What’s keeping you from good health isn’t what you think

October 30th, 2017 | 1 comment

What’s holding you back from achieving good health?

Is it the food temptations that seem to jump out at you around every corner (i.e. pizza, chocolate, French fries, cookies, airport Cinnabons, potato chips)? Or maybe it’s lack of time. After all, our crazy busy lives often prevent us from eating like we know we should. Maybe the reason is that you’re confused as hell! Thanks to the invention of the Internet, you can Google “healthy diet” and a whopping 27,700,000 results are returned to you. It’s no wonder we just give up. Who can we trust? What should we believe? These reasons among others may be partly responsible for your current state of health—but I can tell you one thing for sure, they aren’t the core reason.

Not even close.

Before I go any deeper, let me be perfectly clear on a couple of things:

  1. I believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that good health is our absolute birthright. Do you concur? Do you believe good health is your birthright? If not, you have some work to do.
  2. I do not believe there is such a thing as a one-size-fits-all diet. Whether paleo, vegan, pescatarian, vegetarian, ketogenic or gluten-free, what works for one person may not biologically work for the next. I’ve always jokingly said that I would be the bitchiest vegan walking the face of the earth (it’s sort of true though). After experimenting with a variety of eating styles over the years—from low-fat and vegetarian to fish-eating and adding meat back after a twenty-two year hiatus—I’ve personally found what works for me and I will happily share it with you, but I do not expect you to abandon your approach if it’s working for you and blessing you with good health.

Now, let’s get back to the real reason you aren’t experiencing the health you deserve. First, answer this one question: Why exactly do you want to improve your health or lose those last twenty pounds? Really think about this for a moment.

World-renowned author and speaker Abraham Hicks stated quite profoundly that the reason any of us want anything (no matter what it is) is that we believe we will feel better in the having of it. It’s so true.

Think about it. No matter what reason you offer, if you continue peeling away the layers and get to the bottom, it’s because you want to feel better. Isn’t it? You want to lose weight so you will appear more attractive, fit into your old clothes, get healthy, and so on. And underneath all of these reasons, lies the truth—you simply want to feel good. You want to rest your head on your pillow at night and rise in the morning, feeling good.

I like to take this a step further.

What we really want is to experience inner peace. If the word “peace” doesn’t resonate with you, choose one of these synonyms: harmony, serenity, tranquility, freedom, or security.

So why is this important? Because we must identify our “why” before we can even begin to work on a solution. If the underlying reason is that you want to experience peace, and you turn to the latest and greatest diet to supply you with the means to achieve this peace, is it any wonder you are still searching?

Think of how many rich and successful people walk this earth. They can and do have virtually everything that money can buy, including both a personal chef and fitness trainer, and yet they still struggle with their health and weight. I can think of a dozen individuals fitting this description right off the top of my head. Why do you think they struggle? Yes, you guessed it! They are missing something that no amount of money in the world can buy: inner peace.

Don’t you get it? The means cannot be found outside of you.

I don’t care what the latest diet or famous health guru promises…you will absolutely fail if you expect it to work without first going within. If it is inner peace you desire, you must do the work to cultivate your mind, otherwise, any results you achieve will be temporary.

If you aren’t used to thinking this way, buckle up because you’re in for an amazing ride—one that will literally change your life. Are you up for it?

I know what you are thinking. What about food? What should I eat if I have diabetes? What type of meal plan should I follow? I need advice on exactly how to eat—what’s good and what’s not. Aren’t you going to help me with this? Of course! I will most definitely offer you:

  • Meal planning strategies to make healthy eating tasty and simple to prepare.
  • Delicious recipes.
  • Melanie-approved foods such as specific brands of protein powders and nutrition bars.
  • Clarity around the latest food myths (i.e. Are eggs good or bad? Margarine or butter? What about stevia as a sweetener? etc.)
  • And lots, lots more!

But you know what? That’s the easy part.

The challenge lies in getting you to understand and fully embrace something that is as true for you as it is for me and every other human walking the face of the earth. This truth is what’s missing from the consciousness of most people, yet it is absolutely essential if you want to live a life of peace and ease.

