food, fruit, Health and wellness, healthy eating, Uncategorized, vitamins

The Dynamic Dozen – 12 of the Best Fruits Around!

Hey Summer Lovers! Well, I’m assuming you love summer! I know I do! One of the best things about summer is the abundance of fruits and vegetables available.

Eating a variety of fruits (and vegetables for that matter) will help to ensure that you get all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs. Here are the top 12 and the vitamins and benefits they provide:

Apples – Apples are packed with vitamin C and quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that helps bolster your immune system function and brain health.

Avocados – Yes, they are a fruit! They offer vitamins E,C, and K, folate, iron, potassium, magnesium, lutein, and beta carotene. That’s a lot of vitamins packed into one package! Yes, they have fat, but it’s a healthy fat.

Blueberries – Blueberries contain vitamins C and K and loads of powerful antioxidants. Eating just one cup of blueberries a week will help crush cancer-causing free radicals and supports cardiovascular and mental health.

Cherries – Adding cherries to your diet can help reduce cholesterol and manage unhealthy inflammation. Cherries also contain loads of vitamin C and potassium.

Grapes – Not long ago, resveratrol pills were all the rage! Grapes are rich in resveratrol as well as manganese, potassium, and vitamins C,A,K, and B-complex.

Kiwi – Most people think of fish when they think of omega-3 fatty acids, but you can get a boost of those omega 3s by eating kiwi fruit! Kiwi is also rich in vitamins C,A,E, and K, iron, magnesium, and manganese.

Lemons – I happen to be a huge fan of lemons (and limes) and frequently start my morning with a cup of warm water with lemon. Lemons contain vitamins C and B-complex, potassium, iron, calcium, and magnesium.

Papayas – Low in calories and high in vitamins, papaya contain some of the highest vitamin C content around. Most people think oranges or lemons, but papaya actually has much more. Papaya is also rich in vitamin A, B-complex, and potassium.

Pomegranates – Pomegranates are high in antioxidants and also contain heart-healthy compounds, as well as manganese for weight and cholesterol control.

Raspberries – Loaded with vitamin C, manganese, and fiber, raspberries have lots of anti-inflammatory benefits. Raspberries have also been known to help regulate blood sugar.

Strawberries – Strawberries are bursting with vitamin C ! Eating just two cups of strawberries per week can support mental sharpness as well as cardiovascular and blood pressure health.

Watermelons – I could eat my body weight in watermelon during the warm summer months! Not only is it loaded with vitamins A,C,B-1,B-6, lutein and beta-carotene, watermelons are great thirst-quenchers and can help stave off dehydration.

Are you incorporating these amazing fruits in your diet? If not, here are some ways to sneak in more of these vitamin powerhouses:

  • Add some strawberries and blueberries to nonfat Greek yogurt and low-fat granola for a tasty parfait
  • Whip up a salad with watermelon and feta cheese and serve over a crunchy green like romaine lettuce or a tangy green like arugula
  • Make a quick dessert by spreading graham crackers with a smear of Greek yogurt or cream cheese and a smear of smashed raspberries. Top with crushed pistachio nuts for a fancy dessert or accompaniment to a cheese tray
  • Save the calories, skip the cheesecake and fill hallowed out strawberries with your favorite cheesecake filling. Cut the bottoms off strawberries so they sit upright on a serving platter or plate.
  • Never underestimate the tasty treat that is avocado toast. Just mash some avocado and spread it on whole wheat, spelt, or other hearty bread. The toppings are absolutely endless!

There you have it. Now, get out there and make a run to your nearest produce place and stock up.

Are you in need of personal health coaching? Are you looking for a partner that can help you reach your health, fitness, and lifestyle goals? Visit me at http://www.thecaringcoachingcenter.com to find out what personalized health coaching can do for you!

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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gluten free, recipes, Uncategorized, vegan

Mexican “Beef” and Beans

I love Mexican food! I never met a guacamole I didn’t like, and I’ve been known to eat my body weight in rice and beans!

