Category Archives: Healthy & Fit Over 50 Nutrition Tips

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,

Are The ‘I Shoulds’ Swirling Around In Your Head?

Shoulds“I should … ”

You fill in the blank. Maybe it’s “I should eat more vegetables” or, “I should exercise more” or,”I should eat less” or, “I should quit eating fast food or junk food,” or “I should get up and take Sparky for a walk,” or … STOP!!!

A strange thing happens with shoulds; We begin to ignore them. Sounds good, right? Not so much. While we’re ignoring them, we’re still thinking them. We think them every time we do the opposite of what we think we should be doing. That thinking is a stressor; that creates a physical change in our body releasing a hormone, cortisol, that actually depletes energy and makes it harder for us to lose weight. Oh joy.

What to do? You’re going to hate me for this. When your shoulds relate to health improvement, you should do the shoulds, because you’re right, you should.

Don’t leave yet …

What I want you to start with is actually defining the shoulds in your head. Instead of, “I should eat more vegetables,” or, “I should exercise,” I want you to actually think about vegetables or exercise and which ones you like and how you might enjoy them. It might go something like this.

“I should eat more vegetables. What kind of veggies? Ummm … I don’t know, I kind of like peas and maybe broccoli when I dip it in dressing. I love salads but they’re a real hassle. Ummm … I like carrots and celery and I love, love, love green peppers and cucumbers. John ordered edamame at the restaurant the other night and it was tasty. Oh, and I love brussel sprouts, they are delicious!”

The next step in the process is to change the shoulds into actions.  From the example above, you’ve started identifying alternatives and soon you could catch yourself thinking, “I should eat more vegetables,” and immediately change it to, “I think I’ll stop at the salad bar on the way home and make a nice, big salad to have with dinner.” Of course you could also say a number of other things including cooking up some broccoli or cutting up some celery and carrots to serve with hummus before dinner or as a snack.

If it’s exercise you should be doing, you could list out things that you enjoy that involve movement. Dancing, walking the dog, riding a bike, playing chase with the kids, Wii Fit, group classes, swimming … Whatever it is that you love. Then you can change your vague should into, “I think when I get home I’ll play chase with the kids,” or “I think I’ll take my swim gear with and stop at the pool on the way home. They have a day rate and I’ll see how it goes!”

When you become aware of the shoulds and you begin to define them rather than let them hang out in your head as negative judgments, you’ll be developing tools that will allow you to create an action plan and taking action dispels the stress. It’s through awareness that we are able to make lasting change.

Can’t figure out what you should be doing or how to fit your shoulds into your busy schedule? That’s where I come in! As a Certified Holistic Health Coach I teach people how to fit healthy choices into their busy lifestyles. I do it using my own Step-by-Step Approach that’s tailored for each individual’s life, likes and dislikes … That’s why it works!

For more information, or to schedule a helpful, motivating Strategy Session, contact

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™


Fresh Watermelon Orange Sorbet

I am on a summertime treat roll! Here’s my latest concoction:

  • 1 cup of frozen watermelon chunks
  • 1 navel orange, peeled and torn into four sections
  • 3 drops of liquid stevia

Layer fruit into smoothie/blender jar with the orange sections closest to the blades. Add in stevia and blend until smooth.

orangeWith my NutriBullet it requires me to shake the jar several times, but it’s so good that it’s worth it to persevere. With a regular blender you might have to stop and stir several times. I don’t add liquid and after blending it is like a soft serve sorbet … Delicious!

This Watermelon Orange Sorbet not only packs a nutritional wallop, but watermelon blended into a smoothie is the perfect way to preserve pieces that won’t be used up in time or a watermelon that you buy and is overripe or has an unappealing texture.

Another treat is frozen pineapple chunks, frozen sliced strawberries and a chunk of frozen banana blended with just enough juice to make a slush. I add a few drops of liquid stevia for added sweetness.

To feel really special, or for special occasions, dress it up with an orange slice and a fancy glass.

A client told me about just blending frozen pineapple and coconut milk. Another delicious smoothie for a summertime treat.

My next experiment is to make these and freeze them in Popsicle molds. After mowing the grass on a hot day, one of these puppies would be the perfect way to relax on the deck! Eating cold, healthy treats is a great way to cool off!

Summer treats … YUM!
Nancy Oglesby, the Practical Health Coach

Simplifying Healthy Lifestyle Choices



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



Healthy & Fit Over 50 Nutrition Tip #2

Michael Pollan has written several books on food, ( but his most famous quote says it all: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Of course, you have to understand that when he uses the term ‘food’ he’s not talking about Doritos or a McDonald’s Cheeseburger, Cocoa Puffs or Go-Gurt. He’s referring to whole food … You know, actual vegetables and grains, nuts, seeds, beans in their whole state rather than pulverized and then pumped up with flavor enhancers, chemical flavorings, salt and preservatives. Best advice ever!

Brookside Farmers Market in Kansas City on Saturday Mornings

Healthy & Fit Over 50 Nutrition Tip #1

Inflammation is the root cause of most chronic disease. Check out Dr. Andrew Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Pyramid for ideas on how you can improve your food choices: