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Declutter to Achieve Your Nutritional Goals – The Refrigerator

Back in elementary school, I had a teacher that frequently “reminded” us, “A messy desk means a messy mind”.

It turns out she was right, scientific research proves that clutter can have a negative effect on many aspects of our life, from our career, to our relationships, finances, and yes, even our health and wellness.

A cluttered home or workspace can lead to increased feelings of stress, depression, and unhappiness. Remember that time when you were facing a deadline at work and you had files, reports, and binders all over your desk? How much did you enjoy working on that project?

Clutter also has a negative effect on nutrition. Studies show that individuals with a messy kitchen are more likely to choose highly processed, fat and sugar laden foods. Also, if your cabinets and drawers are full of pots, pans, plastic takeout containers, broken measuring cups, and melted spatulas, it can be difficult to find the tools you need to cook a healthy meal. Additionally, if your fridge is loaded with jars of pickle juice, multiple containers of ketchup, expired milk, and a moldy mystery container, there is no place to put healthy fruits and veggies. And those 5 bags of potato chips in the pantry, well let’s just say they are not giving you a good return on your pantry shelf investment.

The point is, if preparing healthy meals in your kitchen is difficult or impossible, you are more likely to stop for take out, or binge on those chips in the pantry, neither of which supports healthy nutritional goals.

This month we are going to be working on decluttering our kitchens. Don’t worry. We will take it slowly. Over the next 4 weeks I will share a short project designed to help get your nutrition and your kitchen into tip-top shape.

This week’s task is to clear out and clean your refrigerator. You will need about 15-20 minutes, a large trash bag, and a recycling bin if that’s your thing.

    Go through your fridge and toss out anything that is expired, moldy, or otherwise unappetizing in appearance.
    Combine all of those partially empty ketchup bottles (you know you have at least 2). Repeat with the other condiments.
    If you haven’t used a sauce, salad dressing, or condiment in months, put it in your trash bin.
    Consider donating any unopened cans, jars, or packages of food to your local food bank.
    Look at each item left and decide if it helps support your nutritional goals, if it does not then into the trash it goes. It is ok to have a few small treats, I keep some chocolate in my refrigerator at all times, just make sure the majority of the items favor your goals.
    Once you have cleared out all of the old food, condiments, etc. give your fridge a good cleaning. Wipe down all of the shelves, drawers, and walls.

Now that your refrigerator is free from clutter, restock it with fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein. Invest in containers that can neatly store precut vegetables, precooked grains, nuts, seeds, etc. The more organized and easier it is to find things in the fridge the more likely you are to use them to prepare yourself a healthy meal or snack.

I declutter my refrigerator every 2-3 months and it’s due for a good cleaning. Here’s what it looks like right now:

Check back next week to see what it looks like after I declutter.

Decluttering does not have to be hard work, it just takes a little time and the willingness to let go of things that are not serving your health and happiness.

Until next week: Happy Decluttering!

If you want additional help reaching your nutrition and fitness goals, my coaching program can help. Learn more today!


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Eat a Rainbow – Here Comes the Sun

This is week 4 in our series, Improve Your Health,Eat a Rainbow. So far we have looked at the GREEN and RED groups. This week we are exploring the YELLOW and ORANGE foods.

Foods in the orange/yellow group contain Vitamin C, alpha-carotene, and the phytonutrient, hesperidin.

Vitamin C is important for tissue regeneration, decreasing cholesterol and triglycerides, and strengthening the immune system. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and can help prevent cancer. Vitamin C also helps the body absorb iron.

Alpha-carotene is a member of the carotenoid family, that also includes beta-carotene. Carotenoids are antioxidants that reduce free radical damage to tissues that can lead to cancer and heart disease. In addition, the body converts alpha and beta carotene to Vitamin A. Vitamin A supports healthy skin, eyes, and immune system.

Hesperidin, found in citrus fruits, is a flavonoid with anti inflammatory properties and can improve circulation.

Orange and yellow foods can boost your immune system, protect against cancer and heart disease, and keep your skin and eyes healthy and beautiful. Adding 1 or 2 orange/yellow fruits or vegetables to your daily diet can help you reach your goal of 5-7 servings per day.

