Monthly Archives: March 2014

C.R.A.V.I.N.G.S. damn!


Chocolate CakeHow am I supposed to fight this feeling that DEMANDS that I eat that chocolate cake now … like RIGHT NOW!!?

Beats me.

No, that’s not true. I’ve got some ideas that will help you out a lot of the time. I’m not saying you’ll never give in again, but here’s some help.

First, breathe. That’s simple, right? Just taking that breath is the most important thing you can do. It’s about becoming aware of your actions. If you can catch yourself before you give in to the craving, by taking a deep breath, you have the opportunity to make a change.

Second, ask yourself if you’re hungry. If you are, eat something nourishing and get on with your day or night.

Not hungry? Drink a glass of water and wait ten minutes. Thirst often presents as a craving and that’s easily solved.

So, ten minutes have gone by and you are just barely holding yourself back from eating the cake. Time to look a little deeper.

If you’re not hungry or thirsty then chances are that you are falling prey to emotional eating. While not as easily solved as hunger and thirst, there are some tools you can use to achieve success.

The first thing you need to do is identify what’s going on. Are you bored, angry, happy, lonely, in need of comfort or frustrated? Once you identify the emotions that make you head for the ice cream or potato chips you can find other solutions.

When you’re not in the throes of a craving, list the emotions that cause you to eat. After each emotion identify other things that would address the feelings you’re experiencing. I call this my Nourishment Menu. You can add things that work for you, here are some examples from mine:

I created a project list consisting of small, medium and large projects so that there’s almost always something that can be done in the time I have to fill. I even have some of household chores on my list.

On my Nourishment Menu I have: Go to a coffee shop or call friends and family.

Sometimes there just isn’t anyone available to offer comfort so finding things that offer comfort is important. I enjoy a warm Epsom salt bath with a cup of tea and a good book. A client loved to snuggle under her grandmother’s quilt and watch old movies. Maybe there’s not time for a bath, in which case I’ll take ten minutes with a cup of tea and my journal or sit on the couch with a dog on my lap … finding solace in small things is a gift.

I hate to say it but this one is often solved through exercise. I’ll walk my dogs for a few miles and all of a sudden I’m not upset anymore. An alternative, an oldie but goodie, is to take it out on a pillow. I think beating up on a pillow works because after about 12 seconds you feel totally comical. You could try screaming at yourself in the mirror as well. That’s good for an attack of the sillies.

I have to say I haven’t found anything that really feels as right as food, but I have learned to switch from overeating chocolate, crème-filled cake to sharing a decadent dessert at a nice restaurant with friends. Two bites of the Chocolate Bag at McCormick & Schmick’s is plenty and gives me a genuine feeling of celebration rather than the guilt that occurs after overeating junk.

So, take a deep breath. Eat if you’re hungry. Drink for thirst. Then figure out what’s really going on and develop a menu of things that will nourish the true hunger.

Nancy Oglesby, the Practical Health Coach
Simplifying Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Do you enjoy reading the blog, think the ideas are good, but just don’t seem to make them happen in your life? You might be a perfect candidate for the coaching process. Contact me to schedule a FREE Strategy Session by visiting my website Fill out the appropriate form and when I receive it I’ll contact you to set up a time to talk. The session is done over the phone, lasts about 45 minutes and you will definitely have one or two strategies when the call is over.

PS: What does the acronym CRAVINGS stand for?
Crazy & Ravenous Advancing Viciously In a Nonstop Gastronomic Session



Chocolate Cake

You Have to Slow Down to Speed Up

Today I thought we’d take a breather and check in to see if you’ve made taken any of the steps we’ve talked about so far: Adding in veggies and fruits and walking out five minutes and back five minutes.

Have you started doing either? Did you make a plan to get more fresh fruits and vegetables into your daily diet? I understand that this might cause a bit of discomfort, but accomplishing these two things will set you up for success as you move toward a healthier lifestyle. Learning you can achieve a goal, and sustain it, is the key to lasting change.

