4 Ways to Keep You Grounded

In my last article, I discussed how important it is to move inward, and I promised I’d tell you how to do it in my next post. As promised, I’m giving you not one but four ways to do it, and I’m showing you how each works using real-world experiences from some of my clients.

The key to move inwards is to first identify areas where you can flip what’s not working for you. If you want to attain inner peace, you have to make some shifts first.

1. Be Consistent

Client 1: My client told me she is really consistent at blowing up at her children. In turn, her children are becoming consistent at expecting their mom to explode and react. What do the children do now? They explode and react.

Flip it: Take something that doesn’t work for you such as overeating vs. portion control, reacting vs. responding, passive aggressive vs. compassionate. What is it that you can become consistent with that works for you rather than against you?

2. Take a Step out of Your Box

Client 2: My client noticed her pattern and habits of doing things to the extreme. Whether it was having sugar and deciding she ruined her track record of eating well so she might as well just throw in the towel (sound familiar?) or something else, everything was always extreme.

Flip it: Did you go off your Simple Clean and Whole lifestyle? Big whoop! Life is about the ebb and flow rather than the extremes. Step out of the box. Make a choice to drop the dialogue of failing and be curious about flipping that pattern. What would it feel like to get back on your Simple Clean and Whole lifestyle the very next day?

3. Create a Daily Ritual

Client 3: My client would eat breakfast one day, but she wouldn’t eat breakfast another day. She’d exercise for one week straight, and then she’d completely drop exercising. She’d practice kindness, and then practice anger. Again, this is an example of living in extremes. I’m going to ask you to find your neutral. What does that mean? Think about the behavior that you can take on which is in between the extremes.

Flip it: Challenge yourself with one ritual that you’ll do for the next 40 days. It can be as easy as taking a breath when you wake in the morning, prepping your meals the day before, smiling at others, or gifting yourself with some “me” time, even if it’s for three minutes, a cup of tea in the quiet, or shutting down your phone at a certain time. This will promote a feeling of sturdy, a feeling of steady, and a feeling of being grounded.

4. What’s Good?

Client 4: My client said, “I’m tired. My husband works so late, work is overwhelming, my kids didn’t make the travel team, and I just want time for me.”

Flip it: We tend to focus on what we’re deficient in rather than what is sufficient and good. With that in mind, ask yourself what is good? What are you grateful for? How much do you focus on what’s good? Catch yourself when your dialogue is all the crap that is going wrong. Instead, focus on what is going right for you.

Putting It into Action

My husband and I have stepped out of our box creating a daily ritual of being consistent on 40 days of no complaining. We’ve had a few slips here and there, but we’re doing it.

I was propelled forward to create this ritual because of everything going on in the world – politics, natural disasters, gossiping, drama, and good old complaining was getting me down. It began to put a wrench in my relationships, my own spiritual practice, and my entire physical wellbeing.

There is only one guideline to no complaining. You state your displeasure and then, close your mouth. There is no rambling on about it or building on the complaint. Here’s an example of building on a complaint. You make a statement like, “I’m so tired.” Next, you add complaints to the statement such as, “I’m so tired – tired of everything. Tired of work, feeling overwhelmed, annoyed, annoyed at the kids, the dogs, the way someone looked at me today. I could go on and on.” As you can see, you can add on very quickly. Instead, make the statement and move on. This is a ritual you can practice with your spouse or loved one, too.

Can you begin to be consistent with a daily ritual that will help you step out of your box and begin to notice what is good? I believe we all have a choice to move inwards and begin to tame the inner hurricanes, flooding, heavy winds, rains, lightening, and storms – one step at a time. Use this fall to plant the seeds of life, and nourish those seeds with your ability to create inner peace. There are just too many pesticides flying around lately!

If you’re ready to move inward and find your inner peace, let’s work together. And if you’re ready to make a true shift, get started by signing up for my 3-week SHIFT21 program.

Feeling the Impact of Fall 2017

Wow! Life is getting really messy in our external world since the lunar eclipse in August of this year! Some of us may not connect the dots between the eclipse and recent events, but through my studies, I’ve discovered that the connection has been showing up everywhere. Since August, we’ve had:

  • Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston, Texas
  • Hurricane Irma swept through Florida and the Caribbean
  • Hurricane Katia affected Mexico
  • Hurricane Jose off the East Coast
  • Hurricane Maria in the Carribean
  • An earthquake in Mexico
  • A possible volcanic eruption at Mt. Aguna in Indonesia

These natural disasters have affected so many of us either directly or through friends and loved ones. My husband, Drew, and I planned to leave for a trip to Bali during the first week of October. We’ve been planning this trip for a year, but the rumbling of Mt. Aguna put a dead stop to our three-week, 25-year anniversary celebration.

What is Happening?

As many of you know, I always look for a deeper meaning in things. What’s the lesson here? What can I learn about the whys? What kind of impact does this have on our overall health and wellness?

