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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The Last Diet Plan You’ll Ever Need

Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw foods, or pegan?

The number one question I get asked by my health coaching clients is, “What diet should I be on?” And my answer is always the same, “The one that works for you.”

People are so busy trying to follow the latest trends that they don’t take the time to figure out what actually works for their bodies.

We are all unique. What works well for you may not work for someone else. I think there are some tried and true theories that are good for everyone; add more vegetables, drink more water, cut out the sugar, and stop eating processed crap. But whether to follow a specific diet plan is a very individual thing.

Let’s face it, there’s a new diet book out it seems like every day. And there’s always a celebrity touting the latest plan that helped them shed weight. That’s fine for that celebrity, but that doesn’t mean it will work for you.

The best diet is the one that helps you get to and maintain a healthy weight, one that gives you energy and makes you feel vibrant, and one that helps to manage or eliminate health concerns such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

So then how does one know what to eat?

First, start paying attention to what you eat and how you feel after you eat it. If you have diarrhea every time you eat dairy, that might be a clue that dairy is not your friend.

One of the saddest days of my life was when I realized I couldn’t eat M&Ms any more. Every time I ate them I got a migraine. Okay, maybe one of the saddest days of my life is an exaggeration, but, it was pretty traumatic to an M&M lover. Still, I knew that they were the culprit of my pain and so I gave them up.

I also don’t eat dairy. I noticed that whenever I had it, I would have stomach issues. It was only through paying attention to what I was eating that I figured that out and once I stopped eating dairy, the issues went away.

Start writing down what you eat, even for just a week, and then write down how you feel. If you are feeling lethargic, have headaches, or have gastrointestinal issues, see if you can link it back to the food you are eating.

If you can stand to do an elimination diet, that may help you pinpoint the foods that are giving you trouble. There are lots of ways to do an elimination diet (you can find information on how to get started in my book Your Best Year Yet! 365 Days of Little Changes That Add Up to Big Results! available now at amazon.com) and doing the diet can help you really figure out what foods are working for you and what foods are not working for you.

Have you ever been here? Your friend orders the latest and greatest diet book, follows the plan, and loses 40 pounds! Then, you get the same book, follow the same plan, and lose 10? It may not be that you did something wrong, or even that the book is wrong, it just may not be the right plan for you.

Instead of following along with each new thing that comes by, try figuring out what uniquely works for your unique self. Sure, you can find lots of information on Google, but Google doesn’t know how much you sleep, your blood type, your stress level, what allergies you may have. So skip the Googling and be your own search engine. Search for what makes you feel your best and stick with that.

Need help? That’s why I’m here. Contact me TODAY for your free health consultation, karen@thecaringcoachingcenter.com. No obligation, no hard sell, just a chance to some health and wellness information that is unique to 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 http://www.amazon.com.

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Why Falling Off the Wagon Was the Best Thing to Happen to Me!

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Last February, after a health scare that sent me to the emergency room, I changed my entire life by changing what and how I ate. As the year went on, I kept improving my eating habits, cutting out sugar, gluten, and processed food.

Then last weekend, I went on a road trip and fell off the wagon. It’s incredibly hard to eat healthy at rest stops and eating out at restaurants didn’t prove to be much easier. I found myself back on coffee loaded with sugar, unhealthy carbs for breakfast, I even had dairy, which I hadn’t had in years!

You would have thought that a weekend of eating poorly would have been enough, but sadly, it only opened the floodgates to eating like crap for the rest of the week. What made this so terrible is that I’m a recovering binge eater, and once I started down the road of eating crap, I couldn’t stop! On Thursday night, after a particularly rough day, I ate an entire box of mini frosted donuts, that’s when I realized I had hit rock bottom.

So why was this the best thing to happen to me? Because I felt like crap the entire week and I realized why I stopped eating like this in the first place! I was sick as a dog! I had a headache, my joints ached, I didn’t get one good night’s sleep the entire week. I was irritably, jumpy, and couldn’t concentrate. It was the worst and best week of my life! I was forced to face up to the fact that I’m not perfect, that dealing with an eating disorder requires a lifetime of being vigilant, and that I NEVER want to feel that bad again! This past week reinforced that I am truly on the right path and that my healthy way of eating really is the best thing for me.

Today I hit the reset button. I grocery shopped for all the right foods for my body. I cooked a week’s worth of healthy meals, practiced a little self-care, and allowed myself to rest and recharge. In just one day I already feel a million times better!

If you slip up, and as you can plainly see, we all do, even the Health Coach…just hit the reset button as quickly as possible. Don’t allow yourself to go down the slippery slope of poor eating. And most important, don’t let one bad day (or bad weekend) turn into a week!

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

Karen

Want more practical tips to healthy living? Follow me on The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karen-ann-kennedy

 

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I Felt Fat Today

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I went for a run today. I haven’t been out running in a long time, and with a 10-miler coming up in just a few short weeks, I knew I needed to get out there and log some miles. I only made it three miles, pitiful, especially for someone that has completed two full marathons.

As I was out running I became acutely aware of my stomach bouncing up and down, the fat on my thighs, the thickness of my calves. I felt fat. The rest of my run (normally a time when I clear my mind) found me obsessing about my body; the fact that my stomach isn’t flat and my legs are short (I once had an orthopedic surgeon tell me I look like a Hobbit), the fact that my thighs rub when I run (the reason I never wear shorts) and the fact that while I have a good amount of muscle in my arms, I still have “bat wings.”

