Recipe: Summer Thirst Quencher *healthy!

This summer, why not quench your thirst with my recipe for an all natural, healthy, and homemade Electrolyte Drink?

It’s featured HERE on the Institute For Integrative Nutrition’s Alumni Recipe Blog. 

To Your Health!

~V


I share small tips with big impact that can help you start living a healthier life today in this Q&A with Caitlin Pickett, who  really got me thinking back to my ‘why’ in this fun interview.

Check out her BLOG and read all about how and why I began my work as an Integrative Health & Yoga Fit Instructor.


To Your Health!
~V

*Roadmap to Health and Happiness* Tips from an Integrative Nutrition Ambassador!

As an Integrative Nutrition Ambassador and training Health Coach, I know my stuff. But it takes more than knowing my stuff to reach my own health and wellness goals. Despite the cliché, I put in effort and make conscious choices to maintain the best health of my life. I achieve success thru sensible physical activity and meeting realistic goals.

Diets don’t work!

Eating well and physical activity does. Approach health as a lifestyle (change), not a diet. Unless you plan to be on a diet for the rest of your life, you’re just going to go back to your former way of eating and likely gain back any weight you’ve lost. Eating whole, nutritious foods has to become a daily habit.
All calories are NOT created equal, and thinking you’ll maintain health simply by counting them or cutting them will likely leave you hungry, irritable, malnourished and not much healthier than you were when you started. Eating more fresh, raw- foods is a great way to increase your immune function, feel satisfied, add variety, and supercharge your health.
Crap is crap, no matter how many calories are involved. Calories from nutrient-rich foods versus nutritionally-bunk ones from processed or refined sugars and carbs will have different effects on the body. Healthy, nutrient-rich foods help maintain stable blood sugar levels, minimize cravings, while your brain signals your belly that it’s full. Nutrient-poor foods will have the opposite effect, causing hormonal havoc, spiking insulin, setting off cravings, dulling satiety signals and encouraging overeating. In other words: nutrient rich foods help keep weight in check naturally, no counting required.

Find good FOOD, and find what works for you.

Everyone is different and it might take a little trial and error to figure out what’s best for you. If you’re aiming to lose weight, never skip meals. I eat a fiber-rich breakfast like oatmeal with seeds, fruit and nuts. I drink lots of water throughout the day, cook broth-based soups and stews that are loaded with veggies, and eat all my dinners accompanied with loads of salad and vegetables. I limit or avoid, dairy, refined sugar, alcohol, and processed foods, but don’t deny myself, especially if it’s a couple homemade chocolate chip cookies for a treat.
A few ways I’ve made more fresh, raw foods a habit:
I focus on adding more raw vegetables and fruits – crowding out processed and refined foods -, rather than an all-or-nothing approach. I’ll be honest here — I don’t follow or even recommend a 100 percent raw diet. Balance is a beautiful thing, and you’ll still be vibrantly healthy if you eat lots of fresh, preferably organic, fruits and vegetables (say, up to 50 percent of your daily diet) along with healthfully cooked whole foods.
By far the easiest way to incorporate more vegetables and fruits into your daily routine is to keep them on hand, making healthy snacks, fruits, and vegetables a staple in the fridge. You’d be surprised how easy it is to whip up a snack – I can peel an orange faster than I can heat up pizza rolls! And again, it’s not all-or-nothing. You can pair an apple with nut butter or berries with yogurt. At our house, we love relish trays with a thick dip I blend(er) up using cottage cheese and seasoning. I also always serve avocado slices along side home cooked Curry, Cajun, or Mexican meals – adds a creamy texture while providing a healthy fat.
I drink a green smoothie everyday. Yes, this means kale. Otherwise, you can successfully add spinach to any green smoothie no matter what kind of blender you own. Try the following smoothie for breakfast: 2 cups mango, one banana, 2 cups spinach, and a little water or orange juice. Even picky kids will enjoy this recipe!

Get professional help, and not just with a nutritionist.

In the end, the best way to lose and maintain weight is to get healthy. You cannot sidestep nature. This means eating real food, moving your body regularly, getting adequate amounts of sleep, and finding ways to manage stress.
However, keep in mind that you don’t have to make all of these changes overnight! It’s a process. Just keep adding and eating more fresh and raw foods, finding healthy recipes you enjoy, and some gentle exercise.
You don’t need to do it alone and you can get invaluable assistance from a health coach, therapist, or personal trainer.
Check out my Integrative Nutrition Health Coach services on the Contact/ Services pages on this blog.
I’d love to work with you personally!

A *FREE* guide of the type of services I’ll offer is available by following the Integrative Nutrition Six Month Roadmap to Health and Happiness link (below).

You’re worth it, and your health is important, so don’t skimp! You’ll enjoy higher and higher levels of health and vitality!

To Your Health!
~V

SPRING!! What better way to embrace the energy of the season than with healthful, light, and delicious salads?

Institute for Integrative Nutrition - Spring Salad Recipe Guide -

Ahh… spring, a refreshing time of year when our bodies naturally yearn towards cleansing and renewal. This is an incredible time for transition, growth, and renewed focus on personal wellness. With fresh, seasonal produce emerging locally, it’s also the perfect opportunity to gently cleanse from the heavier foods of winter and lighten ourselves up, inside and out.

Detoxifying through your diet doesn’t have to mean going hungry or even sacrificing your favorite foods; it can be as simple as just adding more healthy salads to your daily meals.

What better way to embrace the energy of the season than with healthful, light, and delicious salads?

Institute for Integrative Nutrition Spring Salads Recipe Guide is the perfect resource to inspire renewed energy, positive mood, and a balanced immune system.

