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Friday, November 21, 2014

Healthy Holiday with Alcohol!

Get ready to explore the inside secrets to how to maintain (or reclaim) a healthy mind and body during the holidays. Previously we have talked about how to avoid overindulging at holiday parties by focusing on the hours before the party. We must be willing to ignore the voices in our heads telling us to “save up calories.” or “It’s the holidays, you deserve it!”  Now, let’s address another set of voices that we have around alcohol. Yes, I am going to talk about your wine…but remember it’s my wine too!

I’ve been there. I have had those crazy voices tell me:
  • Don’t eat, just drink.
  • Just drink vodka, it’s clear and less calories.
  • I will just “drink” my dinner.
  • I won’t feel bloated if I just drink and don’t eat food.
  • I need alcohol to relax. I deserve it after the week I’ve had!
  • I need alcohol to get through the emotional rollercoaster of the holidays.

Identify the voice that most closely represents how you feel during the holidays, or perhaps it is one that is not mentioned. Now choose whether or not you view these thoughts and subsequent actions as something you want to change.

Personally, I made a commitment to not struggle through one more holiday season drinking away my sorrows. At 23 my mom died of cancer and for five years I drank to get through the holidays. It was too much to bear that she wasn’t around. My belief was the holiday season would never be the same joyous time I had remembered as a kid and each year I relentlessly punished my body and drowned my sorrows in alcohol. Some of you know exactly what I am talking about, although the tough memories may be different from mine.  People with these voices spend holiday parties drinking so we can relax and act happy to hide how we are really feeling. For people experiencing sadness and loss during the holidays, there is healing, but it’s not at the bottom of a bottle! You can do it!

Okay, enough of the serious talk! Let’s first get something straight, I enjoy me some red wine and those of you who know me can attest to this! During the holidays, however, it seems that the once a week party/event can easily turn into a four day a week drinking binge if we are not careful. This can absolutely affect !our health and our waistline, not to mention our moods. So, how do we enjoy “spirits” without taking out the fun or being anti-social?

Here are five tips to enjoy your “spirits” while still being “spirited”:

1.     Sip, don’t chug. You can make a glass of wine last five minutes or all night. It’s how you approach the drink. A trick that works for me is to order the most expensive glass of wine on the menu. Although your husband may give you the look of death, the reasoning is that I drink a $6.00 dollar glass of wine much different (and faster) than a $25.00 glass of wine! This is a reality check behind the reason you are drinking. Are you drinking to relax, stuff your feelings or be someone different or do you really enjoy drinking the wine? Is it about quantity or quality?


2.     Fake it. Sometimes I just want to hold a really pretty glass with a cute thin straw. There doesn’t even need to be alcohol in the glass, although it will appear to others that there is! If you are a social drinker and sometimes feel pressure to drink at EVERY event because everyone else is, try having ice, spritzer water, a splash of cranberry juice, a squeezed lime and a straw! This is not only delicious, but it looks like a legit cocktail!  I love to have these ingredients on hand at home during the holidays if I feel like enjoying a fun drink to kick back and relax with.

3.     BYOB. If you are attending a party where you bring your own drinks, ONLY bring the amount you want to drink! Make this decision while you are rational and not caught up in the moment of the party. Leave no room for a conversation with yourself about overindulging. If you don’t have it, you don’t drink it.

4.     Drink Water. You have probably heard this before, but have you done it?
Drink water between every alcoholic drink. It works. Drinking alcohol is EXTREMELY dehydrating and is very toxic, so your body will appreciate an opportunity to detoxify and rehydrate. Sip the water, don’t chug.

5.     Create a Safe Environment. Because of my tendencies to get sad during the holidays, I choose to keep my home safe and free of wine because it is a trigger for me. Is alcohol in your home a trigger for you? What specifically? Do you find yourself using “it’s the holidays” as an excuse to indulge throughout the week either by yourself or with your partner? Don’t rely on willpower when it comes to alcohol in your home! Set yourself up to win!

Remember, you first have to evaluate your behavior and reasons for indulging in alcohol and determine if you want something different this holiday season.  It is empowering for me to have other outlets to deal with my sadness, stress, frustrations, etc. without alcohol.  A glass of wine no longer controls whether I stuff or unload my emotions. You can have this same freedom too! Cheers to your health and empowerment!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Tips for Fixing Holiday Meals

The holidays are a wonderful time of food and fellowship, but they can definitely be overwhelming!  If you are on any kind of health journey and want to stay true to the journey, you may need some tips for fixing holiday meals to ensure that you are creating meals that everyone will love and not spending hours in the kitchen. Here are our top five tips for fixing holiday meals that are healthy and tasty!

