karen's blog


Stuck

23 Sep 2016
Posted by karen
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I'm tired of being stuck.

Not writing on my blog because it desperately needs a renovation and feeling guilty because the steps to fix it have been SO slow!

Not having clarity on the direction of my vision and mission.

Not feeling congruent in my work and my values.

The redemptive part of being stuck is being forced to look at what's happening around you, and within you.

Which for me has been discovering....

Through social media and email it has been possible to meet and stay connected to my "tribe".

Coaching clients to lose excess weight and gain health is rewarding - a meaningful extension of the health fundamentals I believe in and live myself. 

But yet...

It's apparent to me my blog is an important web landing and launch pad. I don't want to lose thecreative writing juices I have. Sorry for the neglect!! 

Partnering with In Balance  and its successful program syncs with my philosophy for a holistic lifestyle. AND, in my Real Food Matters message, I want to reinforce a vital part to empower people (predominantly women) to live vibrant, inspired healthy lives for body, spirt and soul.

So...I'm reaching for my paddle to get moving!

My blog will have a face lift. It's in the works - my "plastic surgeon" and I are meeting in May and I can't wait!

I'm digging within, listening to nudges and nigglings of what I feel to be true, and nailing down my vision.

One thing for certain is 'my truth'. My relationship with God and what he thinks and believes about me (us) is foundational to my life. Embedding this in my work is vital for congruency for me as a Christian woman, facilitator and coach.

We all get stuck. Thankfully some helpful coaching has me moving on the journey to figure out the "why and how" to move beyond it.

 My blog will take a deep breathe, survive and thrive.

Thank you for your patience. Please stay tuned for the changes I am excited about, ready for, and which I believe will serve my readers well.

I welcome comments and please get in touch here if you too are feeling stuck.

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I'm looking out my office window to a most welcome view: a river without ice, green grass rather than a mini-mountain of snow, cheery daffodils worshiping the sun after a long season under a thick white blanket! I LOVE IT!

 

Chocolate is a good addition to a day of sunshine and flowers - especially this not-so-sweet gluten-free brownie recipe.

Click for recipe for Sweet Potato Brownies.

May you too be blessed with hope and health and happiness.

P.S. Let me know how you like the brownies!

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Getting ready to fly back home as an unattended minor. A little nervous but not anxious. That is "huge".

I have been planning to post this blog about Stosh, one of my three grandsons, for....years! I cannot put my finger on why today is the day but I do know this is the right day. This past summer Stosh spent a week with his Papa and me, first time without his parents and siblings. We had a wonderful time; watching the FIFA World Cup on television, hiking along the ocean, and camping.

 

Getting together during summer vacation is a very common story for grandparents and grandchildren. What makes it so special for us is that several years ago Stosh was diagnosed with autism. Watching his journey towards health and overcoming obstacles has been amazing, heart-warming, and with much gratitude to his parents - especially his Mom, Dawna, as she researched and worked so hard (doggedly) in changing dietary and lifestyle habits, as they determined this diagnosis was not going to be a limiting label for their eldest son.

At my request in 2012, Dawna wrote this article about autism and their own specific journey. Now, two years later, after just spending a week in their home taking care of Stosh and his two younger siblings while his parents were away, it is so apparent to me that diet has totally turned our grandson's life around. I honestly feel that nobody would have any idea of Stosh's former diagnosis. I'm not sure if there is such a thing as a typical 10-year-old. But this guy (and yes, he's my grandson but I'm being as objective as possible :) is affectionate, engaging, helpful, responsible, in control of his emotions (...and pain, "when I hurt myself, instead of crying, I close my eyes and just take lot of deep breaths"!), and attends a "regular" school.

Autism covers a broad spectrum. And sadly it sweeps with a wide brush. My research tells me that 30 years ago autism affected 1 in 10,000 children. Today it is estimated to afflict as many as 1 in 50. Mainly boys. Dawna has written a very informative article which includes hope and help and courage. I encourage you to read it and share. This is her website if you wish to contact her. Or you can also contact me and I will be happy to forward your request.

