Today is Part One in a series I’m entitling-Honoring the Vessel. I’ll be interviewing individuals over the course of 2016 who have taken back control of their health, but I wanted to start the series just before the New Year with a timely, high-impact story.
Meet Eric. In 2011, Eric weighed over 100 pounds more than he does today. He was tired of being lonely, knew this weight might affect job opportunities, and felt embarrassed to talk to family about his health problem. He didn’t like looking at himself in the mirror and had a hard time finding clothes in his size. He kept telling himself, “One day I’ll make a change,” but it wasn’t until he saw his grandfather one Christmas that he decided *One Day* needed to be soon. As he explains it, something just clicked for him.
Eric’s *One Day* was December 26, 2011. He knew he would be waking up and making changes. Eric began eating less, eliminating all beverages but water, and logging miles on the treadmill. He took on the incredibly brave learn-as-you-go approach and taught himself loads of information about how many calories his body needed, why sugar was hurting him, and increasing the difficulty of exercise as his body began to change. He lost a staggering amount of weight within the first month, proving to himself that he was determined to make this change a lasting one.
Of course Eric couldn’t have walked this journey alone. He recalls the consistent support of a knowledgeable friend who reminded him that for every small sacrifice or difficult task he was performing for his health, Eric was adding years onto his life. Eric also had the support of his family members, who began to make healthy changes at the same time as him. The process was far from easy, however.
I asked Eric about the biggest obstacles he had to overcome. He told me about how he would mindlessly begin driving to the same fast food restaurants to get the food he had craved and eaten for so many years. This was a serious habit that took conscious effort to break. He also had to make the all-important realization that weight loss (or achieving any health goal, for that matter) requires time management. He was not used to scheduling workouts into his routine. Possibly the most important discovery he made on this journey, though, was that his body is unique. There is no “normal” diet and when he gets into the mindset of eating like a “normal” person, consuming what our culture deems a “normal diet”, he will not be able to maintain weight, but will rather gain.
Eric is a changed man without a doubt. Thriving with exciting opportunities and relationships, he really seems to know greater freedom than he did when he struggled with obesity. I was so pleased to see that Eric is now in a place of getting to work toward more advanced health goals. This led me to my last question for him: “What’s next for you in health?”, to which Eric answered that he plans to better manage his nutrients and portion control in the coming year, as well as strengthening his body with more cardio in his workout routine. It was encouraging to see someone who has tasted good health own up to the fact that it takes constant effort to maintain it.
So here’s to you, Eric. Four years ago today, you took your health into your own hands and made changes that allowed you to embody the reality of health: that it’s about more than being the perfect body weight. It’s about feeling good in the body you were given and honoring that vessel. I give you my (virtual) standing ovation! May God bless you in 2016 with another satisfying year as you continue to encourage others who need to make this change by living such an exemplary life.
This past Sunday, I ran a 5K with two of my clients, Anastassia and Brian. It was so awesome to see them supporting one another in both the training and the execution of this goal. It was also a HUGE accountability to me, as this time of year brings with it a lack of motivation toward healthy movement. Because I had agreed to run this race with the couple, I was responsible for getting myself into 5K shape.
Finishing a 5K this month was one of my year end goals, so in due diligence, I'm reporting that it's complete! I try to talk about my own health a lot as I coach and blog here at Nourished! because believe it or not, eating well and moving...while they have become much more habitual in my life over the past few years, don't always feel fun to me. I find that remaining committed to living the life I desire my clients to live has been the most incredible way to stay accountable to good health in this journey. A couple of my other year end goals were to:
-Remain controlled with my lifestyle diet and limit cheat days to where they normally belong for me (holidays and weekends).
-Stay on top of immunity.
The first point has been difficult, I will not lie. When I wrote this year end resolution, I had forgotten about all the opportunities I'd have for celebration in December. I've been diligent about choosing just one treat when I'm at a party and trying to enjoy the heck out of it while abstaining from everything else...my energy levels and emotional stability thank me for this. But I have definitely had a treat here and there on a non-holiday or non-weekend day. There's grace for that, I tell myself! I'm just being honest with you all here that the struggle is not only yours.
Staying on top of immunity has been a challenge as well as cold and flu is now at its peak. I came down with back-to-back colds a few weeks ago, but was able to fight them off more quickly that usual with plenty of fluids and rest. Also, the thing about zinc shortening your cold or flu really did seem to work on me! I loaded up on the stuff as soon as I felt the sore throats creeping in and was not down for long at all. Presently, I'm feeling perfectly healthy!
So there you have it: my year end check in. It's not perfect, but it's real and honest. I encourage you to openly share your year end goals with friends as well since talking about them is the most helpful way to follow through!
Last week, I sold A Nourished Holiday at 2 markets and had so much fun meeting many of YOU who are hopefully now reading the blog! How did I get people to come hover at my table? Samples, of course. And the favorite sample by far was my Flourless Peppermint Brownie (on pg. 48 of the cookbook). I'm excited to be sharing that recipe with you all today!
Many have asked where to buy chocolate chunks and peppermint patties without refined sugar. Trader Joe's has great 100 calorie chocolate bars sweetened with beet sugar as well as honey mints sweetened with only (you guessed it) honey. Amazon is also a great resource if you don't live near a Trader's.
Flourless Peppermint Brownies*
Makes 12 brownies
For the brownies:
½ c grassfed butter, melted and cooled
1 ¼ c coconut sugar
1 ½ T maple syrup
8 large, cage-free eggs
1 c dark cocoa powder
¼ t sea salt
¼ t peppermint extract
½ c chocolate chunks, free of refined sugar
For the ganache:
¾ c chocolate chunks, free of refined sugar
3-4 T organic half & half
For the topping:
6 small peppermint patties, free of refined sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Add coconut sugar and maple syrup to melted butter to dissolve. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whip eggs for 3 minutes on medium high speed ‘til pale yellow. Add sugar and butter mixture and continue beating. Add cocoa, sea salt, and peppermint extract and beat ‘til well-incorporated. Fold in chocolate chunks. Grease a square glass pan and line with one long strip of fitted parchment paper (with extra hanging over just 2 sides of the pan). Grease paper. Pour in batter and bake for 25-30 minutes (keep an eye on it after 20 minutes so sides do not overcook). A toothpick inserted in the center will not come out clean, but the cake should look evenly set in the middle to be considered done. Cool completely on a wire rack.
To make ganache, warm half and half in the microwave for 30 seconds and pour over chocolate chunks (start with 3 T then add more if consistency is too thick). Stir until glossy. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Chop peppermint patties into small pieces. Once ganache has cooled, pour it over the cooled brownies. Sprinkle and lightly press peppermint pattie pieces into ganache. Cool in the refrigerator for an hour. Once cool, slice pan of brownies into 12 even pieces.
You can still buy your copy of A Nourished Holiday here and get it before Christmas! Or, if you're local, contact me and I'll deliver your book at the discounted price of $15. And remember--anyone who meets with me for a free consultation in the month of December gets their copy FREE! Book your appointment today if you're interested.