The deeper I get into my counseling practice, the deeper I get into being counseled. Yes, you read that correctly – once a week for me! There is incredible evidence that shows as life gets more complex, human beings need support. Studies have revealed we need time to move inwards.

As I spoke to my own counselor about the shift in life as we know it, a lot of things came up in our conversation that I’d love to share with you.

What Does It Mean?

With all of the natural disasters going on in the world, this is a time in life to make a choice. You can either go mentally dark or you can move inwards toward light to better yourself and those around you.

And now, I know you’re thinking, “What does that really mean, Jen?”

I want you to think of it this way. We are made up of approximately 85% water. What is happening in the world – hurricanes, winds, rain, volcanoes, and earthquakes – whether you know it or not, is having an effect on your entire wellbeing – either physically, mentally, and/or spiritually.

In other words, as the world starts to ebb and flow, so do we. If natural disasters are causing a lot of movement – bubbling and exploding – you have to look within yourself to see where you’re actually percolating and bubbling under the surface. For example, are you building up anger and ready to explode?

Now, I don’t mean to sound all doom and gloom. The truth is I’m taking this opportunity to explore, be vulnerable, experiment, and become curious with the patterns and habits that I’ve kept with me for longer than they were welcome. This is the silver lining.

My belief is that practicing, exploring, and changing things up will offer you a SHIFT in a direction that is beneficial to you overall, and eventually, it will be beneficial to those who surround you, too.

How Do I Do It?

Your next question is probably, “How do I do it, Jen?” Take a deep breath and stay tuned for my next post where I’ll give you four ways to do it.

In the meantime, if you’re ready to take the next step to transformation, let’s work together. And if you’re truly ready to make a shift, get started by signing up for my 3-week SHIFT21 program.

“Throughout my life, I have struggled to find a healthy relationship with food. A month ago, desperate to find and live a healthier lifestyle, I reached out to Jen.  Just 5-6 days later, believe it or not, I felt a shift. This shift was not a ton of weight loss or a magically toned body. It was me!  But with a less bloated belly, clearer skin, more energy and a newfound confidence.

“Throughout college and the past two years, I found myself choosing erratic and extreme diets to lose weight- nothing ever stuck. I found myself quickly falling back into old habits, because I felt deprived of tasty and satiating food. Now, I love the food I eat. Yes, sometimes I miss pizza, but I do not miss the way I used to feel.

“I now am determined to give my body the healthy food and fuel it needs. Jen has guided me through this process with patience, understanding, balance, and passion. She is my cheerleader, and I am her biggest fan!”

— Samantha B.

Experiencing Emotional and Physical Tension

By the title of this article, you may think I’m going to give you tools to relieve your tension. Instead, you’re going to get the opposite. I’m going to show you why you need tension if you want to make any kind of shift.

Yes, you read that correctly! We need tension to transform.

Now, before you get all tense for the wrong reasons, let me start explaining with a story.

As you know, I’m in The School of Functional Medicine Coaching. I’m busy studying and taking exams, and soon, I’ll be doing my practicum with a Functional Medicine Practice in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Over the past six months, I’ve noticed a lot of shifts in my own practice as well as the deep belief in bridging the gap between emotional wellness and nutritional wellness. You just can’t have one without the other.

I’ve also noticed that many of my clients just want things to be easy. They want things to be effortless, and they just want to be happy! Amen! Agreed!

But… (There’s always a ‘but’ isn’t there?)

To have all of the good stuff, you need to experience the other side, which is the tension.

There are two types of tension, physical and emotional, and you need to understand both of them if you truly want to shift.

Physical Tension

Think about any exercise you do, whether it’s weight training, spin, Pilates, bar, yoga, and so on. Now, think about what you have to do to make a change in your body. You have to tense up your muscle for it to change, right?

If you’re taking any kind of fitness class, and you’re just going through the motions, you won’t make any kind of shift. Your body won’t transform. Engaging muscle to bone causes tension which causes the lengthening and toning of your muscle.

So yes, you need physical tension to make any kind of change in your body.

Think about when you’re doing any kind of lifting, holding a baby, grabbing a strap above your head on the subway, or carrying grocery bags. In all of these activities, you’re tensing to move towards action. Again, this is physical tension, and you need it to shift.

Emotional Tension

This is a biggie! Most of us are programmed to back away from emotional tension and confrontation. However, when you practice burying your feelings below the surface, a whole bunch of toxins build up in your cellular system.

Can you guess what happens next? All of those toxins cause inflammation which then causes aches, pains, mood swings, and most of all, unhappiness!

Despite all of the negatives, I believe that emotional tension is worth having because it ignites change in your entire well-being.

With that said, don’t run away from speaking up, saying what’s on your mind, or feeling your feelings. Instead, allow it. Allow the tension, because without feeling the tension, you can’t shift. You can’t transform. You can’t elicit any kind of change.

