Category Archives: Foods

Posts that include the health benefits of specific foods

Cheeseburgers, Pizza & Wings, Oh My! How I Beat My Fast Food Cravings

I absolutely love cheeseburgers, chicken wings, French fries, francheesies, pizza, M&M’s, Snickers & ice cream? What’s your favorite? Mine depends on the day, but high on the list are wings, ice cream and pizza.

Photo Credit Jake Weirick

But, America is getting fatter and sicker and so was I. Worse? Big Food, the conglomerate of corporations that make up the bulk of our food supply, aren’t going to come to our rescue. They use cheap, ultra-processed ingredients that are stripped of nutrition to maximize profits. And, they want us to eat more and more as illustrated by one of their goals: To make food craveable.

The term, craveable, is defined by as: “having qualities that engender an intense desire for more: All too often, salt, sugar, fat, and “crunch” make a food craveable.”

As a Health Coach I like to help clients make some of those craveable foods healthier, and simple to prepare.

Let’s start with a cheeseburger and how I made it healthier:

  1. Start with organic grass-fed beef. Season with salt, pepper, parsley flakes, garlic, and onion powder and cook it in a frying pan, under a broiler, or in an air fryer.
  2. Buy organic, pastured cheese, or a plant-based variety. Once you flip the burger the first time, lay the cheese on top.
  3. Now for the bun. Good luck. I eat mine without, but if you can find a locally sourced fermented bun (KC, think Farm to Market) it can be a decent choice.

You can make some sweet potato fries in your air fryer but instead, how about making a lovely green salad? No? Okay, fries then? Slice the sweet potatoes and spray with either olive, avocado or coconut oil, sprinkle with salt and toss in your air fryer for about 15 minutes (or whatever time your fryer suggests). No air fryer? Heat up your oven and cook at 400°

You can still have the salad. 😉 I’ve got a simple homemade dressing that you can make and store in the cupboard … all healthy oils and stuff.

Francheesies are one of my fave junk foods. Who doesn’t love a hot dog stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon? This one is easy, but I don’t recommend adding deli meats to your daily plan. Just have this every once in awhile and enjoy!

  1. Uncured, organic, grass fed hotdogs. I like Applegate Farms. Make a slit lengthwise being careful not to slice through.
  2. Same cheese as above, make into ½” wide, thin slices and put one or two in each slit.
  3. Wrap uncured bacon from humanely raised pigs around the dog and secure with toothpicks about 1” from each end.
  4. Cook in your preheated air fryer for about 7-9 minutes at 400°

Are you only feeding yourself or two of you? Make up mini meal kits by putting a burger, a slice of cheese and a bun or two hot dogs, two slices of bacon and a slice of cheese into storage bags and store in the freezer. Easy dinner when plans go awry.

Pizzas are easy to make healthy. You can buy or make a healthy crust. There are a lot of recipes available to create one that fits your health needs from gluten free to low-carb and keto. Organic pizza or barbecue sauce and cheese, uncured meats from humanely raised animals or organic, pastured poultry along with fresh or frozen veggies make pizza a breeze.

This is especially easy if you have a day of the week when you prepare a few meals for the week. If you’re making your own crust, start your dough and let it rise while making another dish. When it’s ready, top with your favorite ingredients and freeze for another day. (You can also freeze just the crusts and top when you bake.)

Chicken Wings If you live near a Trader Joe’s or Natural Grocers, you’re in luck! They have reasonably priced frozen organic chicken wings. If you also have an air fryer you can have dinner ready in 25-minutes. At the time of this writing the wings ran around $7 for two pounds. For the sauce, melt grass-fed butter or Earth Balance (1/4 c) and mix in 2 tsp. of hot pepper sauce and 1 tsp. of vinegar. Toss the wings and sit back and enjoy! This is much cheaper than buying them at the local bar.

For anything fried, from potato chips to French fries, the oil you use will make the difference between healthy or not. Check out this article for more info and instead, use avocado or coconut oil.