 

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Parents and Grandparents: the younger set in your world can be Happy Healthy Kids

Online program to help support achieving and maintain a health weight  is being launched October 2016. This is the perfect time to begin new and healthy changes for you and your family. To find out how to get started contact me here.

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This photo (with some of my favourite pottery!) shows a bowl with whole grain, and a loaf of bread baked with a high percentage of organic Red Fife flour. I ask: "what could possibly be missing?" As a holistic nutritional consultant whose gig is real food, I answer "this bread has white flour added to it, it's missing some of the nutrients found in whole grains."

What about the photo below of "absolutely white" bread? Any thoughts what might be missing?

One answer would be that all the bran and germ are missing because it appears to have been made totally with white flour. Totally correct.

There's another not-so-obvious missing item. Magnesium. Refining grains removes 80-97 percent of magnesium and even though flour is often "enriched", magnesium is not included. And that is significant, because magnesium is an important energy-giving component that we expect to be found in foods containing grains

I'm citing this example to show, that at first glance or thought, we often don't know what is missing.

This 'what's missing' concept also translates to road blocks in other important areas, like wellness and weight loss (which incidentally, includes bread and vitamins and chemicals)!

In my work I coach people move towards weight loss and wellness 

Many of my clients succeed, but some do not: in spite of having food lists and recipes and menu plans and consistent coaching to go along with that. They are still stuck.

What's missing? Discovering the emotional eating and problematic thinking that keeps us stuck in our weight loss and wellness goal. 

Once you discover:

  • what is the problematic area
  • how to work through the emotional eating and problematic thinking
  • the missing information - amazing life-changes can move you into freedom.

Are you an emotional eater? Are there problematic thoughts that have you stuck? Contact me here for a checklist - it could be the first step in finding healthy vitality and freedom you're longing for!! 

 

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I recently had the pleasure of meeting Lisa Zahn, a life coach and woman of varied skills, interests and roles.

It was December. I was in a work flatline slump (thankfully, I was still breathing!). Through an online meandering, I discovered Lisa's website and knew I wanted to connect with a woman who is 'living the life of her dreams'. Making contact and arranging a coaching session via Skype went seamless. The coaching session gave me precisely the clarity I needed - Lisa asking the right questions to help me identify some blockages - and equally as important, working together to arrive at some practical and personal steps how to move forward. A plan and accountability. Knowing I was checking in with Lisa three weeks later kept me honest! It is still working - to this very day, as returning to a writing routine was one of my roadblocks. Part of my personal action plan was writing an interview for Lisa and now I get to share the other half of our interview exchange. We all have seasons when we need help - please read on and meet Lisa, a wholehearted, professionally trained life coach who can help 'transform your everyday life'.

 Please tell me about yourself and what is your work as a life coach? How is coaching different or similar to consulting?

The heart of my work is one-on-one coaching with clients who are feeling stuck or uncertain in their lives and want to move forward but need clarity on what they want and how they'll get there. I also write my blog (and now a new ecourse on self-kindness) and plan to lead workshops and retreats. My coaching style is called Co-active Coaching and it's different from consulting in that we meet our clients where they're at and consider them to be the experts in their own lives. This doesn't mean coaches like me don't have expertise and sometimes offer it, but a cornerstone of my model is that my client is naturally resourceful, creative and whole and I get to work with them to draw that out and, hopefully, evoke their own transformation. I get to be a catalyst, in other words.

I love this on your blog: coaching for clarity and joy. Can you elaborate on why you chose that for a tagline? 