Remember, just as you can’t have a physical change without experiencing physical tension on your muscles, you can’t change emotionally without experiencing emotional tension.

Feeling and Managing Your Tension

Now, you may be thinking, “What should I do, Jen? Walk around saying everything that’s on my mind?” No way!

My belief is that you should allow yourself to feel the tension and make a CHOICE to respond on a level that helps you grow.

Many people have practiced for years to choose REACTion rather than responding, which is the opposite of reacting. Let’s take a closer look at what that means.

There are two words in reaction: REACT or ACTION. When faced with tension, you have a choice to take action on what’s keeping your emotional muscles weak and flaccid. You have the choice to flex your emotional muscles to promote change just like you have a choice to flex your physical muscles to promote change.

I’m a huge believer in the paradigm, “The way you do one thing is the way in which you do most.” If you’re just moving along your days as the victim, then you most likely are treating your exercise as a way to victimize your muscles. However, the truth is that exercising promotes shifts and changes lead to a transformation.

If you’re ready to take the next step to transformation, let’s work together. And if you’re truly ready to make a shift, get started by signing up for my 3-week SHIFT21 program.

Here’s what people are saying about the SHIFT program:

“This is NOT a detox! This is a reset. Well yes, “technically” this is a detox, because you will completely rid your body of toxins, however…it does not FEEL like a detox. It just feels RIGHT!

“I have been working with Jen for many years as a private client. I have done many of her detox plans (in groups and on my own). I find at different times of the year, I need a good reset. There are many different reasons to do so. With this particular plan, I was trying to get my eating back on track after having my fifth baby (who is five months old now)! The lack of sleep and need to eat quick and easy meals (never a good combination) caused me to make decisions not in line with healthy eating. I was telling Jen that I had been feeling very bloated coupled with occasional stomach pains. I knew that my body needed a reset.

“THIS PLAN IS PERFECT! This plan in EASY. I love to cook and I find peace in my kitchen, so not only is it easy, it is calming! You are eating real food! You have choices! You are satiated! You are consuming good fat (do not be scared of that word)…you need it!

“I can honestly say that within 24 hours I felt a difference! I felt GOOD again! I have basically taken this 10 day detox and continued with it. There is nothing like sitting down to eat and seeing a plate (or a glass) full of goodness in front of you! Play around with combinations, add colors to your plate, and enjoy! DO NOT forget the water!”

— Nicola Masella

Steps to Light Your Pilot

I am continually asked by clients about how I light my pilot. You may be asking, “What pilot?” or “What the heck are you talking about, Jen?” The truth is I love to coach with metaphors! It helps to put the thoughts into perspective and make them part of reality.

What is Your Pilot?

Basically, your pilot is what makes you happy. Your pilot:

  • Stirs your thoughts
  • Ignites your fire
  • Makes you smile
  • Gives you a sense of grounding
  • Keeps you somewhat balanced
  • Gives you a sense of peace and purpose

It’s the last item on the list that is the most important, so I’ll say it again. Your pilot gives you a sense of peace and purpose. I think one of the hardest questions to ask yourself is,

“What is my purpose in this lifetime?”

When we’re asked that question, some of us shut off, get defensive, or feel sad. I totally get it. Even if we think we know our purpose on this planet, it’s always shifting, growing, and transforming.

My purpose for a very long time was raising my children, Elly and Jack. Later, it shifted to focusing on being an empty nester and all the things that brings. At the same time, I’m supporting my clients through their own changes and shifts.

My point is that you don’t have to have an answer to that big question. You don’t have to know what your purpose is. What you have to do is begin to light your own pilot so your purpose unfolds!

Lighting Your Pilot Helps Unfold Your Purpose

Here’s what I want you to do. Imagine your body is a furnace, and the only way to begin to bring heat into your house is to turn that furnace on – or light the pilot. Turning the pilot on or lighting the pilot takes action right? It won’t light on its own. You are the only one who can decide or make a choice to take action on what lights up.

Some of you might say, “I don’t know what lights me up, Jen.” That’s okay. Start with very small steps, and I mean really small. Some of the ways I take small steps to light my pilot are:

  • Lighting a candle
  • Reading the Post (Yup! That’s my favorite paper.)
  • Exercising
  • Spending time with family and friends
  • Spending time alone
  • Educating myself
  • Dousing myself with nutrient-dense foods
  • Taking hot showers
  • Trying new scents
  • Cooking

Take a look at that list again. These are all very small steps that I started taking many, many years ago. It took practice and commitment to keep my flame burning, but as I became better able to commit to some of these actions of self-care over time, more opportunities and possibilities presented themselves to me.

For example, one very profound finding I discovered as I kept my pilot lit was the birth of Simple Clean and Whole, LLC, which now has led many other people to different paths. Believe me, this takes time and lots of energy. There are still days when I’m overwhelmed, exhausted, and questioning my own path, but the underlying beauty of questioning yourself is growth!