And that is…

You already are the peace that you so desperately seek. The problem is you are living from the wrong end.

You are striving to arrive without realizing that you’re already there. When I look around, it is very clear to me that most people live their life as a series of beginnings:

  • Beginning a new diet with the goal to lose weight or improve their health. Then a week goes by and they are back to square one.
  • Beginning a new exercise plan with the goal to shape up and look good for a wedding or their high school reunion. But then they overdo it, get sore and bored and give up.
  • Beginning the day with a healthy breakfast, only to watch their well-intended effort fall apart by lunch (damn office candy jar!)

And on and on they go. It’s like they keep hitting the rewind button, only to start anew with the same end result.

It’s maddening to witness and saddens me more than I can express in words…because I know they can achieve so much more if they would just get their mind right. But alas they continue seeking the “easy” way out.

And down the rabbit hole they go.

Sound familiar?

What if instead, you tried something different? What if you began from the end?

What if you placed in your mind, the outcome you so desperately desired…and lived from that place as if you already achieved the desired result? Now all you must do is maintain it? Wouldn’t this be a much simpler way to live?

Do you think you could do it? If you stick around, I will show you how.

When you tap into this new way of thinking on a regular basis, a few glorious and wondrous things will start to happen:

  1. You will notice that you make yourself a priority more often.
  2. You will make better food choices because you want to, not because you have to.
  3. Your body will start to change in a good way.
  4. You will begin to crave healthy and nourishing food…and prefer them to your favorite junk foods of yesteryear.
  5. You will sleep more soundly.
  6. Others will notice a difference in you and ask what you are doing.
  7. You will find yourself smiling for no reason.

I happened to know you are 100% worthy of the best health life has to offer. Won’t you join me and realize this for yourself?

To begin the journey, enter your name and email address below. I promise not to bombard you with tons of email. It is my promise that you will find value in everything you receive. In fact, I guarantee that after reading each post, you will walk away with three things:

  1. One meal prep tip or “Melanie Approved” recipe that will make healthy eating a breeze.
  2. One food or product recommendation to help you live a healthy, more vibrant life.
  3. One thought to help you dig deep and connect with the ever-expanding, all-encompassing space inside of you.

The space I’m referring to houses the spark that leads you to recognize just how powerful you really are. Surely you’ve visited this space before. Remember the last time you felt on top of the world? Like you could accomplish anything? Even if it’s been years since you’ve last experienced it, this spark is ever-present, and is waiting to be activated.

I will teach you how to ignite it.

PS #1: Here are the answers in case you were wondering:

  • Q: Are eggs good or bad?
    A: They’re good—just make sure you eat that yolk!
  • Q: Margarine or butter?
    A: Butter is back baby! Ditch those margarine tubs for good.
  • Q: What about stevia as a sweetener?
    A: As long as it’s the fresh stevia leaf right off of the plant or green leaf stevia powder (fresh leaves ground up into a powder), I’m OK with it. I’m not a fan of highly processed forms of stevia (Truvia, Pure Via, Stevia in the Raw) or stevia extracts.

PS #2: Coming Soon in early 2018, my brand new book:  The Missing Peace: 11 ways to restore inner harmony with your food, body & health

I can’t wait to share my world with you! Enter your name and email address below and let’s do this together…

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The Ultimate Comfort Food!

September 3rd, 2017 | no comments

I don’t know about you, but every once in awhile I get a mean craving for mac-n-cheese! Since I’m all about taste AND nutrition, I prefer to make my own. This recipe is adapted from one that I found while searching for a solution to the traditional boxed variety. Thank you Lindsay from www.pinchofyum.com!

I chose chickpea pasta because of its rich fiber and protein content, making it an ideal solution for those watching their blood sugar. I enjoyed this dish with a nice side of roasted vegetables and leftover organic free range chicken!

