Spring Wellness – Time Out for Pondering

contemplation-photo.jpgOnly We Know What’s Best for Us
The best wellness advice I ever received came in the form of questions for me to ponder…questions that helped me uncover my own truths.

As a wellness coach, there is no input I can provide here for you that is more appropriate than the wisdom you’ll receive by checking in with your own body, mind, and spirit. Ultimately, you must decide what is best for you. I believe this is true regardless of the source of any external advice.

Take Time to Go Within
In the spirit of quiet contemplation that the peaceful image above inspires, take some time out to look at your current level of wellness. Explore what you really need in each area mentioned below and let that information gently direct you to take appropriate action or non-action. Allow your body, mind, spirit and heart to speak to you.

I like to go through this gentle process of self-exploration each spring and let the natural healing forces and wisdom within go to work. Enjoy!



What areas of you need my attention?
Which foods would nourish you?
What forms of rest, recreation or replenishment do you want today, this week, this month, this year?
Do you need additional tools for rest and relaxation?
What activities would you enjoy at this time?
Are there any new healing/wellness modalities you want to experience?


What is intellectually stimulating and engaging for you?
Do you get enough of this?
How can I give you more of what you need?
Do I need to provide you with more rest?


What helps me feel connected with my source?
What is my spiritual anchor, compass or rudder in life?
What daily/weekly practices serve my spiritual life?
What things make my soul sing with appreciation for Life?


Who do I consider to be my “tribe”?
Who is in my closest inner circle?
Who do I love?
Who do I count on?
Who knows my heart?
Where am I expressing love?


What can I do to further your greatest expression?
Where have I abandoned you?
What am I pretending not to know about you?
How can I love you?

Hope the pondering leads you to new layers of awareness. Love to hear what you discover!

RESOURCES FOR YOUR WELL-BEING – Part 2 of 3 of the Cornucopia Series

giving-resources.jpgIn this second post of the Cornucopia series, you’ll find the quotes, websites, blogs, a healthy recipe, and meditation tools that inspired me and enhanced my sense of Well-Being in 2008. How do I keep track of them all?

I keep a notebook set aside to list my favorites each month. Nothing fancy, nothing electronic. A composition book and a pen. Then at year end, I sit back with a cup of tea and my laptop and revisit all that I noted. It’s a fun way to wrap up the year. And as I said in the first post of this series, this year, I’m expanding my annual tradition and sharing my favorites with you…it’s better that way!

So, browse around and find just the right something to strengthen your own sense of abundance, appreciation, delight and Well-Being this season. Enjoy!

Here are a few of my favorite quotes — those that I’ve used as inspiration this year. I keep many quotes on stickie-notes in a fat file folder…things I tear from magazines or notes scribbled from something I read somewhere (even from my own book if I think I need a reminder:) I pull one quote out each week that I want to sit beside my computer. These four came out from the file more than a few times to encourage me this year:

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope
that if you just show up ad try to do the
right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and
watch and work: You don’t give up.
– Anne Lamott, writer

We must be the change
we wish to see in the world.
– Mahatma Gandi

We must be willing
to get rid of the
life we planned, so
as to have the life
that is waiting for us.
– Joseph Campbell, author

Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.
– Alan Alda, actor


WEBSITES and BLOG POSTS (including a healthy recipe:)
Like you, I read a ton of blog posts and browse a gazillion websites each week.  Keeping track of my favorites isn’t easy. But I enjoy doing so. And with that, I’m happy to name the posts and sites below as some of the big contributors to my well-being this year:

1. Blog: ZenHabits.net
Favorite Post this year: Living Simply: The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Your Clutter
I enjoy the simplicity of Leo Babauta’s writing. And there are many of his blog posts I have flagged as favorites this year. But this one from November, contains a tip that’s recently made a world of difference to me.

My floor-to-ceiling bookshelves were overflowing. When it came to books, Leo’s article helped me explore the habit that I needed to adopt: the “One in, Two Out” rule. It’s a long blog post, but this one tiny tip is worth more than it’s weight in gold to me!

