Wednesday, September 7, 2016

September! Oh my! Special Edition, as with joy, I introduce you to my new friend, coach, and mentor, Coach Debbie!

September!  Whaaaaaat?!  

School is back in session, a new semester of Bible study groups have kicked off, business meetings, and continuing education classes, seminars to plan and attend, communities to care for, Christmas brunch to plan and organize, and on and on it goes! ... and although the summer heat is still on (today's high in the 90's... whew!) the hint of Fall approaching is in the early morning air! Oh my!  
If you find yourself breathing shallow, stop for a moment. Close your eyes, breathe in through your nose, deeply. Hold for a count of 8 seconds, and exhale through your mouth for a count of 14 seconds... repeat as often as you will. (try this, too, by placing a drop of doTerra Peppermint and Wild Orange essential oils in the palm of your hand. Cup over nose and mouth... now inhale... and WOW!)

You still with me?

This summer I had the opportunity to get to know Coach Debbie.  I've stumbled around since July trying to figure out a way to introduce her to you... she is an amazing woman, wife, mother of four boys!, friend, coach, and mentor to many, and a precious daughter of The King. 
Her story is one I cannot possibly retell and give it it's proper honor, so I will simply invite you... no, urge you to visit her website, at  Once there, click on the tab "about me". Then click on, "for more on my journey".   Do this now... you'll be glad you did! You can always come back to this blog for the remainder of your reading pleasure.
Yours for living well,
Coach Katy

Food for Thought. . .Food & You: The Body-Mind Connection

There's no doubt about it: what we eat, and how much we eat, has a direct impact on our physical health. But did you know that those same choices also influence mood, mental alertness, memory, and emotional wellbeing? Food can act as medicine, have a neutral effect, or it can be a poison to the body and mind.
When food acts as poison, it creates inflammation, which alters the body's balance of nutrients, hormones, and neurotransmitters. This directly affects your body's ability to manage and heal from stress or illness.
While some body-mind effects are due to naturally occurring nutrient content in food, much is due to hidden additives. Below, are four common culprits. If you're experiencing symptoms that interfere with your quality of living, talk with your Integrative Nutritional Health Coach, (that's me), about the role these or other foods may play in your health.
Foods that Impact Body-Mind Wellbeing
Caffeine: The most socially accepted psychoactive substance in the world, caffeine is used to boost alertness, enhance performance, and even treat apnea in premature infants. Caffeine is frequently added to other foods, so be mindful of total consumption. Too much caffeine (500-600 mg daily) interferes with sleep quality, which affects energy, concentration, and memory. Caffeine can aggravate other health conditions, cause digestive disturbances, and worsen menstrual symptoms and anxiety. The best coffee is Organic whole bean... grind your own.
Food Dye: Those brightly colored, processed and packaged foods come with a rainbow of health risks. Listed on ingredient labels as "Blue 2," or "Citrus Red," food dye has been documented to contain cancer-causing agents (e.g., benzidine). They're also associated with allergic reactions and hyperactivity in children. Dyes are sometimes used to enhance skin color of fruits and veggies. A number of dyes have been banned from use in foods and cosmetics around the world.
Sugars: Increased sugar consumption (as much as 30% over the last three decades for American adults), is linked to decreased intake of essential nutrients and associated with obesity, diabetes, inflammatory disease, joint pain and even schizophrenia. Too much dietary sugar can result in blood sugar fluctuations, causing mood swings, anxiety, irritability, headaches, and increased depression. Sugars that can act as poison include High Fructose Corn Syrup, table sugar, artificial and "natural" sweeteners.
MSG: Monosodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer common in packaged and prepared foods. Although the FDA considers MSG "generally safe," some individuals experience a complex of physical and mental symptoms after eating MSG-containing foods. Symptoms vary but can include headache, sweating, nausea, chest pain, heart palpitations, and overstimulation of the central nervous system which can lead to alterations in sleep, mood, and immunity. Some hidden names of MSG are, cornstarch, corn syrup, most anything labeled "low fat", or "no fat", 1% and 2% skim milk, anything labeled "enriched", anything labeled "vitamin enriched", modified food starch, lipolyzed butter fat, dextrose, rice syrup, brown rice syrup, milk powder, and many more... there are literally hundreds!
Becoming aware of your food choices, why you make them, and how you feel mentally and physically is an important first step in understanding your personal body-mind food connection. Your Health Coach, (that's me), may ask you to keep a mind-body food journal to provide a clear picture of how your food choices affect your health.
"Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul." - Dorothy Day

Eggplant: Versatile and Good For You

A favorite in vegan and omnivore cuisine, eggplant can be baked, roasted, grilled, used as a pizza topping or in stir-fry recipes. It has a pleasantly bitter taste and spongy texture that may vary depending on the color/variety of eggplant selected. Dress your cooked eggplant with herbs, sauces, and condiments and you'll be sure to please even the pickiest guest at your dinner table.
Eggplant contains a phytonutrient (plant chemical with nutritional benefits) called nasunin. Nasunin acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage. In addition, eggplant contains a wealth of other antioxidants that support brain and heart health. In research studies, one variety of eggplant - called Black Magic - was found to have three times the antioxidant properties compared to several other types of eggplant. It's also a terrific source of dietary fiber, copper, potassium and B vitamins.
It's best to buy eggplant in-season during the months August through October. It comes in all sorts of shapes (baseball size to a thick crescent) and a cornucopia of colors such as lavender, jade green, and yellow-white. Choose eggplants that are firm, vivid in color, and heavy for their size. The skin should be smooth, shiny and without damage.
To test for ripeness, press your thumb into the eggplant. If the skin doesn't "spring back," it's not ripe. Eggplant is highly perishable so don't cut it before storing. Keep it stored in a food crisper or on the shelf in the fridge for a few days.