3 Steps to Start Lighting Your Pilot

With all of that said, I offer these three steps to light your pilot, which you can start right now:

1. Think

Think about something that makes you happy or something you’ve been wanting to try.

For me, that something has been wanting to learn new yoga breathing techniques because I’ve found that they really give me a new perspective on my body awareness. However, I really never put that into action before. I always had an excuse that kept me stuck in old patterns and habits.

2. Action

Next, you move from contemplation and take action.

For me, it’s always scary to walk into a new yoga or exercise class. Being a novice makes me feel really vulnerable. I stepped into my first Kundalini yoga class two months ago, and wow, did it light my fire!

3. Commit

Finally, Commit to the action.

For example, I’ve planned to take two to three Kundalini yoga classes each week. This is a time for me. It’s a time to light my flame and expand.

It’s Time to Light Your Own Pilot

Since I’ve been practicing, I met some wonderful people and made connections to like-minded people. Now, I’m able to expand my practice and share some amazing metaphors with my own clients. It’s just one more step in the journey to finding and feeling my purpose.

Now, it’s time for you to think, take action, and commit to that action. I ask you to think about something you have been wanting to take action in to light your own pilot. Nothing is too little or too big to give you the push into action. The truth is that it takes practice and the willingness to put yourself first.

Want some coaching on your journey?  If you’re ready to take the next step to light your pilot, let’s work together. Having support truly can help!

“Working with Jen can best be described as a total awakening. Jen places a huge emphasis on the connection between mind, body, and soul, which really resonated with me. Without Jen’s guidance, I would have never realized the extra weight I was carrying around was from not putting myself first. Jen helped me break out of my comfort zone and totally changed my way of thinking.

Working with Jen one-on-one was a true blessing. I learned to shift my consciousness and make healthy decisions both physically and mentally, and I learned a number of new behaviors that I have incorporated into my everyday life. I lost 10 pounds in six weeks with Jen and overall feel lighter both mentally and physically.

Jen, you are AWESOME. Never stop sharing your light with those around you. I cannot thank you enough.”

Is Living in the Present Moment Bulls..t?

What frequently makes living in the present moment uncomfortable is that we often feel like it comes with a huge amount of uncertainty. In fact, some of you may have read this article’s title and said, “Hell no! I am not okay with uncertainty!” I get it, and that’s why I’m writing about uncertainty today.

You’re not alone in disliking uncertainty. When I think about uncertainty, I get a pit in my belly. All of these questions and more can come up when a person thinks about uncertainty in life:

  • What will the future bring?
  • What will life bring me?
  • Will I like my new school that I committed to?
  • Will our team win the game?
  • Will I get the job I interviewed for?
  • Will I end up marrying this person?
  • Will I be able to lose weight?
  • Will this group of friends accept me?
  • Will the evening go as I expected?

These are all questions about the future, and they’re questions that most of us FEAR. Here’s what I want you to understand about fear:

F.E.A.R. = False Evidence Appearing Real

Write that one down and store it in your pocket! That’s how important it is, because the truth is we really don’t know what will happen in the future. None of us do. The only thing we have control over is the NOW – the PRESENT moment.

5 Ways to Harness the Power of Staying in the NOW

Understanding that we all struggle with living in the present, I guide my clients on the power of staying in the NOW. How do you do it? The answer is by following the five keys below:

1. Have Gratitude for the Present Moment

Whether or not you’re having a sh..tty day, find one thing you’re grateful for at the present moment. Acknowledge it and give it the time it deserves.

2. Give Yourself Permission to FEEL Instead of Running from the Present Emotion

Are you angry today? Sad? Happy? Annoyed? Elated? Feel and acknowledge that emotion, and then, move on. Yes, it may come back over and over again, but that’s what emotions are all about – to teach and guide us to feeling. Remember to respond instead of react!

3. Know that EXPECTING Causes FEAR and Having a VISION Causes FREEDOM

Once you start to EXPECT an outcome, you’re setting yourself up for FEAR. What if the outcome doesn’t meet your expectation? The truth is, we can’t expect anything. We can have a VISION though, and that vision can lead to FREEDOM. Let’s put this into perspective with a few examples:

  • I EXPECT to get an A on this test I have a VISION of receiving an A on my exam.
  • I EXPECT my husband to ask to do the dishes I have a VISION of my husband doing the dishes.
  • I EXPECT my boss to give me a raise I have a VISION of receiving a raise.

Having a vision leads to a positive intention. It’s just much softer than expecting, and it allows you to move freely towards something that is nourishing rather than depleting.

4. Take SHOULD, WOULD, and COULD OUT of Your Vocabulary

Do any of these sound familiar to you:

  • I should have told you how I felt.
  • I would have had a good eating week except I totally messed up last night.
  • I could have gotten a good grade if I studied harder.

