Tag Archives: nutrition

Healthy Connections July 2017

Health in the News with Nancy Oglesby

Harvard School of Public Health’s Nutrition Action Newsletter reports that, Improving diet quality over time linked with reduced risk of premature death”.The study shows the impact of making healthy changes over time, in this case twelve years. As many of you know, my book No Kale Required: Healthy Eating Ideas for the Rest of Us, is 90+ pages of simple changes you can make in your diet to improve your health. This research is validation that it’s worth it to start today!

Dr. David Katz is my go-to science guy. He breaks down the science that’s in the news, the trendy fad diets and puts it all in scientific perspective. His writing style is an acquired taste, but well worth getting used to! In this article, Two Diet Wrongs Don’t Make a Diet Right, he tells us how they got it wrong in What the Health, the new documentary on Netflix. (Dr. Katz’s Bio)

An excerpt: “If, for instance, my wife and I see a documentary advocating for vegan diets and the narrative suggests that (a) sugar in the diet is not a concern, or (b) deli meats are as likely to cause cancer as smoking, or (c) eating wild salmon is toxic for people, she turns to me and says: “I’m confused.” The goal of documentaries about diet should not be perpetual confusion and doubt.

If my wife is confused by food documentaries, I have to infer that she has a lot of company. Catherine has a PhD in neuroscience from Princeton, so she is extremely well educated and exceptionally smart. She lives with a nutrition expert husband, and is an expert cook in her own right. Yet, diet documentaries tend to confuse even my wife. Why?”

So, that’s the latest in health & wellness news. As always, I’d love to be considered for a speaking gig at your church, organization or company. For classes, visit my website at www.nancyoglesby.com, or shoot me an email.

I bridge the gap between what I should eat and what I do eat with the nutrition of 27 fruits and vegetables every day. This is what I call Nutrition Insurance!

Here’s a great video explaining the gap!


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 http://www.nancyoglesby.com and click on Contact Me.

Bon Apetite!


Here’s Permission to Play With Your Food!

1 PLAYLet’s go back to food for a bit. It can be a lot of fun to experiment with foods you’ve never tried. By doing a bit of research online you’ll find recipes and suggestions on how best to prepare the food. By reading the recommendations you’ll have a greater likelihood of creating a successful dish.

According to Nutrition Source*, a publication of the Harvard School of Public Health research the results of the most effective type of studies, randomized, placebo-controlled trials, haven’t supported taking single antioxidants (vitamin c, e and/or beta-carotene among others). Results tend to be negative rather than positive in their use to prevent cancer, heart disease and other chronic conditions.

As I’ve discussed with students and clients, the reductionist thinking that has been leading the charge in nutritional science for decades is coming under attack for ignoring nature’s delivery systems … the foods themselves. Taking beta-carotene out of the carrot or sweet potato doesn’t work as well, if at all, and in some cases is harmful.

Each fruit and vegetable has its own unique system of delivery and science is showing that the body often doesn’t know what to do with nutrients when they’re in a form other than that which nature provided. By adding in new foods, you’re adding in unique delivery systems increasing the likelihood of getting the nourishment you need. So, not only will you be adding new flavors to your menu, you’ll be adding a whole different package of nutrients!

Over the weekend a friend asked me what I thought about Black Rice. I didn’t remember ever hearing about it and so today, when I saw it at Trader Joe’s I purchased a bag. (For those of you without access, you can buy it on Amazon here.) After giving it a rinse, I just cooked it following the directions on the package. Mine took a bit longer to cook than indicated, but when it was done I was transported! It was almost creamy, a beautiful purple and tasted delicious. It has the perfect bit of crunch. I ate it with a sprinkle of salt and it was really good.

I think it would be a bit too creamy to use for pilaf, but will probably be great as a warm or cold whole grain cereal. I’ll be trying that tomorrow morning!

I looked up the nutritional information and wasn’t surprised to find out that it’s loaded with nutrients. Whenever a whole food is dark in color, chances are that it’s a healthier choice than its paler version. Black rice is no exception. It contains a large amount of anthocyanins, reducing the risk of heart attacks by preventing the buildup of plaque. Anthocyanins are also better at controlling cholesterol levels than any other food supplement**.