Tip #1: Be prepared.
You have to have a game plan and this game plan needs to be created longer than 24 hours prior to your meal!  Even if you are not a planner, this is crucial to preserve your sanity and to keep you organized and focused. List all categories or types of recipes you are searching for; soups, dips, stuffing, gravy, potatoes, turkey, desserts etc. If you need some simple and healthy ideas for traditional holiday meals in these categories, check out this economical cookbook.  Print out or copy every recipe that you will be preparing and from those recipes, create your grocery list, putting down only the items you will need to purchase from the store. 

Tip #2: Create a timeline.
What recipes are you able to make one, two or even three days before your holiday gathering? Fixing holiday meals does NOT need to happen all in one day (or by one person, see next tip)!  Many dips and desserts can be made well ahead of time. What meals have to be prepared the day of? Put your recipes in order of most time to least amount of time they will take to prepare and cook or chill. Set the time you want dinner served and work backwards to create a timeline of when each recipe needs to begin in order to be put in the oven and/or refrigerator and ready by dinner.

Tip #3: Ask for support.
This is my favorite tip for fixing holiday meals! Are you a “do it all” type of person? I bet that shows up in your life a lot! Many times your friends and family will ask if there is anything they can bring to the feast. How often do you say “yes” and also offer them a recipe to prepare? If you have a “vision” of what the feast will look like and people are eager to contribute, let them bring recipes that are already on your menu for the meal! If you are also focusing on creating a healthy holiday meal, this will ensure that your theme stays true.  Asking for support is also useful when it comes to finding recipes that fit into your healthy criteria! What have other people done? (Be sure to ask people that are actually on a health journey or you may be disappointed with the recipes they suggest.)


Tip #4: The cook doesn’t do the dishes!
I had to throw this tip in! This is a simple rule that works if you use it. After fixing a holiday meal for hours (or possibly days), the LAST thing on your “fun list” is doing the dishes. We have a rule in our house that you either cook or clean. If the women are cooking, then the men are cleaning! It’s only fair! After all, lowering your stress and relaxing is a healthy way to end a healthy meal!


Tip #5: Record what worked.
For some of you these tips for preparing holiday meals are something you search for EVERY year! Jot down what worked well, what recipes people loved and what would have made your life easier. There is a ton of insight during and immediately following these types of events, to take advantage of the lessons learned!
These tips for fixing holiday meals are only useful if they are applied! Make this the holiday season that you do something different to avoid feeling overwhelmed 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Five Tips for Healthy Edge Holidays

Do you believe it is possible to go through a holiday season and not put on an additional 5, 10 or 15 pounds? What about the possibility to actually RELEASE weight during the holidays? There are MANY people who make it through the holidays without gaining weight…it has been done. However, if you don’t believe YOU can do it, you will find yourself repeating the same pattern from years past. The only limits you have are the limits you have placed in your life. Are you ready to breakthrough and create something different and exciting in your life?


Let’s start with the foundation of our healthy journey: remembering your “WHY” for being healthy. There is not a better time than the holidays to remember what is really important in life. As you spend time with the people who mean the most to you, realize that your health is what allows you the time and energy to truly enjoy the experiences and memories. Being sick, depressed, tired and overweight is no way to spend the holidays or your life for that matter.

Here are some guiding principles of The Healthy Edge lifestyle to maximize your health during the holidays.

1. EAT! Skipping meals or starving yourself to “save up” calories for a holiday dinner/party is an  equation for disaster. This leads to carbohydrate binges, overeating, energy crashes, decreased  metabolism and unwanted storage of fat all wrapped up in some self-loathing. Be sure to eat a low-glycemic breakfast within an hour of waking and continue to fuel your body every 2-3 hours to keep your metabolism burning, your energy soaring and your appetite in check.


2. Drink 80 oz. or more of water daily. As one of the guiding Healthy Edge principles, drinking water will keep you energized and supports weight release. Many people mistake “hunger” for “thirst” and as “spirits” flow at your holiday events, water can ensure that the next morning isn’t accompanied by a headache.




3. Create new traditions with food. Instead of Great Grandma’s pound cake or the “cheese ball” you make each year, what about embracing the idea of doing something different (and healthy)? Prepare and bring “Healthy Edge” dishes to parties so you can feel confident of your food choices! Raspberry Quinoa Applesauce, Brown Basmati Rice and Apple Stuffing, Smashed Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower Gratin with Gruyere Cheese are among the favorites! What a treat to enjoy flavorful and healthy food and not end up on the couch with your pants
unbuttoned!