Simple change doesn’t equate to easy. Any change requires thought and in today’s fast-paced world, our intentions are often crowded out by the mental clutter of the day.

Consider putting yourself first. Do you cringe when you hear that? Do you shut down knowing that there’s no way you can find any time? We often put everything else ahead of our own needs. We take the kids here or there, get meals together, dash to the store for a much-needed item, volunteer, take classes, organize charitable events, attend events for family and friends, take the dog to puppy class, support our parents either by visiting or helping with their needs … All of the above! And I didnslow down’t mention anything related to work and career. YIKES!

I know it’s easier said than done, but when you put ‘me’ time into your life, when you put yourself first and energize yourself through healthy habits, you will find that you have a more positive outlook and more vibrant energy. Nourishing yourself (body, mind and spirit) brings with it unimaginable results. Your words are kinder and more loving, you will have time to listen, and your creativity will be reborn.

I was once in a competitive sport that was scored by speed and accuracy. The most important thing my instructor ever told me was, “You must slow down to speed up.” After that, I was unstoppable, going on to win the state and regional championships. What was the lesson? The more we rush, the less effective our movements. This wasn’t just a sports lesson it was a life lesson. It holds true in every aspect of life.

Find a way to relax into your life. Slow down and take some time for yourself. Trust me, you’ll find you have more time than you thought possible.

Nancy Oglesby, the Practical Health Coach
Simplifying Healthy Lifestyle Changes

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Nobody WANTS to Step Out of Their Comfort Zone

Comfort Zone in BoxThis is the biggest step in the process, and it’s going to be a big deal for some people. I know it was for me. I absolutely hate being uncomfortable! When I decided to quit eating while watching television I was very uncomfortable. For a while I let it go on, then I decided I could control what I ate and all would be well. I’d just eat carrots and celery.

Guess what? It wasn’t long before the eating was back out of control. Celery and carrots? Yeah, right! So, I committed again and I caved. I committed. I caved. Then, something magic happened: I got it right in my head. I realized that I was looking at the change with negativity and self-pity. (Oh poor me … All I can eat is celery and carrots … Wah, wah, wah.) When I changed my mental state I changed the outcome. I realized that I was blessed to have the opportunity to discover something new about myself!

I gave myself permission to feel the discomfort, to actually pay attention to it and by doing that I learned that I was bored sitting there with nothing but the television, so I began thinking about positive alternatives to eating. What could I do that kept my hands busy, but allowed me to keep track of the show I was watching? Some people choose sewing or knitting. I tried knitting, but it didn’t hold any excitement for me.

One day I bought a mandala coloring book and a BIG box of Crayola crayons and began coloring while I watched. Now, that was fun! It was relaxing and the perfect way to occupy my head and hands. I don’t even think about food while I’m watching television anymore.

If eating while watching television is one of your habits, by making the choice to step out of your comfort zone you might discover a new pastime or find that you enjoy playing solitaire either with a deck of cards or on your phone. Maybe you’ll enjoy coloring in a coloring book. Keep trying new things until you hit upon a solution to the problem. I guarantee you, that unless it’s hunger, the solution is not food.

So, what comfort zone are you ready to tackle? Is it eating with television, getting up and exercising, beginning a journaling practice or cooking more meals at home? I’d advise you to grumble, be annoyed, even fight it for a bit, but pay attention to what it is that is making you uncomfortable so that you can discover a new way of doing things. Flip on the switch in your head that feeds a positive attitude and you’ll find that changing the way you look at the situation will afford you to opportunity to create new and lasting change.

What? I Need to Pack Green Stuff?

If you were starting on a trip then you’d probably have done some planning and packed accordingly. Starting on your journey to better health & weight loss is no different. You must plan and pack.

What are you going to pack? Nutrients! How are you going to do that? By adding in fruits and vegetables. There are a number of ways to achieve this.