Snickers your thing? Purchase Lily’s chocolate bars (available on Amazon, Natural Grocer’s and many other stores) with whatever add-ins you like. They are significantly lower in sugar. Try gradually increasing the cocoa content of your chocolate. That automatically reduces the amount of sugar. Lily’s also makes semi-sweet baking chips … you can easily swap them for M&M’s.

For tacos, buy organic corn tortillas and use organic chicken, sustainably caught fish or grass-fed beef. Top with the cheeses above, add in organic sour cream …

Okay, I’ve got to stop. I’m getting hungry as heck. I’m going to cook some wings in the air fryer and toss a salad with my dressing. Oh wait! I promised you a salad dressing recipe. My kids simply call this Gramma’s Salad Dressing.

½ c Avocado Oil
½ c Olive Oil
½ c Apple Cider Vinegar
½ tsp Garlic Powder

½ tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Dried Parsley Flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste

Add all the ingredients to a bottle (I use an empty GT’s Kombucha bottle) and shake. If someone in your family likes a creamy dressing, add organic cream to taste, but you’ll have to use it rather quickly. (Alternatively, just add it to that person’s salad.)

Healthy fast food is more than a myth. By taking control of the quality of the ingredients, you can still have your faves. Experiment with spices to find your perfect combo. Most of these can be prepped ahead of time, on a day that works for you, so that they become fast food at the end of a busy day.

If you liked this, please consider sharing it with your favorite fast food junkie. Then follow me so you don’t miss any other incredible, amazing, life-changing words of wisdom. 😉

You can find more ideas in my book, No Kale Required: Healthy Eating Ideas for the Rest of Us,and over on my website,

Easy, Healthy Lunches for Busy Families

I taught a class this week on Smart Nutrition for Busy Families, and as I prepared for the class, I went through a multitude of websites looking for the best of the best. Here are just a few that I found.

First of all, as a Juice Plus+ rep, I would be remiss if I didn’t share the amazing website that was put together by a super-talented group of National Marketing Directors in our company. There are many things to choose from over at Healthy Living Revolution, but if you have children, I recommend clicking on the Start Strong tab at the top. There you’ll find the Start Strong Kids playbook. It’s loaded with simple, fun ways to inspire healthy choices, from a Lunch Box Planning Guide and Smart Snacks to sticker sheets, broken out by age group, each with 20 healthy activities. And, there are printable awards for your daring Start Strong Ambassadors.

Over at Nourish Interactive there is so much going on that you might want to set a timer before you start clicking, otherwise you’re likely to look up two hours later and wonder where the time went. From meal plans and recipes to games and educational printouts, you’re unlikely to get bored here!

I loved looking at the variety of food in the school lunches on Life Made Sweeter, but I took it a step further so that kids look forward to actually eating their lunch rather than throwing half of it away. Instead of putting together entire lunches, purchase individual containers, either crystal clear or multicolored, and pack with bite sized fruit and veggies, popcorn, nuts and seeds, a few chocolate chips, energy bites (go to my contact me page for recipes), small sandwich bites … well, you can see the fun things in those pictures, and there are lists in the Start Strong book. In the morning, let the kids pick one or two from each category (Main, Fruit, Veg, Treats) and pack their own lunch.

Those are just a couple of ideas. There are hundreds of great ideas out there, so set that timer, and get started! Let me know your favorite ideas in the comments section.


Tidbit Tuesday-Chia Seeds


Wow! These little, bitty seeds pack a wallop! 1oz. (1T + 1/2t) has 8.6g fat, 4.4g protein (high quality containing all essential amino acids except for taurine), 12g carbohydrate, 11g fiber; 1620mg Omega6, 4915mg Omega3, 18% DV of calcium and it’s also high in phosphorous, and manganese. Chia also contains zinc, potassium, copper, niacin, folic acid and magnesium.