Try these recipes to add more orange and yellow foods to your diet:

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Pineapple Papaya Salsa

Are you ready to learn more healthy nutritional habits? Join my nutritional coaching program and learn how you can get in the best health of your life. Join now! Invest in your health and your life!


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Start Your Week with a Healthy Plan

Will you:

  • Take a walk after dinner every night this week?
  • Eat more vegetables?
  • Quit smoking?
  • Devote 10-15 minutes to your meditation practice each day?
  • Cut back on your alcohol intake?
  • Take a yoga class?
  • Eat slowly and mindfully?
  • Get 6-8 hours of rest each night?

Feel free to share your answers in the comment section below or on our Facebook page.


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Eat a Rainbow – See Red

Last week we talked about adding GREEN fruits and vegetables to your diet as a means of obtaining vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients necessary for good health.

This week in our “Eat a Rainbow” series, we are talking about the RED group. The red group also includes pink fruits and vegetables, like pink grapefruit and watermelon. Red/pink fruits and vegetables contain the antioxidants: anthocyanin, lycopene and beta carotene as well as vitamin C. Nutrients that have a variety of benefits to our health and appearance :

  • Anthocyanins: Anthocyanins are part of the group of antioxidants called, flavonoids. These powerful antioxidants are thought to help prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, vision loss, neurological disorders (like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and memory loss), as well as improve immune function and energy levels.
  • Lycopene: Lycopene is another powerful antioxidant, hailing from the carotenoid family. It can help prevent or slow the progression of certain cancers such as: prostate, breast, and lung cancers, as well as help protect against heart disease, neurological impairment, cataracts, and sunburn.
  • Beta carotene: Beta carotene is another antioxidant from the carotenoid family. It provides many of the same benefits of lycopene and can also help improve the health and appearance of the skin.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is most well known for its ability to boost the immune system and help ward off colds and flus. But, vitamin C is also an antioxidant that can help prevent certain cancers, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases. In addition, vitamin C helps promote healthy skin by slowing the aging process and supporting collagen production.

It is important to remember that some vitamins, minerals, and other compounds found in these fruits and vegetables can interfere with certain medical conditions and medications, so it is best to talk to your medical professional about which red fruits and veggies are safe for you to include in your diet.

Fruits and vegetables in the red color group can help prevent cancer, reduce the risk of heart disease, support eye health, boost the immune system and promote healthy, youthful skin. They are a delicious addition to your daily diet and adding 1-2 servings per day can help ensure you meet the minimum daily requirement for 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Check out these recipes designed to help you add more RED to your diet:

Rustic Marinara Sauce

Watermelon Quinoa Salad


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Eat a Rainbow – Go Green

Last week I introduced you to the idea of “Eating a Rainbow“. As a brief review, eating the rainbow means consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables from 5 different color groups to ensure you get all of the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients you need to keep you healthy.

This week we are exploring the GREEN group of fruits and vegetables.

Green fruits and veggies are loaded with health enhancing compounds including:

  • Lutein-an antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation, fight cancer, and protect the eye from damage from the sun, blue light, cataracts, and macular degeneration
  • Folate-also known as vitamin B-9, an important factor in red blood cell formation, health cell development, treating depression, and preventing birth defects
  • Vitamin K-a vitamin necessary in the clotting of blood
  • Isothiocyanate-a group of phytonutrients that help fight the effects of carcinogens, cancer causing agents
  • Chlorophyll-a powerful antioxidant
  • Insoluble Fiber-helps support a healthy digestive system

It is important to remember that some vitamins, minerals, and other compounds found in these fruits and vegetables can interfere with certain medical conditions and medications, so it is best to talk to your medical professional about which green fruits and veggies are safe for you to include in your diet.