Joy is one of my favorite words! I truly believe that, like Christian monk and mystic Henri Nouwen said once, "We have to choose joy and keep choosing it." I want to help people find their joy and choose it. We can do that through the practices of gratitude and vulnerability, and through creating places and communities where it's safe to be open to joy. I also know what it's like to lack clarity, to be stuck and uncertain of how to move forward. I can coach clients to move out of that, using coaching tools like asking powerful questions, finding metaphor, articulating what's going on, and acknowledging, championing and reframing. One of my favorite ways to find new clarity is to reframe what my client thinks is a character flaw into a gift.

What is it about your work that you would identify as the drawing card (or would like it to be) for people to seek out your services as a life coach?

I want to work with thoughtful, smart people who are ready to move out of stuckness--out of the boxes they or society have put them in--and move into a transformed life of joy and clarity. It's not easy and it's a continuous work in progress, but I know it's possible because I myself have been living this way. I have needed coaching to move out of my own boxes, so I know the power of having someone on your side, an objective listener and voice for your best life.

We share some things in common – knitting, gardening, keen on the healing power of herbs, married to the love of my life (over 40 years!). I’m curious to hear the story how you arrived at your current career, including the changes made after being a full-time Mom.

Gosh, it's been a long journey! Who would want life to be any other way, really? One of my other favorite quotes is by Seneca "It takes a lifetime to learn how to live." There is so much grace and optimism in that quote, and I feel I'm living it by continuously learning and stepping into new things. I found coaching through a friend. She introduced it to me and we ended up going through training together last summer, one of the best things I've ever done (thanks, Meg!). 

My background and education is in the ministry where I studied to be a Lutheran Pastor and served as Intern Pastor (Vicar) and Chaplain. Getting married and raising my kids was my true calling, however, and I happily stayed home for many years, all the while dabbling in those things you listed. Now that my kids are teens, it was time for me to find something to really take up my time so I wouldn't hover over their lives so much. I actually applied to finish my Masters Degree in Pastoral Counseling but knew I didn't want to work for the church again. I wanted my own business, and I knew coaching was the right model of work for me within the first 12 minutes of practice coaching someone during training.

There are so many opportunities for growth, personally and in our work. How do you navigate through all the clutter of the options – and within that potential, are there future areas of learning that resonate with your calling?

I know exactly what you're talking about! Just in the last few days I've been de-cluttering my email inbox and Facebook newsfeed as much as possible because it IS overwhelming. As someone who loves to learn, it's hard to shut it off. Your word "resonate" is perfect because I've been finding that the only way to decide who to pay attention to, what to learn and where, is to ask myself what truly resonates with me, say 'yes' to those and 'no' to the rest.

Areas of learning that are calling to me right now are in the area of personal growth and helping my clients navigate personal growth. I'm very interested in teaching about self-kindness and compassion because I see that too many of us are very hard on ourselves and we make our lives unnecessarily hard that way.
I will continue to work with that word JOY and bring it to others in the form of one-on-one coaching, retreats and workshops. In my new email freebie, my ecourse called Stop Being Mean to Yourself: 4 Commitments to Self-Kindness (accessed free via my website sign-up form), I've developed a framework toward loving ourselves that involves making joyful choices, learning self-awareness and self-acceptance, and being compelled by our values and purpose. I intend to keep thinking, learning and teaching on those themes.

As you know, nutrition and wellness (teaching, consulting, coaching) is my passion and work. How do you feel about your journey of developing healthy habits? If there are especially challenging areas, how do you make peace with them and remain open to making healthy changes? 

This is a great question and I think I could use some coaching on it! One thing I have been asking myself lately is "what would be the kindest thing to do for myself right now?" Whether it's about work or rest, what to eat, or how and when to move my body, looking at what's 'kindest' really helps. The kind thing is often not the easy thing! It sometimes involves eating oatmeal with yogurt instead of a bagel with cream cheese, or getting dressed instead of lazing around in my pajamas all day, or getting a task completed so I can truly feel at rest when I'm done. I'd like to look at getting more exercise in this way. The kindest thing has to be something I enjoy (I like oatmeal as well as bagels, truly. I do need to move my body more, and in ways that will give me some more muscle strength and energy as I age.
That said, I am quite forgiving of myself on these types of things, because I am certainly not perfect. I don't dwell in the past but instead try to keep moving forward. I have quite a positive body image, for the most part, and that helps a great deal in motivating me to take good care of my health. I believe strongly in focusing on nourishment rather than punishment. 

