Author Archives: wcscoaches

Beyond Burgers and Brats

Summer brings hot weather, sunny days, and in many cases, meals cooked on the grill.  Staples in the U.S. for grilling include hot dogs, hamburgers, or chicken usually served alongside mayo laden salads such as potato salad and pasta salad.  While enjoying these items every so often is just fine (think 4th of July parties), it’s fun, and healthy, to think beyond this version of outdoor dining.

Green Brown and Black Bar B Q

Grilling is a low fat cooking method that infuses smoky flavor into the food.  Therefore, most foods will take on a whole new life when cooked on the grill.  Try a few of the items below or check out this month’s Veggie Burger recipe to go meatless this summer!

Fruit

Grilling fruit is one way to create a healthy summer dessert.  Hearty fruits such as peaches, pineapple, pears, and watermelon can stand up to the heat.  Because fruit contains natural sugars, it can stick to the grill grate.  Therefore brush each side of the piece of fruit lightly with oil, then drizzle with honey or 100% pure maple syrup before grilling.  Also, be sure to cut the fruit in thick, 1 inch or larger, slices or pieces.

Try this recipe

Fish

Because fish tends to be more delicate than chicken or beef, it’s important to have a very clean grill grate and spray with non-stick spray before cooking.  For thinner, flakier fish such as cod or tilapia, it may be best to use a grill basket or a make-shift foil basket that has been lightly greased.  Pro tip:  keep the skin on for easier cooking!

Try this recipe

Pizza

Think of the grill as your very own pizza oven!  You can place your pizza stone right on the grill or you can cook your pizza crust directly on the grate.  We recommend using whole wheat crust and loading up your pizza with your favorite vegetables.  We love peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, and onions.  With enough veggies, sometimes you don’t even need the cheese (or you can at least use less of it)!

For a tutorial, visit this link.

Unplug and Play

We live in a fast-paced society, unable to settle the turmoil of the never-ending daily tasks to complete, where hardly anyone stops to smell the roses. Everywhere we are, we are surrounded by constant noise, lights, and screens of all sorts. The stimulus is everywhere, coming from all angles. A study has recently discovered that the average person checks their device 46 times per day! Spending a total of 5 hours of their day browsing the web on their devices. We are excessively dependent on the internet and our technological devices, chained to the fear of missing out.

So then, why is it important to put limits on our technology use throughout the day?

The answer lays in stress recovery. Believe or not, using technology gadgets throughout most of our waking hours, prevents the brain from relaxing. Receiving constant stimulus from electronic devices and screens actually makes us more anxious. Therefore, being attached to electronics for long periods of time, increases our anxiety levels. Unfortunately, anxiety affects other important aspects of our lives: sleep patterns, family life, relationships, productivity, eating habits and more.

How do we reduce anxiety and allow our brains to relax effectively?

Easy! Remember to unplug and play more during the day! Especially in the summer; it’s the perfect time to slow down and enjoy the beautiful weather. Enjoy your coffee while watching the sunrise, go for a picnic in the park instead of eating in front of the TV, or enjoy a nighttime stroll with your family. Need some ideas on how to add in relaxation to your day? Try one of these tips today:

  • Start with 15 minutes a day: Section off at least 15 minutes each day to be completely device free. Make this a reoccurring time and stick to it!
  • Start your morning’s screen free: Create a morning routine that doesn’t involve a screen. Avoid the temptation of checking your phone when you first wake up by using an alarm clock instead of your phone.
  • Enjoy screen-free meals: Make meal times a device free zone and enjoy the company you are with.
  • Device curfew: Set a time that you will stop using all electronic devices at night. Ideally, this time is at least 30-60 minutes before you go to bed. Try reading, writing in a journal, stretching, or meditating instead of scrolling through Facebook.