Fruits and vegetables in the green color group can help prevent cancer, reduce inflammation in the body, support healthy digestion, promote eye health, and boost the immune system. They are a delicious addition to your daily diet and add 1-2 servings per day can help ensure you meet the minimum daily requirement for 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Check out these recipes designed to help you add more green to your diet:

Bok Choy and Radish Coleslaw

Brussels Sprout, Kale, and Mango Salad


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Improve Your Health, Eat a Rainbow

You are probably familiar with the phrase, “Variety is the spice of life.” But when it comes to our nutrition, many of us avoid “spicing it up”. I am not talking about adding spices to your food (although it is a great idea), I am talking about including variety.

Take a moment to review your food choices over the past week. Do you eat the same thing for breakfast every morning? Does your daily salad consist of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, a slice of cucumber, and some shredded carrot?

If you are like most of my clients you are in a nutritional rut, eating the same foods day after day often prepared the same way. That’s why this month I am encouraging you to “eat the rainbow”.

What does it mean to “eat the rainbow”?

We all know we should be eating 2-3 servings of fruits and 3-4 servings of vegetables every day in order to meet the minimum requirements for a healthy diet. But, did you know that we should also be eating a variety of different colors of fruits and vegetables?

You probably know that fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy, but they also contain phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are chemicals made by plants to protect them from diseases, insects, and other harmful agents. Fortunately, they can do the same for us! Phytonutrients can help prevent certain cancers, support the immune system, and fight inflammation, among other things. Different colors have their own unique set of phytonutrients. For example the phytonutrient, Lycopene, which has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes, macular degeneration, and certain cancers, is what gives tomatoes, watermelon, and strawberries their red color. Fruits and vegetables generally fall into 5 color categories: green, red, orange/yellow, blue/purple, and white/brown. Over the next 5 weeks we will explore each color in more detail.

Why “eat the rainbow”?

There are several benefits to “eating the rainbow”, including:

  1. Improved nutrition– As I mentioned earlier, different colored fruits and vegetables have different types of phytonutrients which benefit our health.
  2. It’s easy– Just 1 serving of each color guarantees you get at least 5 servings of fruits/veggies which means you are effortlessly getting the minimum requirement for the vitamins, minerals, and fiber these foods contain.
  3. Prevents boredom– Let’s face it, eating the same foods over and over can get boring. Boredom can lead to skipping vegetables or replacing them with less healthy choices like, sugar laden juices. The “eating the rainbow” method encourages you to try different foods within the color group, for example trading your romaine lettuce for arugula or bok choy. Also, different cooking methods affect the availability of nutrients within a food, cooked spinach provides more nutrients than raw spinach.
  4. Supports the local economy– Another part of the eat the rainbow plan is to eat seasonally. This means buying fruits and vegetables when they are in season. Often the best place to do this is at your local farmers market.
  5. Can help you save money– It may seem like buying all of these different colors of fruits and vegetables can get expensive, however produce that is in season is often less expensive than an off season option. Think of the difference between buying blueberries in the summer versus in late winter. Also, filling up your diet with healthy fruit and vegetable options means you will be less hungry for expensive snacks. Think of the money you will save by taking an apple to work for mid afternoon snack time rather than dumping money into the vending machine for chips or a candy bar.

It is important to remember that “eating the rainbow” is not a diet, but rather a handy tool to help ensure you consume a variety of fruits and vegetables. It helps ensure you get plenty of important nutrients without getting bored or having to think too much about what to eat.

Next week’s post will explore the the nutrients and types of foods found in the GREEN category. Until then, here is a game you can play to see how well you, “eat the rainbow.” The game works great with kids, but many of my adult clientsenjoy it as well.

Eat The Rainbow Game

What you need:
  • A picture of a rainbow
  • A magic marker or sharpie
  • A box of gold stars or small stickers
How to play:
  • Print out your picture of the rainbow.
  • Use a marker or sharpie to divide the rainbow into seven sections and label 1 section for each day of the week.
  • For each serving of a color group you eat, place a gold star/sticker on the corresponding color.
  • Repeat the process every day for a week.
  • At the end of the week, review your results. How did you do? Did you get at least 5 servings of fruit and veggies each day? Were you lacking in any particular color group? Do you avoid one color all together?
  • Challenge yourself to improve your eat the rainbow performance the next week.

Have fun, be adventurous, and until next time, have a happy healthy day!

