SPECIAL SEMI-PRIVATE COACHING EVENT
$525 per person
I'm now offering a 12-week coaching package for groups of at least three people. You'll receive the benefits of private one-on-one coaching in a small group. We'll set health intentions, explore what's getting in your way, make positive habit changes, tweak your diet and lifestyle choices and set up a strong community for support and accountability. How great would it feel to head into the new year with vibrant health (instead of feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and overweight)? To participate, send me an email with the names in your group, and I will contact you to finalize the details.
I think it's difficult for anyone to describe their typical day, and I certainly wouldn't presume to bore you with my hour-to-hour schedule. But I often get asked what I do when it comes to the areas I find myself discussing the most in my coaching work: food, movement, spirit and sleep. So I thought I'd share what I "typically" do here.
I'm sure everyone knows by now that hands down, the best habit I've changed is my morning routine. I used to wake up with my mind racing, make coffee with the phone already in my hand and start worrying about everything I'd seen in my texts and emails, all while trying to make the first of multiple breakfasts and three lunches at 5:45 in the morning. (My kids are 10, 13 and 16, and they go to three different schools at three different times!) I wasn't doing anyone any favors ~ by the time everyone had woken up, I was anxious and overwhelmed.
As I've read about the importance of an intentional start to the day, I've revised mine and now it makes all the difference in the world.
When the alarm goes off and I sit up, the first thing I do is say "thank you." I get up, ignore the phone, start the coffee maker, pour a huge glass of water, squeeze a lemon into it and drink it down. Then I pour my coffee (I put ghee and MCT oil in mine) and head to the couch for meditation. Sometimes I'll use a guided meditation. Other times, I'll hear my middle schooler start the shower and I know I only have a few minutes, so I'll just spend a minute or two bringing my attention to my breath.
Breakfast for me is usually a big handful of berries, a couple tablespoons of flax chia blend, raw nuts, a dash of ground cinnamon, a sprinkling of granola and unsweetened soy or almond milk. I'll also take a whole bunch of supplements with breakfast. And I often have a cup of green tea mid-morning.
I'm pretty active anyway, but before I settle down to work, especially if I'm going to be sitting in front of the computer or meeting with clients, I'll try to dedicate some time to exercise. Some days I'll ride (my bike or a horse) or go for a brisk walk. I don't like going to the gym, so if I can't get outside, I'll do yoga, weights or high intensity interval training with an app on my iPad. If it's a nice evening or the weekend, I'll go on a long bike ride with my husband.
If I have time, I'll do transcendental meditation (and sometimes kundalini yoga), as well as some Bible study or spiritual reading.
Lunch is hard for me. I never want to stop what I'm doing, and I don't really like typical lunch foods. So I'll usually have avocado toast with an egg, or salad and a veggie frittata. If I'm really feeling uninspired to put together a proper lunch (or pressed for time), I'll just make a quick smoothie. A typical smoothie will have berries, greens, avocado, cucumber, frozen bananas, flax chia blend, coconut oil, nut butter and soy milk, with some cinnamon and vanilla extract thrown in.
Dinner can also be a challenge, because my weekday afternoons and evenings are so busy with the kids' activities. I'll often have whatever fruit or vegetable they're having with their dinner, but I don't eat meat, so I'll add a huge salad or chickpea pasta with tomato sauce. If we're out, I'll share my daughter's veggie burrito and order a salad, or I'll get pizza with tons and tons of vegetables (Mod Pizza is a favorite of ours). But my husband is a great cook, so when we can all eat together, we'll usually have grilled or baked fish, a veggie and black rice (or acorn squash this time of year), and I always add a big serving of mixed greens with some flavored balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I do like wine, so I will have a glass or two on the weekends. Right after dinner I take a bone supplement and vitamin K.
My daughter gets a little energy surge after dinner, so I'll often head out for a walk with some of the kids, just around the neighborhood to look at the holiday lights (or in the summer, we'll walk down to the park for a little while before the sun goes down). Otherwise, we'll clean up and I'll hit the couch with my husband. I usually have some herb tea, my favorite this time of year is a harvest blend with orange peel, ginger and cinnamon. I'll also have a book with me, but I'll inevitably get sucked into something he's watching. Ken Burns' documentary on country music was my most recent favorite (other than the World Series, of course!).
My pre-bed/sleep routine is one area where I'm pretty disciplined because I have to get up so early in the morning. I'm often asleep before the kids! I turn off my phone and leave it in the kitchen. Since my books and my alarm are on my iPad, I put it on airplane mode so I'm not tempted to check email or social media. All my devices are programmed to switch to warm light at sunset so they're easier on my eyes and brain. I'm usually in bed by 9:30 with my book and I'm asleep within 15 minutes.
