Category Archives: Ask Your Health Coach

Craving Something Unhealthy?

Well, I was too! I wasn’t craving the worst thing, Campbell’s Vegetarian Vegetable Soup, but there are things on the ingredient list that just don’t work for me. The corn is most likely GMO which is a controversial subject, but I choose to err on the side of caution and avoid it when possible. And the pasta is made with wheat which I try my best to avoid because it causes me grief, and eggs (probably not pastured and who knows what the chickens ate) and sugar which shouldn’t be necessary to cut the acidity of the tomatoes because there are carrots in the soup.

All of which left me in the lurch so I started checking around and found Amy’s Organic Fat Free Vegetable Soup which was delicious once I added a squirt of olive oil, but pricey at around $3.60/can. That can was enough for one nice-sized bowl and I definitely bought it, then found it for a around $2.50 online through Walmart.

One day a few weeks ago I was walking through the grocery store and spotted a package of mixed veggies. That’s something I hadn’t looked at or purchased in years, but the picture got my attention because it is exactly what’s in Campbell’s or Amy’s vegetable soup. The light bulb came on! I checked out the ingredients on Amy’s can and knew that with a can of tomatoes and a few spices I could duplicate the veggie soup of my craving! And, it works! Here’s how:

  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 bag of frozen mixed veggies
  • 1/3 bag of frozen organic corn*
  • 1/2 bag of frozen edamame*
  • 1/2 bag of frozen spinach
  • 1-2T reduced sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • Dehydrated onion flakes, celery salt, garlic powder, salt, pepper to taste
Delicious, and lots of it! The bowl in the front was today's lunch served with some watermelon slices. YUM!

Delicious, and lots of it! The bowl in the front was today’s lunch served with some watermelon slices. YUM!

Using a large pot, put all of the ingredients together along with 1 1/2 tomato cans of water. Heat it all up and then simmer for a couple of hours.
I like extra corn and wanted a bit of protein thrown in. Use organic when possible and practical. You can use onions, garlic and celery, I just didn’t happen to have any on hand when I put mine together.
The second time I made it I cleaned out the bits and pieces of veggies in my freezer and added some okra, peas and kale. Play with it and enjoy!

So, the moral of the story is, you don’t have to pay a fortune for a healthy version, nor does it have to be difficult to create. I’d love the challenge of finding healthy alternatives for you. Visit my website and click on Contact Me.

Bon Apetite!



All or Nothing: My Story

NOI am definitely an all or nothing kinda gal! I often take things out of my diet to see what results, and usually don’t have a lot of trouble doing it. As I said in Monday’s blog, it’s easier for me to just say no. Gluten? None. Dairy? None. Sugar? None. That’s what works best, but … I went through several months recently when I just wasn’t able to sustain it.

Why? I guess I don’t feel bad enough when I cheat small. A piece of garlic bread on Sunday might cause a sneezing fit and itchy eyes. Ice cream on Friday brings on bloating and some minor digestive issues; Not too bad.

But this is how the real trouble starts. You see, Sunday is the start and while I might wait until Friday to cheat again in the first week, the next week I’m cheating on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. At that point my whole system is on overload and a single sneezing episode turns into two and my intestines feel like they’re being strangled by a boa constrictor.

As bad as I feel, it’s the silent damage that’s happening to my cardiovascular, endocrine and pulmonary systems that is even more worrying. Inflammation, the underlying factor in most chronic diseases, is now rampant.

I’m fast approaching 65 years old and I haven’t had to visit a physician for anything other than routine screenings for five years. Why? Because I choose to eat real foods that don’t cause inflammation in my system. If I continue to flirt with the exact foods that my system reacts to, it won’t be long before I join millions and millions of people my age (and younger) who are on prescription drugs for high blood pressure, arthritis, asthma and allergies.

I refuse to do that. So, even though I’ve not had any for awhile, today, in front of this audience, I recommit to:

  • No Dairy
  • No Gluten
  • No Sugar

Not for one day or until Sunday … For all days. There are so many delicious options. Even for ice cream without added sweetener. There are no good excuses for my cheating, so I’m just not going to.

What about you? Is there something that will improve your health that you’ve been resisting taking out of your diet? Would you like to commit to giving it up? Just comment below, and everyone who reads this will be there supporting you! Give it a few months and you’ll find that, you won’t really miss it. It’s when you cheat and have that small amount that makes you miss it more.

All or nothing. That’s me.

Nancy Oglesby, the Practical Health Coach
Simplifying Healthy Lifestyle Choices™



Ask the Health Coach: Does it Have to be All or Nothing?

1 a practical health coach

A participant in one of my Gluten Free 101 classes asked, “Does it have to be all or nothing?” The answer is yes and no. We’ll talk about gluten first, but then we’re going to touch on the other biggies: sugar and dairy.

If you have Celiac Disease it is a resounding “YES!” You cannot even have something that’s come in contact with a utensil, plate or appliance that’s been used with gluten-containing foods. So, if you toast, you have your own toaster. Most of the people I’ve talked to with Celiac say that their homes are basically gluten free. Otherwise it’s just too hard to not ingest something that’s been cross-contaminated.