 2. Blog: TerryStarbucker.com  Ramblings From a Glass Half Full
Favorite post this year: The Real Secret of Life, August 3, 2008
Terry’s blog just flat out makes me smile. What better key to Well-Being? I especially loved this post in August, reminding us to “Never grow up”, along with the 7 keys to happy and successful adulthood. You’ve got to read this post, from Terry’s Category “Half-Fullism.” (P.S. Although the glass is already half full in this post, I’d add Toy Stores to item # 1 in the post! Enjoy:)

3. Blog: Levite Chronicles by Jon Swanson at: http://levite.wordpress.com
Favorite post this year: February, 2008 “Good Intentions

One of my morning office rituals is to read three posts from 15 of my favorite blogs. I rotate and alternate the 15 and vary which three blogs I read each weekday. When I get to Jon Swanson’s Levite Chronicles blog, I can always count on a post that will touch my soul and give me something delicious to think about for the day.

Back in February, Jon wrote a post called, “Good Intentions”, about shooting free throws at the basketball court. I’ve marked many of Jon’s posts as my favorites, but this one still sticks with me. It’s about daily practice. It’s about the daily practice of your relationship with your soul, God, your heart, love, and life. I commented on this post, but my mere words can’t really capture the way it touched me. Whenever my daily practice is a struggle (often:), I think of Jon shooting free throws…and keep on keepin’ on.

4. Blog: Successful and Outstanding Blog(gers) by Liz Strauss at http://www.successful-blog.com/
Favorite post this year: April, 2008How to Have Positivity and Confidence Making Tough Decisions
In mid-April, Steve and I were looking at a real estate investment and stuck in the decision-making process. That week, I read Liz’s post about making tough decisions and the ah-ha light went on…looking at what your Head and Heart have to say about a tough decision can be enlightening. This post and some quiet contemplation helped us move forward. You’ll probably want to bookmark it…I did.

5. Website: Mayo-Clinic.com ‘s Healthy Recipes
Favorite Recipe: Chicken and Asparagus Tossed with Penne and Goat Cheese
I found this recipe in 2007, but it remains my favorite in 2008. I substitute Purcell Mountain Farms‘ organic brown rice penne pasta for the wheat pasta, fresh tomatoes for the canned (especially if it’s heirloom time), use free-ranmge organic chicken, and if it’s not asparagus season, I use broccoli. Good, hearty, healthy comfort food:)

6. Website: InspireMeToday.com filled with juicy gems, this inspirational membership site was founded by Gail Lynne Goodwin
Gail’s Blog: InspireMeToday at http://www.InspireMeToday/Gail
Favorite post this year: November’s “Born to Fly
Gail’s November post, “Born to Fly,” came juist at the right time. I’d been considering a new internet business venture for three months, and was a bit fearful about taking it on. Gail’s words, ”…when the passion is louder than the fear…” were all I needed to step forward. Enjoy the entire post here: http://www.inspiremetoday.com/gail/2008/11/born-to-fly/

1. Holosynch®
by Bill Harris’ company, Centerpointe (click sidebar for link to free CD)
Why I love it:
I’ve been meditating and sitting zazen for 15 years. I’ve been a student of Maharaji for three. I love my daily practice. And when I heard Bill Harris say that Holosynch can “help you meditate like a monk at the touch of a button” I was intrigued. Couild I go deeper with my meditation? Could I sharpen my brain’s ability to focus? I did some research, tested out his free CD, and fell in love with the Holosynch® system and technology. More important though is that it’s helped me deepen my existent practice. The fact that I get to weave in my own powerful affirmations with the patented subliminal technology is icing on the cake. (As you can see on my sidebar here, I’m such a proponent of Centerpointe’s Holosynch® program I decided to become an affiliate. I don’t do so unless I use and love a program or product myself.) Try the free CD and let know what you think.

2. Meditations for Optimum Health CD by Dr. Andrew Weil
Why I love it:
When I want a brief pick-me-up meditation during the day, I turn off the phones and computer, close the blinds, put my feet up, sit back with my ipod and play a selection from this CD. The beautiful music in the background and Andrew Weil’s soothing voice reminding me to focus on my breath is all it takes for me to recharge and renew.

—   That’s it for this installment. Next and final post of this series will have more resources that inspired me this year! Stay tuned. And let me know:

What’s inspired you this year?

Wellness Product Reviews – Part 1 of 2: Wellness Solutions for Back Pain

woman-exercising-outdoors.jpgHere’s to wellness…in body, mind and spirit! In this 2-post series, I’ve reviewed two new Wellness Tools for you. I’ve tested, tried, read, watched and reviewed both products thoroughly. I’ll be giving you my professional and personal experience and provide an overall rating for each product.

