health, healthy living, Uncategorized

Poor, Fat People

I was at the grocery store the other day, stocking up in preparation for the big storm. Side note – I hope all of you on the East coast fared well in the storm!

The line to check out was long, as one might imagine, and in line in front of me was a very overweight woman in an electronic scooter checking out. In her cart were multiple bottles of soda, bags of non-brand-name chips, snack cakes, family-sized packs of cookies, a few loaves of white bread, and boxes of, once again, non-brand-name macaroni and cheese. To be sure, there wasn’t a vegetable or piece of fruit in sight.

The guy in line behind me was clearly in a hurry (as evidenced by the fact that he kept butting up against me with his cart). I’ve had the flu for over a week and was already rundown and tired, so every little thing was annoying me more than it would on an average day.

I could hear the man sighing loudly, watched as he stomped around and rolled his eyes, and heard him muttering under his breath. I heard a few phrases like, “fat ass,” and, “eat another cookie.” Part of me wanted to turn around and confront him, but the bigger part of me just wanted to try to get out of the store and get home and back on the couch.

When the woman finished with her order, she pulled out her state welfare card, payed for her order, and scooted on her way. The man muttered the last comment, “figures,” and proceeded to move his cart up, hitting me again. I angrily pushed the cart back toward him and asked him to “back up,” as I started to unload the few groceries I had onto the belt. The truth was, while I didn’t have a lot of things to buy, I was praying as I swiped my debit card that I’d have enough to cover my order.

I’ve heard snarky comments like this guy’s before. “If people are poor they should be skinny,” “Clearly, he’s not that poor, he looks like he’s eating pretty well,” “The state doesn’t need to pay for her food, she’s so fat, she just needs to eat less.” It’s just so unnecessary, and so wrong.

While I agree that you can eat somewhat healthfully on a budget (I teach this to people as part of my health coaching practice) junk food is cheap. I can tell you that cheap soda pop, Pop Tarts, and off-brand cereal is a lot cheaper than organic juice, spelt bread, and organic granola.

We shouldn’t be asking why “health food” is so expensive, but instead, asking why junk food is so cheap! It’s a problem when a hamburger at a fast food joint costs $1.00 and a salad costs $6.00!

Comments like “He’s not that poor, he looks like he’s eating pretty well,” just speak to the problem. A lot of people who live under the poverty line rely on cheap, packaged foods to survive. They’re shopping for foods, based not on their health benefits or calorie counts, but to get the most amount of food for the least amount of money. They are shopping for bulk and price, not for health.

If we desire a return to health, it’s not going to be found in a pill or an exercise video, or a packaged diet shake. For a return to health we need a return to real food. We need to stop shaming people and judging people. We need to stop feeding our kids crap in school cafeterias. We need to educate people on basic health and nutrition, teach them how to shop on a budget, help them understand the mechanics of food, and yes, work to make healthy food available and affordable.

That’s why I’ve been working hard on the development of a community program aimed to address these issues and then some. I hope to roll the program out in the fall to YMCAs, community centers, schools, and churches across the country to help people who need help. Stay tuned for more.

I know that some of you may disagree with this post, I know some of you may be offended, and that’s okay; everyone is entitled to their opinion on things. But I think most of you can agree that the systems we have in place aren’t working, in fact, we are failing our families at almost every level.

If you’re in need of health and wellness information, please feel free to reach out to me at karen@thecaringcoachingcenter.com. I promise I’ll answer your questions and do my best to help you if you need it.Or visit my website, www.thecaringcoachingcenter.com for some quick information at a glance.

Take care of yourself, be nice to yourself, and be well. And until next time, veg in – don’t veg out.

Karen

Karen Ann Kennedy’s commitment to wellness and service is at the heart of her life and career. As a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a decorated United States Army veteran, and a longtime Human Resources Director, it is only natural that Karen would launch The Caring Coaching Center, to support others in reaching their health, fitness, and lifestyle goals. As the company’s President, CEO, and “Coach in Chief,” Karen provides individual, group, and corporate health and wellness coaching that is flexible, fun, and free of denial. As Karen likes to say: “Little changes. BIG results!”

Thanks to her studies at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest nutrition school, Karen is well versed in the importance of nutrition and healthy living. Karen also has extensive experience in compassionately coaching and counseling others through her work in human resources and volunteer management, having worked in this industry for over 20 years.

Karen shares her knowledge and passion for healthy living as a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Known for her bright smile, boundless energy, and approachability, Karen is an in-demand speaker who has presented training programs for many prestigious organizations and schools in the Philadelphia area, including The National Constitution Center, The Urban League of Philadelphia, Constitution High School, Planned Parenthood of New Jersey, The Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, City Year of Greater Philadelphia, and the Upper Darby School District.

Karen is also a decorated veteran of the United States Army, serving her country for eight years including a tour of duty in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, and now residing in Ocean City, New Jersey, Karen offers Caring Coaching to clients nationwide. In addition to coaching, she loves cooking, marathon running, and writing her blog, Carrots Don’t Scream When You Boil Them.