What do these sentences have in common? They’re all about the past. Staying stuck in the past takes you right out of your VISION! You’re no longer in the present.

5. Walk Around with CURIOUSITY

The only way to SHIFT is to be curious. Being curious allows you to explore and experience life. Curiosity takes us out of our limited beliefs and gives us another perspective. Think about these examples:

  • I am curious about what it would be like to drink half my body weight in ounces of water each day.
  • I am curious about what it would be like if I got to bed at a reasonable hour.
  • I am curious about what it would be like to smile at strangers today.
  • I am curious about what it would be like to ask for help.

I think you get the picture.

Living in Your Present

You really can live in the present. In this article, I covered just some of the many amazing tools that I work on with my clients to help them stay in the now. They’re all examples of reverting yourself, your mindset, and your individual story to the present moment.

I’m curious what you would feel like if you took on some of these tools. How about you? How would learning to harness the power of staying in the now support the SHIFT in your life?

If you’re ready to take the next step in learning about your health, nutrition, and the Simple Clean and Whole lifestyle so you can live in the present and make your own SHIFT, let’s work together

What’s NEW with me?

Happy June! I’ve been receiving lots of emails and inquiries from new and prospective clients asking if I’m still practicing my coaching since I’m moving between Colorado and Long Island. Yes, I am!  Be sure to go to the read the last paragraph….Something from me!

People have been asking if I’m still coaching clients because I haven’t put out my seasonal group cleanses yet this year. But remember, my Simple Clean and Whole SHIFT 21 program is always available and live on my website where you can be a part either privately with me or do it yourself. Think of SHIFT 21 as the entry level to working with me and helping you understand that cleaning out your gut leads to cleaning out your lifestyle.

My belief is that in order to truly SHIFT, we must always start with what we’re ingesting nutritionally. I always say that not everything you ingest will digest. That includes both food and emotions. Once your gut is on its way to healing, we’re able to access lifestyle obstacles that may be keeping you in idle.

The Intersection of Positive Psychology and Functional Medicine

When I’m working with coaching clients, I don’t dig into the old, deep emotional roots as much as I provide tools to you, and I support you to lift yourself up above the midline. This is called positive psychology, which I’m in the midst of studying with the Institute of Functional Medicine. Positive psychology is the science of well-being, and it appeals to me because it focuses on what we do well.

There has been so much research conducted that shows when we tap into our character strengths (especially through the coaching process), we improve engagement. Work engagement goes up, energy levels increase, and people report higher levels of resiliency and achievement. People actually achieve their goals more quickly when they use their character strengths. This is positive psychology, and it pairs perfectly with Functional Medicine, which looks at the body as a whole, not a half. Everything is completely intertwined whether we like it or not.

Always harking back to what does your lifestyle look like? Is it working for you? Are you missing something that is keeping you unbalanced? Could it be that you want to go back to work? Live a cleaner lifestyle? Move your body with ease? Be more mindful of your reactions? Dig deeper into your truth? All of these questions are intertwined within us!

With that said, I have a deep understanding of nutrition and the food we ingest and an even deeper understanding of food and emotions making up a balanced body. I strongly believe that every diet on this planet works. The real issue is what most people do once they lose weight. Studies show that 80-85 percent of weight is gained back within a year if not shorter. Why? SUPPORT!

What supports weight loss? The answer is understanding what makes you tick as an individual. Sure, calories in and calories out matters, but did you know that the extra weight you’re carrying could be sticking to you because of the emotional weight you’re carrying? Whether it’s your environment, the people you hang out with, your job, love life, children, and so on, food becomes a distraction to dealing with what is right in front of your eyes, which is your TRUTH.

Ready to Access Your Positive Character Strengths?

I’ve been working with my clients on accessing their positive character strengths as tools to keep them up above the midline. This includes finding a way to access our strengths, which makes us more aware of what is strong and worth nourishing within ourselves. To help my clients in this process, I’ve been asking them to take a free test using an amazing tool, and you can take the test, too. It identifies how aware you are of your own character strengths. I’d also like to share my positive psychology text book with you, Character Strengths Matter, so you can learn even more!

Now, what do you do with all of this information? My practice is one with great depth and passion. I work privately by Skype, FaceTime, or phone with clients from all parts of the country. Last summer, I led a one-day retreat called “The Truth” which was very well received. Some were not able to make it live and have asked me to do a small live online program. I say “small” because I’m practicing deep transformative work and feel that I can only give my full expertise to small groups at a time.

I’m in the midst of putting this online program together, and it will include a seven-day SHIFT Clean Up while we’re shifting our Truth as well as group and weekly private sessions to deepen your true understanding of what really lights your fire. If you’re interested, please email me at jen@simplecleanandwhole.com for details.

Being Transparent

Did you know that deep inspiration from self or others and deep discomfort are what cause change?

I want you to really think about this. When you’re inspired from the inside out, something chemically happens to your being, to your cellular system, and to your cortisol levels.