As I’ve done before in this blog, I’ll be using the following key:

Rating key
☺ ☺ ☺ = Great product. I’m using it, love it and I highly recommend it for those who seek a wellness solution to the issue the product addresses.
☺ ☺ = Good product. I’m using it, or parts of it, for now, and/or if it addresses a wellness need you have, definitely consider giving it a try.
☺ = It has merit, but I’m not personally using it. Use with caution.
☹ = Don’t bother.

Overview of the Products Reviewed:

The two products (both DVDs) you’ll learn about in this 2-post series come from the Gaiam on-line catalog, a source I use and trust for selecting helpful wellness tools. Gaiam has teamed up with the Mayo Clinic to produce a new series of DVDs: Wellness Solutions from Gaiam and Mayo Clinic. Let me give you a brief snapshot of the Wellness Solutions series overall.

At the time of this review, the series contains 10 products. Each one focuses on a different chronic condition, from Arthritis to Fibromyalgia. They all feature integrated health action plans designed to help you manage health challenges and take charge of your health.

Each DVD in the series begins with 30-minutes of conversational presentations by several Mayo Clinic Specialists. Next, a Mayo Clinic dietitian teaches what to eat and what to avoid with respect to the specific condition that the DVD addresses. Finally, a yoga expert guides you through a 40-minute yoga segment, containing condition-specific relaxation poses and meditation exercises.

I’ve selected the following DVD for the first review:

mayo-back.jpeg1. Mayo Clinic’s Wellness Solutions for Back Pain

Product Description:
“Mayo Clinic, one of the top medical centers in the country, and GAIAM, the health and wellness experts, team up to bring you this groundbreaking, integrated health action plan designed specifically to relieve back pain.”
– from the product’s back cover

DVD (93 mins) and BONUS: 52-page My Stress Solution booklet.

Price: $20.00 U.S.

WellnessCoach Assessment

This DVD is a wonderful tool to help you cultivate better health and supplement your current back care program. The information, dietary tips, and back-health specific yoga stretches are expertly presented. And the bonus booklet, My Stress Solution, makes this a truly integrated program. (As with any program, be sure to consult with your doctor to be sure this is right for you.)

Strengths of the product/content:
1. The integrated approach is comprehensive (expert information, tips for healthy diet, gentle yoga and meditation)
2. The My Stress Solution booklet contains a thorough stress management action plan including stress assessments, and relaxation tips. It’s easy to understand and use, and contains a 1-page summary of the key tips presented on the DVD.
3. Dr. Bret Bauer presents a warm, personable, and expertly informative overview of the Mayo Clinic’s integrative treatment approach.
4. The detailed physiological information about back care and back pain are thorough and yet easy to understand.
5. The Grocery shopping tips for selecting nutritious foods convey the importance of making healthy choices.
6. The dietitian gives helpful tips for portion control and an overview of a plant-based diet.
7. Rodney Yee is a nationally known yoga instructor and having his participation here further adds to the value of this program. The poses are great for beginners and more importantly are specific to back care and stress relief.
8. The DVD is presented in eco-friendly packaging.

Weaknesses of the product/content:
1. While the dietitian presents absolutely impeccable and expert advice, she appears to be quite young and this may be an obstacle for some in accepting her credibility.
2. The eco-friendly packaging can potentially scratch the DVDs. Be careful when removing the DVD or placing it into the package.

My Personal Experience:
As someone whose back has been through many challenges, I’ve been a big proponent of healthy back strategies for many years. I was excited to try this program.

I watched the 3-part DVD in two stages.
First I watched Parts 1 and 2 for information. I got a solid overview of the integrative approach and Mayo Clinic experts discussed back care physiology, options, dietary strategies and food selection tips.

As a nutrition educator, the dietary information wasn’t new to me, but I enjoyed the presentation and found it to be affirming of what advice I follow myself. While I do eat a blood-type diet for a Type O, (I consume grass fed beef and organic free-range poultry), overall, my diet is predominantly plant-based as the DVD suggests it should be.

I liked that alternative approaches to back care, such as acupuncture, were also included in the strategies presented, as it fits with my belief in integrated programs. Parts 1 and 2 left me feeling very informed and ready for part 3.

I watched part 3, the yoga and meditation segment, later in the day.
I changed into my sweats and carved out 40 minutes for a yoga and meditation session, and followed along as I watched Part 3 (Soothing Therapies).

The meditations were peaceful. For the yoga component, I had my yoga mat in place, but I had to stop a few times throughout and go grab a few props from around the house. These included 2 blankets, a yoga strap and a yoga block to sit on. A better strategy would have been to watch the whole routine first and then I’d have known what I needed. The poses were gentle and felt great on my back. Some of them were new to me and I liked that.