Karen is also the author of Your Best Year Yet! 365 Days of Little Changes that Add Up to Big Results! Available on www.amazon.com.

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coffee, recipes, Uncategorized

Three-Ingredient Homemade Mocha

Hey kids, guess what? A horrible winter storm is making its way to the beach – fun times!

I, myself, am fully stocked and ready. I have plenty of food, a stack of books to read, plenty of work to do, and plenty of COFFEE!

I love me some Joe, especially when it’s cold and dreary, and I love those fancy coffee drinks from Starbucks (although my wallet, and my waistline are starting to rebel).

I thought I’d share with you my easy three-ingredient homemade mocha recipe. Really…three ingredients. I’m all about keeping it simple.

Enjoy!

1/3 cup of milk of your choice
1 ½ cups of brewed coffee of your choice
3 tablespoons of good quality dry cocoa mix or liquid chocolate syrup

1. Pour milk into blender and mix until frothy.
2. Microwave milk for 30 seconds.
3. Pour milk, coffee, and cocoa mix or syrup in blender.
4. Blend and enjoy.

You can also up the ante by adding some cinnamon to your blend. Want to get really crazy? Add a little chili powder for a bit of bite and heat. Want a peppermint mocha? Add a few drops of peppermint extract, or use a leftover candy cane from Christmas to stir your mocha.

Want to fancy it up? Top with whipped cream and a little dash of cinnamon or cocoa powder. Serve with giant marshmallows and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. Serve with giant marshmallows and crushed up peppermints on top. The sky’s the limit.

There you go. Hope you enjoy. Oh, and if you hurry, you can run out now and grab all the ingredients before the storm hits. Go…go now…HURRY!

Take care of yourself, be nice to yourself, and be well. And until next time – veg in, don’t veg out.

Karen

Want more recipes and fun stuff like this? Sure you do! Hop on over to www.thecaringcoachingcenter.com and sign up for my monthly newsletter. It’s packed with lots of great tips, recipes, and other fun health and wellness info.

Karen Ann Kennedy’s commitment to wellness and service is at the heart of her life and career. As a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a decorated United States Army veteran, and a longtime Human Resources Director, it is only natural that Karen would launch The Caring Coaching Center, to support others in reaching their health, fitness, and lifestyle goals. As the company’s President, CEO, and “Coach in Chief,” Karen provides individual, group, and corporate health and wellness coaching that is flexible, fun, and free of denial. As Karen likes to say: “Little changes. BIG results!”

Thanks to her studies at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest nutrition school, Karen is well versed in the importance of nutrition and healthy living. Karen also has extensive experience in compassionately coaching and counseling others through her work in human resources and volunteer management, having worked in this industry for over 20 years.

Karen shares her knowledge and passion for healthy living as a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Known for her bright smile, boundless energy, and approachability, Karen is an in-demand speaker who has presented training programs for many prestigious organizations and schools in the Philadelphia area, including The National Constitution Center, The Urban League of Philadelphia, Constitution High School, Planned Parenthood of New Jersey, The Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, City Year of Greater Philadelphia, and the Upper Darby School District.

Karen is also a decorated veteran of the United States Army, serving her country for eight years including a tour of duty in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, and now residing in Ocean City, New Jersey, Karen offers Caring Coaching to clients nationwide. In addition to coaching, she loves cooking, marathon running, and writing her blog, Carrots Don’t Scream When You Boil Them.

Karen is also the author of Your Best Year Yet! 365 Days of Little Changes that Add Up to Big Results! Available on http://www.amazon.com.

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baking, recipes

Va Va Vanilla

Next time you feel a little down, take a whiff of a little vanilla extract. Vanilla has been shown to help people feel relaxed when stressed. This is likely why vanilla serves as the base fragrance for candles and is commonly added to perfumes and other body care products.

Vanilla is also an ingredient that is widely use to enhance the taste of treats such as ice cream, cookies, cakes, and even candies.

Karen’s Believe it or Not:

Do you know that vanilla actually comes from the pods of an orchid?

Wha-wha-wha-WHAT?

You betcha! Vanilla doesn’t start out in the liquid form you see in that little brown bottle of vanilla extract you buy from the grocery store. Vanilla comes from the pods of the Vanilla Orchid. It’s the only orchard among the 20,000-some varieties of orchids out there that bears something edible.

Vanilla extract is the most common form of vanilla. The extract is made by steeping the vanilla pods in an alcohol solution for several weeks. The end result is a clear, dark liquid with a rich vanilla scent and taste.

And believe it or not, you can make your own vanilla extract at home. The rich aroma and taste will make you want to mix your own at home all the time!