Black rice is a nutritional powerhouse! I recommend adding it to your diet. If you have kids, they’re bound to love it. It turns a dark purple when cooked. What kid doesn’t like dark purple food? (By the way, that’s why kids love green smoothies … they’re green!)

So, try something new. Look it up and learn about all of its glorious benefits. You won’t be sorry!

Bon Voyage!
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 www.healthworkskc.com/forms. 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.

*Nutrition Source, Harvard School of Public Health
**Natural News



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.

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.

11 Kitchen Hacks … Fast, Easy, Healthy!

I don’t know about you but I’m always looking for ways to cut my time in the kitchen and still maintain a healthy diet. These are some of the things that work for me:

  1. If I want a slice of onion for a sandwich, or if I’m11 Kitchen Hacks Small chopping up a few tablespoons for tuna salad, I go ahead and cut up the whole onion and store it in a glass container in the fridge. I find myself using it up every time because it’s so easy. I’ll put onions with scrambled eggs, brown rice or pasta, or add it to a sandwich, just because it’s already cut up.
  2. I cook once and eat several times. I’ll make a double batch of spaghetti, cook an entire bag of pasta and freeze it individually for easy dinners. I do this with casseroles, soup and side dishes.
  3. Having great knives and glass cutting boards is a must for easy prep. Even if I cut only once, I want it to be fast and efficient. With glass cutting boards I don’t have to Chef-knivesworry about how sanitary it is. When I’m finished, I pop it in the dishwasher.
  4. A Foreman Grill is a big deal in my kitchen. I use it primarily for fish. I love the salmon burgers and mahi burgers from Trader Joe’s. From frozen they take about four minutes. Add in a side salad from the salad bar and a bit of rice pilaf and I’m good to go in under 15 minutes!
  5. I would have a hard time eating healthy if I didn’t have my slow cooker. In the summer it keeps the house cool and in the winter it makes soups so easy to prepare! This is where I cook my Vegan Spaghetti, Split Pea Soup, Sweet Potatoes, Chili … Actually, most things! My favorite is the Hamilton Beach; It’s reasonably priced and works simply.
  6. Sweet Potatoes & Butternut Squash are a big deal for me and I almost always have one of them on hand. I cook them in my slow cookerSweet Potatoes without any added liquid, for 3-4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. They are the best tasting sweet potatoes I’ve ever eaten. When I make Butternut Squash Soup, I don’t bother with cubing or peeling. I throw the whole, washed squash into the slow cooker until cooked, remove it, scrape the meat into the blender, and add the rest of the ingredients, then puree. I put it back in the slow cooker for about an hour to let the ingredients meld together. Delish!
  7. Then there’s my Ninja Professional. It’s a blender, food processor combined. Knowing what to use when took me a bit, but it was worth the investment. I can make GF breadcrumbs with the end pieces of the Udi’s bread I buy. I crush the chickpeas I add to my Vegan Spaghetti. I make my hummus, refried beans and black bean dip.
  8. NutriBullet makes my smoothies a breeze. I have a really small kitchen, so I keep most of my appliances in a closet. The NutriBullet caught my eye because of its small size. It sits on my counter and I whip up my morning smoothie easily. It also comes with three cups and a milling blade which makes grinding the fennel for my Vegan Spaghetti a snap!
  9. A toaster oven is great for reheating things that require crispness. One of my guilty pleasures is a dish called Crispy Tofu from Blue Koi, a restaurant in KC. I bring home leftovers and the next day I put them in the toaster oven, on toast, and they come out crispy and delicious! Toaster ovens are good for when you don’t need the large size of a regular oven. Oh yeah … they make toast!
  10. Salad in a Jar is one way to easily make a healthy lunch. Using large jars (I use Trader Joe’s Organic Spaghetti Sauce jars), fill about half way with your choice of lettuce. I use a mix of romaine and spring greens from the salad bar. Then toss in some premade Cole slaw mix or broccoli slaw mix, and veggies that you like on a salad. I use cucumbers, peppers and a little red onion. You can add beans (I like chickpeas) and dried cranberries. Then top it with a few grape tomatoes. On the day of, I add nuts and seeds. I take along a little container of salad dressing and at lunchtime I add the dressing, re-close the jar, and shake like a bartender to mix. The only caveat: Make sure you’ve got a fork that fits to the bottom of the jar you choose.
    These last three days in my refrigerator. It seems the bagged lettuce lasts longer in the jar than it does in the bag … weird.
  11. Just toss stuff together! You probably have some regular flavor profiles that you depend on. Try something with what you’ve got on hand. I tossed some edamame, onions and pasta together with some tamari, garlic, salt and coconut oil for a fabulous stir fry! Here are the pics:


I hope these make your life a bit healthier and easier. I am all about helping people fit healthy choices into their busy lives. I love for you to ‘like’ my Facebook page. It can be found at www.facebook.com/healthworkskc

Nancy Oglesby, The Practical Health Coach

Just a quick disclaimer: I make a small amount if you purchase from the links I provide. I do like it that you know exactly what model I’m talking about when I identify brands that I like and use.

5 Freezer Hacks to Save Money

My freezer isn't always this organized. It's often totally out of control! Here we have some different gluten-free, vegan burgers, homemade broth, chili, pumpkin, green beans and a loaf of gf bread.

My freezer isn’t always this organized. It’s often totally out of control! Here we have some different gluten-free, vegan burgers, homemade broth, chili, pumpkin, green beans and a loaf of gf bread.

This is going to be short and sweet: Freeze Everything!

Okay, maybe not quite everything, but if you’re like me, there’s often a banana that’s about to go bad, oranges that you can’t possible eat in time or you can’t take advantage of the sale on grapes because there’s no way you can use them soon enough. Maybe you bought that bag of kale with good intentions, but the intentions didn’t follow you home from the store.

How many times do you end up throwing away produce? If you’re like I was, it’s a lot. What you buy will have a better chance of staying out of the the landfill when you begin to rely on your freezer. Here are five ways to get started:

  1. Buy a bag of already washed and chopped kale, and if you only use it in cooked dishes and/or smoothies, just toss it right in the freezer when you get home. This works for spinach as well. (It doesn’t work at all if you’re going to eat it in a salad or raw since when defrosted it gets pretty mushy.)
  2. Cookie sheet magic happens with most fruits and veggies that you want to use for smoothies or in cooked dishes. Are your bananas looking a bit beyond their deliciousness? Slice, lay out on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and slide in the freezer. When they’ve frozen, put them in a freezer bag. This works for apples (which don’t turn brown when cut up and frozen), peaches, cherries, orange sections, grapes, strawberries, mango, melon, celery, onion, garlic, ginger, peppers, snow peas, green beans … Well, just about anything! These won’t be good for eating thawed out, but they’re great for purees, smoothies, syrups, stir fries, soups and stews. You can even add frozen fruit to beverages for a pop of color.
  3. If you haven’t already tried it, eat grapes and cherries frozen. It takes you longer to eat them (reduced sugar intake) and they taste great!
  4. A treat with frozen bananas is to dip them in melted, dark chocolate (70% or higher) and refreeze … good for your health and fabulous for that chocolate craving! (Eat frozen)
  5. Can’t possibly go through a loaf of bread in time? Open the bag, fan out the slices, set in the freezer. Once frozen, put the loaf back together and seal the bag. You won’t have to jackhammer the pieces apart ever again!
Bags of kale and spinach, an ice cube tray of chicken broth, jars of soup, and fresh frozen basil ... handy!

Bags of kale and spinach, an ice cube tray of chicken broth, jars of soup, and fresh frozen basil … handy!

There you have it … Tips to help your budget, your health and the landfill!

If you’re in the Kansas City area, check out my upcoming events. They can be found on my website’s Events Page.

Nancy Oglesby, The Practical Health Coach