 

July Newsletter

Summertime Veggie Burger Remix

Everyone loves hosting a BBQ in the summer and burgers are always a great go-to, but can sometimes be monotonous.  What if we told you there’s a veggie burger recipe that is so good even an omnivore will love it? Now we have your attention! At most cookouts theVeggie Burger veggie burger options come frozen and are often dry and lacking flavor, which gives this vegetarian delight and bad reputation. For your next BBQ, try this recipe and you are sure to impress even the die-hard meat eaters!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • ½ Tbsp. melted ghee or avocado oil, plus more for cooking
  • ½ white onion, finely diced
  • 3 cups of thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin powder
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups cooked black beans, well rinsed, drained and patted dry
  • ¼ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp. BBQ sauce

Serves 5

Total time: ~ 30 minutes

  1. First start with toasting the walnuts. Heat your skillet over medium heat and add nuts for about 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Once fragrant, let them cool on a plate and add chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika. Toss walnuts with spices and set aside.
  2. In the same skillet, add oil, onions, mushrooms, and shallots with salt and pepper. Saute until translucent and set aside.
  3. Then in a large mixing bowl, mash black beans with a fork and add cooked rice, toasted walnuts, onions, mushrooms, shallots, bread crumbs, BBQ sauce, salt, and pepper. Combine with a wooden spoon until the consistently is thick enough to mold the burgers. Note: since it’s not raw meat, feel free to taste the mixture to see if it needs any extra spices!
  4. Divide the mixture into 5 sections and create burger patties that are about ¾ inch thick and place on a plate to get ready for the grill.
  5. Heat your grill and brush with melted ghee or avocado oil. Once hot, add burgers and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side.
  6. Once cooked, remove burgers and let cool before serving.
  7. Enjoy the burgers on a whole grain bun or even bun less on top of a salad!

Adapted from: https://minimalistbaker.com/easy-grillable-veggie-burgers/

Drink Up!

Summer is practically here and on some days we’re already sweating the moment we step outside. As temperatures rise, it is even more important to consume enough fluids in order to prevent dehydration.  Dehydration can make us feel tired, but at worst puts us at risk of heat related illness.

Keep in mind, beverages such as sodas, juices, and sweetened teas are a major source of added sugar and therefore extra calories.  Opt to reduce or eliminate sugar sweetened beverages and choose healthier alternatives to meet the rest of your fluid needs. Here are a few helpful tips to stay hydrated:

BYOB- Bring Your Own (Water) Bottle

It is an excellent idea to invest in a water bottle!  Carrying a water bottle throughout the day will make hydrating convenient and easy.  It can also help prevent you from purchasing sugar sweetened beverages while you are out and about, because you know you already have a beverage with you!  Also, it can be eco-friendly to ditch the disposable bottles!

Skip the juice and infuse

 

Some people may not enjoy the bland taste of water. Although 100% fruit juice might sound like a convenient way to get a serving of fruit for the day, it usually isn’t the best option. Juice has a more concentrated amount of sugar and a lot less fiber than the whole fruit, which adds extra calories without the satiation we receive from eating and chewing. A great way to still get a fruity flavor while cutting back on calories is to infuse your water with fresh or frozen fruits! Try adding slices of citrus fruits to you water, such as lemons, or opt for frozen tropical fruits such as pineapple or mango.

How much fluid do you need?

Fluid needs vary for everyone and depend on factors such as health status, activity level, gender, and where you live. On average, it is recommended that women consume 9 cups of fluid per day, and men consume 12.5 cups of fluids per day. This may sound like a lot, but keep in mind that around 20% of this fluid usually comes from the food you eat such as fresh fruits and vegetables!

Be sure to stay alert for signs of dehydration such as light-headedness, headaches, increased thirst, decreased urine output, and other symptoms.  Also, talk with your doctor about your fluid needs because certain populations such as women who are pregnant, older individuals, those with certain disease states, and children may have varying fluid needs.

Resources:

IOM Fluid Recommendations http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2004/Dietary-Reference-Intakes-Water-Potassium-Sodium-Chloride-and-Sulfate.aspx

Why are you still awake?