 


Print Recipe
Upgraded Mac-n-Cheese
The ultimate comfort food that you can actually feel GOOD about eating!  Made with chickpea pasta, butternut squash, caramelized onions and your favorite cheese.
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Banza shells or elbows, uncooked
  • 1 tbsp. Kerrygold butter
  • 1 cup Red onion, sliced thin
  • 5 cups Butternut squash, cubed (about one small) To save time, purchase peeled and cubed butternut squash!
  • 5 cups Organic chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened nut milk Almond, coconut, cashew, macadamia nut are all good choices.
  • 1 tsp. Sea salt
  • 2/3 cup Cheese I use a blend of Parmesan, Romano and Asiago cheese
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Banza shells or elbows, uncooked
  • 1 tbsp. Kerrygold butter
  • 1 cup Red onion, sliced thin
  • 5 cups Butternut squash, cubed (about one small) To save time, purchase peeled and cubed butternut squash!
  • 5 cups Organic chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened nut milk Almond, coconut, cashew, macadamia nut are all good choices.
  • 1 tsp. Sea salt
  • 2/3 cup Cheese I use a blend of Parmesan, Romano and Asiago cheese
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Prepare pasta according to package instructions, drain and set aside.
  2. Heat butter in skillet on low to medium heat and add onions. Saute for 15-20 minutes until fragrant and brown.
  3. While onions are cooking, remove the skin and seeds from squash and cut flesh into cubes (or purchase already peeled and cubed butternut squash). Bring broth to a boil in a large pot and add squash. Cook for 7 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Drain squash, reserving 1/2 cup of broth. Add squash, reserved broth, milk, sea salt and cooked onions to a blender and process until smooth.
  5. Pour sauce over pasta, stirring to coat. This recipe makes a bit more sauce than you will need. No worries...store in an airtight container and refrigerate for later in the week.
  6. Stir in cheese and mix until melted throughout. Season with salt and pepper to taste!
Share this Recipe

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5 Interesting facts about kiwifruit (+ a delicious recipe for kiwi dressing)

August 17th, 2014 | no comments

 

 

How many times have you walked right by this poor little forgotten fruit as you zipped through the produce section? With its dull, unimpressive exterior color and itty-bitty size, it’s certainly easy to do. Kiwifruit are practically camouflage!

Lately I’ve been longing to add some variety to my almost exclusively plant-based diet and I remembered this cute little furry fruit. Here are five random facts that I discovered about kiwifruit, plus a delicious recipe for homemade kiwi dressing that you’ll just love!

 

  1. You can eat the skin of kiwifruit
    Whew! What a pain in the rear it is to peel these little stinkers. Even more of a reason to eat them now! Plus you get an extra dose of fiber. Just slice them crosswise like the photo above and you’ve got yourself a healthy, 60-calorie snack!
  2. Kiwifruit contains a natural meat-tenderizing enzyme!
    It’s called actinidin. Simply rub a sliced kiwi half over meat or mash it and spread it on top! Who knew?!
  3. One medium kiwi offers 100% of your daily vitamin C needs + more potassium than half a banana
    Can you say killer immune system?
  4. Research has found that eating one kiwifruit daily may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by helping to increase HDL cholesterol
    Do you really need another reason to eat kiwifruit? Heart disease is the nation’s number one killer! Are you on your way to the grocery store yet? 
  5. If you have a latex allergy or sensitivity, eating kiwifruit may result in a serious reaction leading to anaphylaxis (a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction)

Reference: Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Food & Nutrition Magazine; March/April 2013


Kiwi & Citrus Dressing
(Recipe from: wholefoodsmarket.com)
Yields: 1 3/4 cups
Serving size: 2 Tbsp.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 kiwifruit, peeled and halved
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 clementine oranges, halved and juiced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small sauté pan over moderate heat and cook the onion and garlic for 3 minutes, until tender and lightly browned. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor or a blender. Add the kiwi pulp and purée until smooth. With the processor running, gradually add the extra virgin olive oil to form a smooth and creamy emulsion. Add the juice, balsamic vinegar and salt. Pulse to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning before serving.

Great as a salad dressing or dip for grilled shrimp!

Nutrition facts per serving: Calories: 100; Saturated fat: 1.5 grams; Sodium: 85 mg; Carbohydrate: 4 grams; Fiber: 1 gram; Sugar: 3 grams (no added sugar); Protein: 0 grams

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How much should you weigh?

August 7th, 2014 | 1 comment
  • How much do you think you should weigh?
  • Do those height and weight charts mean anything?
  • Where should you turn to find your perfect weight? And more importantly, how can you achieve it?

