when they say everything at Subway and Whole Foods has a “health halo” around it – even if it is
full of sugar, white flour, red meat and fat.  Not that I sit around cooking those things, but still…I’m not perfect. I do give in and give my kids mac and cheese sometimes, although I make it from scratch, not from a box with food coloring.

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I was so happy to hear that they felt positive about my healthy food. Maybe it’s because they know I’m always trying and developing new recipes and that I genuinely value their opinions. I don’t offer new foods to guests and ask for a compliment. I really ask for feedback, nothing personal involved, especially with kids. I’m also always very positive about it myself.

I can’t wait to share the POSITIVE strategies from the Healthy Family, Healthy You book with my dear readers. It’s been a long, but rewarding journey. I now have only one and a half chapters left to edit. Of course, one of those is the recipe chapter (my book will include approximately 75 recipes), which is the most difficult to edit. (It’s because I’ve been hard at work on the book that you haven’t heard from me in a few weeks…).

If you would like to participate in the recipe testing process, please do let me know at natasha@healthyfamilyhealthyyou.com or on my Facebook page!

You must read today’s Washington Post (Food Section) article by Tamar Haspel, “Why home cooks don’t cook: Everyone’s a critic.” She makes a number of fantastic points that will leave you feeling so validated and supported as a hard-working parent, it is worth reading, just for that! Bottom line: Everyone tells busy working parents that the key to a happy and healthy family is to cook at home. However…the reward for that is often your children throwing a tantrum and demanding “kid food,” such as chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, and pizza. Multiple industries are devoted to convincing your children that this is their food and they’d better make their parents buy it. Couple the marketing with the science of targeting your taste buds with just the right combination of salt, sugar and fat, (Haspel cites Michael Moss’s game-changing book, “Salt, Sugar, Fat“) and no wonder busy parents feel defeated before they start.

She also mentions the “health halo” around home-cooked food, although it is usually true that home cooked food is lower in calories, salt, sugar and fat, than processed and restaurant meals. However, with so many convenience products on the market, it’s hard to even know what “home-cooked” means any more.

This article points out many of the challenges today’s parents face when trying to feed their family in a healthful way. Some of her suggestions, such as involving your children more in meal planning and prep, are part of the Healthy Family, Healthy You system. However, the system I provide is different than what you’ve heard before and can produce greater family transformation.

Avital's Frozen watermelon cupcakes 2

My son enjoying his sister’s recipe creation!

I can’t wait to share it with you and I thank you, now and for the future, for your patience, ideas and support.

At the beginning of 2014, I declared that I wanted to focus on SERVICE to others. I thought that would start with publishing the book. Instead, I spent the year continuing to write the book, counsel individuals, and develop my strategic system for helping others.

Many of you know how hard of a time I’ve given myself for not having finished the book as quickly as I wanted to. I am now declaring 2015 the year of HARMONY! After all, harmony is what I’m attempting to give my readers, right? Using food to bring harmony to your body, mind and your family. So I am going to declare a harmony between my work as a writer and health coach and my chosen role as a mom and wife. They all complement one another, especially because of the topic I’m writing about. I’m going to focus on that more than the competition between the two. It’s that “competition” that has “slowed” my writing process and why I had no idea how long it would take me to finish. I’m also changing slow to harmony. It’s taken me longer as my home life has positively influenced the book and my suggestions for other families.

So, as you (and I!) eagerly await the Healthy Family, Healthy You book, I wish you a harmonious year! Dream of it now, as you read the working title for the book.

Healthy Family, Healthy You: The Healthy Mama’s recipe for peace, love and health… in the kitchen…and beyond!

Heart Healthy Pumpkin Pie

5 Ways to use the Holiday Season to get Healthier and Happier than you were before!

Go into the New Year, having developed healthy habits that will increase your success, health and happiness, forever!

Imagine going into January feeling good about yourself, instead of feeling like you need to make drastic declarations and resolutions.