Smart phones and other electronics are becoming essential parts of our everyday lives. Many times, before we even realize it, we’ve been scrolling through emails, social media, or engaging in group texts and an hour has gone by. While staying connected helps many people work remotely in companies they love and keep family members connected who are states away, staying on our phones day in and day out does have some negative consequences. One of which is how it affects our sleep. Screen exposure, especially around bedtime, has been shown to be associated with lower quality of sleep.

Avoid the Blue Light

Most of the electronics we use today, such as cell phones, tablets, and televisions emit a type of light called blue light. This blue light restricts our brains from releasing the hormone, melatonin, which influences our body’s circadian rhythm and tells our bodies when it is time to go to sleep. In order to avoid this disruption in rhythm, it’s a good idea to stop using electronics at least 30 minutes before going to bed. If you are one to send last minute text messages or emails before going to sleep, you should check to see if your phone has a “night mode” setting. Many smartphones today have been updated to let you adjust the light emitted from your phone to a warmer, yellow colored light. This yellow light will help prevent melatonin production from being suppressed, meaning you will get a better night’s rest.

Also, if you tend to wake up during the night, try to resist the urge to reach for your phone.  Even though the night mode may help, it’s still better to try to a simple meditation such as counting your breaths or writing down your worries to help your mind calm back down to sleep.

Stretch Instead

If you decide to stop the screen time before bed, a great alternative is to stretch! Doing light stretches before bed can help you relax and get rid of the tension built up during the day. It can be as simple as touching your toes or lifting and resting the back of your legs against the wall. Your mind and body will thank you the next morning.

How much sleep do we really need?

Everybody’s sleep requirements vary depending on multiple factors, but on average, adults function best when they get around 7-9 hours of sleep. If you notice yourself feeling tired or sleepy on a typical day, you may need to add an extra hour of sleep to your schedule.

Sources:

National Sleep Foundation “Electronics in the Bedroom” https://sleepfoundation.org/ask-the-expert/electronics-the-bedroom

Take the Plunge for Summer Fitness

What better way to exercise this summer than in a nice, cool pool! Water-based exercises are an excellent way to get aerobic physical activity (aka “cardio”) with little sweat.  Also, completing two and a half hours of aerobic physical activity each week, such as swimming, can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses and improve your mood.

Since your body is buoyant (able to float) in water, you may have an easier time moving around and improving your flexibility during water-based exercises. The resistance you experience when moving in water can help strengthen your muscles. Water-based exercises may be ideal for people experiencing joint or muscle pain.

Try these aquatic exercises the next time you go to the pool:

  1. Water jogging

In chest or waist high water, walk 10-20 steps forward, then walk 10-20 steps backward. Challenge yourself by increasing your speed. If you are looking for a higher-intensity workout, try jogging in place. Alternate jogging and walking for variety!

  1. Lunges

In waist high water, take an over-sized large step forward, bending the knees, without letting the forward knee get past your toes. Return to a standing position and repeat with the other leg. For more variation, try doing side lunges by taking a step to the side instead of forward, making sure you are keeping your toes pointing forward. Try 3 sets of 10 lunges.

  1. Sidestepping

In chest or waist high water, take sideways steps with your toes and body facing forward. Take 10-20 steps in one direction and then do the same in the opposite direction. Try repeating each direction twice.

  1. Hip Kicks

Standing straight and holding onto the pool wall to one side of your body for support, kick 1 leg forward with your knee straight and return to the starting position. Next, do the same kicking movement, but instead of kicking forward, kick to the side. Last, kick behind you, maintaining the straight knee, then return to the starting position. Try doing 3 sets of 10 for each leg.

  1. Standing knee lift

Standing with the pool wall behind you, and both feet on the floor, lift 1 knee up to the same level as your hip, and then straighten your knee. Bend and straighten your knee 10 times, then repeat on the other leg. For increased difficulty, try doing this exercise without standing against the wall. Try doing 3 sets of 10 for each leg.

There are plenty other water based exercises to try. You can even invest in a few pool tools, such as styrofoam noodles and kick boards to add more variety to your exercise routine.  And if the gym you attend has a pool, inquire about pool based fitness classes. Have a splash!