Homemade Vanilla Extract

20 vanilla pods
1 750 ml bottle of 75-80 proof vodka

1. Decant the vodka into a pitcher. Save the empty vodka bottle and cap.
2. Chop the vanilla pods into 1-inch pieces. You don’t need to split the pods and scrape them. Put the vanilla pieces in the empty vodka bottle.
3. Pour the vodka back into the bottle. It probably won’t all fit, so have some cranberry juice or orange juice handy and have a quick toast to your awesome kitchen skills!
4. Screw the lid back on tightly and give the bottle a good shake.
5. Place the bottle in a cool, dry place. Shake the jar every day or every other day to distribute the mixture.
6. The vanilla extract will be ready to use in about 6 weeks. It will keep indefinitely. No need to strain out the vanilla pieces. Just let ‘em keep swimming in there.

Use your homemade vanilla extract for all your cooking and baking needs, but beware – this homemade extract is so good, you may never go back to the grocery store for the prepackaged stuff!

Hope you enjoyed today’s blog. And hope you’ll come back for more!

Take care of yourself, be nice to yourself, and be well. And until next time – veg in, don’t veg out!

Karen

Want more recipes and tips like this? Head on over to www.thecaringcoachingcenter.com for all this and more. And while you’re there, grab your copy of my book Your Best Year Yet! 365 Days of Little Changes That Add Up to Big Results! It’s available now @ www.amazon.com. It’s the perfect book to kick off 2016 the right way! Enjoy!

Karen Ann Kennedy’s commitment to wellness and service is at the heart of her life and career. As a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a decorated United States Army veteran, and a longtime Human Resources Director, it is only natural that Karen would launch The Caring Coaching Center, to support others in reaching their health, fitness, and lifestyle goals. As the company’s President, CEO, and “Coach in Chief,” Karen provides individual, group, and corporate health and wellness coaching that is flexible, fun, and free of denial. As Karen likes to say: “Little changes. BIG results!”

Thanks to her studies at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest nutrition school, Karen is well versed in the importance of nutrition and healthy living. Karen also has extensive experience in compassionately coaching and counseling others through her work in human resources and volunteer management, having worked in this industry for over 20 years.

Karen shares her knowledge and passion for healthy living as a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Known for her bright smile, boundless energy, and approachability, Karen is an in-demand speaker who has presented training programs for many prestigious organizations and schools in the Philadelphia area, including The National Constitution Center, The Urban League of Philadelphia, Constitution High School, Planned Parenthood of New Jersey, The Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, City Year of Greater Philadelphia, and the Upper Darby School District.

Karen is also a decorated veteran of the United States Army, serving her country for eight years including a tour of duty in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, and now residing in Ocean City, New Jersey, Karen offers Caring Coaching to clients nationwide. In addition to coaching, she loves cooking, marathon running, and writing her blog, Carrots Don’t Scream When You Boil Them.

Karen is also the author of Your Best Year Yet! 365 Days of Little Changes that Add Up to Big Results! Available on http://www.amazon.com.

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recipes, salad, Uncategorized, vegan

Winter Brussels Sprout Salad

Have you signed up yet for my monthly newsletter? If not, stop reading (go ahead, I’ll wait) and hop on over to www.thecaringcoachingcenter.com to sign up. If you do it now, you’ll be in time to receive my February and March newsletters. March is all about the health benefits of green vegetables, of which Brussels sprouts get a pretty nice shout out.

So in the spirit of green vegetables, I’m sharing with you a really wonderful, healthy, and easy recipe for a winter salad that boasts Brussels sprouts as its star.

Wonder where Brussels sprouts get their unique name? There’s no mystery here. People in Belgium have loved Brussels sprouts since the 16th century, so much so that these healthy little veggies now bear the name of the place that loved them so!

Now is the perfect time to take advantage of these healthy superstars; they’re in season from fall through late winter. Brussels sprouts have tons of cholesterol-busting soluble fiber and have been shown to reduce cancer risk.

This recipe makes a great starter to a festive meal, or a side dish alongside pork or chicken (if you’re a meat eater). It can be served hot, or cold, which makes it easier to serve leftovers (should you have any). Have some picky eaters that turn their noses up to Brussels? This recipe calls for the sprouts to be halved, which makes them easier to eat and less daunting to look out. Plus, the sprouts in this recipe have a little sweetness from the agave and cranberries, and some earthiness from the walnuts, which combines perfectly with the sprouts.

Winter Brussels Sprouts Salad

1 ½ pounds of Brussels sprouts
1 cup of water
½ cup of chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons of olive oil (for cooking)
1 clove of garlic, minced
¼ cup of chopped dried cranberries
1 tablespoon of agave nectar
1 tablespoon of olive oil (for dressing)

1. Add 2 teaspoons of oil to a large pan. Add Brussels sprouts and cook 5 minutes, or until browned, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
2. Stir in cranberries, agave, and water. Partially cover pot. Simmer 5 – 7 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated and sprouts are tender.
3. Put sprouts in serving bowl and toss with the tablespoon of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Top with chopped walnuts and serve.

Enjoy!

Take care of yourself, be nice to yourself, and be well. And until next time – veg in, don’t veg out.

Karen

Are you ready to make 2016 Your Best Year Yet!?
If you haven’t picked up your copy of my book, take a trip in cyberspace to www.amazon.com and grab your copy today!

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