Positive Thoughts for 2014

positive life2013 is coming to a close and often times I find that many of us look back on the year and think “Oh my, I’ve done nothing with my life.” All those self-doubting thoughts rush to the front of our minds and we stumble into the next year, thinking that we can do more. Well we can always do more, but it’s more important to look on the positive aspects of your life.

So what does this have to do with your health you ask? Everything! When we don’t love ourselves then we’re hurting ourselves. Telling yourself that you’re lazy, fat, stupid, ugly, lonely, etc. is just as bad for your body as eating a bag of candy with a pound of fries.

If 2013 was truly an awful year, then put it behind you and keep moving forward. You want to learn from the past – not live in it!

Today I stumbled upon a great article by a woman who decided to love her body, just the way it is, and love herself, just the way she is. What happened when she did that? Success. I found the below excerpt to ring true in my life and maybe you can find the same likeness:

“What I’ve found on my journey of happiness and fulfillment is that successful change often takes scrappiness; it takes sacrifice, passion and the will to persevere through sometimes uncomfortable situations. I vouch for most of the people living in my generation when I say that we live for change.

We start companies for a cause, we contribute to a news source, we volunteer, we donate, we teach, give back—we live to do something that makes a difference in our world—and in us. We’re scrappy, we put pieces of beloved odd jobs together and try our damnedest to build our own yellow brick road.” ~ Emily Nolan Joseph

The last sentence hits close to home for me. I have taken the leap to teach people how to help their bodies and their minds by eating well and treating themselves better. Whether it’s through coaching, writing, or researching, I know that I’m making a difference. I feel scrappy sometimes because I’m constantly trying to build a foundation with what sometimes feels like sand. But, I know that I will eventually create a ‘sandcastle.’ It just takes time, patience, and lots of love.

yougetasecondchanceeverysecond

As 2014 comes into our lives, start embracing yourself and see what happens. Whether it’s taking care of your body a little more by eating better, exercising or learning to love yourself, it’s a much better “resolution” than “I’m going to lose 15 lbs.” Start affirming how amazing you are and eventually you’ll believe it – as will the people around you.

If you’re looking for someone to take that personal journey with, contact me and I will gladly be your guide to a healthier you, inside and out.

As always, ‘bee well,’

Melissa

Advertisements

My Recent Love Affair With Vegan Cuisine

First things first: I’m not a vegan. I don’t consider myself really any type of eater except, an eater of all (ok you got me, most) things. I really will try anything once and look forward to new flavors and recipes showcasing various types of foods from all backgrounds and ethnicities.

For some reason, I’ve been craving vegan cuisine these past few months. This is not saying that I’ve become a vegan, because I have not. But, I’ve definitely increased my intake of vegan inspired menu items, whether I’m making it or I’m enjoying it at one of my favorite vegan restaurants.

Aren’t Vegans Hippies?

Vegan RecipeSo before I go any further, some of you may be asking, well what is a vegan? Veganism is a type of eating lifestyle where you don’t consume any animal byproducts or products. For example, vegans do not consume any dairy (milk, butter, ice cream, cheese), eggs, or meat. Some of you may have just read that and thought, well what in the world do they eat? A lot! Vegans eat a lot of vegetables, legumes, grains, and many interesting and flavorful additions to their diet including one of my favorites, nutritional yeast.

Ok, so what is an example of a vegan meal? Well, something that most people have had at least once in their lives (and if you haven’t, come over, I’ll make you one) is a salad, minus the cheese. If you’re a vegetarian or a lover of vegetables, I’m sure you can think of many dishes that you’ve recently had that fits the vegan lifestyle.

Meat Free Days

So, as I said before, I’m not a vegan, but I do think that it’s really important to eat a large amount of vegetables in your diet. Yes, there’s the whole “Meat Free Monday” gimmick, which is great, but I definitely would suggest that you try and eat “Meat Free” on many other days as well. There are easy substitutes that will trick your meat loving friend or family member so that they will feel satisfied. Need some inspiration? Check out my veggie burger recipe!

Vegan DietAnother question you may be asking is: why would I want to eat a vegan meal? Yes, we all love cheese, which is one of the reasons that I personally am not willing to commit 100% to the vegan lifestyle. If you just switch one or two of your meals during the week from a meat dish to a vegan dish, you’ll be eating a lot less meat and replacing all that meat with anti-oxidant rich vegetables. When you eat a vegan meal, you’re challenging yourself to eat an array of colors and the more colors you have on your plate, the more nutrients you’re getting! Another reason to cut down your meat intake is to do your part in saving the environment for future generations. Did you know that cattle are the biggest source of greenhouse gases? They account for ¾ of all emissions – if that doesn’t drop your meat habit I don’t know what will.