All that nutrition is packed into a tiny seed that’s tasteless! That means you can add it to almost anything without affecting the taste. Go ahead, sprinkle it on salads, cereal and yogurt or blend it up in your smoothie. (See Mad About Monday 2-6-12

So, what are the health claims? The Aztecs ate chia seeds for energy. It is reported to be mildly anti-inflammatory, slows the digestion of carbohydrates helping to regulate blood sugar, lowers bad and raises good cholesterol, aids in weight loss and helps to control cravings. Because it’s loaded with anti-oxidants it aids in the prevention of heart disease and hypertension and should be included in any anti-aging strategy. It also aids in hydration and is great for your skin

As if all that isn’t enough, unlike flax seed, chia doesn’t need to be ground to get the benefits, making it easier and faster to use; and it doesn’t need careful handling because it doesn’t get rancid due to the high levels of anti-oxidants. I’ve read that you can keep them for two years.

Chia seeds turn liquid into a gel-like substance that surrounds the seed. It makes a fantastic base for a raw pudding. I got the following recipe from

1/4c chia seeds, 1.5c almond or other nut milk, dash of vanilla, sweetener of choice (I love pure maple syrup). Put all ingredients in a glass jar, shake to mix and refrigerate overnight … Voila! Pudding!

As a variation, I plan to try adding 1T of raw cacao to the mix … yum!


ImageMaybe it’s not quite the official watermelon season, and some of my sustainable friends might give me grief, but those little ‘personal’ watermelons are in stores and are very tasty at this time of year. (I prefer to call them snack size since I consider any watermelon my ‘personal’ watermelon … size matters not!)

Watermelon is my favorite food and I have gone without for months. No longer! Sweet, crisp and cold it is my idea of perfection. Don’t take my word for it; here are some facts about this amazing green striped orb:

  • Watermelon has more lycopene than tomatoes; 20mg per six cup serving. Why do you care? Lycopene is an incredible antioxidant! Researchers have found evidence that shows by including it in your diet you can positively impact heart disease, cancer (most notably lung, stomach, breast, cervix and prostate), diabetes and osteoporosis. Toss in a side of anti-aging support and watermelon is a big winner!
  • By watermelon’s antioxidants corralling a bunch of free radicals it reduces the damage they can cause. Damage that includes the inflammation of arthritis, severity of asthma attacks and the stickiness of cholesterol which leads to atherosclerosis
  • One serving increases free arginine, supporting lower blood pressure and insulin sensitivity.
  • Watermelon is loaded with Vitamin A, C, B6, B1, potassium and magnesium offering strong support for your immune system.
  • The amino acid compound, citrulline works in conjunction with the arginine it forms to relax blood vessels causing watermelon to be known as a natural choice over Viagra for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
  • It is a vegetable that belongs to the same family as pumpkin, cucumber and squash … who knew?
  • Due to its high water content (92% water) explorers used watermelon as a canteen. (Okay, this created a cartoon in my head of a bunch of people in khaki, walking single file through the rain forest, each carrying a big watermelon. Sorry.)

Watermelon is gaining a reputation for its versatility as well; add it to salads or smoothies, create frozen summer treats or, if you’re like me, just eat it cold and crisp from the fridge! Whatever you do, don’t try to freeze it … you’ll end up with a disgusting, slimy red mess.

In today’s world of instant gratification, watermelon is something that you have to get while you can.  Enjoy it knowing that you are getting crazy good health benefits!

Nancy Oglesby, the Practical Health Coach
Simplifying Healthy Lifestyle Choices


7 Ways to Take Out a Killer!

1 7 WAYS TO TAKE OUT KILLERStress is a killer. It’s that simple. It might seem like you have no options, but the reality is that you do. With that in mind, let’s look at how to discern how you can best reduce the stress in your life. We’ll start out easy and move into the more challenging areas:

  1. Exercise. This is basic. Exercise reduces the stress load by burning it off.
  2. Eat nourishing foods. The healthier your diet, the better equipped your body is to cope with stress.
  3. Get enough sleep. If you’re overworked and running from one thing to another, make a list of what you need to get handled the next day right before you go to bed. Chances are you will quit waking up in the middle of the night with a long to-do list running through your brain.
  4. Drink water. Water flushes the toxins from your body. Stress creates more toxins. Drink water.
  5. Meditate. If you don’t know how, check out what’s available on YouTube or at your local library. If you want a more personal approach, find a teacher who will help you.
  6. Slow down. Make a list of all that you do and rank everything on it by A) How much you enjoy it, and B) How much it stresses you out.
      1. Next, find solutions for some of the stressors. If you can’t see your way to solutions, ask for help. Often we’re too close to see what actually can be done. Even if the suggestions aren’t workable, one might be the seed of your eventual solution.
      2. Take the least enjoyable and most stressful item off of your plate. Often we find that our jobs fit that description and while it would be great if we could just walk away, that isn’t always practical, but we can look at ways to make our job more enjoyable and/or less stressful. We can also plan our exit which often gives us a bit more control and a sense that things will improve. In the meantime, take the next item that fits the criteria off your plate.
      3. Journaling is a great way to identify what you like about your current situation and what you don’t. Then you can journal about what you think you’d like to be doing. Somewhere in the middle you’ll find what you next step can be. That is exactly how I became a health coach.
      4. Use this exercise regularly to find the stress-causing factors in your life. They do change, you know.

    A word about taking something off your plate … ladies. Women have a tendency to say yes far too often, feeling it’s their job to take care of everything and everyone. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard, “But, if I don’t do it, it won’t get done!”
    So what? Unless it’s a matter of life and limb, or something so important that you couldn’t stand it if it didn’t get done, let it go. You do know that volunteer coordinators know exactly who will say yes the easiest, and who will say yes if approached in a certain way and that they go to the easiest people first? Don’t be that person!
    Volunteering is wonderful! It’s amazing! It’s a gift to the giver and the receiver! Unless it’s just too much. So, volunteer when it’s the best fit for your life. Do not overcrowd your plate or you will pay the price down the road with chronic illness and potentially early death. Yikes!

  7. Get out and get moving! On the flip side is the stress from a lack of outside stimulation. For some people going to work is the only outside activity they have. This can be incredibly stressful as well. Research shows that people who are connected to others, who have healthy social relationships are happier, healthier and live longer.
    1. It can be challenging to find friends when you are on your own, either without children or with grown children. Kids make it easy: Parents tend to congregate where there kids are, and conversations strike up organically. What can you do when you’re not at that stage of your life?
    2. Try out new churches. If you find one that resonates, join some of the classes or groups that they offer or volunteer to help out.
    3. Volunteer at an animal shelter, library, hospital or performance venue.
    4. Join library book clubs.
    5. Take classes (fitness, art, dance) through your local park district or college.
    6. Check out for groups with similar interests. There are some very active groups that hike, walk, bike, kayak, visit theaters, concerts, symphonies, go to wine tastings, restaurants … the list is endless!
      Always remember that it takes time and courage to form friendships. Relax and enjoy the activities that you’ve chosen and when you meet someone you think might be a friend outside of the class, consider inviting them to meet for coffee. Over time, friendships will begin to form.

Whatever your first step is in reducing the impact of stress on your body, I urge you to begin today, right now, like immediately. This is important stuff and it will impact your health for years to come.

If you, or someone you know, would benefit from a Strategy Session, in person or over the phone, just visit my website at

Thinking peaceful thoughts!
Nancy Oglesby, the Practical Health Coach
simplifying healthy lifestyle changes



Spring Means Cherries!

cherriesIt looks like this year’s crop of cherries will come earlier, bringing us larger fruits and possibly prices. The Northwest was hit with cool, windy weather and crops are expected to be smaller, hence higher prices for their crops.

Michigan & California cherries, on the other hand, had fabulous weather and it looks like a longer season in California, so with any luck the cherry market will balance out and prices will remain stable.

Beside cherries being delicious, why should we care? Well, cherries are FABULOUS for your health! New research supports the existing body of research that shows cherries play a significant role in reducing inflammation, arthritis and improving heart health. I’ve read that cherries can be as effective as aspirin!