I spent some time the following day, using the Bonus My Stress Solution action guide booklet. The assessments are good tools for evaluating stress levels and coping styles, and I got some good feedback. I liked the last page summary of key tips on the DVD.

I plan on keeping the yoga stretches in my daily stretching regime and keeping the booklet for future reference. Since my diet is already aligned with the suggestions, and I already use the modality of acupuncture, I figure I will stay the course. I also know what my brother, who sports a chronically challenged back himself, is getting for his birthday:)

Overall Product Rating: ☺ ☺+

Tune in on Thursday this week for a review of another DVD I’m testing out in this series, Wellness Solutions for Menopause.

The Dangerous Dozen – Foods to Avoid When They’re Not Organic

istock_000004583633xsmall.jpgWhat’s a picture of a skull and crossbones doing on a Wellness blog?

Well, I hope you know me well enough by now to know I’m not big on scare tactics, and tend instead to focus on the things we CAN do to increase our wellness quotients…but today, I’d like to opt for providing a useful warning. It comes from a situation I faced this morning.

Today, I asked my new assistant to be sure to choose the organic produce when she did our grocery shopping. She had only been on the job an hour, wasn’t used to our shopping M.O. and had a question for me as I handed her the list of things I wanted her to get. “What if they don’t have organics for every item on the list?” she asked. “Should I get the conventionally grown instead, or skip the item all together?”

It just so happened I had two lists tucked into a cookbook that I’d put there a while back — lists of pesticide-ladened foods and those less likely to be as dangerous if not organic. They were given to me by a nutrition colleague, Gerry Tribble. I’ve pretty much committed them to memory, but it dawned on me that my assistant wasn’t the only one who could benefit from seeing the lists. I handed her the paper copies and made this one for you:

Researchers from a variety of backgrounds agree that these are the 12 most pesticide laden foods:

The Dangerous Dozen
Apples, Celery, Grapes (imported),
Peaches, Potatoes, Spinach,
Bell Peppers, Cherries, Nectarines,
Pears, Red Raspberries, Strawberries.

Avoid these foods when you cannot get them as Certified Organic*. I also avoid non-organic root veggies such as carrots and onions because the commercial pesticides leach into the soil and stick around for a long time.

Commercial pesticides are linked to disrupting nervous, mental and hormone functions. Chemical Pesticides can also increase the risk for developing leukemia, brain and soft tissue cancers.

Here’s a list of foods that are OK not to buy organic as few chemicals are
used during the growing process:

Few Chemicals Used During Growing Process
Asparagus, Bananas, Broccoli,
Citrus, Kiwi, Melons,
Papaya, Peas (sweet), Avocados,
Blueberries, Cauliflower, Grapes (Calif),
Mangos, Pineapples

by Gerri Tribble, N.D.

*As long as I’ve wandered on over to the “Certified Organic” territory, I thought I’d pass along a small tip. Organic.org has a useful article to help you make sense of organic labeling. Hope it, along with my lists, to make your grocery selection a bit easier this week.

Now off to eat some Organic pears and walnuts. How about you…what’s your healthy snack of choice today?

For the Love of Tea – A Wellness Product Review

green-tea.jpgWelcome back for the next installment in my Wellness Product Review Series. Last week, I reported from the Fitness Front with a review of the Yoga to the Rescue DVD. Today, I’m reporting in with a short snippet from the Healthy Food and Beverage Front. (Just a moment while I take a sip of tea here…. Ahh.)

Okay, here’s a reminder of the rating system I use in this series:

Rating key:
☺ ☺ ☺ = Great product. I’m using it and love it.
☺ ☺ = Good product. I’m using it. For now.
☺ = It has merit, but I’m not personally using it. Use with caution.
☹ = Don’t bother.

If you’re a green tea lover, and also keen on getting an extra share of super antioxidants from acai (ah-sigh-ee), this just might be your new favorite tea.

Acai Green Tea by The Republic of Tea®

republic-of-tea.jpgProduct Description: “Acai berry is one of the most nutritious fruits in the world. For centuries, inhabitants of the amazon rainforest have gathered these berries from the acaizeiro palm tree for their powerful health benefits. This deep purple fruit has the rich flavors of concord grape and ripe blueberries…Green tea has been revered for centuries in the Far East for its health-enhancing properties.” Republic of Tea®

Price: $9.50 U.S. for 50 Tea Bags

WellnessCoach Assessment:
Acai, a “superfruit”, is rich in the antioxidants known as polyphenols. So is green tea. Putting the two together was brilliant on the part of the Republic of Tea (and no, I’m not paid to endorse them:) You’ll find tons of research that shows these polyphenols will help guard the body against the harmful molecules known as free radicals (which can cause heart disease, premature aging, and certain forms of cancer.)