Gluten Sensitive people can usually tolerate small amounts of gluten without major issues, however I always recommend eliminating 100% of gluten for 3 months to make sure your system has cleared it all and has had some time to mend. After that, you might find that a small piece or bite of cake at a party doesn’t cause you any, or just slight discomfort and you might decide to allow a slip-up now and then.

In general, whether it’s dairy, gluten or sugar, I find it easier to just say no. When I fall into the I-can-have-one-bite syndrome it usually ends badly (See Thursday’s blog for that story.) and so I just prefer to not even go there. Food corporations design their food to be addictive. They know what chemicals and ingredients, what percentages of sugar, fat and salt will bring you running. Breaking the cycle is the only way to beat it.

If instead of totally eliminating all gluten or dairy you might want to spend a few months trying out different gluten-free or dairy-free products to see which ones make the grade. You can even blend things together to make it easier to adapt to the change. For example, mixing half dairy and half almond milk for a week, then increase the almond milk over time to where you are dairy milk free.

Try out some gluten free cereals and breads before you go 100%. (I’m not crazy about any of the breads so far. I’m planning to make my own one of these days to see how that works, but Trader Joe’s or Tinkyada’s Brown Rice Spaghetti Pasta is great if cooked properly.) I’ve used Udi’s Whole Grain bread the most. I only like it toasted nice and dark. Their hot dog buns are pretty good if lightly toasted. There are a wealth of gluten free crackers and chips and most Mexican restaurants serve a multitude of gluten free dishes; Just ask. Many Chinese restaurants will substitute gluten-free soy sauce and rice noodles when asked. (Blue Koi in KC is my fave and they carry my favorite GF Beer, Estrella Daura!)

For me, sugar is definitely all or nothing. If I allow it into my diet it creeps up to alarming proportions over a few weeks, so I am back on the no-sugar wagon! If you’re someone who can have one piece of candy or a serving of ice cream a day … go for it! I highly recommend using fruit as your sweet treat of choice and have posted a few great summer treats on this blog. If you need extra sweetener, I recommend NuNaturals Liquid Stevia.

So, as you move into a diet that is free of a specific food, you’ll have to determine which way works best for you, but what I’ve found is that total elimination is the easiest way to get over cravings for what you’re eliminating. Martina Navratilova, upon going gluten free said this, “Don’t concentrate on what you can’t have. Concentrate on what you can have. Although I was initially challenged by a gluten-free diet, I’ve been able to find many alternatives to my favorite foods, from gluten-free beer to gluten-free oatmeal and bread.”

Whatever the food you need to eliminate, I wish you success!
Nancy Oglesby, the Practical Health Coach
Simplifying Healthy Lifestyle Choices™


Ask the Health Coach: Kids and Dairy

1 a practical health coachThe question was, “What about guidelines for kids and dairy?” I totally apologize for not being able to just rattle off an answer, but when it comes to nutrition and diet, there are people far smarter and more educated than I who can’t land. I recommend that if you only visit and read one of the sites below, make it the first one.

I want to applaud you for wanting to take such an active role in your child’s nutrition. So many people are happy to just go along. Taking a part can take time and cause you some angst … It’s a big responsibility when we are making dietary choices for our children. Read, read, read! It is my personal belief that dairy is unnecessary, and sometimes harmful.

There are a lot of articles and a study that reviews the findings of much research that show no good reason to encourage including dairy. Many children are either allergic to dairy or lactose intolerant and they thrive without it. Having said that, there is another side to the discussion and you need to consider both sides before you make a decision. The USDA pyramid gives dairy its own food group and has strict guidelines for the amount of dairy a child should have. Many physicians and pediatricians encourage parents to feed a certain amount of dairy. What is a health conscious parent to do?

  1. You could simply follow the USDA guidelines.
  2. You could read and research and come to your own decision.
  3. You could ask your physician.

For me, the first and third options just won’t work. I have read a lot about food, politics and lobbying and I believe that the American Dairy Association, among a long list of dairy organizations, are those responsible for giving our government and our physicians the ‘facts.’ Anyone who disagrees tends to be labeled an outsider or kook. The USDA was founded to support agriculture. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that it became responsible for setting dietary guidelines. Seems a bit like the foxes keeping an eye on the chickens. Here are some places to start on your search for your answer:

There’s a movie titled ‘Milk’ that presents a fair argument. If I recall correctly, it doesn’t lean too far in either direction. It is available on Amazon Prime and Netflix (I think). Google search any one of these names/organizations along with the word ‘dairy’ and you should find some pretty interesting information.

Dr. Marion Nestle (Food and Politics)

Dr. Andrew Weil

Weston-Price Foundation

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Dr. Neal Barnard

Dr. Joel Fuhrman

Dr. David Katz

Dr. Mark Hyman

Good luck with your search. I truly hope that you find an answer that fills you with confidence and that just feels right for you and your children.

As always, if you would like help sorting things our along your journey, please give me a call (816-808-9405) or send me an email (

Blessings, Nancy Oglesby, the Practical Health Coach
simplifying healthy lifestyle choices