My friends and I from my last job always hit up this great Mexican place in Philly for lunch, and I’ve been fortunate to find another fabulous Mexican restaurant here at the beach.

Since money is tight, I don’t go out to eat very much. Also, I find that since I don’t eat meat, my choices can be a little limited when I dine out.

Over the weekend, I was really in the mood for Mexican food. After a quick trip to the grocery store, and just a few short minutes in the kitchen, I whipped up this amazing dish.

I hope you’ll try it, and I hope you enjoy it! If you make it, leave a comment below and let me know what you thought.

Mexican “Beef” and Beans

1 package of veggie crumbles (I use the Gardein version)
1 small white or yellow onion, diced
2 teaspoons of minced garlic
1 can of light kidney beans, drained and rinsed (you can also use dark kidneys, or even black beans)
2 cups of brown rice
2 teaspoons of olive oil
Dash of hot sauce (optional)
Topping choices – Guacamole, sour cream, tortilla chips, (optional)

1. In a large skillet heat the olive oil. Cook the garlic and onions for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
2. Add the veggie crumbles and cook per the package directions.
3. Add in the kidney beans and about a half a cup of water and cook until beans are heated through.
4. Add a little splash of hot sauce (if desired).
5. Cook brown rice (I usually just toss mine in the microwave; follow the package directions).
6. Assemble dish by putting a layer of brown rice on the bottom. Top with the “beef” and bean mixture and top with topping of your choice. As you can see, I used a whopping serving of guacamole.

In all, the dish took me less than 10 minutes to make! The recipe yielded enough for almost a week of meals and I switched up the toppings throughout the week to make it a little different each time.

There you have it!

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

Karen

Are you a busy professional? Stressed out? No time to cook? No time to exercise? No time to take care of yourself or your family? STOP…I can help! Email me today at karen@thecaringcoachingcenter.com for your free health consultation. I work with busy professionals who are trying to take care of themselves and their families. I change people’s lives by introducing them to little changes that yield BIG results. Don’t delay, reach out today!

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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Uncategorized

A classy sign off…and a few helpful hints!

Kudos to my sister.

Thanks to her eagle eye, she caught a typo in my last blog. Oh, the horror! If you’ve noticed, when I sign off on each blog post, I sign off with “Veg in, don’t veg out.” Yes, I realize it’s not as awesome as Jerry Springer’s sign off  “Take care of yourselves, and each other,” or Walter Kronkite’s signature, “And that’s the way it is.” But mine is mine and here’s what it means:

Veg in. Getting more veggies into your diet is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body. Veggies are full of vitamins and nutrients that your body needs. Looking for some sneaky ways to get those veggies in?

1. Add veggies to your pasta dishes. In a pinch for a quick dinner? Make your pasta, open a jar of spaghetti sauce and add some peas, sauteed zucchini, broccoli, etc.

2. Add avocado to your smoothies. TRUST ME! If you mix it with sweeter add-ins such as bananas and cacao powder, you won’t taste the avocado, and it will give your smoothies a really creamy, interesting texture

3. Use your veggies as a vehicle to get to the dip. No, not commercial, fat-laden ranch dressing; try cutting up some cucumbers, or open up a bag of baby carrots and dip them in delicious hummus.

4. Pair your veggies with something sweeter. Slather a healthy nut butter onto celery. Want a fun treat for the kids? Add some raisins on top. I call it, “ants on a log.”

5. Like eggs for breakfast? Jazz them up with veggies! Make an omelet and toss in your veggie favorites, or, make this healthier version of eggs Benedict

Asparagus Benedict

1 bunch of asparagus

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1 TBSP Dijon mustard

1 TBSP mayonnaise or veganaise

1 tsp champagne vinegar

1 tsp mustard powder

1 tsp lemon juice

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet, toss asparagus with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until tender.

For the sauce, combine mustard, mayonnaise or veganaise, vinegar, and mustard powder in a bowl.