My Personal Experience:
I’ve been drinking this tea fairly consistently since I got it last month — say an average of 2-3 cups a day. I like the flavor – a bit tart and a bit sweet. I don’t use a sweetener in it, but I don’t use one in any tea. It tastes heartier than straight green tea, and if you’ve ever had straight acai juice, you know what I mean. (If not, you can buy straight acai juice at the health food store and test it out…and let me know what you think.)

Anyway, since I’m a plain-green-tea lover by nature and don’t always want the addition of the acai flavor, I stick to straight green tea in the morning and sip this tea throughout the day. I like that this Acai Green Tea gives me a double dose of antioxidants, so I plan on keeping it in my weekly tea regime for now.

Overall Rating: ☺ ☺

Stay tuned: next in the series, I’ll review an environmentally-friendly cleaning product your carpet and spills shouldn’t be without. I know I said I’d do it this time, but cold weather blew in and a mug of the tea was calling my name…you know how it is:)

Got Wellness Products You Recommend? Add a comment and share!

WELLNESS PRODUCT REVIEWS: Part 1 of 4 Reviewed: The Fast Track Detox Diet

product-review-series.jpgThis is the first in a series of four posts where I’ll give you my review of a Wellness product, book or approach that’s recently come my way. I’ve tested, tried or read and reviewed each one thoroughly, and I’ll give you my professional and/or personal experience with one product per post.
Rating key:
☺ ☺ ☺ = Great product. I’m using it and love it. Go get it.
☺ ☺ = Good product. I’m using it/own it. You might want to try it.
☺ = It has merit, but I’m not personally using it. Use with caution.
☹ = Don’t bother.

1. Review From the Nutrition Front:

detox-diet.jpgDetox Diet & Book: The Fast Track Detox Diet
by Ann Louise Gittleman, PH.d., C.N.S.

Book & Detox Diet Description: “Gittleman’s easy-to-follow program includes seven days of adding healing foods to your diet to prepare for the detox process; a one-day fast featuring her spiced Miracle Juice, designed to stave off hunger and flush out toxins; and three days of eating healthy foods to seal in the result of the fast…” (From the book’s back cover.)

Price: $12.95 U.S.

WellnessCoach Special Note: My clients know my stance on fasting, diets for weight loss, and toxins in food and the environment, but I haven’t really come out with my opinion here on the blog before…so here it is:

Eating organic and using personal and home-care products that are toxin-free is critical; nutrition education and exercise are critical components of the weight-loss story; but weight loss is a much bigger conversation than just diet and exercise; a Blood-Type approach to nutrition is important; fasting is such a loaded topic that I don’t keep it in my Nutrition Educator or personal vocabulary; and the real key to weight loss is getting to and dealing with the issues that are at the heart of the matter for each individual.

That said, I agreed to review this book for a number of reasons. First, it appears its main focus is detoxification, not just weight loss. Next, in nutrition school I was a big fan of Ann Louise Gittleman’s 1997 book, Your Body Knows Best. I liked the introduction to her blood type-based approach to nutrition and individual metabolic considerations. So I wanted to see if the same thread of her nutritional expertise was apparent in this new book.

Also, several new clients asked my opinion on the Fast Track Detox Diet book, and I like to keep up with current nutritional literature in the mass market, so I bought a copy. Then in early January, in her Slim People in Progress blog, Denise Wakeman asked if anyone had experience with the Detox Diet or the book. I commented back and said I’d get to reviewing it. So Denise, this one’s also for you and your readers☺

WellnessCoach Assessment:
Nutrition expert Ann Louise Gittleman does a phenomenal job spelling out the harm that pesticides, fertilizers, synthetic additives, and pollution in the environment bring to our health. She makes a strong case for the need to internally cleanse ourselves regularly with an age-old tradition of a detox fast, but one that is also based on sound nutritional principles.

In all the years I’ve assessed detox diets, I can say I haven’t seen one so thoroughly presented, nor one that covers the myriad of issues (body/mind/spirit) that are involved in the world of detoxification diets. The plan even includes: a plan for journal entries for the emotional level along with breathing exercises; recommended pro-biotics; different approaches for those with different goals; supplements for each approach; cosmetics to avoid; recipes; resources and contact info for detox diet supplies; visualization tools to use; and Bach Flower remedies to include.