Tune in below to find out! 

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Healthier comfort foods

August 1st, 2014 | no comments

Even the most connected and mindful eaters succumb to Head-Hunger eating (eating to soothe your emotions) once in awhile. So if you must indulge, reach for a healthier comfort food that won’t drag you down and make you feel worse! Any of the following will do:

If—despite your best efforts—you find yourself digging into a bag of potato chips instead, take the advice of Brian Wansink, PhD, director of the Food and Brand Lab at the University of Illinois. According to Brian “The key is moderation, not elimination.” He suggests dividing comfort foods into smaller portions. So if you have a large bag of chips, divide it into smaller baggies and you will be less tempted to eat more than one serving.

As for comfort foods that aren’t always healthy, like fattening desserts, Wansink says: “Your memory of a food peaks after about four bites, so if you only have those bites, a week later you’ll recall it as just a good experience than if you polished off the whole thing.” So have a few bites of cheesecake, then call it quits, and you’ll get equal the pleasure with lower cost.

Make it happen! Before reaching for food, ask yourself if you are physically hungry. If the answer is no, peel away the layers and get to the bottom of the REAL reason you are about to eat. Stress? Anger? Happiness? Boredom? Awareness is the first step. The best way to cope with your emotions is to not “put a bandaid” on them with food, but rather have a suitable outlet to really feel and deal with them. For example: going for a walk when stressed or calling a friend when bored. It’s not always easy, but worth it in the end. After all, a baby doesn’t snack on chocolate chip cookies when he needs a diaper change…does he?

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Embrace your bumpy path to wellness

July 27th, 2014 | no comments

It’s never a straight line. NEVER. I’m talking about the path to a healthier and more fit YOU. And you know what? Thank goodness it’s not straight. Because when your path looks like a bowl of boiled spaghetti noodles…that’s when the real magic happens.

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A peak inside of Melanie’s refrigerator

July 20th, 2014 | no comments

You asked for it…a little glimpse inside of my kitchen! Remember my “90-10” rule? Fill your diet (and of course your kitchen) with 90% Good-4-YOU food and 10% FUN! I try to follow this rule in my own kitchen and keep it top of mind when grocery shopping and meal planning. Check it out!

Top Shelf:
– Unsweetened almond milk for smoothies
– Cherries for an afternoon snack or with my lunch
– Kale for smoothies: one big handful per smoothie
– Spinach for salads: we eat BIG salads for dinner twice a week

Middle Shelf:
– Cheese (REAL cheese) with my nightly glass of wine (just a few cubes!)
– Thin crust pizza shells: because sometimes a girl has a taste for pizza!
– White beans: I boil these up on a Sunday and add them to my meals throughout the week (salads, eggs, soups)
–  Random fruits and veggies (blueberries, cauliflower, cucumbers): fresh blueberries go in my morning oatmeal; cucumbers in my salad or as a snack; cauliflower for mashed “potatoes” (steam cauliflower pieces then puree with a splash of skim milk and a couple of spoonfuls of non-fat plain Greek yogurt. Season with a touch of salt, pepper and cheese. One of my favs!)

Bottom Shelf:
– Lean ground turkey: for hubby’s turkey burgers. I mix with a bit of soy sauce, whole grain bread crumbs, egg, lemon juice, garlic, scallions and spinach. Form into burgers and cook in frying pan for 5 minutes each side or until cooked. Allow to cool then wrap each burger in wax paper and freeze in freezer bag. Reheat in microwave for 60-90 seconds!
– Leftover Chipotle Burrito Bol with veggies and whole grain brown rice (love my Chipotle!!)
– Alvarado Street Bakery sprouted whole grain bread
– Hummus: dip for veggies or crackers!
– Hemp seeds: to mix in oatmeal or sprinkle on salads (good source of omega 3’s!)
– Broccoli…because everyone should have a head of broccoli in their fridge!
– Eggs: I hard-boil about 6-8 eggs on Sunday so they are ready for the week! Eat as a snack, chop on salad, make into egg salad and spread on toast.