 

Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your story: it's been great getting to know you. I will be happy to coach you on developing those healthy habits. P.S. Thank you for giving me the freedom to choose photos that conveyed my perception of your supportive and joyful coaching!

If you would like to know more about Lisa and her work, please contact her through her website.

Posted by karen
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 I am a Coach for Emotional Eating and a Registered Holistic Nutritional Consultant

-- I have a diploma from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition - using the foundation that we are all created individually,complex beings of body, soul and spirit.

-- In my nutrition consulting I use real foodnot shakes, pills or packages and not a one-formula-for-all approach 

-- as an emotional and problematic eating coach I can help guide you from being unhappy and unhealthy find food freedom for mind and body. Read this checklist  to discover if you are stuck in emotional and problematic eating and how to contact me  for your free mini session.

Heather's Story -  

Dec/2016

"Karen is an invaluable coach in dealing with issues of emotional eating.  She helped me to look inward through a variety of exercises to discover what my emotional triggers were in regards to unhealthy food choices.   Karen is a great listener, asks the right questions, empathizes and makes you feel understood.  She leads you on a journey to see the positive in yourself, set boundaries and to deal with those nagging thoughts that trip you up.  I highly recommend Karen to help you start a healthier journey in life."  

Heather Drysdale, Artist  -Heather Drysdale Studios  

The skills and services I offer:

-- one-on-one consultations, with recommendations for nutritional and lifestyle changes

-- individual or group wellness and weight loss programs

-- seminar presentations at women's functions, schools, business/corporations, community clubs 

Clients who use my services are those who are:

-- weary of too little energy and too much weight

-- not sure where to start to make real-food nutrition and lifestyle changes that will last long term

-- children and adults who have followed food guides and diets without achieving a healthy weight 

-- armed with nutritional information but feel mentally blocked by thoughts and beliefs 

Some of the practical help clients can expect:

-- what foods to eat to balance nutritional deficiencies, to help with mental clarity, energy and balancing blood sugar levels

-- what foods are the best fuel for your body type

-- techniques to restructure negative thoughts and develop a mindset that supports your intentions and goals

-- reviewing how exercise, attitude and emotion, sleep, stress management, etc. contribute to balanced health

-- an action plan that includes recipes, menus, healthy lifestyle recommendations

How you can connect with my services to help discover your solutions:

-- contact me through my contact page

-- we will have an initial meeting (in person, by phone, or online) to discuss your health concerns and goals to determine what is the best way to move ahead to meet those concerns, (i.e. a weight loss program, a review  of your current weekly diet with appropriate recommendations, a more in depth assessment of dietary and lifestyle habits with several follow-up appointments, etc.).

-- consultations and on-going appointments and sessions can be in person (where possible) or online.

-- for speaking engagements I will address details specifically to your group

-- fees are structured according to specific need: please check my Services and pages for programs and cost guidelines 

You Can Rewrite Your Story

Do you want to make changes for a more vibrant and wholesome life?  I want to help you achieve your  balanced-healthy-life story....just contact me to get started.

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What is a cleanse? Think: house cleaning time for your body.

If your daily home routine is stuffing scattered socks and what-nots out of sight in a drawer, sweeping the kitchen and making a pass under the table, wiping out the bathroom sink with a soiled washcloth at the end of the day - I'd guess a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday the vacuum is roaring, laundry is getting caught up and the toilet brush is in action.

This home(l)y example is a partial and simplified example of cleanse for your body. Maybe cleaning isn't on your list of favourites. I can relate. There are benefits to cleaning, besides knowing where you store your library books, that can make your body "sing"!