There is a SHIFT.

On the other hand, when you’re in discomfort (which truly kinda sucks), it either causes you to go back to old patterns and habits or it gives you the opportunity to move forward.

Now, think about this. So many of us want to be idle. We want to stay in the same place. We don’t want to disturb the flow of life. Yes, I agree it’s great to just “be,” but like a parked car, idling means there is no movement.

I’m not suggesting that you put your foot to the gas pedal and just go, go, go without taking in your surroundings. On the contrary, I’m suggesting that you slowly put your life into drive and start noticing the beauty and excellence around you — whether it’s in your relationships, career, or surroundings.

Embracing Transparency through Honest and Truthfulness

It’s been seven years since I opened my practice of Simple Clean and Whole, LLC. It may look to you like everything is just perfect and moving along smoothly, and yes, at times it feels like an old glove full of knowledge and purpose. But then there are times when I’m stuck not knowing what will be. I’m sitting in park feeling paralyzed!

You feel me? I’m sure.

Have you ever felt this way at your job, when making family decisions, or in your relationships? I’m being completely transparent here, and I want you to be transparent with yourself, too.

Your SHIFT occurs when you recognize that you’re stuck and take steps to get unstuck. For me, those are the moments when I begin to take a step forward, and it’s like the heavens open up with new ideas and experiences falling from the sky.

I have not only experienced these feelings myself, but I’ve also experienced them alongside my clients. I call this transparency — being able to be honest and truthful with yourself.

Judgement and assumptions are what harden us and cloak us from our transparent being. I’ve seen many clients peel back incredible layers to their true essences once they let go of judgement and assumptions and embrace transparency. We all have what we need to be inspired or to go through deep discomfort only to see through to our beauty. My role is to help you get there.

What To Do When You’re Feeling Stuck

So what should you do when you’re feeling stuck? To help you move from idle to drive, here’s a little something to play with. Answer the following questions honestly and transparently:

  • What are the areas in your life that are keeping you stuck?
  • What are the areas in your life where you’re idling?
  • What are the areas in your life that inspire you?

Answering these questions with complete transparency will give you something to think about, chew on, and explore, so you can get unstuck, recognize your own truth, and start to experience your SHIFT.

Want to Learn More?

If you’re ready to take the next step in learning about your health, nutrition, and the Simple Clean and Whole lifestyle so you can make your own SHIFT, let’s work together!

 

Spring into Soup with a Yummy Creamed Veggie Soup Recipe

I don’t know about you, but once May hits, I’m ready for energetic foods rather than the foods I’ve been eating in the dormant winter months. At this point in the month, I was hoping to really be enjoying our sprouted spring veggies, but at just 30-50 degrees in my area, that doesn’t seem to be happening.

My husband, Drew, and I just finished our yearly spring/summer move back to New York from Colorado. However, we’re not quite ready to hit the farm stands yet, so I decided to mix my veggies with a warm, delicious soup. In other words, it’s the perfect time to spring into soup!

I’m a big fan of Bob’s Red Mill Creamy Veggie Soup Mix. I like to refer to it as a one pot extraordinaire! In fact, it reminds me of my Great Grandma Becky’s amazing veggie soup. Even better – this mix is vegan/vegetarian, and one serving includes 11 grams of protein!

I use this soup mix and add veggie or chicken broth, my own fresh vegetables, milk, and some seasonings to make my Creamy Veggie Soup, and it’s absolutely delicious! It has become a staple in my kitchen at all times. Drew and both of my kids, Elly and Jack, ask for it when they’re coming down with colds or just need a little comfort. The full recipe is below. Keep in mind, this recipe is very easy to double.

Creamed Veggie Soup

Ingredients

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Veggie Soup (rinse first in a colander)

3 cups of veggie or chicken broth

2-3 medium carrots, diced

2-3 medium celery stalks, diced

1 small onion

Optional: 1 cup of your choice of milk for blending (almond, coconut, or dairy)

1 cup of raw spinach

1 tablespoon of sea salt to taste

1 teaspoon of pepper

Directions

Mix the veggie soup mix with the broth for 30 minutes. Add the diced carrots, celery, and onion. Continue cooking for 30-45 minutes or until the ingredients are soft. Add 1 cup of raw spinach. The spinach will wilt. Cool the soup enough to blend it. Pour the soup into a blender and blend until smooth. If you’d like, you can add your choice of milk, but this is optional. Finally, season the soup with salt and pepper. Another option is to top the soup off with hemp seeds, almonds, goat cheese, or shaved parmesan cheese. It’s your choice.

The key when making this recipe is to be sure you get your greens into the soup and blend! I use spinach in this recipe because it’s is milder than kale. One serving gives you a good amount of antioxidants from the greens and lots of fiber and protein from the beans!

More Yummy Recipes

That’s all there is to it! Enjoy this time of year when the weather is a bit uncertain, and match your food to the seasons. It might say spring on the calendar, but sometimes, you still need some of that warm, winter comfort food!