4. Commit to exercise. I know, when do you possibly have time to exercise during the holidays? Make a minimal commitment of exercising three days a week instead of taking the entire holiday season off. Workout DVD’s are great during the holidays when the weather keeps you inside. Cleaning your house for guests can become an opportunity for a built in workout. Exercise makes you more sensitive to your insulin levels, revs up your metabolism and puts you in a better mood along with the amazing health benefits for your heart and lungs.

5. Keep your environment safe. Probably the most powerful tip in The Healthy Edge lifestyle is controlling your environment. Commit to keeping your refrigerator and pantry a safe haven, full of whole grains, fruit, vegetable, lean meats, nuts and beans. Choose to NOT bring home leftovers or sweets from the office or parties. The Healthy Edge Cookbook is an incredible resource for quick, easy and delicious recipes and can be found at your local Marlene’s Market.

Believe in yourself and the value of your health and your family’s health. The Healthy Edge is your lifestyle resource for living your abundant life. Check out The Healthy Edge program opportunities at  www.getthehealthyedge.com.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Be a Party Girl, Without the Party Pooch

It would happen EVERY year. The holidays would come along and all self-control (and reason) went out the window. I remember the evil little voice inside me saying, “Come on, it’s a party!” or “It’s okay, it’s the holidays, indulge!” and the almighty “You deserve it”.  Fast forward to after a couple glasses of wine and the voice would say, “Well, since you’ve come this far, you might as well go for it and really blow it!” Please tell me I am not the only one who hears these types of voices.

I remember feeling the guilt of the choices I made the night (or even week) before as I would drive to the next evening’s festivity. My guilt and bruised self-esteem would allow the voice to kick in and say, “Go for it Amber, after all, the holidays only last a couple of months. You’ll get back at it in January!”  But after too many holidays that left me feeling run down, sick, pudgy and depressed, I decided enough is enough! So for all you people, who feel enough is enough, read on!

I discovered there are ways to not only ENJOY the holidays, but preserve and perhaps rediscover your self-worth while dropping a pant size. YES, ladies, it is possible to actually drop a pant size (or more) through the holidays and I’m not talking about buying a pair of spanks or getting it sucked out of your gut. Seriously, how amazing would you feel if you didn’t gain one single pound this holiday season and you didn’t have to do the dreaded “d” word (diet)? This is the year, my friend!

Here is the first tip and the essence of my personal “party animal” mode for the holidays. I never, ever (did I mention NEVER) show up to a party or event hungry…EVER! The “old self-sabotaging” Amber denied herself all day in order to save up calories for a party. Some of you are chuckling, because you know EXACTLY what I am talking about.  Somehow the math added up in my head that if I barely ate all day then I deserved to eat and drink uncontrollably and it wouldn’t affect my weight. Unfortunately our body’s metabolism (that some of you claims has STOPPED) doesn’t appreciate this type of behavior and it will ultimately backfire (if it hasn’t yet, TRUST me it will!). Not only will you consume more calories, your body will REFUSE to efficiently burn those calories because of the deprivation that happened earlier in the day. For those non-believers, read on!
  • How many of you are mothering a cute little “pooch” around the mid-section? Ladies, pooches are cute, but only if they bark quietly and poop outside the house. 
  • Have you ever tried to “lose” (I prefer the term release) weight and no matter what how many calories you cut or how many painstaking hours you spend at boot camp, the weight is just NOT coming off…or at least not in the places you want it to come off?
  • Are you tired?
  • Are you bloated?
  • Would people say you are moody? (Don’t take your opinion for it, ask someone…but please don’t bite their head off if you don’t like the answer.)
  • Are you feeling depressed or unmotivated?
  • Are you not sleeping well?
  • Not pooping? (Oh yes, ladies I said it and we need to talk about it!)
All of these things can be linked to our obsessive behavior of calorie counting, deprivation and then binging. This is NOT going to get us the body and health of our dreams.
So in order to be in control of every situation and make decisions with our heads and not our empty stomachs, we have avoid living in the EXTREMES of being either stuffed or starved.
Here are some basic guidelines:
  1. Eat breakfast, even if you are not hungry. Be sure it is low-glycemic and whole food based.
  2. Drink water all day long.  Dehydration = hunger.
  3. Eat every 2-3 hours after breakfast.  Some of you calorie counters are about ready to have a heart attack, but trust me, it works.
  4. Have a light snack immediately before the event.

The result of these small shifts in behavior will be an increased energy level.  People will be commenting on how great you look rather than asking you “what’s wrong”. (“What’s wrong” usually means “you look like poo.”) You will enjoy the true reason you love to attend parties in the first place which is to connect with people you love and meet new people you can love!

So what’s the worst thing that could happen if you follow this advice?

