I don't love smoothies the way some health coaches seem to love smoothies. In fact, my favorite thing to drink, after water, is probably bourbon. I like eagle rare and bulleit and buffalo trace and four roses and... Other bourbons I haven’t met yet.
But, I'm a health coach and we're not supposed to love bourbon. Right?
How about, not right. I'm a people too. Far from perfect and full of vices. Although, I don't see my love for bourbon as a vice. I can put it down when I've had enough.
Other forms of sugar though, well, it took me years to train myself to walk away from the butter cream icing (and I still kinda suck at it). I can walk away from the xxl bag of m&m's now and I can say no to Krispy Creme - creme filled donuts and those little 8-inch personal cakes from the bakery. There was a time when I’d eat any one of those things on a weekly basis and daily if life wasn’t feeling so awesome.
I'm learning, as a health coach, that you (as a potential client) don't think you can make changes to your habits because you think you're looking at someone (any health conscious professional) who didn't have hard habits to break in the first place.
Let me tell you, just about every health coach I know, got into this work because they were struggling with something. Some faced more desperate and difficult struggles than others.
The reason any of us can be effective at all is because we have learned a thing or two about mastering cravings and self-destructive habits and apathy in favor of a higher functioning version of ourselves. We were never perfect and we still meet our respective challenges from time to time.
So how do you get started?
My suggestion is to begin where you're comfortable. If you know you need or want to eat more vegetables then begin when more of what you already like. (Just know that corn is a grain - not a veggie- and pesticides do matter. More on that later.)
Have some compassion. You're not going to be perfect at making healthy choices. No one is asking you to. And here's an insider tip - there is no such thing as perfect. In anything. So let it go.
Start where you are and see what happens. You can change habits overnight, but you probably don't have to. And if you do have an emergency need to make changes NOW, well, what gets to happen for you in your life, in your relationship with your family, at work and wherever else is meaningful to you, if you do make that kind of all or nothing commitment? Whatever that vision is, hold it in sight as you do the work.
You aren't alone and you can do this. Your body will tell you what it needs. It's been talking to you all along. A health coach (or other professionals who are trained to tune into the body) can be a translator as you learn how to partner with your body and make choices according to the messages you're receiving.
When it comes to food, this practice is not about deprivation. It's about self-empowerment.
It's about enjoying your wine, or old fashioned and knowing that you also know how to take in the things in life that nourish your body.
I feel no shame in my love for spirits and butter cream icing and I love raw vegetables and other whole foods. My hope for you is that you also learn to care for and enjoy your body without shame.
I admit it. I used to be offended by iceberg lettuce.
Iceberg was fine as a condiment for burgers but there was no flavor to carry a salad and I blamed iceberg for turning so many people off salads. Last night I had that delicious ginger dressing that comes on the salad right before sushi is served. I think some of us just order that salad so we can eat the dressing. Am I right?
It was a bowl of iceberg with a few carrot slivers slipped in for color. My inner food critic got real twitchy but my belly won that stare down and in the process I was reminded that the value in what we eat isn’t always about flavor. In the case of iceberg, it’s also about gifts like, water content (96% for iceberg lettuce) and nutrient content (22% vitamin K in iceberg lettuce).
High water content foods are also a blessing to those who don’t like to drink water. It’s strange, but so very human, to dislike the things that are the very best for us.
Juicing, smoothie blending and eating raw are the best ways to preserve the water content of your food. Here’s a list of some of my favorites. I’ll give you some background on a few fruits and leave you with resources to do your own research with other fruits and vegetables
Watermelon. High in sugar so consider this if you and sugar love each other too much. Watermelly is also a good source of Vitamin A and C.
Tomatoes. Our beloved summer fruit is also a good source of vitamin A and C.
Avocado. Comes in at about 74% water and has all kinds of goodies to offer like lots of Vitamin C, E and K, folate and manganese and about 40% of this fruit is fiber.
Vegetables like cucumbers, romaine, radishes, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, bell peppers, and peas are all 90% and above in water content.
Our farmer’s markets are coming back to life around this time of year and this is the perfect time to experiment with recipes and new foods. If you have favorites please leave your tips in the comments below for other readers.
“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road does not mean they are lost."