If you want to learn more simple and effective nutritional habits, join my online nutritional coaching program that starts September, 9th. Learn more at: https://procoach.app/wellnessphx


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3 Things to Stay Positive

Last week I encouraged you to make a list of 10 positive things that occurred in your day prior to going to bed each night in order to focus your pre-sleep mind on happy peaceful thoughts, read Think Positive, Sleep Positive for a review.

That exercise is a great way to prepare your mind for restful sleep and help you wake up the next morning in a positive frame of mind. It is also a terrific exercise for promoting a positive mindset throughout your day. Let’s face it, no matter how good your intentions are to maintain a positive outlook during your day, sometimes things come up that knock you off of your game: unexpected traffic, a difficult client, an argument with your spouse, or even missing your morning coffee. When this happens it is essential that you get back into a positive mindset as quickly as possible to prevent the rest of your day from spiraling downward into frustration, anger, or an inability to think clearly and solve problems.

No matter where you are in your mindset right now, take a few moments to do the following activity:

If you are in a good mood, this exercise can reinforce and stimulate more positive thoughts. If you are feeling irritated, overwhelmed, or stressed it can serve as a reset for your day, getting you back on track to positive thoughts and positive results.

If you have let yourself get too far into the negative thought process it may be difficult to think of anything good that day, but remember you’re not looking for bright shiny miracles, you are simply looking for a few good things. For example:

  • You woke up on time
  • Traffic was lighter than usual
  • You heard your favorite song on the radio
  • The barista made your latte perfectly
  • A stranger smiled and said, “Good morning”
  • A coworker complimented your work on a project
  • You had a good idea
  • I try to do it at least once a day to keep myself on track and moving forward. I find it helps boost my creativity and productivity.
  • Taking a few minutes during your day to list the good things that have happened will reduce your stress levels, spark new ideas, heighten productivity, and help you flow through your day with ease. It is a small investment of time that yields tremendous returns!

    Give it a try. I guarantee you will be glad you did.

    Until next time, have a happy healthy day!


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    Road Trippin’ Nutrition

    Summer is here and that means, vacation time! If your summer vacation involves a road trip, you may be tempted to leave your good nutrition habits at home. But, with a little bit of preplanning you can have room in the car for your luggage and your nutritional goals.

    Here are a few tips to help you stay on track on the road.

    1. Pack a cooler – Between luggage, golf clubs, beach umbrellas, and the floaty unicorn, space in the car can be limited, but leaving space in the front seat for a small cooler let’s you pack quick and healthy snacks that are easy to eat in the car. Pack snack size bags of bell pepper slices, carrot sticks, broccoli, blueberries, apple slices, raw nuts, or any other healthy finger foods. Protein bars or shakes, beef/chicken jerky, or freeze dried soy beans are great ways to add protein. Don’t forget to include a few bottles of water as well. Packing a cooler not only keeps your nutrition on point, but you will save time and money by not stopping to eat at less than healthy roadside establishments. For some inspiration, check out my Road Trippin’ Trail Mix recipe.
    2. Make smart convenience store choices – Eventually you are going to have to stop for gas. Fuel station convenience stores are full of snack options, unfortunately most of them are loaded with fat, sugar, and preservatives, but with a small amount of effort you can find healthy and tasty options. Most stores have refrigerated sections where you can find protein shakes, yogurt, fruit bowls, and my favorite, string cheese! If you simply MUST have some “junk food” opt for baked chips/cheese puffs, pretzels, or plain popcorn. Avoid the pitfalls of sugary drinks by choosing bottled water (I like sparkling water for variety) or unsweetened tea/coffee.
    3. Eat out smart – Healthy snacks are only going to get you so far down the road. You are going to have to stop somewhere to eat a real meal. Whether it’s a fast food joint or a roadside cafe, look for the best possible option when it comes to your nutritional goals. Most places have a few different salad options, even if a “salad” consists of lettuce, 2 tomato wedges, a slice of cucumber, and shredded cheese, add some protein and your good to go. If possible pass up the greasy burger and go for a grilled chicken sandwich instead. While you’re at it, only eat 1/2 of the bun or skip it altogether. It’s best to live without the fries, but it is vacation so if you must, order a small size and share it with your car-mate.
    4. Make a list of healthy options – Before you leave for your trip, make a list of potential snacks and meals. Having a list of healthy options handy when you go into the convenience store makes it easier to avoid the temptation of hot dogs and Twinkies. Also, do some research to find out what restaurants are on your route and what their menus offer. Make an effort to schedule your meal breaks at the restaurants with the healthiest options.

