Archive | November 2014

Reframing Thanks + Giving

I subscribe to a lot of health-based newsletters [like a lot]. So my inbox has been filled lately with articles on how to navigate the holidays this year, strategies to eat well on Turkey Day, among many other tips + “how to” lists for not letting this day create a snowball effect that negatively impacts your health for the rest of our holiday season. So, what do I, as a fitness expert and holistic nutrition coach have to add to the conversation?

Thanks + givingA simple challenge — what would happen if you reframed Thanksgiving? What if this holiday could be less about the pressure to not “blow it”, less emphasis on the potential detriment of food, the guilt, the indulgence and more about the thanks + giving? In truth, Thanksgiving dinner is no different than any other celebratory gathering; it’s just another meal. There are usually appetizers, dinner and dessert, right? In my home, I am lucky enough to have gatherings like this all the time. I LOVE having people in my home to share in good food, wine and conversation. And while providing those I love with good-for-you, delicious foods is one of the ways in which I express my love, the reason behind said get-togethers – and the reason for THIS season is for thanks + giving. To step back, look around and express gratitude for the multitude of blessings in your life, while being able to share quality time with loved ones. The food, the drinks are background noise – or they should be. Because happiness isn’t found in food. Sure, we can experience pleasure from the way flavors dance on our tastebuds or nostalgia from the memories certain dishes bring back, but at the end of the day, the meal is just a meal. But the reason for the meal is amazing and powerful. A moment in time for you to fill up your cup with love, connection and meaningful relationships — and that’s what really matters in life. Slowing down, appreciating the moment and choosing to be fulfilled in a different way this year [vs. a stuffed belly].

And within that, there is of course, room to enjoy the things you love. As my friend and fellow health coach Sarah Adler says – you can always approach the same situations with fresh eyes. There are always ways to upgrade your favorite dishes with real food ingredients that not only TASTE better, but are nutrient-rich and another blessing you can add to your book {for example, nitrate-free organic bacon with Brussels Sprouts, organic sausage added to your stuffing, your broccoli casserole made with real, grass-fed + organic cream, butter & cheese or your pecan pie made with maple syrup instead of corn syrup} – the possibilities are REAL and endless. The trick is to first determine what you’re most looking forward to {what you love} and know there is space for those; then, leave the rest. As I said earlier, let’s reframe the day to be about thanks + giving — could we be thankful for our favorites and give ourselves the space to consider what we consume out of habit vs. love? There’s a difference – both in the “why” behind consumption and how it’ll make you feel afterwards.

One great tool to reframe the day? Visualization. Wake-up and take a moment to visualize exactly what you want your day to look like – how you want to feel all day long; and while you’re at it, count your blessings. Visualize the things, people and circumstances you’re grateful for [don’t forget about yourself!] and be present in that feeling, soak it up. See yourself cultivating that deeper throughout the day and perhaps even take some time to express that appreciation to others. Sometimes the only thing we need to do things differently is a different mindset – a way to reframe our experiences to be richer, more meaningful and more in line with what we really want out of our lives.

HH PromoAnd since we’re on the subject, I want to tell you that I am grateful for YOU. For your support, for being here, for reading this and for allowing yourself the chance to create vibrant health alongside us. And in light of such, I have a small gift for you. Coming back by popular demand December 8th, we’re going to be re-launching our FREE Holiday Helpers series. So while the tips don’t start until then, you can get the recipes {including our Curried Pumpkin soup – a great appetizer/starter dish} and the workouts {all bodyweight so perfect for your Thanksgiving travels or need for a quick pick-me-up} NOW. Sign up here: www.macksmo.com/holidayhelpers to get the packet right to your inbox.

Last, because I do love real food so much {and want you to experience it’s divinity as well}, here are some great recipes ideas from some of my own favorite real-food resources to try on your table this Thanksgiving:
Salted Caramel Pecan Pie {from the Spunky Coconut}
Roasted Root Vegetables with Turkey {Dr. Mark Hyman}
Citrus Crab Salad {Dr. Mark Hyman}
Cranberry Sauce with Orange + Ginger {Joyful Belly Ayurveda}
Kale, Butternut Squash + Organic Sausage Stuffing {The Greatist}
– Twice Baked Yams with Pecan Crumble {Simply Real Health}

Or try a Macks Mo favorite – Caramelized Brussels Sprouts: 1 lbs. Brussels Sprouts, 1 Tbls. coconut oil, 2 handful shiitake mushrooms, 3 heads of garlic {or 1.5 tsp.}, sea salt, pepper + red chili flakes AND organic, nitrate-free bacon!