*Always talk with your doctor before beginning any new fitness routine. 

All About the Chia

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia! Furry chia hair pets are what usually come to mind when we hear the word “chia,” and yes, if you let this seed grow it will eventually make your pet — but did you know that eating them will provide you with a rich dose of fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants? A member of the mint family, this little seed is known as a super food because of its dense nutrient profile. Here is a quick guide to what nutrients are found in the chia seed:

  • Fiber: Just 2 tablespoons will provide men with 29% of their daily recommended intake and 44% for women. Specifically, the chia seed is high in insoluble fiber. Fiber is important to help keep bowel movements regular and reduce constipation. Additionally, insoluble fiber has been linked with reduced risk of diabetes.Chia seeds
  • Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids: Known as essential fatty acids, our bodies are unable to produce these acids so it’s essential that we get these nutrients from our diet. Omega-3s and 6s play an important role in cell structure. Recent research is starting to look at the potential benefits of the fatty acids in chia seeds and a link with improved blood pressure, heart health, and blood sugar regulation.
  • Iron, Calcium, and Magnesium: Two tablespoon can provide 27% of your daily iron needs, as well as 18% calcium, and 24% magnesium. Iron is important for the health of our red blood cells. Calcium is important for bone, nerve, and muscle health. Magnesium plays many roles in the body, including DNA and cell health, as well as, metabolism regulation.
  • High in Protein: A plant base source of protein, the seed itself is 19% protein. Additionally, it’s gluten free, so it’s a great option for those with an intolerance to gluten.

So how do you prepare these little guys?

A unique feature of chia seeds is their ability to absorb water and form a gel – making them perfect for smoothies, pudding, and milkshakes. They can also be sprinkled over salads, fruits, oatmeal, or cereal.  Recently, more and more recipes are popping up that replace fat with chia seeds. These recipes include pancakes, cookies, cereal bars, breads, baked goods and more!

Fun fact: “Chia” is the ancient Mayan word for strength.

Recipe: Banana Wild Blueberry Smoothie with Chia Seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon soaked chia seeds (1 teaspoon dry)
  • 1 small banana (about 4 ounces without the skin)
  • ½ cup frozen organic wild blueberries
  • 1 cup milk of choice (almond, soy, or skim/2%)
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Preparation

  1. To soak the chia seeds, place in a jar or bowl and add 4 tablespoons water for every tablespoon of chia seeds. Place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. The seeds and water will be become gelatinous.
  2. Scoop up a tablespoon of seeds with the gooey liquid and place in a blender (don’t worry, your smoothie won’t have this consistency). Add the remaining ingredients and blend for 1 full minute at high-speed.

Adapted from: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1014742-banana-wild-blueberry-smoothie-with-chia-seeds

Hello Sunshine

Most people know of the importance of sunscreen and sun protection, but with so much conflicting information, it’s hard to understand exactly what’s what – so we’ve created this quick guide to get you and your skin through the summer.

UVA vs UVB Rays: The first thing to know is that not all rays are created equal, however, both have links to cancer. UVA rays are also linked to aging and wrinkles, while UVB rays are linked with sunburns (think A=aging and B=burning).  While all sunscreens provide some UVB ray protection, not all sunscreens protect from UVA rays. To protect yourself from both, check the label for:

  • “Broad-band spectrum” – means that both rays are covered
  • “If used as directed with other sun protection measures, this product reduces the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging, as well as helps prevent sunburn.”
  • “Zinc Oxide” and “Avobenzone” in the ingredients – will specifically protect from UVA

Additionally, something else to keep in mind is that sunscreen less than SPF 15 will not protect you from both rays; the label will likely state something along the lines of ‘doesn’t protect from skin cancer.’  Avoid products with this disclaimer.