  • Salads. First of all, salads are available everywhere so that helps make it easy. Add in a salad of mixed lettuces and greens with a lot of added goodies like snow peas, carrots, tomatoes, orange slices, strawberries, cucumbers, avocado, peppers, sprouts, onions, red cabbage, jicama, pineapple, apples, celery, broccoli, pears, cranberries (Not too many. There’s added sugar on dried cranberries.), grapes … the list is endless. Be adventurous and try new things!
    Top it off with a tablespoon of chopped nuts, a healthy oil and vinegar dressing and you’ll be packing in the nutrients!
  • Sliced veggie trays aren’t just for company. Bring one home with your greensweekly shopping and set it out while you cook dinner, or between meals as a great snack. Buy or make some hummus for dip and you’ll have a powerhouse of nutrition!
  • To start your day, or for your afternoon break, have a green smoothie. For a great outline of how to create a smoothie click here.
  • Add greens to stir fry’s, omelets and soups. Buy a bag of washed, cut greens and toss it in your freezer just the way you brought it home from the store. When frozen, smash it down to about half its size so it takes up less room. That way it’s convenient when you want to add it in.
  • Fresh fruit, combined with an ounce ofhealthworkskc, almonds, nuts, emotional eating, cravingyour favorite nuts is the perfect snack. The  fiber, protein and healthy fat found in nuts slows down the absorption of the sugar from the fruit giving you long-lasting satisfaction!
  • Brush veggies with Extra Virgin Olive oil and put it on the grill … Inside or out. I love my Foreman Grill!
  • Instead of drinking fruit juice eat the fruit with your breakfast. You’ll get the benefit of the natural fiber that’s lost when you pour your fruit from a carton or can.
  • Make frozen fruit pops by blending up your milk of choice with your favorite fruits. Pour into molds and enjoy on a warm day. I love to mix orange and pineapple with coconut milk and a touch of vanilla … YUM!
  • Roast your veggies. If you haven’t tasted the difference, you brussels-sproutsneed to try it. Roasted vegetables have an incredibly rich flavor. Just Google ‘roast cauliflower’ or ‘roast carrots’ or ‘roast vegetables’ for temps and times.
  • Don’t rely on packaged goods that say, “12 servings of fruits and vegetables per serving” as a way of getting goodness into your diet. There’s no telling how many nutrients are left after all of the processing, so opt for fresh when at all possible and if not, go for frozen. What I tell my clients is, “Eat real food! You know, that stuff that looks like food.”

None of the above will happen just by reading this post and thinking about it. You’ll have to sit down and figure out what and when you are going to make some of these additions and then shop accordingly. Planning for your journey by packing in fresh, whole nutrients is just what you need to make it to your destination with high energy, great health and a new level of happiness!

See you on the road,
Nancy Oglesby, The Practical Health Coach

How to REALLY Create an Exercise Habit

You know from my story in the previous post that I got healthy changing one or two things at a time and taking some time to get used to the changes before moving onto another.

In the past, I’d try to do aerobics or strength training three times a week. I’d get off track by using that extra day more than once. You know what I’m talking about: Workout M/W/F or T/R/S and there’s an extra day whether it’s Saturday/Sunday or Sunday/Monday and I’d say, on Thursday, “I’ll just take today as my extra day.” I’d say it again on the following Tuesday and before long I had no routine at all.

How did I solve that? Well, I tried being strict with myself, but without accountability it didn’t work. What did work was working out every day … No off day to conveniently reschedule as the mood struck. Guess what? It worked! I got into a really nice routine and now the only days I don’t work out are the ones that have scheduling issues. That works out to about once every 1-2 weeks.

I discovered a new approach to staying committed to walking every day by not:

  • Making a big deal out of it. No fancy workout clothes or creating an Excel spreadsheet to track progress.
  • Insisting on setting any big distance goals or speeds every day
Health & Nutrition Community Neighborhood Wellness Stress Relief

Waiting for the day the trees are this lush again. This is my street!