Fruit Drawer: 
– Fresh strawberries: sliced in oatmeal or yogurt
– Fresh apples and peaches for snacks!

Veggie Drawer:
– Baby peppers: for snack or in salads!
– Baby carrots: for smoothies (add 1 cup for each smoothie and blend the heck out of it!)
– Cherry tomatoes: for salads or snack!

Pantry #1: (left)
– Whole grain corn chips: The Better Chip is an awesome, non-GMO chip made with whole grain corn, veggies and is muy delicioso!
– Twix bars and fresh catnip: because I’m human and a cat has to have some fun! Don’t judge us! 😉
– Unsalted spices and baking ingredients
– Dried fruit: for salads or to add to homemade cookie dough
– Non-GMO, whole grain cereal: Cascadian Farms, Peace All Natural and Kashi are my favs!

   Pantry #2: (right)
– Quaker Oats: morning oatmeal or for cookies!
– Fresh ground peanut butter: for smoothies
– Unsweetened cocoa powder: for smoothies
– Unsalted nuts: for salads, oatmeal or snack!
– Brown sugar: for oatmeal (I’ve tried it sans sugar and I just don’t enjoy it! I add one measuring teaspoon and it does the trick!
– Dry beans and lentils
– Canned tomatoes: for sauces
– Nut Thins Artisan Crackers: whole grain, gluten-free crackers that go good with tuna salad, egg salad, bean salad…or just by themselves
–  Low Sodium Light Tuna: Mix with diced avocados, peppers, onions and dried cranberries for the perfect lunch!
–  Colon Cleaner Hot Sauce (bottom right corner): Just for fun (and to make sure you’re paying attention)- this is a gag-gift from my parents. Haven’t tried it yet…but I’ll let you know what happens 😉

Make it happen!
Take a look in your kitchen and see where you can do a little cleaning up! Choose one or two items to add to your shopping list for your next grocery trip. Maybe it’s a bag of beans and a new vegetable you’ve never tried before. Remember, it’s all about taking baby steps!

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Why you shouldn’t feel bad if you’re a “Carboholic”

July 12th, 2014 | no comments

The word “Carboholic” is often used to describe someone who LOVES carbohydrates…as if it’s a bad thing. Just like some forms of protein are better for you than others (i.e. salmon versus bacon), carbs like veggies, fruit and beans do wonders for your body, while others can throw your health off balance if you eat too much (i.e. candy, popsicles and cookies). Watch my latest video to find out why carbohydrates are so important for your body and how to embrace your carb addiction in a healthy way.

 

 

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My wish for you

July 6th, 2014 | no comments

My wish for you is simple.

That you wake up tomorrow (and every day) and listen to your body. Because it’s waiting to be heard. To be paid attention to. To be remembered.

My wish for you is simple. 

That you kick that calorie-counting app to the curb and tune into your stomach. Because your stomach doesn’t give a damn what a computer thinks. After all, computers are perfect, infallible machines. And you are anything but.

My wish for you is simple.

That you turn blind to society’s expectations of your perfect weight. Because what the hell does “society” know? They are not you. They will never be you. They don’t understand your DNA. So, in the nicest way possible…tell society to go to hell.

My wish for you is simple.

That you feed your body like it’s a temple. A place of worship. Because it is.

My wish for you is simple.

That you stomp out any guilt or shame you’ve attached to food. Really beat the heck out of it! Because chocolate (and ice cream, cheese, wine, ___________ (fill in the blank) were meant to be enjoyed in small amounts. They shouldn’t be feared or put on a pedestal. They’re all just “food.” Calories that just happen to taste like the closest thing to edible gold.

My wish for you is simple. 

That you remember you are human. Beautifully imperfect. Full of life and flaws. Perfectly imperfect.

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How to redeem yourself after you binge eat

June 27th, 2014 | no comments

We’ve all been there! Something happens in life, causing you to become emotionally off balance and then…bring on the hot fudge sundae!

Despite what you may be thinking, all hope is NOT lost! You are actually standing right in the middle of a fork in the road. Should you go left and continue the binge or go right and reclaim control?

If you choose to go right, watch my latest video to learn three steps to help you get back on track and take control of your life:

 

 

 

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