SPF: stands for “Sun Protection Factor” and refers to how much protection you get from UVB rays (not UVA).  Typically, the higher the number, the longer the protection; HOWEVER, studies are showing that greater than SPF 50 might not have any added benefit and could actually be exposing individuals to more chemicals. Additionally, there is a false sense of security with higher SPFs which has been linked with poor re-application habits. As a general rule of thumb, you should apply sunscreen 15-30 mins before sun exposure and reapply every 2 hours. If you are sweating a lot or swimming, you should reapply more often.

UV Index: This measures the strength of the UV rays on a particular day. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, knowing how to read and apply the scale can help protect you:

  • Green 0-2: Low danger for the average person: Wear sunglasses on bright days; if you burn easily, cover up and use SPF 30+ sunscreen; beware of bright surfaces (i.e. snow, water, sand)
  • Yellow 3-5: Moderate risk from unprotected sun exposure: stay in shady areas during midday; wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and hats; use 30+ SPF every 2 hours; beware of bright surfaces (i.e. snow, water, sand)
  • Red 6-7: High risk of harm to skin and eyes from unprotected exposure: Precautions are the same as above.
  • Blue 11 or more: Extreme risk to skin and eyes, can burn within minutes: Precautions are the same as above.

Sunscreen Should NOT be Your Only Protection: Yes, sunscreen is great and all, but you should be doing other things to protect your skin from harmful rays such as:

  • Avoid prime sun hours
  • Wear protective clothing; even just a t-shirt can have the equivalent of SPF 5 protection
  • Wear wide brim hats
  • Protect your eyes with sunglasses
  • Avoid direct sunlight and stay in the shade when possible
  • Check the UV Index
  • Follow the shadow rule (if your shadow is taller than you, UV exposure likely to be lower, if it’s shorter than you, UV exposure is high and you should take caution).

Swimming and sweating: While there are some water-resistant products on the market as mentioned above, you should be reapplying more frequently if you’re sweating or swimming. Read the label for more details as to how often you should reapply the water-resistant products.

What about Cloudy Days?: Yes, you should still be wearing sunscreen on cloudy days. The clouds still let in 80% of harmful rays through, leaving you exposed to damage.

Monitoring the weather, staying on top of sunscreen use, and following these tips will help keep you and your loved ones safe this summer!

Sunglasses.jpg

Rid Yourself of Clutter

We’re all guilty of it; we hold on to something because “we might need it later” — but have you ever considered that all this accumulated stuff could be affecting our mental health? The truth is that clutter can be a source of stress.  Clutter and disorganization can overwhelm the senses (visual and olfactory), be distracting, and lead to feelings of guilt and frustration.  According to the National Association of Professional Organizers, 65% of Americans feel that their home is disorganized. Organizing and getting rid of clutter can often be a daunting task, so here are 5 helpful tips to get you started:

  1. Rome wasn’t built in a day: if you feel that you have too much to handle, start small. Pick one room or area and dedicate a predetermined amountOrganization.jpg of time to just that space.
  2. Make a list and schedule: break down different areas of your home into manageable spaces, prioritize which areas you want to focus on the most, and set a schedule for yourself.
  3. See the full project to the end: don’t fall into the trap of “I’ll take this to Goodwill/trash/friend’s house tomorrow.” As part of your schedule, allot time to dispose of these items. This may mean multiple trips to Goodwill, but when you start seeing progress, it will help keep you motivated to continue.
  4. Recruit roommates and family members: If you live with others, chances are the mess isn’t yours alone. Include everyone in your household in the fun! Play music, make a competition out of it, or make it a group bonding event.
  5. Fill one trash bag a week: Don’t have time to dedicate more than a few minutes a day? No big deal, focus on one bag for 15 minutes a day. By the end of the month, you will have logged almost 7.5 hours.