Did you know that cherries naturally contain melatonin? Melatonin is responsible for a good night’s sleep, so top off your night with a bowl of cherries for a better night’s sleep.

Recent studies  show that they impact stroke-related complications and support bone health. And, it’s not just reducing bone loss, but actually showing increased bone growth during aging in mice that has researchers excited. Bone loss affects nearly 44 million women in the United States.

A University of California at Davis study found that 28 days of regularly eating cherries resulted in a decrease in biomarkers for inflammation, including a 25 percent reduction in C-reactive protein (CRP), the most commonly used marker of inflammation. Elevation of CRP in blood is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Another UC-Davis study found that a single serving of cherries resulted in reduced uric acid. Elevated uric acid is the cause of gout. Cherries have been used as a folk treatment for gout for centuries!

As a more and more scientists are learning it’s rarely one component of a food that is responsible. That’s why it’s important to eat the whole fruit, or at the very least use 100% juice.

During cherry season nothing tastes better than fresh, juicy cherries but you can extend that into the following months by purchasing them on sale and freezing them whole. Just take out of the freezer and eat frozen for a delicious summer snack! (Don’t forget to watch for pits!)

When all of your frozen cherries are gone, you can buy them frozen to add to your smoothies, or buy juice to use as a part of the smoothie base. Whatever your preference, adding cherries to your diet on a regular basis is an ideal way to support your system to better health!


Meat Free Monday

While you’re shopping this weekend, buy the following ingredients and on Monday try something that your meat-loving family will love? This is a quick and easy recipe for a meat-free chili. The hardest thing you will do is saute the onions. Here it is:

NancyO’s Accidental, Fabulously Delicious Potato Chili (Vegan/Gluten Free)

1 Can (28oz) Diced Organic Tomatoes
1 Can (15oz) Light Red Kidney Beans
1 Can (15oz) Pinto Beans (Drained)
1 Can (15oz) Muir Glen Organic Pizza Sauce
2 Med Onions (sautéed)
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Cup Rehydrated TVP (I rehydrate with Edward & Sons Not Beef Bouillon)
6-8 Small Red Potatoes (cubed, unpeeled)
1 Cube Edward & Sons Not Beef Bouillon
1 T Bragg Liquid Aminos
1 T (or to taste) Chili Powder
1 T (or to taste) Cumin
1.5 T Coconut Oil/Earth Balance/Olive Oil (I used Coconut Oil

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 gave away three bowls to friends and this is the response from two of them:

“OMG – the chili was AWESOME! … That is a recipe I think K (meat-eating hubby) would like too!”

“Chili was really good – THANKS!!”

Sadly all the sharing hasn’t left me with anything to freeze … darn!

I hope you get a chance to try this because it really is good and the perfect answer to Meat-Free Monday!

Kale, Collards & Scrambled Eggs

What leafy greens did you eat today? I am really lucky because my neighbor has a HUGE collard green patch and she gave me a bag of just-picked goodness so I added some of my curly kale fresh from my garden and cooked it up in a quarter cup of water. When it was tender I chopped it up, added some chopped onion and broccoli and sauteed it all together. When the onion was tender and slightly caramelized I poured a scrambled egg over the top and cooked it to perfection … Served with a side of ice cold watermelon and I was in heaven! By the way, the egg was from a different neighbor’s sister’s homestead. Am I spoiled or what?

For lunch I added the remaining greens (and cooking water) to my leftover homemade vegan split pea soup. It didn’t look like much, but it was delicious! I chose Missouri peaches and a handful of cherries for a side.

Greens are soooo good for you and now is the time to find them locally. Add them to smoothies, omelettes, salads and soups for some serious nutrition!

Greens are full of vitamins and phytonutrients. They improve circulation, purify the blood, strengthen the immune system, reduce cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk, protect against macular degeneration … and they lift the spirit.