Eggplant Caponata

Satisfying and versatile, eggplant can handle a variety of flavorful accompaniments, several of which give a kick to this Sicilian favorite. The tomato base is spiked with anchovies, garlic, and capers, creating a mouth-watering aroma and a burst of flavor in every bite. Serve as an appetizer, a main dish or as a side with your favorite fish.
Makes 4-6 Servings
  • 2 large Italian eggplants, peeled and cut into medium dice
  • Himalayan Pink salt (to taste)
  • 5 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup capers, in brine
  1. Peel and dice the eggplants, peel and slice the onion, peel and slice the garlic, slice the celery.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the eggplant with the salt. Transfer the eggplant to a colander to drain for 2 hours. In order to facilitate the draining, top the eggplant with a heavy weight, such as a dinner plate topped with full cans.
  3. Heat 3 Tbs of the olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and celery and sauté for 5 minutes more, or until the garlic softens but does not brown. 
  4. Add the tomato paste and stir to thoroughly combine. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the paste turns a deep red, almost brown, and starts to stick to the pan. Add the vinegar and stir until the mixture thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  5. In another large sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 Tbs olive oil over high heat until smoking. Add the eggplant and carefully toss it in the oil, letting it sear before stirring. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the eggplant is translucent and soft.
  6. Transfer the eggplant to the caponata mixture and cook over low heat for 3 minutes, until the flavors combine. Add the capers and their brine and stir to incorporate.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature accompanied by toast points or crostini.
  8. The original recipe called for sugar and anchovies (bleh!) I took them out. You're welcome!

Oat, My Goodness! Organic and Gluten Free Steel Oat, that is!

Avena sativa, also called the common oat, is a grain full of healthy goodness. Oats are often used for breakfast cereal, oatmeal, granola and as a flour for baking breads and cookies. A dietary source to fuel the body, a 3.5 ounce serving of oats provides over 60 grams of carbohydrates, 16 grams of protein, and about 7 grams of fat.
Oats contain beta-glucans, which are known to decrease saturated fat in the blood and may reduce the risk of heart disease. Most people are familiar with oat as a medicinal food for its ability to regulate cholesterol.
Other important effects of having a serving of oats in your daily diet include: support for digestion, sexual health, and bone health, as well as enhancing energy and maintaining a positive mood. Oat is a fantastic source of dietary fiber, which helps maintain a healthy gut. Oat has been studied in the management of male sexual dysfunction as well as managing menstrual symptoms and regulating blood sugar levels. It's also an excellent source for B vitamins and the mineral manganese, which play important roles in physiological processes that support the health of mind and body. Go for the Organic Gluten Free Steel Oats!

Soothe Emotional Angst with Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)

A plant in the mint family, Motherwort gets its name from its ancient use: helping women who had a tendency to "over-mother" and thus experienced more stress, and less joy, in their maternal role. Today, throughout Europe and in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it's used as a medicinal herb to treat emotional conditions such as anxiety and depression. It also helps ease symptoms of menstrual distress, as well as physical and emotional exhaustion.
Motherwort can be prepared as a tea, tincture, or in capsule form. Depending on the the type of preparation, it can have a rather bitter taste and an odor some may find unpleasant. However, for many users, it becomes an "acquired taste" and the benefits outweigh any bitterness.
Motherwort has the ability to calm without causing drowsiness, and it has medicinal effects on circulation and heart rate. Because it can thin the blood, this herb should be used carefully and under the guidance of a qualified herbalist, Integrative Nutritional Health Coach, or Holistic Practitioner.
At my office, I carry and highly recommend Innate Response brand, "Calm Response".  I prefer it over the above, as is an adaptogenic blend consisting of Ashwagandha Root extract, Holy Basil extract, Bacopa monnieri Leaf extract, Skullcap extract, L-Theanine, and Passionflower extract. Many sing it's praises, as is a supplement that doesn't need to be taken every day. When you know you're heading into a stressful time, or catch yourself in the midst of such, Calm Response benefits are noticed within 10 minutes. It works with your bodies own natural capacity to heal and is a good staple to keep handy... especially in today's demanding lifestyles. For more on this product, please visit my website,, or contact me, Coach Katy, at 941-780-1654, text/call, or email:  

Keep a Mind-Body Food Journal for Health and Healing

How would you like to understand, once and for all, the relationship between what you're eating and how you feel? Keep a mind-body food journal. It's a powerful way to gain insight into eating habits and the impact of food choices on your mental and physical wellbeing. A mind-body food journal is different from a "diet diary" because the intention is different: it's not just about the fit of your jeans, it's about how food fits your life and your lifestyle.
Too often we eat mindlessly - on the run, watching television, behind the computer. A mind-body food journal helps create clarity between what we choose and how we feel. It leads the way to improved choices and - because food is medicine - supports total mind-body health and healing.
Start your journal today. Track your eating habits for a few weekdays and at least one weekend day. Do this for at least two weeks.

What to Track in a Mind-Body Food Journal

Food Factors
  • When did you eat?
  • What did you eat?
  • How much did you eat?
  • Why did you eat?
  • How did you feel after eating?
Mind Factors
  • What was your overall mood before and after eating?
  • Did you have headaches, or mental/emotional fatigue?
Body Factors
  • What did you notice about your body before and after eating?
Social & Environmental Factors
  • Who were you with for the meal?
  • Did you eat hurriedly or calmly?
  • Were you doing another activity while eating?
Review your journal at the end of each day and summarize your habits. Note the key factors for why you chose to eat the way you did, what was going on, how you felt and if there were any physical symptoms. You and your Health Coach, (that's me!), can use this information to help make healthier food choices.

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