Items that clutter:

  • Clothes you don’t wear: Try the hanger trick. Turn all your closet hangers around so that the round end is facing away from you. When you wear something, re-hang it with the hanger facing the right direction. After a couple of months, it will be clear what clothes you wear and what you don’t wear. Have you considered donating old formal wear? There are organizations that will re-purpose old prom dresses, wedding wear, and suits to people in need.
  • Expired products: Old make-up, medications, spices, canned/processed foods. If you haven’t used them recently, you don’t need them and they should be tossed.
  • VHS tapes, CDs, and DVDs: In the Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Spotify age, our movie and music collections are right at our fingertips. Unless you feel strongly that old Animal House VHS will be a collector’s item, trust us and donate, sell, or toss.
  • Paper: Get rid of old newspapers, magazines, junk mail, receipts, old holiday cards, birth announcements, wedding invitations, take out menus, etc. Anything that you must keep (i.e. taxes, warranties), you can file in an accordion organizer or electronically. If you are really attached to the photo cards, start a photo album and move them from the fridge to the album after a couple of months of display.
  • Books: Do you really need that freshman year biology book? Guess what, after several years, books come out with new editions because research and information is changing so rapidly. Also, did we forget to mention this little thing called the world-wide web? Everything you could ever want to look up is right at your fingertips. Only keep books that you reference or read often.
  • Games: The clay is hard, it’s missing pieces, it never gets used – whatever it might be, it’s taking up space and can probably go.
  • Old Electronics: Unless you have a buddy that can bring that 2010 computer back to life, you can probably go ahead and donate it.

Once you get yourself organized, set small goals for yourself to keep the clutter out. Maybe once a month go through the house to make sure there aren’t things that can get tossed or donated. Also, create a habit of putting items back in their place once you’re done using them. This will limit the daily clutter. Happy decluttering!

 

 

Trending: Healthy Meal Planning and Delivery Services

Life seems to get busier and busier every day, which can make it hard to plan and prepare healthy meals at home. The good news is that there are programs to make it easier for you! These programs can be split into two categories: meal planning services and meal delivery services.

Meal prep.jpeg

Meal planning services provide you with recipes and grocery lists that fit your dietary preferences.

Meal Planning Services
  How It Works Diet Options Monthly Cost
Prep Dish Each Friday you get your meal plan, grocery list and prep instructions. The meal plan involves one 2-3 hour prep session at the beginning of the week and an additional 5-20 minutes of preparation the day the dish is served. Only paleo and gluten free recipes $8.25 – 14
Fresh 20 Receive recipes and grocery lists for the week that only require 20 ingredients. Preparation of the recipes will take 1 hour, one time per week. Meals plans are posted every Friday. Classic, gluten free, vegetarian, paleo, dairy free, kosher, for one $6 – 18
Zipongo View recipes that fit within your preferences/restrictions. Select recipes for the week and Zipongo will generate a grocery list for the recipes. Can restrict: dairy, eggs,  fish, gluten, peanuts, pork, poultry, red meat, shellfish, soy, and tree nuts Free
The Six O’clock Scramble Each week 5 recipes with organized grocery lists personalized to your diet preference. All recipes are designed to be made within 30 minutes Vegetarian, gluten free, diabetic $6 – 13

Meal delivery services take things a step further, providing recipes and delivering the ingredients right to your door!

Meal Delivery Services
Hello Fresh Meals are selected by Hello Fresh, customized to your preferences, but you can change the recipes if you wish.  Classic and Veggie boxes provide 3 meals for 2 people and the family box has 3 meals for 4 people. Classic, Veggie, Family Begin as low as $69 for classic boxes, $59 for veggie boxes and $105 for family boxes.
Chef’d Offers breakfast, lunch and dinner meals. Most meals are available in 2 servings. Family friendly recipes are available to order with more servings.  Each recipe is individually priced and can be chosen through a meal plan or individually. Recipes: family friendly, gourmet, quick and easy, lighter options, vegetarian, gluten free, vegan

Meal Plans: Atkins, The New York Times Cooking, American Diabetes Association, Weight Watchers, Spoon University, Tone it up Fresh, Runner’s World

$5 – 27 per

serving

Peach Dish Each week you choose from at least 8 meal options and can order 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 or 12 servings. Recipes take 30 minutes or less to prepare. Vegetarian, gluten-free Servings start around $11