·        You have one or two glasses of wine instead of a whole bottle.
o   You save yourself from being “that woman” at the holiday party that people are talking about the next day.
·        You choose a small side plate and fill it with a sampling of what is being served and you actually look at the food, chew the food and appreciate the taste the food, rather than acting like an animal eating out of a trough.
·        You carefully choose a dessert on the dessert tray and because you are so full, you split it with a couple of friends and perhaps have a bite of one of their desserts.  
·        You leave with your dignity and your pants stay buttoned on the drive home!

If this scenario sounds AWFUL to anyone, I don’t know what else to tell you. But if you feel hopeful and excited, these tips will work for you.


If you would like more tips on staying on track and empowered during the holidays, we have a FREE presentation for you HERE! Check it out! 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Holiday Party Patrol

It would happen EVERY year. The holidays would come along and all self-control (and reason) went out the window. I remember the evil little voice inside me saying, “Come on, it’s a party!” or “It’s okay, it’s the holidays, indulge!” and the almighty “You deserve it”. Fast forward to after a couple glasses of wine and the voice would say, “Well, since you’ve come this far, you might as well go for it and really blow it!” Please tell me I am not the only one who hears these types of voices.


I remember feeling the guilt of the choices I made the night (or even week) before as I would drive to the next evening’s festivity. My guilt and bruised self-esteem would allow the voice to kick in and say, “Go for it Amber, after all, the holidays only last a couple of months. You’ll get back at it in January!” But after too many holidays that left me feeling run down, sick, pudgy and depressed, I decided enough is enough! So for all you people, who feel enough is enough, please read on!

I discovered there are ways to not only ENJOY the holidays, but preserve and perhaps rediscover your self-worth while dropping a pant size. YES, it is possible to actually drop a pant size (or more) through the holidays and I’m not talking about buying a pair of spanks or getting it surgically sucked out of your gut. Seriously, how amazing would you feel if you didn’t gain one single pound this holiday season and you didn’t have to do the dreaded “d” word (diet)? This is the year, my friend!

The Healthy Edge is here to support you this Holiday Season!! They are offering the PERFECT 4-part series for you PARTY ANIMALS (or not) who want to remain empowered and in control during the holidays!  Watch this Introductory Video to learn more!!

This series will consist of 4 15-20 minute power audios to keep you on track this Holiday!

Part I: Identify Your Holiday Personality 
Are you a party animal? A wall-flower? A people-pleaser? How you do anything is how you do everything.
Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is pain. When you discover HOW your personality style deals with the holiday season, you will start to see the story you tell yourself that leads to predictable behaviors and patterns. With knowledge, comes power. With power comes empowerment. Get ready to discover your holiday story and re-write it for 2014.

Part II: Setting Yourself Up to Win 
Do you save up your calories for the holiday party later that evening? Or are you someone who controls themselves, but takes home leftovers and indulges in the privacy of your own home? Lovingly, I would like to ask you, how does that work for you? I’m not a fan willpower or all-or-nothing living. I prefer to be empowered and in-control. What if there was a way to set yourself up to feel completely empowered and in control of your actions at parties and emotions during the holidays? I am excited to set you up with the keys to put you back in the driver’s seat of your own health and happiness.

Part III: Dealing with The Family Dysfunction
We all have a bit of dysfunction in our families (and friends). It’s amazing how quickly we can be transported to the memories and feelings of the past by a word, phrase, look or act. It may be what your “mother-in-law” says every year about your cooking, or how your father passive-aggressively talks about your mother, or how your sibling(s) always have a way of making you feel like you are trying to be better than everyone else. Whatever your story or situation, I get it. So it’s important we talk about it. You may have all of the best intentions to stay on track during the holidays, but when you are immersed in resentment, it is easy to look for a way to self-medicate. This usually leads to saying something you regret and the dysfunction escalates. I will give you some incredible insight and coping skills to deal with your family dysfunction and avoid the negative health effects of  drinking and eating.

Part IV: Busting Through To a Breakthrough.
We all desire to grow and expand our lives (not our waistlines). This final audio is going to give you an opportunity to explore what may be holding you back from actually executing a different strategy this year during the holidays. It’s our belief systems. Get ready to bring to light the beliefs that drive your actions, even if the actions produce results you don’t want! We will discuss how we make choices to move away from pain or towards pleasure, especially around food, alcohol, exercise and eating healthy during the holidays. This is a powerful lesson that will has the power to transform your current and future health reality.