  1. Cut bacon into small pieces and saute first. When crisp, remove from pan and set aside.
  2. While bacon is cooking, mince garlic finely and thinly slice the Brussels Sprouts [make sure to chop ends off first + discard].
  3. Add garlic to bacon grease + coconut oil and saute for 1-2 minutes, until brown but careful not to burn.
  4. Next add mushrooms and Brussels, sautéing until brown but not mushy [about 8 minutes on medium heat].
  5. Season with sea salt, pepper and red chili flakes to taste and add bacon back in at the end. YUM!

 

A Little Help

I clearly remember ringing in the start of 2014, recounting with Regan how fast 2013 went and looking ahead on the upcoming year with excitement. Then I blinked and now it’s November. The holidays are just around the corner and my calendar is starting to get super busy. Sound familiar?

A Little Help #2It’s times like these especially that I am grateful for the healthy living practices I’ve been putting into place all year-long. The meal-planning that translates into wallet-saving grocery shopping; the consistency + variety of movement that makes my body feel good; the meditation, visualization + morning wake-up and evening wind-down routines, along with the constant practice of slowing down and tuning in to my intuition. Although each small pieces themselves, they all add up to more energy, less stress, higher productivity, more time for things & people I love and quite frankly, a happier + healthier Whitney.

But what’s been even more eye-opening for me in 2014 has been the realization of how much I was taking the impact of these small practices for granted and how much of a difference they really DO make. I’m going to tell you a little secret — I didn’t expect to get pregnant…so quick. When Regan and I decided we were “ready”, I think we both figured it’d take some little time and that we’d be able to adjust to the “idea” before it actually happened. God apparently had a different plan and in what seemed like literal moments later, I had a positive pregnancy stick in my hand.

A Little Help Blog PostI’m not going to lie. The first trimester rocked my world — that is, the world in where I have “control” over my body, my energy levels, my creative spark and my ability to “do” things. I suddenly had none of those things and only my intuition and habits to fall back on. And can I say, THANK. GOD. I’ll touch more on all this in a different blog post, but when I was finally able to come up for air from this new phase, I was able to see so clearly how fundamentally important it is to have healthy habits in place. Practices we do on a daily basis to improve our well-being because want to feel good in our own skin. Because what we do on a daily basis MATTERS because it sews the seeds for our future well-being + happiness.

In truth, there’s really nothing in life we can control. We have to learn to roll with the punches, navigate the busy and know that regardless of the season, work deadline or number of events on our calendar — we have a plan + practices in place that allow us to feel good, look good and thrive on a daily basis.

And that, my friends, is why I created Holiday Helpers, a free 2-week series designed to help you do just that – feel awesome in your own skin on a daily basis. To give you the tools needed to create a plan that helps build habits to help you navigate the looming busy-ness of the fast-approaching holidays. Because you deserve, no you owe it to yourself to thrive. And it’s my passion to bring that to you — before the holidays start.

We’ve never done anything like this before…and you’re not going to want to miss it. By the way, did I mention, it’s free?!

Sign-ups are happening right now – over at our website [click here for details + to get on board] and the fun begins this Saturday, November 8th — giving you 2+ weeks to get your feet underneath you and that vibrant health brewing before the holidays hit. The series includes 5 recipes, 2 workouts [complete with exercise video tutorials] and 14 days of tips + tools you can fall back on to have a thriving holiday season and beyond.

On top of your series packet + daily emails, you’ll be getting tons of bonuses, because we love to spoil our clients. Join the movement for vibrant health + thriving life NOW! Visit http://www.macksmo.com/holidayhelpers.

PS: There’s more…of course. 🙂 For this series, I am partnering with some of the people who bring ME the most inspiration all the year-round – for my body, my mind and my soul, including: 
Sarah Kaler of Soul Powered
Claire Gould of Friendspire Fitness
Emily Newman of Move Your Booty
Sarah Adler of Simply Real Health
Molly Scott of Fuel Fitness
Kari Gran of Kari Gran Skincare