The plan that I credit for creating my daily habit, and that of several clients and students, was to set the goal of walking out 5 minutes and back 5 minutes (or just walk around the block). My block is .6 miles and that’s all I HAVE to do.

Why does this work? It builds the habit of making time to do some intentional exercise every day. For some of you 10 minutes of walking might seem like a stretch. That’s okay. Set the goal smaller. Walk to the end of the block and back. Just set a goal that feels small so that you do it daily.

Push yourself occasionally … Let it evolve into 7 minutes out and back, 10 minutes out and back. But always remember, especially on the days you just don’t feel like doing it, that you only have to walk around the block.

If 10 minutes seems to short, don’t worry about it … It’s the minimum. The importance of the small goal is to create the daily habit. Where you take it when you get outside is up to you, but you always only have to walk 10 minutes. It’s tough to argue with that!

I started doing this the summer Kansas City experienced a record number of days in the 100’s. I ended up walked about 3 miles at 6AM and another 2 at 9PM on a lot of days. Every day I told myself I only had to walk around the block.

Remember, nothing fancy. No big plans. Keep it simple! Walk out. Walk back. Daily. 10 minutes. Where you take it from there is up to you. The end goal is to build the habit of moving daily.

Building the habit teaches you that you can. That’s huge.

Here’s to the journey!
NancyO, The Practical Health Coach


Step-by-Step: Your Journey to Better Health & Weight Loss

Today marks the beginning of a new series: Step-by-Step: Your Journey to Better Health & Weight Loss.

Your Journey





Many of you don’t know my story, so I’ll recap it here. I decided to get healthy in 2009 when I lost my health insurance. I was 58 years old and hadn’t been without insurance EVER before! Instead of totally freaking out (well, I did that for a few days) I decided that I’d just get healthy. This was the beginning of my journey.

I knew that the basics of better health including moving more, eliminating red meat, eating more fruits and veggies would reduce weight and improve blood pressure and cholesterol. So, that’s what I did. I knew that I would burn out if I started all at once, so I began slow and steady.

It wasn’t too bad, but after a few months I decided to stop eating chicken since I was totally eating a ton of fried chicken instead of red meat (not the best alternative). Later on I thought that dairy might not be a great choice for me, so I decided to take it out of my diet as well.

The results? I lost 35 pounds, my blood pressure went to normal. I reduced my cholesterol and got off statins. But, some surprising things happened that I didn’t expect … I thought they were pretty miraculous: I lost my asthma and my allergies. Yep. Gone. I had been using an inhaler and was on an inhaled steroid for the asthma. I haven’t used any since 2010.

To control my itchy eyes and sneezing fits, I took Zyrtec™ every day from the time it was created (I’m guessing 10 years at least). Before that I took Allegra for several years. One day I didn’t take anything. Nothing happened. I didn’t take anything the next day. Nothing happened. I haven’t taken a Zyrtec™ since then (2010). I didn’t even know that was possible!

These miracles, at least to me they’re miracles, are what inspired me to become a Certified Holistic Health Coach by graduating from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. But, enough about my journey, let’s get you started on yours!

This series is about steps. It’s about habits. It’s about choosing to make several small changes over time with the goal of building a healthy and fit lifestyle.

This isn’t a daytrip or even a weekend excursion. This is a journey that will last your entire life. That doesn’t mean you will be devoting all of your time to studying healthy lifestyle choices, but it does mean that you will be adjusting your food, exercise and the things that provide for an enjoyable journey as life’s inevitable changes occur.

I’m assuming that you want to improve your health, gain energy, happiness, possibly lose weight, and that you want to spend far less time and money on doctors, hospitals and medications. That being said, lifestyle is the key and discovering how to change behaviors is an important factor in achieving your goal/s.

Each person is different. Each person will choose different steps. It is entirely up to you. I am giving you the tools you need to succeed at the changes you decide to make. You see, my goal is not to change you into something you’re not. I will encourage you to increase the amount of plant-based foods in your diet and reduce the amount of meat because that’s what the research shows is most effective at preventing, improving and/or curing disease. That is very different than trying to get you to become a vegan or vegetarian.