I ruined a perfectly good run by doing the one thing I tell my clients NOT to do; I was focusing too much on what my body looked like instead of focusing on what my body can do! Your body is an amazing machine. At this very moment your body is performing hundreds of tasks at the same time. While you are reading this, your heart knows to keep beating, your lungs know to keep taking in air, your eyes know when to blink and your throat knows when to swallow. And no matter what we do to our bodies (eat too much, sleep too little, let stress get the best of us) our bodies still continue to do what it needs to do to continue to function properly.

It’s time to shift the focus of taking care of yourself, eating right and exercising, not to look skinny, but to be healthy! To feed and nourish your body well so that it can continue to perform the daily functions you need it to. Eat to nourish and sustain; eat to live!

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

Karen

Want amazing tips and recipes for healthy living? Sure you do! Hop on over to http://www.thecaringcoachingcenter.com and sign up for my monthly newsletter!

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Your Own Personal Healthcare Reform

I spent this past week researching healthcare reform for employees at my work and I realized just how confusing it it. Then I started to think that we spend so much time, money, and effort on coming up with ways to fix what’s already wrong, instead of putting our energy into taking care of ourselves properly in the first place.

We are not actually in the business of “healthcare” we are in the business of “sickcare!”

It’s time to take back control of our own health. So below, are a few simple steps you can take for your own personal healthcare reform.

And, until next time, veg in, don’t veg out!

1. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Adding more vegetables to your diet is the single best thing you can do for your health! Don’t want to spend a small fortune on the fresh stuff? Frozen and canned are fine. If buying canned, try to buy low sodium versions, or, rinse your canned veggies to wash away some of the added sodium.

2. Stop eating processed foods. Stop eating foods with ingredients i.e. chemicals that you can’t pronounce. If you must eat packaged foods, stick to foods that have 5 ingredients or less, and always try to buy products with ingredients that you can identify. Remember, if you can’t identify it, your digestive system can’t either!

3. Please step away from the sugar! Americans are eating 200% more sugar today than they did even 50 years ago. Sugar is in everything! Manufacturers sneak it into the most unlikely products, like salad dressing and bread, so we eat more than we think we do, in addition to the white refined sugar that we use in our coffee and tea. Craving something sweet? Try natural sweeteners like agave and honey, but cut back on that too! Everything in moderation, and that includes the healthy stuff.

4. Watch your portion sizes. Even the healthiest foods have calories, so watch your portion sizing. An serving of cheese is about the size of your thumb, a serving of protein, the palm of your hand or roughly the size of a deck of playing cards. A serving size of pasta is just one cup, or about the size of a tennis ball. Still hungry after you meal? Finish with a salad to curb your appetite and sneak in another serving or two of vegetables. 

5. Get enough rest. Americans are sleep-deprived. See those zombies walking around every day? No, it’s not a new episode of the Walking Dead, it’s millions of people who aren’t getting enough rest. Aim to get 8 hours of sleep a night. Have trouble sleeping? Power down electronic devices at least an hour before bed. Establish a bedtime routine each night (that will signal your body that it’s time to go to sleep) and go to sleep and wake the same time each night/morning.

6. Watch your negative self-talk. Studies have shown that your physical body reacts to everything it sees and hears, and that includes self-talk. When you constantly fill your head with negative thoughts and negative talk (especially negative self-talk) your body responds in the way of body aches, decreased immunity = think more colds and flu, and digestive issues. Get into the habit of speaking as kindly about yourself as you would about others. The conversation you have about yourself is the single most important conversation you will ever have.

7. Move your butt…and take the rest of your body with you! Regular exercise cannot be promoted enough! Get out and walk, go for a run if that’s your thing, try yoga, or martial arts, ride a bike. Whatever you decide, just find something you like and get out and do it. As the winter months approach, people’s exercise routines tend to drop off dramatically. Try yoga at home, pop in an exercise DVD that you enjoy, go to the mall and walk on a rainy day. Just find an activity and aim to engage in it at least 30 minutes, 3 times each week.

8. Keep stress in check. I know this is easier said than done, but stress can do a number on you both physically, and mentally. When faced with a stressful situation, remember to breathe, if you can, step away from the situation; take a walk or find a quiet place to sit for a few minutes. Drink a glass of water, get outside and get some fresh air. Avoid common behaviors like reaching for a cigarette or eating a pint of ice cream, which will only make things worse. If you’re faced with a long-term stressful situation, like a family member’s illness or a stressful situation at work from which you can’t escape, be sure to take extra care of yourself, and don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional for someone to talk to if you need it.

9. Curb your caffeine intake. I used to be addicted to coffee. ADDICTED! I never thought I could give it up, but one day, I did. I went cold turkey and kicked the java habit! The first few days were rough, I’m not going to lie, but once I get the caffeine out of my system, I felt so much better. Caffeine is a stimulant; it’s also a diuretic. Caffeine can make you jittery, knock your nervous system out of whack, and cause you to become dehydrated. Looking for a natural boost? Try maca powder in your smoothie or a little on your morning oatmeal. It’s a natural powerhouse that will give you a boost of energy. Bananas are another great source of natural energy, and they’re loaded with potassium too! And if you aren’t eating enough good, healthy foods to get you all the natural energy you need, consider taking a vitamin supplement to boost energy levels.

10. Cut yourself a break. No one is perfect, and most people I know can find a million things they dislike about themselves. But how about finding the things that you do like! Maybe your house doesn’t look like it’s being featured in Better Homes and Gardens, maybe you don’t decorate like Martha Stewart, cook like a five-star chef, maybe you aren’t built like a Victoria’s Secret model, or you kids don’t look like they’ve stepped out of a Gap commercial. You know what? IT’S OKAY! Stop being so hard on yourself and start recognizing the good in who you are and what you do. Feeling good about yourself is the holy grail of feeling good and feeling healthy!

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