Join this series and receive 15 – 20 minute audios to empower and inspire you through the holidays. Listen to them on your iPhone or iPod.  These audios will be available (one delivered each week) in our online community that you are a part of as soon as you join! You will also enjoy a weekly newsletter full of additional support including guilt-free holidays recipes designed to keep your hips and bum in check. You can also interact with our private and supportive Facebook Community that will provide you daily holiday tips.  THERE’S MORE! Also enjoy access to the most comprehensive and supportive online health library including access to hundreds of ADDITIONAL delicious whole-food recipes.


This series is offered to The Healthy Edge online community members. You can join our online community FREE for 7 days and join for only $9.97 monthly. Cancel at anytime. No obligation.  Sign up today at www.getthehealthyedge.com!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Black Bean and Tomato Stew



It was one of the first chilly fall days and ALL that I could think of was enjoying a hot and soothing bowl of chili. Because I had failed to plan that day and put the chili in the crockpot, I found myself looking in the refrigerator and pantry at 5:00 trying to find something that would satisfy my appetite. I came up with this dish that did the trick and took less than 20 minutes to prep and cook.
I suggest serving this stew over cooked quinoa, brown rice or sprouted whole grain pasta, it becomes a delicious sauce bursting with flavors due to all of the seasoning. If you have kids that are picky about onions, be sure to finely chop the onions. As you cook them, they will soften and blend into the tomatoes avoiding the crunchy texture that most kids (and some adults) dislike.
Most of the ingredients are spices along with black beans, onions and tomatoes. You can add more black beans for additional fiber and more protein, and increase the cayenne pepper if you like a more intense kick. You can easily add chicken or beef to this dish for the meat loving family. If you do not have quinoa, rice or sprouted grain pasta already prepared, be sure to begin cooking these before you begin prepping and preparing this meal.

Ingredients:
·         1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes (with juice)
·         1 can organic black beans (drained and rinsed)
·         1 medium onion, chopped
·         4 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
·         ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
·         1 tsp. cumin
·         ¾ tsp. ground coriander
·         1 tsp. dried basil
·         ½ tsp. oregano
·         2 Tbsp. olive oil



 Directions:
1.       Heat skillet on medium high. Add olive oil, onions, garlic and spices. 
2.       Cook until onions are soft (approximately 4-5 minutes).
3.       Add tomatoes and black beans to skillet. Reduce heat to medium and bring mixture to a simmer. Allow to simmer for approximately five minutes.
4.       Remove from heat and serve over rice, quinoa or sprouted whole grain pasta.
That’s it! For more amazing whole food recipes, we suggest The Healthy Edge for over 300 recipes available to their online community. They even offer 7 days free to try it out and see if it’s a fit.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Healthy Halloween

So it’s that time of year again…the candy filled craziness of Halloween.  Many of you may remember our Candy Exchange method when it comes to the full bags of candy that many of our children will accumulate through Halloween parties and Trick-or-Treat.

We still implement the Candy Exchange method in our homes.  If the kiddos decide to trade in their candy, they get FIVE WHOLE DOLLARS to take to the Dollar Tree and roam the store picking out any five things that they feel, “they just can’t live without”.  The candy can then be donated to your spouse’s work place or literally thrown away.

Below you will find five fun and delicious options to keep Halloween entertaining (and healthy) for your kids.  They all would make perfect ideas for school parties or any Halloween party you are invited to or hosting.  We would love to hear your Halloween traditions and treat ideas! 

Healthy Halloween Ideas


 Spider Sandwich:  These is a great idea to surprise your kids with in their lunch.  Using whole grain bread and natural peanut or almond butter, you can cut the sandwich into a circle, use thin carrot slices for the legs and raisins for eyes.  Super fun and cute!



Banana Ghosts: By cutting bananas in half, they make the perfect ghost shape!  Use three chocolate chips or raisins and secure with your favorite nut butter to make the eyes and nose. 





Spider Eggs:  Turn regular grapes into fun spider eggs!  Simply put in a bag, print off a fun label and add a spider sticker or spider ring to give it a spidery affect!  Perfect for school parties!!





Monster Melon: This would be a great idea for older kids who enjoy anything to with vomiting (like boys of all ages).  Carve your mouth out of the watermelon, hollow out as much watermelon as you can and cut into chunks.  Add other fruits and have it spilling out of your mouth.  Use two cucumber slices, grapes (or whole olives) and a toothpick to secure the eyes.




Fruity Pumpkin Afro!  This is probably my favorite! This would be great for any Halloween party!  Could you imagine being the mother/father who supplied this fun treat at your kids class party?  Draw your face on the pumpkin, make your fruit skewers (enough for amount of kids that will be there) and secure them all around the top of the pumpkin to make it look like an afro.  This is also a perfect project to have your kids help create!

Happy Healthy Halloween!!
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