While I reserve the right to change course during this series, I see it unfolding in a manner that gives you support in making changes and further along moves into specific steps (or changes) that would be beneficial goals for most people.

Since attitude about change is the biggest factor in success, I encourage you to begin your journey by watching this fun, informative TED Talk by Shawn Achor. I actually encourage you to bookmark it and go back to it whenever you start thinking negative thoughts while struggling to maintain some of your choices.

So, I hope you will begin this journey … It’s not my journey, it’s yours and it could be the most important journey you’ve ever gone on.

Nancy Oglesby
The Practical Health Coach

Nancy’s Soon-to-Be Famous Accidental Chili

I’ve found a combination of ‘secret’ ingredients that make meatless soup, chili and spaghetti sauce taste, for lack of a better word, meaty. I’ve tested my recipes on diehard, meat-loving dudes and they are all shocked when they find out there’s no meat in them.

So, add this to your meal rotation and save the money for a grass-fed steak! (For more on reasons to add in meatless meals see Breakfast for Dinner.) The story explaining the name is in the recipe instructions below.

This recipe is high in protein, fiber and phytonutrients. Enjoy!

(Gluten Free)

1 Can (28oz)     Diced Organic Tomatoes
2 Cans (15oz)   Kidney Beans (I like Light Red)
1 Can (15oz)     Pinto/Black Beans
1 Can (15oz)     Pizza Sauce (I use Muir Glen Organic)
2 Med                 Onions (chopped how you like them)
2 Cloves            Garlic (crushed)
6-8 Small           Red Potatoes (quartered, unpeeled)
1 Cube               Edward & Sons Not Beef Bouillon (or a brand you prefer)
1 T                     Bragg Liquid Aminos (available either online or in the health section
of your grocery
1.5T                   Smoked Paprika  (or to taste)
3 T                     Chili Powder  (or to taste)
2 T                     Cumin  (or to taste)
1.5 T                  Coconut Oil (I use raw, organic, extra virgin)

Rinse & drain the beans, toss everything in a crockpot, cook. J I have to confess that I don’t always use a raw onion or garlic cloves. If I’m in a hurry and don’t have either, I add dried, minced onion and garlic powder. (There, I said it. Confession over.)

Okay, here’s how the accidental, fabulously delicious potato chili happened:

I was at the grocery store and googled ‘chili’ since I can never remember the ratio of tomatoes to tomato sauce or paste. I checked out three and all of them had only 1 large can of tomatoes so that’s what I bought. I got home and started adding ingredients and quickly realized that I needed another tomato product so I looked in my cabinet and the only thing I had was a can of Muir Glen Pizza Sauce. I read the ingredients and thought, “That should work. The Chili Powder and Cumin should do a good job of covering up most of the basil and oregano.”

I tossed everything in the Crockpot and cooked it several hours before dinner. I fixed myself a bowl, took a bite and realized that the bouillon cube added way too much salt … Hmmm, potatoes will absorb that, so tomorrow I’ll add some potatoes.

The next morning, I tossed it all back in the Crockpot and cubed 6-8 small red potatoes and added them. Several hours later I had the best chili I’d ever tasted … NancyO’s Accidental, Fabulously Delicious Potato Chili! But you don’t have to believe me. I demonstrate this in my cooking classes while the students eat some that’s already cooked. This is what I hear:

“OMG – the chili was AWESOME! … That is a recipe my meat-eating hubby would like too!”

“This chili is really amazing!”

“I can’t believe there’s no meat in this. It’s delicious!”

I hope you get a chance to try this because it is really good and the perfect answer to Meatless Meals!

Nancy Oglesby, The Practical Health Coach

Just a quick disclaimer: I make a small amount if you purchase from the links I provide. However, primarily I add links because it allows you to know exactly what product I’m talking about when I identify brands that I like and use.