My Opinion in a Nutshell
So, how do I put this together with the Special Note I wrote in the block quote above, where I say I’m not a proponent of fasts? This way:

– Above all else, if you choose to fast, engage a licensed health practitioner to supervise any fast you undertake. In my view, this goes for everyone, not just those who have health challenges, are elderly, or have compromised immune systems.

– If you think you want to use the plan in this book, give your health practitioner a copy of the book to read thoroughly so both of you are familiar with the approach. Be sure you have read it thoroughly as well.

– If the decision you make together is for you to follow the plan, schedule regular sessions with your practitioner during the entire process. Stay in touch throughout.

– If you do go forward, don’t skip any of the steps outlined in the book, unless your practitioner specifies that you do. The prequel to the fast is a critical component and so are the recommended protocols for supplements, fiber, pro-biotics and recommended amounts of water to drink.

– Consider having a Detox Diet buddy that is going through the same process, so you have additional support. This person also needs to get health supervision.

– Go Organic for as much of this approach as is possible if you are going to do this.

– Skip Path A – the Fastest Track – and Opt for Path B, The Cheater’s Path, (I wouldn’t have called it that…I’d have called it the we’re-all-human Path…but hey, it’ not my book). Again, your practitioner’s advice is vital. I just don’t see a need for the “fastest” anything.

– If you review the whole book and decide to skip the whole Detox Diet (my vote), there is strong merit in doing the Emotional Detox component (chapter 7) on its own.

Overall Rating:
Note: The book itself is thorough, well presented, and comprehensive. As I said though, I’m not a fan of fasting or diets and this didn’t change my mind. Does contain other useful information though.

My Personal Experience:
Well, as you now know, I’m not a proponent of fasting, so you won’t see a personal report of my own fasting experience here, because I don’t do fasts. But you do have my assessment of the book’s approach from a Nutrition Educator’s view, and that’s what I can offer.

I will also say that I’m a strong proponent of doing what we can to keep harmful toxins at bay, whenever possible. I live by my own advice to clients and yes, I: Take a Blood-Type approach to my own eating plan and approach to supplements; drink lots of pure water; eat all organic at home and as often as possible when eating out; avoid toxic cleaning and personal-care products; and engage in regular “Emotional Detox” work by using the Gremlin-Taming® method (designed by Rick Carson, author of Taming Your Gremlin®).

A Bloggy Note:
This review was initially going to be a short list of Wellness Tools for you to try, without my own bias. My thanks goes to blog guru, Chris Garrett, for the advice he gave in his January 21st post that bloggers should marry their expertise with personal experience. As you can see, I’ve taken his advice to heart…and I had fun doing so. I’ll be doing 3 more of these reviews i this series, and I’m bound to do more over time. Stay tuned.

Healthy Holiday Habits for Entrepreneurs

healthy-bites.jpg Contributor Glenn Townes wrote a juicy article on November 2 in the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) business toolbox. He starts with this appetizer:

“Entrepreneurs are used to working long hours and occasionally ignoring their health, all for the sake of making their small business a success.

“With the holiday season quickly approaching and leftover Halloween candy, Thanksgiving pies and Christmas goodies all racing through our heads, now is the time to establish healthy holiday habits that will make your New Year’s resolutions last well beyond the first slice of pumpkin pie.” For the rest of the banquet, read Glenn’s full article.

Take Action:

Choose one of the following tips and habits (some from Glenn, some from me) and take action:

– buy a pedometer, learn how to use it, and get moving
– bring fresh fruit to the pot luck
– go for a brisk after-the-holiday-dinner family walk
– drink plenty of water
– opt for soup as an appetizer to curb your appetite
– hire a certified nutritionist or wellness coach before New Year’s Day
– select some energizing music (rock, jazz, oldies, you call it), and take an late afternoon office break to get up and move around for 15 minutes.
– enjoy the gathering of friends, family and colleagues in abundance and the food in moderation.
– count your blessings instead of a total focus on counting calories.
– take an information and technology break for 24 hours — no email, texting, cell phones, blogging, Twitter, newspapers, and all electronic games and computers. [Get past the first go-round of this, (where you’re likely to be worrying if you’re missing out on something) and next month you’ll look forward to repeating this one.]
– practice Dr. Andrew Weil’s Relaxing Breathing Exercises

My plan’s to outsource some more of my work to my VA starting this week — a gift for me and a gift for her.