First some groundwork material about Cleanse.

Who should cleanse? Almost everyone.

Stick with me here. Visions of physically intense measures, dire dietary deprivation, investing big bucks for a desert spa, or scenarios based on what you're reading, watching or hearing are not the pattern for most cleanses. 

What might be reasons for you to cleanse?

It could depend on your accumulation of toxins that:
- come from without, i.e. air pollution, chemicals/cleaners/pesticides, noise, medications, etc.
- come from within, i.e. waste from bacteria and cellular metabolic function, unmanaged stress, pent-up emotions, etc.

Entering a new season:
- on the heels of dietary indulgences, i.e. holidays, cruise vactions, week-long family reunions (eating marathons?!)
- following exceptional stress, i.e. work, relationships, grief/death
- according to the calendar - spring is an ideal time for rejuvenation and renewal

Wanting to break addictions from sugar and refined grains (a smart dietary shift for a body in balance) - to allow your body to begin re-calibrating to what your body needs and wants!

( Click here for recipe: refined-sugar-free and grain-free "granola".)

Symptoms often associated with toxicity: digestive tract pain, gas, bloating, skin problems, fatigue, decreased immunity, depression/anxiety.

What might a cleanse look like for you?

Click here for Green Winter Juice recipe.

- two weeks without any fast food or any kind of processed foods 
- a weekend of juices, broth and vegetable soups 
- a two-week gentle dietary cleanse like the one I use with wellness and weight loss programs
- a more restrictive diet cleansing program
-----brown rice 
-----anti-inflammatory 
-----alkalinizing
-----elimination 
-----detoxification   

Cleansing your body on a regular basis:

- start your day with a glass of water with a Tbsp. lemon juice to activate the janitor (your liver) and drink water throughout the day - 6-10 glasses
- eat dark leafy greens in salads, smoothies or juices
- include beets, cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli), garlic in your diet
- breathe deeply - to the bottom of your lungs
- meditate, relax, journal, seek out beauty, enjoy healthy relationships, be in nature

Bottom line benefits: based on where you start and what kind of clean(s)ing you do.

- feel less bloated
- you've kick-started your way towards a healthier living regime
- feel less sluggish after going through some heavy eating
- have more energy
- more clarity in your concentration and less "brain-fog"
- you feel more in balance - hormones and blood sugar levels are happier

Will a cleanse take work?

Like all things we value, effort and planning for a cleanse are required. Perhaps link up with a friend for moral support.

Getting one-on-one coaching to walk you through the "how" and the steps of a cleanse will help significantly in setting you up for seeing results.

I would love to work with you: contact me to arrange a consultation

(P.S.For more regular updates on recipes, fitness and what Real Food Matters is offering, I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter.)

Your body can fix itself if given half a chance - treat it well with some routine housecleaning.

(Credits for first and last photos to my daughter, Renee, at FIMBY.)
 

Gettin'er Done

08 Apr 2013
Posted by karen
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Gettin'er done...

The shirt was included in my race packet (for the record, I ran the half and not the full marathon).

I did gett'er done. I expected to finish and I did.

Ten years of running a whack of races from 1K - 56K prior to that event inspired confidence; I did my usual routine by:

-- Registering.

-- Training.

-- And - to repeat myself - the expectation of crossing the finish line (upright and smiling!).

 

As a holistic nutritional consultant I love working with people who are accepting challenges to start making changes. In dietary and lifestyle habits. They may be seeking improved wellness, weight loss, increased energy, better sleep patterns, overcoming symptoms of disease - looking for long term benefits and results. 

In my work, clients express their sense of need by contacting me or making an office appointment. Like my race analogy, they "register." It's an act of commitment: "I need to change some things." 

We get started on a plan. This is where the training starts.

 

The plan will vary, but working with my In Balance health and wellness participants, it will look something like this:

-- logging food, activity, etc.