The Trouble with Meatless Meals

Chicken Trouble

Most people are aware of the four basic tastes, but recently there’s been a lot of talk about the fifth taste: umami, and that it is often missing from a meatless dish.

We’re all familiar with sweet, sour, bitter and salty and have many ways to satisfy them, but Americans have traditionally satisfied the desire for umami with meat and animal products. It’s really glutamate that creates the flavor and animal products are loaded with it.

Think about how many products and restaurant meals have added MSG … That’s added glutamate! They add it to enhance flavor and it works. Let’s look at some vegan options for adding umami flavor to plant-based dishes. Try some of these in your next stir fry, batch of chili or pot of soup.

The following list is not necessarily complete, but they are the ways that I add umami flavors to my meatless meals, typically adding at least two to each dish. Primarily I rely on tamari, Bragg liquid aminos, smoked paprika, trouble cowmushrooms (whole, sliced and/or powder), garlic, fennel, caramelized onion and sun-dried tomatoes. Resources on the internet add toasted nuts, caraway seeds, miso and even MSG.

Visit my recipe page for great ideas and recipes for meatless meals. Serving meatless meals is a great way to save money so that you can afford grass fed beef instead of the hormone/antibiotic-laden meat sold in grocery stores.

A simple quick dish is to caramelize onions in some coconut oil, add edamame, brown rice and diced, sun-dried tomatoes. Sprinkle on some salt and a touch of chili powder … YUM!

I start a new series on Thursday: Step-by-Step: Your Journey to Better Health & Weight Loss. I hope you’ll join me and find your first step!
Nancy Oglesby, The Practical Health Coach

Just a quick disclaimer: I make a small amount if you purchase from the links I provide. However, primarily I add links because it allows you to know exactly what product I’m talking about when I identify brands that I like and use.

Breakfast for Dinner?

Breakfast for Dinner?

Research overwhelmingly shows that a plant-based diet is the best choice in reducing and preventing chronic disease. In some cases, it can totally reverse existing disease. Being the Practical Health Coach, I understand that few of my clients, or their families, are willing to make the choice to eliminate meat from their diets, so my approach is to encourage and support them in reducing their reliance on meat-centered meals.

One popular suggestion is to have breakfast for dinner. Not only can breakfast be prepared quite easily and quickly, the ingredients are often inexpensive, and done properly can be quite healthy. Hearty cooked breakfasts bring back memories of relaxing weekend mornings or spending the night at Grandma’s … A nice way to ease some of the stress from a busy day!

My favorite is what I call a Scrambled Egg Omelet, fried potatoes

Photo by Jeremy Keith

Photo by Jeremy Keith

and fresh fruit. To make the omelet I caramelize onions, add in broccoli, snow peas, mushrooms and spinach (broccoli first as it takes a bit longer to cook). While they’re cooking, I whip up the eggs. After the veggies are cooked to the point that I like, I add the whipped eggs and stir until cooked. Season to taste and serve.

I cook thin sliced gold or red potatoes in a very small amount of coconut oil, over medium heat until browned on one side, then turn to brown on the other side.

Sometimes I cut and mix several fruits but if I’m in a hurry I slice and serve just one. If I’ve planned this out, I might have stopped at the salad bar or the veggies and fruit, then prep is simple! (See Get Yourself a Prep Cook)

If someone has to have bacon, or breakfast just doesn’t taste right without the smell of bacon cooking, crumble a half slice onto the top of their serving of either the omelet or the potatoes. (Buy nitrite/nitrate free bacon either from or Whole Foods or similar source near you.)

This is an inexpensive way to reduce your meal costs allowing you to use that money to buy a better, grass-fed, organic meat.

Next up: A meatless chili that leave no one asking, “Where’s the beef?”

Nancy Oglesby, The Practical Health Coach

Just a quick disclaimer: I make a small amount if you purchase from the links I provide. However, primarily I add links because it allows you to know exactly what product I’m talking about when I identify brands that I like and use.