Luckily, everyone was focused on the DOUGHNUTS! Seriously, thank you to everyone at Fox 5 DC for making my very first TV appearance a blast! Click the photo to watch the segment on Halloween safety with food allergies (you may have to rewind it, the advertisement cuts into the segment a little bit). Enjoy!
REGISTER FOR YOUR SEAT HERE, IT'S GOING TO BE A GREAT NIGHT! Halloween is often the start of a downward spiral of sugar, stress and overindulgence. But I'll be sharing tools to manage your stress, stay present and NOT disappear down the sugar rabbit hole over the holiday season. You can get through the holidays without tanking your health AND still enjoy yourself. Plus there will be a Cole's Moveable Feast classic and a wine tasting! Pick up some healthy habits, taste some French wines (the French are doing wellness right!) and knock out some holiday shopping, all in one fell swoop. Hurry, seating is limited!
I'm SO excited to announce the Members Area is now LIVE! Membership includes access to exclusive content, my favorite recipes and resources, curated information, mindfulness practices, special offers, online classes and live coaching from me in a smaller setting. I will be constantly adding new content, so you'll never run out of ways to improve your health and build a life you LOVE. Membership is $150 per year, but for the rest of September I'm offering a special Founding Members price of $50 for your first year. You will have immediate access to the Wellness Feast 14-Day Pre-Holiday Reset Cleanse (a $275 value) that starts on Monday, September 30th. You can purchase your membership on the STORE page. And please SHARE this information with anyone you know who is ready to take a meaningful step towards greater health and wellness. This is a great way to get a taste of coaching before diving all the way in.
Here's to your health!
Are your genes your destiny? Can you make lasting lifestyle changes to reduce stress and inflammation, boost immunity and fight disease? Can you reclaim your joy? Yes you can! Let’s get the ball rolling. Enter your email in the Stay In The Loop form above. You will receive two FREE gifts: the Wellness Feast Superfoods List and a discovery coaching phone session.
Your time is NOW! Join the Wellness Feast team on September 7th at the Food for Others Tysons 5K & Fun Run. Your registration is your ticket to a FREE health & wellness transformation workshop at Oakton Library on Thursday evening, September 5th. My goal is to inspire you and help you set your wellness intentions as we head into fall and a new school year. Plus you'll learn a few tricks for developing healthy new habits! Then as a team, we'll get moving on the 7th and make a real impact on our neighbors in need. One of my core beliefs: we must help the undernourished. Don't miss this chance to help our community and get some free coaching! And by the way, I'm WALKING the 5K. Others are running, and some are doing the one-mile Fun Run. This event is for EVERYONE! Join the team here!
Yesterday, I did something I've been meaning to do for YEARS. I stopped by GreenFare Organic Cafe in Herndon. (This is the point in the post where I'll get the call from my mother-in-law, because I was a mile from her house and didn't stop by to say hey and raid her garden. Grandma, I had to run to pick up kids from camp, I'll make it up to you by taking you there for lunch!).
First, some background. I have been stalking a plant-based lifestyle for nearly a decade, largely because I have done so much nutrition research around my son's asthma and food allergies, and it's crystal clear: vegetables and other plants are your ticket to good health. That being said, I was raised in the South on fried chicken and red velvet cake. So I could never quite commit. I was also a baker for three years, so mine wasn't exactly a whole foods lifestyle. I've eaten more cake than I care to admit. For me, the wake-up call was a speedbump in my own health road a few years ago, and that's when I became a mostly plant-based eater. I say plant-based instead of vegan because, heck, OREOS and potato chips are vegan (so were many of the cakes I made), but they're not exactly disease-fighting. Now, let me quickly address something:
Don't worry, if I'm your health coach, I am not going to make you "go vegan." I respect your choices. My job is to walk alongside you and help you make incremental, positive, sustainable lifestyle changes, NOT to turn you into me. My food choices are based on my particular biology and, yes, choices. The same is true for you.
That being said, you're going to love GreenFare Organic Cafe as much as I do. Opened in November 2015, GreenFare is "an innovative community restaurant and learning center that serves organic, whole plant food in concert with medical professionals, environmentalists and animal welfare advocates who recognize that this optimal diet can positively transform the world... [The cafe] strives to provide a local, sustainable and seasonal menu that is delicious, fresh and locally prepared, along with catering and a variety of events including cooking classes, book signings and Kickstart programs, among others, to stimulate thinking about the impact of our food choices on ourselves, our families, the environment and animals." You can read more at their website, but let me tell you, they're not just striving to do it, they're DOING it. I grabbed one of their ready-made meals on my way out, organic spinach and sweet potato lasagna ~ it was delicious! But I digress . . .