What healthy habits will you start?

Keep us posted.

Hallowed Treats for Goblins You Love: Promote Wellness & Help End Childhood Obesity

halloween.jpgWhat do “Halloween”, “Wellness”, and being an “Entrepreneur” all have in common? Simple. You. (That is if you live in the U.S., Italy, the U.K., Ireland, France and anywhere else that celebrates Halloween. If you don’t, perhaps you know someone who does and can pass along this post.)

Let me start by saying that I’m indulging a bit today. I’m climbing up onto my soapbox and ranting a bit about a subject that gets me fired up: Childhood Obesity. At the outset and launch of this blog, I promised to limit my rants to only once in a blue moon, and Halloween’s role in Childhood Obesity is a subject that counts as a blue moon as far as I’m concerned.

So, here’s the rant. Yes, Halloween brings out the kid in us. No matter our age, it can be fun to get dressed up in costumes and go to parties or take our costumed kids and parade around the neighborhood. And yes, treats can be part of the fun. However, treats don’t have to be sticky, gooey white-sugar-based candy, and treats don’t have to be food. So when it comes to Halloween (or anytime) “treats” for the children in our world, the usual commercial fare is just not the way to go.

You know the statistics. You see evidence all around you. Childhood obesity has reached such epidemic proportions that world health officials have decided they need to take a more aggressive approach if they are to head off a global explosion of fat-related diseases.

But I refuse to wear a colored ribbon signifying an end to the socially caused problem of Childhood Obesity. Why? I just don’t like the whole idea of colored ribbons. I don’t like saying that I am against things. I’d rather jump on the bandwagon to support the things I do believe in — like health, wellness and the freedom to engage in entrepreneurial ventures. It just seems to me that teaching and modeling health and wellness to our children is the only thing that makes sense, and in doing so…we will end childhood obesity.

That said, I’ll contradict myself for a minute and talk briefly about what I’m against. Childhood obesity is no laughing matter. In fact it’s worth crying about or at least ranting about and risking your blog readers’ disapproval. On the other hand, healthy and fit kids will contribute to a healthier future and give all of us something to smile about.

Are you thinking, as I admit I was at one point, that since your own kids, nieces, nephews or friend’s kids don’t suffer from childhood obesity that you’re off the hook? Please think again.

We are all very much on the hook. And handing out sugary treats on Halloween because it’s easier than finding creative alternatives is no excuse in my book for contributing to the epidemic.

So what can you do?

Whether from your office checkbook or from your front door on Halloween, give “Hallowed Treats” that support wellness in our children.

Here are 31 ideas (in 4 venues) for doing so:

Venue #1: Your Front Door

Instead of refined white sugar or refined flour treats this Halloween, (when sealed treats are important) give out:

– colored pencils
– gel pens in bright colors
– crayons
– whistles (be mindful that they’re not choking hazards to little goblins)
– erasers in animal shapes
– coins
– stickers
– decorated hair clips or ponytail holders
– toothbrushes
– sealed fruit cups (applesauce, etc.)
organic juice boxes (100% juice)
– string cheese
– herbal tea bags (individually wrapped)
– protein or granola bar (without sugar)
– boxes of raisins
– individual whole grain Fig cookie packs
– individual 2oz almond packs
– All Natural dark chocolate squares by Endangered Species (at Trader Joe’s)

Venue #2: Your Own Healthy Halloween Party

Host a Halloween party at your home (when sealed treats aren’t required) and serve:

– spiced apple cider
– spiced apple cake made with applesauce and spelt flour
– popcorn sprinkled with parmesan cheese or brewer’s yeast
– fresh apple slices or do the “bob for apples” bit
– fresh veggies and spiced hummus dip
– pumpkin seeds (sprinkle with Tamari and let the kids help bake)
– whole grain cookies such as Fig Newman’s
– whole grain crackers with organic almond or peanut butter
– healthy mini-pizza’s: broil whole grain English muffins with tomato sauce, raw cheese, olives, and other veggies
– pumpkin soup
non-food treats such as those on the above list

***Notice I included NO sugar-free Splenda-containing items on these lists. With good reason, but that’s a rant for another blue moon. I promise. But if you don’t want to wait til then, check out what Dr. Mercola has to say about the hazards of Splenda by clicking on the link above.