Cook two eggs over easy (or, anyway you like them).

Plate your asparagus, top with eggs, drizzle on the sauce, and there’s your breakfast! It’s like a five star hotel brunch in your own kitchen!

Now let’s talk about vegging out. When you think of vegging out, you probably think of lying around on the couch watching TV (Sharknado, perhaps?) And to be sure, rest is important for your body, but too much of a good thing is not a good thing. Make sure that you get plenty of exercise. Find something that you like to do, and don’t be afraid to shake up your routine to avoid boredom. I am a marathon runner, a martial artist, and I’ve dabbled in yoga and Pilates. We all know that exercise improves your health and helps manage your weight, but exercise also helps combat stress and is good for your mind. Here are a few easy tips to help you keep up with your exercising:

1. Schedule your exercise like you schedule all your other appointments; you must make time for yourself.

2. Keep a set of exercise clothes in your car so you can run to the gym or the park when you have some unexpected downtime.

3. Enlist the help of friends. It’s a lot harder to bag your morning run when you know your friend is out there waiting for you at 5 am.

Well, that’s all for today. Time to sign off with my signature (and this time) correct sign off.

Stay well my friends, and veg in, don’t veg out!

Karen

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Uncategorized

Long Live the Twinkie

No, seriously, long live the Twinkie, it’s probably going to be around long after you and I are gone!

People are always asking me for quick tips or “rules of thumb” for eating healthy, so I’m happy to share with you one of my favorites.

If a food can go bad, then it’s good for you. Think about that for a minute. If a food can go bad, then it’s good for you.

Tape that to your refrigerator, put it on a post-it-note to keep in your wallet, write it at the top of your shopping list each week!

If a food has a long shelf life then it’s likely to shorten yours! Why? Because it’s NOT FOOD! It’s chemicals.

Here’s one of the biggest issues I see, people have stopped eating real food and are eating chemicals instead. People are more particular nowadays about the type of gas they put in their cars then they are about what they put in their bodies. Does anybody else see anything wrong with that?

There was so much going on in the news this week; shootings and killings in cities across America, protests continuing on gay marriage, uprising in Egypt. The verdict came in on the Trayvon Martin case and people are still reeling over it. Glee star Cory Monteith died at the very, very, too-young age of 31.

But what’s been all over the news? The return of the Twinkie! The media is hyping this up like crazy! People are rushing out to stand in line at Wal-Mart like it’s the release of the new XBox. We’re one step away from women fainting in the aisles as if Oprah were giving them away. Could you imagine? “You get a Twinkie,  and you get a Twinkie, and YOU get a Twinkie!”

So here’s a challenge for you. It’s an easy one, I promise. Before you eat ANYTHING this week, pause for a moment and ask yourself these 4 questions:

1. What exactly am I eating?

2. Where did it come from?

3. Why am I eating it?

4. How will this make me feel?

1. You need to know what you’re putting in your body. And please don’t say, “I do know, it’s a Twinkie!” I get that, but what exactly IS that Twinkie made of? What’s in it? If it has a list of ingredients that you can’t pronounce you should probably back away from it!

2. Where did it come from? Did a farmer  harvest this from a lovely field or did some dude in a chemical suit push it through a conveyor belt?

3. Why am I eating it? Are you eating for entertainment? Are you bored? Are you fueling up for a Yoga class or a long run? Am I craving salt, sugar, fat?

4. How am I going to feel after I eat this? Will I feel satiated? Will I feel guilty? Is my stomach going to rumble all night? Is it going to give me gas?

Once you start to understand what and why you eat, you’ll start to see the benefits of eating real, whole foods that make your body feel fantastic. As one of my wise friends once said , “People don’t know what it feels like to feel good.” And it’s so true, because once you know what it feels like to feel good, trust me, you’ll never want to go back to eating crap!

So, long live the Twinkie, but for those who choose to eat them, short live you!

Veg in, don’t veg out!

Karen

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