Now that I’ve given you the who, what and why – here are some things that I’ve become obsessed with over the last month. Hopefully they’ll inspire you just like they inspired me.

  1. The Vegan Cheat Sheet Book – I had the pleasure of meeting co-author Lisa The Vegan Cheat SheetMcComsey at an event a few months ago. She’s a marathon runner, writer, and now a vegan. This little handbook (it can literally fit in your purse) aims to help those people out who are confused about how to go vegan. It includes shopping information, recipes, and examples of what you can eat at major restaurant chains. It’s basically the “How to be Vegan 101 Book.” (You can find me guest blogging as the sometimes vegan girl.)
  2. The Blonde Vegan’s Instagram. If her pictures don’t make you drool, then I don’t think anything will.
  3. The new recipe book developed by ‘from seed to sprout.’ I love love love their kale salad with nutritional yeast (one of my favorites at their restaurant) and of course their macaroni and ‘cheese’ (hint they use butternut squash instead). I made macaroni and cheese with butternut squash many times before having this recipe in my possession, but upped the anti in my dish once I saw their secret ingredient.

Like I said, I’m not a vegan, but I love celebrating and tasting delicious food. My suggestion to you is, try it out! Even eating just one or two vegan dishes a week will not only ensure that you’re eating more vegetables (note that chips and salsa are vegan, but don’t qualify as a meal), but that you’re also helping the environment. Remember, it’s not about the label of your dish (vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, pescatarian), but how you feel after you eat it! Don’t get caught up trying to fit in a box – step out of it and just enjoy yourself!

Till next time, stay healthy and ‘Bee Well!’

Melissa

6 Steps to Enjoying Homemade Soup

We all know how comforting a big bowl of warm soup is on a wintery night. And really, who wants to leave their house when it’s cold? Not me! That’s why I love making soup from scratch. So when I found out that a client of mine didn’t know how to make her own versions of her favorite soups at home, I figured it was time to get her into the kitchen!

Making soup is really easy. It’s one of those dishes where you can do a “fridge sweep” and use everything up in your fridge (as long as you have decent ingredients!) On a side note, my client has a lot of food intolerances, so we really had to play around with the ingredients that we used in our soups. She realized within the first 20 minutes of our lesson that her intolerances really wouldn’t hinder her in enjoying amazing soup that she can easily make with only 20 minutes hands on time!

So what do you need to make healthy, tasty soup at home? Well, here are a few tricks that I shared with my class. If this list just entices you more and you decide you want to learn from a “soup master” aka me, send me an e-mail (info@mbeewell.com) and we can set up a class! I’m always happy to teach others how to manage meals in their kitchen in easy and delicious ways!

Melissa’s Soup Guidelines

My Soup Buddy : Staub Dutch Oven
My Soup Buddy : Staub Dutch Oven

1. Always use a heavy bottomed pot which successfully distributes the heat across the entire pan so that you don’t have to worry about burning your vegetables (just don’t put it on high heat and walk away – it’s heavy bottomed not magic bottomed!) Heavy bottomed pots can be easily transferred from the stove top to the oven, no extra pieces required. And of course, they look beautiful on the table – less clean up! Some of my favorite pots are Staub, Le Creuset, and Lodge. But, there are so many other brands available at your local stores at affordable prices including Kohls, Macys, and of course my favorite, Home Goods!

2. Always have the following ingredients in your cabinet and fridge to ensure amazingly delicious soups: dry or fresh herbs (especially bay leaf), hearty vegetables, starches, greens, and a liquid such as stock,white wine, red wine, or even water!

3. Start with your meat, let it get nice and brown, then remove. Then you can start cooking the rest of your ingredients. At the end, you’ll have an amazing set of “brown flavor bites” on the bottom of your pot that’s going to be a significant flavor boost to your soup! Don’t forget this!

4. Deglaze your pot! Don’t let those brown drippings go to waste!

5. Add your noodles, if you’re using them, a few minutes before you plan to eat your soup to prevent soggy sad noodles. Another great trick is to cook the noodles in a separate pot and then add to each individual’s bowl, that way everyone’s happy! (My pet peeve is overcooked noodles – al dente all the way!)

6. Enjoy! Be sure to top your soup off with some cheese, fresh herbs, avocado, citrus juice, citrus zest, or a nice loaf of crusty bread.

So the next time you’re hunkering down this winter, look in your fridge and pantry and see what you can create! The soup possibilities are endless!

Be sure to send me some of your soup creations this winter!