I know the usual tips for healthy holidays, such as eating an apple before a holiday party and drinking a glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume.

Apple Heart For Healthy Fitness

Those are great. However, I have a few new tips that I think you’ll find pretty easy to follow! After all, when it comes to feeling good, you can’t have enough advice, right?

1. ALCOHOL 

I find it a hassle to follow the standard advice of drinking a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink. If you’re at a bar, it could take you 15 minutes to get a glass of water from the bartender. If you’re at a holiday party, they probably won’t even serve water. I have a different suggestion. Drink the water with your drink. For instance, scotch and “soda” (club soda) or water or white wine spritzers. If you like white wine, spritzers are a fantastic replacement for a full glass of wine. They taste pretty much the same as wine, but you’re consuming less alcohol, fewer calories and staying hydrated. Less alcohol also means your lack of inhibition from too much alcohol won’t cause you to overeat (or embarrass yourself at the office party!).

2. EAT FAT

Empty white flour breads, pasta, fries, and other fried foods, will only fuel your hunger. If you add healthy fat (avocados, nuts or seeds (and not oil!) to each meal, along with a large amount of fruits and vegetables, you will feel satisfied longer and be able to…

3. STOP EATING!

Look for every opportunity NOT to eat. If you wake up and you’re not hungry, wait until you are hungry to eat. In the meantime, drink water.

I also suggest you wait until mid morning to consume coffee if you can. That’s because caffeine can make you shaky and hungry – and also need to eat between breakfast and lunch.

If you don’t have an event one evening, make it a point to have a bowl of vegetable soup for dinner (and a salad if you’d like), and then STOP EATING.

Be sure not to eat for 12 hours (in a row) each day (after you have that down, try for 14) and work hard not to snack between meals.Your body develops habits. If you make it a habit not to eat between meals (even if it’s difficult the first few days), your body won’t be looking for food all the time.  Soon, you’ll find you don’t feel as hungry as you used to each day. In addition, this will help you go into a holiday party feeling confident that you can make good choices.

At the party, survey all of the food first and then decide what you can’t live without. Then take a few bites of each and be done with it. Focus on drinking water or a watered down drink after that. Say to yourself, “I came. I enjoyed several treats. I’m done. Now I’m going to hang out with my friends.”

Think of how great you’ll feel about yourself when you get home and when you wake up next day. Or, if you’re tempted to over -indulge, think of how down you’ll feel physically and mentally if you do so. Then, choose YOU. Choose health. Choose happiness. Not cake. You can do it!

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4. LIFT WEIGHTS.

Even if you’re not at your happiest weight, start to lift weights and you’ll soon feel stronger and more confident. This will leak into your eating habits and even how you carry yourself each day. Confident-looking people receive different treatment than the meek. You can truly change your daily life, belief in yourself, and others confidence in you, this way. Pick 2 to 3 times each day you can pick up free weights and do 1 or 2 specific exercises. Be sure to vary them so that all of your muscle groups will work throughout the week. You don’t have to make time to go to the gym. We can all steal 5 minutes a few times per day. For proper form and exercise ideas, see a personal trainer in person or on YouTube.

5. LISTEN TO THIS BOOK! 

The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table | [Tracie McMillan]

The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan. This reporter goes undercover picking crops in California, working in produce at Walmart and working at Applebee’s. You will have a new appreciation for fresh fruits and vegetables, their ability to nourish and give pleasure, and your ability to purchase, cook and eat them.

As an aside, I started out listening to books to get me to stop hating doing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen. Instead, I’m rewarded by the pleasure of enjoying a book. I’ve now discovered that some books are even better in audio, because of the depth it can add to the characters. I listened to Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman. I can’t imagine that book, or this, without the character’s accents. It almost feels like listening to television. When you don’t have to imagine the accents, it is more relaxing and entertaining to “read”.

Imagine going into January feeling good about yourself, instead of feeling like you need to make drastic declarations and resolutions.

Ready, set, go!

Happy Holidays!