Imagine what your life would  be like if you had clear thinking, energy & excitement every day … if you were leaner and stronger! As a Certified Health Coach, I am your Personal Trainer for Lifestyle & Nutrition! I work with you to create an energized and passionate life, helping you develop a happy, healthy lifestyle in a way that is flexible, fun and free of denial and discipline. Working together, we will discover the food and lifestyle choices that best support you. Making gradual, lifelong changes enables you to reach your current and future health goals. For more information, or to contact me, visit my website at

Food Friday – Parsley

Curly Parsley

Parsley is a lovely garnish that’s been used for as long as I can remember and most people know that it is an excellent breath freshener. What you might not know is how good it is for your health.

This easy-to-grow herb is packed with Vitamin K which is a powerful ally in allowing blood to clot normally, protecting bones and preventing bone loss in postmenopausal women, and helping to prevent calcification of arteries.(Warning:  According to Dr. Weil, people taking anticoagulants should monitor their intake of veggies packed with Vitamin K and should not take supplemental K.

What other health benefits can you get from including parsley in your diet? There are so many that leaving it on your plate is downright criminal! Here’s the short version

An organic compound found in the essential oil of parsley inhibits tumor formation and assists in reducing the impact of oxidized molecules. It also neutralizes carcinogens in cigarette and charcoal grill smoke that can pass through the body.

Luteolin leads the pack of anti-oxidants by attaching to oxygen radicals to prevent the cell damage caused by these bad boys. I do believe they wear white hats!

It’s a good source of folic acid which converts homocysteine into benign molecules and is critical to healthy cell division. High levels of homocysteine are related to increased incidence of stroke and heart attack due to atherosclerosis.

It’s loaded with Vitamin C which is the body’s primary water-soluble anti-oxidant.  People who consume healthy

Italian parsley tends to be sweeter than the curly varieties. Also known as Flat Leaf.

amounts have reduced risks of atherosclerosis, colon cancer, diabetes, and asthma.

Parsley is an excellent source of beta-carotene which is a fat-soluble anti-oxidant; an important nutrient in supporting the immune system. It is associated with reduced risk of development, and progression, of atherosclerosis, colon cancer and diabetes.

This lovely green sprig is easy to grow, preferring partial shade and moist, humus-rich soil. I put mine in the ground over the weekend … Looking forward to picking it fresh for my salads and smoothies!  For starters, you might want to try the Pear Parsley Smoothie at Gone Raw. Enjoy!

Big thanks to World’s Healthiest Foods for their crazy bank of knowledge!

Thursday Thanks – Food Activists

Badseed Farmers Market, 1909 McGee in KC, every Friday beginning May 4th 4-9PM

I am grateful for the people at the grassroots level that are choosing to grow their food and mine; urban farmers, family farms, beekeepers, herbalists … those who are doing things the old fashioned way trying to heal the land, their families and mine. These folks are leading the charge to freedom from poisons deemed ‘safe,’ including chemical fertilizers, pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics and feed that is laced with all of the above.

The food from people that care is energetically superior to that which is factory farmed. There is true love and commitment involved in farming organically and sustainably. That is the energy that’s in the food from a Farmers Market … love, and sweat, and tradition. Have a little of that with your dinner!

There are many places to purchase grass fed, grass finished beef and pastured chickens. They are usually more expensive, but as demand grows, prices keep getting a little bit lower. This brings me to previously quoted Michael Pollan, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Eat the best that you can afford. Learning to replace some meat entrees with bean dishes is a really healthy choice that helps to keep costs down. (Chili with beans, bean soup, salads with beans and black bean burgers are just a few choices.)

Many urban areas are lucky to have farmers bring what’s been ordered to a central location for pickup, or they attend

Brookside Farmers Market in Kansas City on Saturday Mornings

Farmers Markets and bring pre-ordered items along. Check out Local Harvest for growers in your area. In the KC area you can download a directory of members at KC Food Circle.

Most of the farmers I’ve met are full of advice for how to use their products; many offering plants and recipes. There are a growing number of new businesses springing up to teach homeowners how to cultivate their yards for organic food production. What a fantastic way to save money and teach children where food really comes from!

So, thank a food activist this weekend … visit a Farmers Market in your town.