    Your nutritional goals don’t have to stay at home when you go on vacation. With a little planning, you can make sure you have room for healthy habits and the unicorn floaty.

    Wherever you roam, have fun, be safe, and have a happy, healthy trip!


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    A Little Change is Good

    We all know what we SHOULD do to be healthy, fit, and at our best: we should eat 5-7 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day, we should get at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily, we should not smoke, we should avoid processed foods/trans fats/alcohol/sugar…

    But, let’s face it most of us have a vice or 2 (or more), that keep us from reaching the peak of our health and wellness. While many of these vices seem pretty harmless while we are doing them they can pose long term threats to our health. Yep, that burger and fries you ate this weekend will come back to haunt you in your 70s (or sooner). That is why it is important to get a handle on our bad habits as well as create new good habits.

    Slowly and mindfully is a great way to eat less, but it’s impact is limited if your “healthy routine” still consists of fast-food, beer, and 15 hour video game marathons.

    This week I am offering you a challenge. Pick one of your bad habits, just one, and over the next week take steps to change it.

    For example,

    • If you are a coach potato, make it your goal to go for a walk around your neighborhood every day this week. You can even start with 10 minutes if that is all you can handle.
    • If you never eat vegetables, start adding 1-2 servings of veggies to one of your meals daily.
    • If you are a smoker, cut the number of cigarettes/vapes you have by 5-10% this week.
    • If your an overeater, make a conscious effort to cut back on your portion sizes by 15-20% at each meal.
    • If you can’t make it through the day without 3-4 cups of coffee, replace 1 of them with a decaf.
    • If you regularly wake up Sunday morning with a raging hangover, cut back a drink or 2 the next Saturday.

    The point isn’t to completely stop your bad habit in one fell swoop, but rather to slowly ween yourself off of the bad habit and slip gently into a better one. Changing habits takes time and patience. Be kind to yourself and pat yourself on the back for each little bit of progress you make.

    The first few days of this may be rough and you may even feel a tad bit icky, but I promise as the week progresses you will start to feel better.

    Give it a try. What do you have to lose except your bad habits.


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    Chocolate Mint Smoothie

  • There is nothing quite like a scoop of mint chocolate ice cream on a hot summer day. Unfortunately, ice cream is not the healthiest way to relax and cool off.
  • This recipe combines delicious chocolate protein with cooling mint for a tasty and healthy summer treat.
  • Not only do the mint leaves pack a powerful antioxidant punch, but mint also helps improve digestion, boost liver function, and lower body temperature (yep, eating mint actually makes you cool)!
  • The avocado adds a creamy consistency while providing a healthy dose of fat!
  • I love this smoothie after a long hot day when I need some nutrition but don’t feel like eating a meal.
  • Chocolate Mint Protein Smoothie

    Ingredients:

    2 cups organic spinach (or kale if you like stronger greens)

  • 1-1/2 cup milk (unsweetened almond or coconut work great, but you can use nonfat dairy milk if you prefer; water works too)
  • 1 cup ice (more or less, for desired thickness)
  • ½ avocado, pitted and skin removed
  • 1 packet Chocolate PureTrim Mediterranean Wellness Shakes*
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs
  • Directions:
    • Combine all ingredients in a power blender and blend until smooth.
      Sit back, cool off, and enjoy!

    *PureTrim shakes contain 21 grams of vegan protein, antioxidants, a blend of essential fatty acids, probiotics, and less than 8 grams of net carbs. Oh yeah, and they actually taste great too! Order yours now!

    Don’t forget to check out our other healthy, yummy recipes on our Recipes page!