Venue #3: Your Entrepreneurial Office and/or Nearby Walking and Jogging Trail

Get Running and Take Out Your Checkbook. “Treat” the planet’s children and:

– make a donation to the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC)
– sponsor your own Halloween Fun Run, the weekend prior to or following Halloween. Gather neighborhood parents and kids, ask others to chip in for each few blocks you and the kids run/walk, and raise money for KidsPeace charity to help support healthy children.

logo.jpgVenue #4: A Salad Creations® Restaurant near you

“Treat” your kids to a “Create Your Own” healthy salad and show them what fun it is to choose from the 28+ fresh ingredients.

Let me indulge a bit more and do a little shameless self-promotion. Not sure if you know or not but my husband and I are the Area Developers in the SF Bay Area for the Salad Creations® franchise. We’re downright proud of the fact that Salad Creations® is committed to helping kids eat healthier and to helping put an end to childhood obesity.

So click here to locate a Salad Creations® near you and take your goblins for a crunchy Halloween treat! (And if there isn’t a Salad Creations store near you just yet, call a friend or family member with kids who does live near one, and pass along the idea for this healthier Halloween “treat”.)


So there you have it. Healthy tips “masked” this Halloween as my once-in-a-blue-moon rant (of course I may post it again the day before Halloween as a reminder:) Thanks for tuning in.

• Got “treat” tips? Love to hear them. Post your ideas about promoting wellness this Halloween!

• Feel strongly about Childhood Obesity? Send your comments!

Wellness Coach Tips for Energy & Stresss Management

woman-outstrtchd-arms.jpgEntrepreneurs know a thing or two about stress. In fact, most of us accept the fact that managing stress and our energy is a regular part of living. We manage a gazillion facets of our own businesses, juggle schedules, and do our best to keep our stress levels down and our energy levels up. Without realizing it, you have probably put together your own tool kit to help manage your energy levels throughout the day. Browse through this list and see if there are a few more tools for you to add to your kit:

– Learn to calm your mind and body through meditation.
– Eat your meals in a relaxed environment.
– Take frequent breaks for stretching and walking throughout the day.
Eliminate refined carbohydrates from your diet.
– Eliminate or restrict your intake of caffeine and alcohol.
– Eat smaller meals and healthy snacks throughout the day.
– Support your adrenal glands with vitamin C, Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), vitamin B6, zinc and magnesium – do so with the addition of broccoli, whole grains, salmon, sweet potatoes and legumes to your diet, or see a nutritionist for the supplement levels that will serve you best.
– Consider adding a high quality ginseng supplement to your regime, either Chinese or Siberian, to support your adrenal function and help your body’s resistance to stress. One valid approach is to take ginseng in a cycle of 2-3 weeks on and 2 weeks off, to give the adrenal glands a rest from the ginseng. Educational literature tells us to be alert for signs of possible ginseng toxicity, including nervousness, restlessness, and insomnia. Each person responds to ginseng in a unique way so starting with a low dose is the rule of thumb listed in most supplement manuals. As always, consult a health practitioner for the appropriate levels for you.
– Decrease stress and increase energy by learning to breathe with the diaphragm. Take breaks throughout the day and do so purposefully. Sit comfortably, both feet flat on the ground, eyes gently closed. Inhaling though the nose and exhaling through the mouth, place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Pay attention to the breath and focus on the hand on your belly. Inhale for a count of 4 or 5, filling the belly and expanding it so your hand rises about an inch. Pause for a count of 1 or 2. Exhale to a count of 4 or 5. Keep focused on the breath and repeat the process. Do so until you have reached a level of both relaxation and refreshment. Aim for 5-20 minutes a few times a day.
– Go for a brisk walk – with or without your ipod or mp3 player.
– Organize your office and life with the zen-like wisdom and help of David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done.

For more tips, you can also check out the article, “Your Guide to Never Feeling Tired Again” posted today on the WebMD site. Author Nancy Rones gives you 22 more ideas for enhancing your energy.

Post a comment and let us know what you do throughout your entrepreneurial day to stay energized and stress-free.

Never Eat the Skin of a Non-Organic Apple

apple1.jpgIt’s autumn, and apple season is upon us! With so many varieties to choose from, it’s easy to try a type that’s new to you and good for you. But healthy eater beware. While grabbing a fresh, crisp apple (along with a handful of almonds) makes for a great snack for busy entrepreneurs, eating organic is a must. In his post today, Dr. Andrew Weil discusses not just the benefits of an apple-a-day habit, but the risks associated with non-organic apples…especially the skin. So before you crunch into that delicious-looking apple, be sure it’s organic. And while you’re munching, check out Dr. Weil’s post and let us know what you think.