I met with the CEO and owner, Gwyn Whittaker, for a few minutes mid-afternoon during a lull in the restaurant action. As soon as I walked in, I felt relaxed. And I was thrilled to see a bookshelf full of some of my favorite reads by Michael Greger, Michael Pollan, Joel Fuhrman and Kelly Turner. I grabbed a glass of water and sat down to take it all in while Gwyn finished a meeting. The cafe feels like what it is: more than a restaurant. It's relaxed, calming and full of things to explore. Gwyn greeted a few regulars as she made her way over to me. I only had a few minutes to spare, but it didn't take long for me to recognize Gwyn's energy, ambition, warmth and vision.
If you're already a plant-eater like me, I encourage you to make GreenFare one of your regular spots. And if you're just curious, or ready to take a bigger step, take a look at GreenFare's website for a wealth of information, classes, resources, meal delivery options and kickstarter programs. In the meantime, I had a whole bunch of questions for Gwyn after we met, so here's more information!
Have you always been a plant-based eater? What and who inspired you?
Most people were not born vegan, they discover it over time. My journey began in my early teens when I saw a vein in a piece of steak and made the connection. I stopped chicken and turkey in my twenties for the same reason; then seafood after reading The Ethics of Food Choices. The myth of needing protein and calcium from animals was finally dispelled when I watched the film Forks Over Knives. I’d lost a partner to heart disease and so the documentary really resonated.
How did you decide to start a restaurant that exclusively serves plant-based meals?
I did a pilot with 45 people for ten days; basically the Jumpstart that is shown in the film PlantPure Nation, that I had helped to fund. Changes in health were so dramatic in ten days, that I decided to pursue opening GreenFare as an educational restaurant.
Did you have experience cooking plant-based dishes? How did you know where to start?
I’m not really a big cook; I love the Forks Over Knives app that has quick and easy recipes! I hired Pericles Silva as an Operations Manager from Whole Foods; he’s a Sports Nutritionist who has been plant-based for decades. I found a space that had been a restaurant before and bought equipment from a vegan food truck that had gone out of business. I had started and run an IT business for ten years, so I tend to focus on what I know and hire people where I don’t have experience.
How do you choose your menu offerings? Do they change seasonally?
We have a seasonal and local menu (we’re one of six USDA Certified Organic restaurants in the US); our produce mostly comes from Amish organic farmers in Lancaster, PA. Our recipes are inspired by the many books that we carry at GreenFare.
How has the community responded? Do you ever meet with resistance from people who are trying it for the first time?
I think the community has responded well; we continue to see a groundswell of people who want to try plant based and who come not because of this but because they love the food.
We prepare our dishes without the tools that the food industry uses to get people addicted: salt, sugar and fat. So, we cook without oil, and keep salt on the table for people to add to their taste for optimal health. We also use whole dates as a sweetener and not simple sugars that trigger these addictions. We focus on optimal nutrition with organic, minimally processed fresh plants, without these additions that cause harm over time.
I love the idea of your kickstart programs. So many people are curious about plant-based/vegan diets, but they feel overwhelmed about taking that first step. How did the kickstart program get started, and what have you learned along the way?
PCRM.org (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) offers free classes in their 21 Day Vegan Kickstart online. We enable it with the same book and videos, except that we provide live interactive classes as well as two meals a day for 21 days. We see people lose weight, normalize blood pressure and cholesterol and a whole host of other health improvements in a very short time frame.
Tell me about your nutrition classes. Who have some of the teachers been? Are there other things GreenFare is doing to educate people about the benefits of a plant-based whole foods lifestyle?
Most of the books that we have at GreenFare have been presented by the authors; most of the greats have come through: T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. Neal Barnard.
What are your favorite cookbooks?
I love PlantPure Nation by Kim Campbell and Quick and Easy Forks Over Knives.
What are some of the ways you’re getting your message out to the community?
Mostly classes at GreenFare (I do a newsletter that you can subscribe to at www.greenfare.com), a weekly Reston Farmers Market on Saturdays, a Fairfax Veg Fest that we’ll be doing again next April, and events with local companies where we cater and do lunch and learn talks.
Most of us were brought up to finish our meat and drink our milk. Do you have any advice for people who have made the choice to go plant-based, but can’t seem to convince their friends and families of its benefits?
Read How Not to Die, watch Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, What the Health, and the upcoming Game Changers (www.gamechangersmovie.com). It comes from a decision to focus on your own health, the environment, and for many, loving animals. You can’t say you love animals and then choose to eat them or their products. There are more vegans and vegetarians from ages 12 to 22 than there are 22 and up, so a huge movement is driving change in the industry.
What’s YOUR favorite dish at GreenFare?
I love all of them, but my favorite is the Organic Spinach and Sweet Potato Lasagna. We have a meal plan too, so I always have GreenFare meals in my refrigerator ready!