-- meeting with me once/week (in person or online) for 4-8 weeks for education and coaching on the factors to build a balanced life

-- being physically active

-- adopting a positive attitude

-- accepting the reality of consistent lifestyle and dietary changes for longterm healthy benefits (i.e change takes time!)

Change - or training - is never easy, even if/and/or when the plan is simple and straight forward. 

 

However: following through to gettin'er done will be more successful - and enjoyable - if you follow these five keys:

-- put aside perfection and "train" with your best efforts - go for excellence

-- accept your body type, your personality - not everyone "runs" at the same pace 

-- make both short and long term goals

-- grant yourself some grace and start a daily thanksgiving journal

-- expect to "finish" and align yourself with an accountability partner who believes in you too

 

It's within your power to knock down the roadblocks hindering you from getting to your finish line. You can make it - you're just not there YET.

I'd love to hear how you get to your finish line. And in the meantime, I'm going to follow through on today's "race plan" - to make a batch of my current favourite cookies: click on Sweet Potato Coco-Nut Cookies for the recipe.

Posted by karen
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Emotions.

 
Need 'em - to add spice to our lives, fleshing out the spectrum of feelings associated with living.
Love 'em - for their ethos, their passion, their need for expresssion - particularly on special occasions like February 14th!
Hate 'em - their power can be frightening, depressing, confusing.
 
Emotions can be sneaky, tricky - creating a hunger that we think can be satisfied with food.
 

Here are some tips to help us decide if our hunger is a physical or emotional one.

 
* Emotional hunger comes on in an instant - with an urgency that's overwhelming. Physical hunger doesn't usually demand, "I need food right now!" (unless you haven't eaten in a long time), it gradually sneaks up on you. 
 
* Emotional hunger craves specific comfort foods, e.g. usually the refined sugars and refined grains kind - that provide an instant rush. It sends the message you NEED cheesecake or chips. Now. Physical hunger calls out, " I'm about to expire here, sure could use a spinach omelette, or a loaded salad, or chicken and stir-fry - even granola and fruit sounds good!"
 
* Emotional hunger often leads to eating a whole bag of chips or a pint of ice cream without so much as giving it a thought - and probably not really savouring it. You're usually more aware of what you're doing if you're eating in reponse to physical hunger. 
 
* Emotional hunger wants you to eat - and keep eating - often until you're uncomfortable. Stuffed. Physical hunger usually is satisfied when you are comfortably full.
 
* Emotional hunger doesn't have a growling hunger pang gnawing in your stomach. It's more tuned in to things like crunchy, salty, and other aspects of texture and smell. 
 
* Emotional hunger often leads to regret, guilt or shame. (Negative emotions that tend to get stuck on the "repeat" button in our brain.) Physical hunger is nutritionally satisfied..
 

At some point, we all are challenged by the temptation of using food to meet an emotional hunger.

The first step is start being aware of recognizing it as such.
 
Number two is being mentally prepared for alternative non-food solutions to meet that hunger:
** phone your grandkids or kids and treat yourself with a "visit"
** make yourself a cup of a special tea you've been saving for such a time as this
** get outside for a walk or if you work in an office building, do a short stretching session and walk the stairs to the next level
** pull out a handwork project or read a few chapters of a book (even in the middle of the day)
** go to the florist and buy yourself one Gerber daisy
** etc. etc.
 
Number three: as you gradually "read" the signs and meet the emotional hunger with ways that feed your emotions, you will be developing your will power muscle and become stronger in determining between the two kinds of hunger. 
 
We were created with emotions - and thankfully so. Embrace the discovery how you are emotionally wired.
 
Valentine's Day is this week -  a perfect day to experience and celebrate the gift of life and love. Be kind and gracious to those you love - and that includes you too. If chocolate speaks your" food love language", make this simple and delicious raw chocolate pie. Enjoy it with intention, pleasure and without guilt!
 
 
Click for recipe → Chocolate_Cream_Pie
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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