• bite-sized challenge: a smoothie a day

    May 19, 2010

    And make it a green one.  If you look at Noelle’s list of successful outcomes, the first is:

    I rarely eat processed food – I almost always eat fresh food.

    The quickest way I know of to get more whole, plant-based food into your diet is to chug or slurp one large green smoothie a day.  I’ve written about the magic of green smoothies before, and you can try one of my favorite recipes here.  But you really don’t need a recipe at all: just lots of greens (spinach is flavor-neutral) and then fruit to sweeten it out.  I normally put a banana in mine to make it creamy and then top it up with any variety of chopped fruit I keep in the freezer.

    This one little change is a great kick-start and is really motivating since it’s so easy to do.  You can have the smoothie as a snack or even in place of a meal – it’s more filling than you might think.

    This challenge goes for the next two weeks so everyone has plenty of time to perfect their smoothie moves.  But keep checking the comments section, because Noelle will be posting her experience being a newbie to green smoothies.  And I know some of you are green-smoothie veterans, so please chime in to support Noelle!

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  • introducing the bite-sized challenge

    May 18, 2010

    A friend of mine in London recently asked if I would be up for coaching her on the path to healthier eating.  Noelle (not her real name to protect her privacy) is a productivity coach, so she was very clear about her goals.  I’ll quote her words:

    In my work, when we start a project we always recommend defining the “Successful Outcome.”  In other words, how do you know when this project is “DONE”?  The idea is that if you feel unhappy about something, you ask yourself, “Well, what would I like instead?”  That question is usually enough to get the ideas flowing!  Here’s what I’ve come up with:

    I rarely eat processed food – I almost always eat fresh food.

    I rarely eat refined sugar – my diet contains only natural sugars.

    When I look in the mirror, I can say confidently, “My body is just right how it is.  I wouldn’t want to lose any weight or gain any weight.”

    My stomach is flat and muscular.

    I know a lot about nutrition, and I make choices about what I eat that reflect my knowledge.

    I have a healthy body – inside and out.

    My body is almost always in great shape.

    I am a conscious eater – I know what foods have what impact on my body.

    I eat foods that give me energy (and not foods that zap my energy).

    Wow!  Are you as impressed with Noelle as I am?  My first thought was that she doesn’t need me.  But here’s where we all need each other: Noelle told me that a money-savvy friend of hers is giving her a bi-monthly money challenge, and it’s working so well that she wants me to give her the same kind of challenge when it comes to food.  And me?  Noelle’s helping me get better at being more decisive.  My successful outcome: to feel more confident in my decision-making and not stress myself out in the process.  We’ve created our own little barter economy!

    And the marker of any worthwhile goal is that it also benefits the greater good.  Which is where you come in.  Over the next several weeks, I’ll be taking each of Noelle’s “successful outcomes” and detailing a challenge she can do to make them a reality.  The idea, of course, is that it takes time to implement a change until it becomes habit.  This is a marathon, not a sprint.  Noelle will be posting her feelings and feedback in the comments section, so I hope you’ll follow along.  She’ll also post both a physical (weight) and emotional indicator of her progress.

    I’ll be doing each of the challenges along with Noelle – I need to coach myself every day to have the same successful outcomes, otherwise I’m bound to backtrack.  And here’s where the real beauty of coaching comes in: peer support.

    Feeling motivated to join us?  Take this as your first challenge to write down your own successful outcomes like Noelle did.  And please be sure to share your thoughts/progress/support in the comments section!

    The next challenge will be posted tomorrow.

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  • green find: the natural café

    May 11, 2010


    So there I was strolling down State Street in Downtown Santa Barbara for probably the eighth time in half as many days when my blissed-out gaze fell on The Natural Café.

    It took me a couple of minutes in the Mediterranean breeze to study the menu.  The Natural Café is, naturally, big on plant-based food sourced locally, although there’s a separate section for chicken and fish.

    I was initially swayed by names like Spiritual Spinach Salad and Buddha Burrito before the Natural Tamale put an end to any kind of indecision.  In I went.

    There’s definitely a Bohemian vibe here, and the place is overflowing with the college kids that call this town their crib.  You order at the register and then take a plastic number to your table – all the outside spaces were taken, so I nabbed one by a stack of The Independent, the city’s free local newspaper.

    Just as I was drooling at the event listings for the week – candlelit yoga, sailing lessons, organic wine tasting – my Natural Tamale arrived.

    I haven’t been this excited since I first laid eyes on Sharky’s two-taco combo late last year.  You can’t really see the scale from this photo, I know, but this was generous at $7.95 and tremendously tasty.  The brown rice was cooked perfectly, the beans were robust but not soupy, and the tamale – which was filled with chiles, pinto beans, ground peanut, and garlic – was better than any traditional one I’ve had.  I asked for it sans sour cream, which meant the ranchero sauce could shine on its own.  And then there was the perfect salad with crisp jicama.  Just beautiful.

    Check out The Natural Café’s Ten Easy Ways To Live a “Greener” Lifestyle.  Not sure what the quotation marks are for, but I can’t wait for my next tamale taste.

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  • heaven, i’m in heaven

    May 7, 2010

    I had thought about posting a series of these photos with a “Where Am I?” headline, but I’ll just cut right to the chase.

    I’ve had a long-standing, long-distance romance with Santa Barbara; and this week I got a chance to spend some quality time with my beloved.

    Not only does it have enough electricity to satisfy the city dweller in me, it’s the kind of country I crave.  Santa Barbara makes me feel good.

    And it knows how to push all my buttons:  I could be very happy indeed living life according to Santa Barbara Car Free…and buying everything I need from the farmers market in Old Town Santa Barbara.  It rivals any of the markets I’ve seen in Europe.

    To know, know, know SB, is to love, love, love it.  And I do.


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