Click below – The guide includes;
•18 delicious salad recipes submitted by IIN students and graduates.
•Tips for creating your own perfect salad, and preserving fresh ingredients.



Use the IIN Spring Salad Recipe Guide as an inspiration for a 3-5 day cleanse, or simply incorporate more salad recipes into your existing diet. Either way, your body will thank you.

To Your Health!

~V

*BLENDED* Healthy Kid Tips

Look for *BLENDED* - a once a month post offering positive resources, tips, and sharing that promote healing from divorce, moving on, and creating healthy blended families and well…. families and relations in general.
Look for *BLENDED* – a once a month post offering positive resources, tips, and sharing that promote healing from divorce, moving on, and creating healthy blended families and well…. families and relations in general.

As a Health Coach, and a Mom raising a blended (step) family, I hear from lots of parents telling me they know how important it is to feed their kids healthy foods, but they’re just not sure how to do it. Despite my own background in health and wellness, I have had to go through some trial and error with my own kids – especially because we are a blended family, sharing joint custody, and the nutrition outlook (importance of) varies between the kids homes.

I think as parents we all have good intentions of feeding our kids healthy, wholesome foods at every meal and snack. But the reality is that sometimes life gets in the way and it just doesn’t always happen. We need backup as parents……..and when I say backup I really mean resources. When it comes to nutrition and eating there are literally thousands of different places you can turn to on the internet to get resources about what to feed your kids, how to feed your kids, when to feed your kids what food and the list could go on and on. It is true that different things work for different kids, but I have found that the following tips have helped my own children to be good eaters.

1) Set an Example.
By far the best predictor of children’s eating behavior is the eating patterns of their parents. If you are a picky eater, then its less likely your kids are going to branch out and try different foods. Kids eat what they know, and they won’t ask for a special meal if they do not know it is an option. It all begins at the grocery store. Whatever you bring into your house is what your kids will eat. If there aren’t fruits and vegetables available to them at your house, then they definitely will not eat them! If they see you eating them and if healthy food is served at meals, they are much more likely to eat those foods.

2) Use Integrative Nutrition Plate
The Integrative Nutrition Plate is one of the best visual aids I have come across to teach kids about portion size, balance and variety. Unlike the food guide pyramid, the Integrative Nutrition Plate is a visual aid that you can use with your kids to learn from every time they eat. When I use this plate at meals, my kids definitely eat a more balanced meal and consume more fruits and vegetables than they would otherwise. Additionally, I prepare more balanced meals because I have to think about what I am going to put in each section. I truly believe that using this plate with your kids is one of the best ways to helping your kids be better eaters. I have found from my own personal experience, that consistently using this plate at meals has changed the way I think about food. It has definitely changed the way my kids think about food.
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3) Make food fun
Kids love to play make believe and they also love games. We made a game we call “Food Or Crap” (pictured below). Using grocery store fliers and magazines, my kids cut out foods and categorized them as “Food” or “Crap” on notecards. We use the cards to play a guessing game is this REAL food that nourishes or is it FILLER food with little to no nutritional value? Green beans might not be super appealing to a child who was hoping for mac and cheese. Relating healthy food to fun things the child already loves and turning it into a game is a great way to get a young child to enjoy eating foods they might not normally want to eat.
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4) Get them involved
Children are more likely to eat the foods served at a meal if they help prepare it. I have found that letting your kids be involved from the beginning of food preparation – the grocery store – helps them to be excited to eat the food you are preparing. Having a garden teaches kids about where food comes from, and gives them a chance to eat fresh produce right from the backyard. Letting them clean carrots, snap beans, mix the dressing and set the table gives them a sense of pride and makes them more enthusiastic and cooperative at meal time.

5) Offer diverse food colors
We all eat with our eyes, but children especially do this. Fruits and vegetables add a lot of color to a plate and you can expose them to more colors by adding more fruits and veggies. While adults tend to like flavors mingled together, children often prefer them separate. Using the Integrative Nutrition Plate helps not only to show you what foods you should have on your plate, but keeps food separate which kids love.

In addition to the tips mentioned above, my partner and I make it a priority we share our meals together. Because we are a blended family we share custody (which means our combined children are in our home half the week and our ex’s take the other half) so the evenings and weekends that we have our kids is all about quality time.

We all come together and connect around the kitchen table, sharing a healthy, home cooked meal and take turns expressing our daily gratitude .Nothing is more rewarding than hearing my 14 year old son, my 10 year old bonus-son, and my 7 year old bonus-daughter declare, “I’m grateful for the healthy food we have in front of us” followed by compliments and appreciation. Now that’s Buddha Belly satisfying!

What are some ways you promote healthy eating habits with your kids?

~V

Be part of my journey – live a Vibrant, Vital, and Virtuous life today!

I’ve enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, a goal of mine for over year!

I’m so excited!! I hope you’ll follow my journey (on this blog, on facebook, a phone call, e-mail, in person etc…) as I make real my dream to work in the wellness industry – to make the world a better place, and share what I’ve learned along the way.
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 My Health Coach training allows me to help people learn and become passionate about health and wellness. Whether you’re interested in learning about nutrition, want to lose weight, reduce stress, launch a meaningful new career, or even change the world, I’m training thru the  Integrative Nutrition to empower you to transform your life and achieve your personal and professional goals.

At Integrative Nutrition I’m learning from a  comprehensive curriculum that covers over 150 dietary theories and combines counseling techniques with real-world business training. Its unique nutrition philosophy takes a holistic approach to wellness and enables me to encourage clients to consider relationships, work, exercise, and spirituality as essential to building good health