Check out these posts for more yummy recipes:

For even more recipes, you can purchase my ebook full of delicious breakfast recipes. And if you want to go further with your SHIFT to a Simple Clean and Whole lifestyle, let’s work together!

 

Top 5 Nut-Free Snacks

Thank you to everyone who reached out to me after my last blog post about my favorite nutrient-dense snack bars. I’m so happy that the post resonated with you and you now have new snacks to add to your repertoire!

I also want to apologize to those who reached out but didn’t get a timely response from me. A little into my life… My husband, Drew, had major unexpected knee surgery a few weeks ago. My priority has been getting him to and from the physical therapist and doctor appointments.

It’s times like these that you remember there is so much to learn when the rug gets pulled out from under your steady, planted feet. Sometimes, it’s hard to see the lessons until you get really truthful with yourself. At these times, I always go back to my Simple Clean and Whole pillars, which get me back into self-care. Let’s face it, you can only care for another if you care for yourself first!

With that said, here we go with this week’s post. I received so many emails requesting a blog about nut-free snacks, especially for the kiddos, so I put together a list of my five favorite nut-free snacks for you to try. I’ve suggested these nut-free bars and healthy cookies to many of my clients who are nut-free, and I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback. Most of these snacks are gluten-free as well, but it’s important to note that most do contain seeds.

If you don’t have a nut intolerance, then please follow the link at the beginning of this article to read last week’s post with my favorite nutrient-dense snack bars. Otherwise, these are the cleanest nut-free bars that I’ve found – especially for the kids.

I’ve discovered that if you tell a child or adult that this is a healthy snack, they might immediately tell you they don’t want it. I recommend cutting the bars into bite-sized pieces and letting them know it’s a new brand or recipe you’d like them to try. Don’t let them see the wrapper! Present them with a fun taste test and see what happens. You just might be surprised by the results.

And now for the fun part. Here are my favorite nut-free snacks!

1. 18 Rabbits Jr. Organic Gluten Free Granola Bar

This organic and gluten-free granola bar brand is known for real fruit, healthy seeds, and oats. It includes no refined sugars, nuts, wheat, soy, or dairy. I love the chocolate banana flavor! It’s actually Amazon’s Choice (I love reading ratings and customer reviews). I haven’t tried the chocolate cherry flavor yet, but many of my clients say their kids love them.

2. Enjoy Life Baked Chewy Bars

These snack bars are very small but rich in flavor. They’re free of gluten, wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy, fish, and shellfish. I think the chocolate flavor tastes the best.

3. Go Raw Sprouted Grow Protein Bars

I’m going to be honest with you here. Your best bet is to try the sampler package of these bars because they take a bit to get used to. Why? Because they actually taste healthy. They’re gluten-, dairy- and nut-free, and I love that they’re high in protein.

4. Go Raw Super Cookies

I love Go Raw Super Cookies! They’re gluten-, wheat-, and nut-free and have the perfect crunch. I know many kids, teens, moms, and dads who love them, too. I highly recommend the chocolate cookies!

5. BOBO Oat Bars

BOBO Oat Bars are truly delicious. They taste like a coffee cake to me. I recommend that you start with the bars that are gluten- and nut-free. I love the original and apple pie flavors.

Want to Learn More?

Don’t forget, if there are products you’d like me to test and write about, let me know in the comments below or on the Simple Clean and Whole Facebook Page. I love exploring new Simple Clean and Whole foods!

And of course, if you’re ready to take the next step in learning about your health, nutrition, and the Simple Clean and Whole lifestyle, let’s work together!

Top 3 Nutrient-Dense Snack Bars

I’m often asked what I snack on, particularly which “bars” are the healthiest. My answer is always the same. I say, “What do you consider healthy?” This is so important because everyone’s body processes foods differently.

The Truth about Snack Bars

When health bars first came on the market, they were introduced as a healthy meal replacement option – something to eat on the go. Unfortunately, consumers were led to believe that bars were a perfect, healthy replacement for your most important meal of the day, which is breakfast.

The truth is actually quite different than snack bar manufacturers would like you to believe. First, most bars are high in sugars, carbohydrates, and crappy fats. They’re also low in fiber. Turns out, they’re not so healthy after all, and as time went on, most nutrition experts started to refer to these “healthy” bars as candy!

My Thoughts on Bars

As most of you know, Simple Clean and Whole is about getting “Simple Clean and Whole” foods into your body. I’m fully aware that we’re a country of people who live on the go and move faster than our nervous systems can handle at times. It’s a reality that sometimes we need something quick to eat as we move through our fast-paced days.

To that end, I believe bars should be eaten only as a back-up. There are actually many other healthy “unwrapped” snacks that are more nutrient dense than any “health” bars! With that said, I’ll admit that I do eat bars. Sometimes, I get into a kick of having a bar after a workout or on the run. I’m also very cognizant if I’m using a bar as a treat or if it’s becoming a cloak for my sugar cravings.

My 3 Favorite Nutrient-Dense Snack Bars

Now that you understand snack bars aren’t actually healthy, you can eat them in a mindful way. To help you choose the healthiest bars, here are my three favorite nutrient-dense snack bars:

1. RxBar: Gluten Free/Contains Nuts

The RxBar is my favorite go-to bar. What I love so dearly about RxBars is that the company is adamant and consistent with using just four ingredients in every bar. As they say, “No BS.” Here are some things I love about RxBars:

  • RxBars are whole food protein bars made with egg whites, dates, nuts, and natural ingredients like 100% cacao or blueberries to provide added taste and texture.
  • They include no added sugar, no gluten, no soy, no dairy, no GMO, and no B.S.
  • They provide 12g of egg white protein, 4g of fiber, and 200 calories.

They’re perfect as a breakfast bar on-the-go, a pre- and post-workout bite, or a convenient and healthy snack between meals. RxBars are the bars I send to my kids, Elly and Jack, at college. They’re my traveling food and my go-to on long drives.

I also use RxBars after I work out, whether I’m doing barre, pilates, spin, hiking, or skiing. I eat them as a mid-morning snack or late afternoon snack. Depending on my hunger level and the intensity of my movement, I eat either half a bar or a full bar.

If you get my favorite RxBar sample pack, you can try four flavors: coconut chocolate, mint chocolate chip, chocolate sea salt, and coffee chocolate.

2. Bullet Proof Bites by David Asprey: Gluten Free/Contains Nuts

David Asprey is the author of two best-selling books: The Bulletproof Diet and Head Strong. He is also the founder of Bulletproof Coffee with Brain Octane, which is delicious but a topic for another article.

David’s basic belief is that the human body needs:

  • Lots of veggies
  • Grass-fed beef, eggs, and low mercury fish
  • Healthy fats
  • Moderate starches and fruit

When we overload our bodies with the SAD (Standardized American Diet) that is full of CRAP (carbs, refined sugars, additives, and preservatives), we cause massive amounts of inflammation that leads to disease of the body. To David, sugar is a blast from the past!

David came out with low carb, low sugar (less than 1 gram), and grass-fed collagen protein bars called Bulletproof Bites. These bite bars are new to me. I just started experimenting with them and can already give them a thumbs up for sure!

This bar is not the typical chewy, sugar-laden bar. It’s a bite-sized collagen protein bar filled with nutrient-dense ingredients that curb cravings.

Now, you might be wondering what collagen protein is. In simplest terms, it’s the most abundant protein in your body, and it’s a key part of all connective tissue. Without collagen, your hair, nails, skin, tendons, cartilage, bones, and joints wouldn’t be able to regenerate!

Collagen protein has so many benefits, including:

  • Improves skin and hair health
  • Reduces joint pain and degeneration
  • Helps with leaky gut syndrome
  • Boosts metabolism, muscle mass, and energy output
  • Protects cardiovascular health

Bulletproof Bites come in two flavors: Fudge Brownie and Vanilla Shortbread. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

3. Larabar: Gluten Free/Contains Nuts

Larabars were the first bars to come out with minimal ingredients, and they’re recognized as the original fruit and nut bar. They’re made from whole food with no more than nine ingredients and are a delicious on-the-go, nutrient-dense bar.

I’m always looking for new products, and Larabars are another clean go-to bars I’ve found to date. They’re sold all over, so they’re easy to find in airports, gas stations, health food stores, and even local supermarkets. My favorite flavor Larabar is coconut cream pie!

A great way to try Larabars is by buying a sampler box that gives you all of the top selling flavors. You can also buy a sampler box of bite-size bars with fewer flavors if you prefer.

Simple Clean and Whole Belief System

Remember, portion control is key when it comes to weight loss and overall feeling like a rockstar, so start with half a bar. You’ll be surprise how your body reacts to nutrient-dense food! Overall, we truly don’t need as much as we think.

However, before any bar hits your lips, I want you to remember the key Simple Clean and Whole Beliefs and always go back to the basics:

  • Drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day.
  • Eat nutrient-dense foods.
  • Exercise
  • Breathe
  • Get a good night’s rest.

Everything else is an add-on to those five basics!

What Foods are You Curious About?

I’m the guinea pig when it comes to trying new foods because it’s important for me to experience new products before I introduce or suggest them to my clients. I’m always coming up with new and exciting products, so please keep me posted if you have any suggestions about products you’re curious about. I promise, I’ll write more blog posts about products I find and that you suggest as I continue my search to find Simple Clean and Whole foods!

In the meantime, if you’re like me and information about food, nutrition, recipes, and lifestyle feeds your soul, you can purchase my ebook full of delicious breakfast recipes here. Want to go even further? Let’s work together!