Merry Christmas from the Proactive Health Solution!

While 2017 is coming to a close, The Proactive Health Solution (PHS) continues empowering people toward better health and raising positive vibrations in a dreary world. This powerful book has recently made its way into a public classroom and is educating children about optimal health on many levels—mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.  Children love and readily embrace the principles of the PHS. For them, it’s not only a tremendous guide toward a healthier lifestyle, but it’s a great source of motivation.

In the meantime, many adults are struggling with stress from the holidays; shopping, cooking, cleaning, entertaining and so on. For some, the holidays trigger depression, loneliness and anxiety. However, don’t forget that the power resides within YOU!!! As the three wise men followed the star of baby Jesus, you too can set your sights higher! It’s simply a choice. A proactive decision. When you stop “reacting” to all the negativity swirling around you, it’s astounding how everything in your life seems to magically improve! By learning to be proactive, and implementing this fundamental principal within your lifestyle choices and behaviors, you will intrinsically raise your level of consciousness. Better health will surely follow. Don’t be fooled by quick-fix solutions that merely promise weight loss. Take the time necessary to develop all dimensions of your health and wellbeing in mind, body and spirit. Read this uplifting, powerful book! Children learn the PHS Pyramid from the bottom up, adults learn it from the top down! Grab a copy today and have a blessed Christmas with peace, love, hope and optimal health!

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

 

How to Proactively Manage the Stress in Your Life.

The word ‘proactive’ is in the title of my book for a reason and after reading it, you’ll quickly realize why. Being proactive empowers you to manage your lifestyle and yourself so that you can become the healthiest version of YOU, healthier than you ever dreamed possible—in your mind, body and spirit! Yet in today’s world, you might question whether such an ideal is even feasible. Especially when we observe that social media has begun usurping our precious day, politics have viciously divided our country, and leaders within our government (on all sides) appear to be reeling from ongoing dysfunction. This modern-day mental stress might affect the well-being of some individuals more than others, but unless we’ve been living under a rock, we are all touched by it. Inevitably, too much stress, in any of its various forms, can take a toll on our psyche, collectively and individually. Sooner or later, something has to give.

Case in point. Recently, Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip, (R-LA) took a bullet during a routine baseball practice. Was such a tragedy imminent due to the huge political schism which has polarized our country? Think about it. The gunman wasn’t a Jihadist or member of ISIS plotting to eradicate the GOP. He didn’t shout “Allah Akbar” during his rampage; nevertheless, his intent was the same—namely, to kill. Politically, this shooter James Hodgkinson, was a left-wing Liberal, and a member of several hate groups; one of which he took literally, called: Terminate the Republican Party. Obviously, he was a highly disturbed man and exceedingly stressed—mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  Although America has suffered long from the mental instability of numerous deranged individuals, we cannot understate the gravity of these stressful times. Anxiety has increased significantly in our country as we observe the ramifications of post-election stress. Isn’t it time to calm down and let reality sink in?

If we put our differences aside, we should recognize that politically motivated violence along with its demoralizing rhetoric is unacceptable. Plain and simple. However, there are plenty of Americans who are still very angry and unwilling to normalize Trump’s presidency. It may be rough, but they really need to lighten up. Why? Here are a few reasons. First, even Trump supporters can admit that Donald Trump is not a normal president—he’s as unconventional as it gets. So from this vantage point, despite our political affiliation, we genuinely have a lot more in common than we realize. Second, the checks and balances established within our constitution will keep America grounded to her principles regardless of who resides in the Oval Office. Third, if we don’t unite as a country, this means more gridlock in Washington and less peace for all of us.

Furthermore, anger is a normal human emotion—we all have it. However, when anger begins to wreak havoc on others through hateful speech and actions, it’s a red flag of mismanaged stress. We may be fuming about a certain situation, but it’s how we respond in that situation which can make all the difference in the world. Notice I used the word ‘respond’ and not ‘react’. Reacting is involuntary, responding however, means we are making a choice based on our values. As discussed in my book, responding is a byproduct of being proactive. In other words, as we learn to be proactive, we can still choose our own private response even in the midst of suffering.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can hurt you without your consent.” Gandhi said, “They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them.” When we proactively manage our life, this helps us gain the control to better manage our health and stress. There couldn’t be a better time to start implementing this life-changing Proactive Health Solution (PHS) Principle: Be Proactive—it’s a HUGE remedy to managing stress!

Pause for a moment to reflect. This pause shouldn’t be a ‘stop to smell the roses’ moment. It needs to be a very long moment to get serious, and think about your life. Take a personal inventory. Are you proactively managing your life? What are your priorities? How would you rate the quality of your life? Do you genuinely value your health and if so, what are you doing to manage your stress? Does wisdom, clarity and peace guide your decisions? Are you living a purpose driven life, or just going through the motions?

That’s a lot to take in and figure out on your own. However, when you follow the roadmap of the Proactive Health Solution with its five progressive components, you will naturally evolve from Lifestyle Management into Healthy Self-Management as you travel on a journey toward optimal health. You will gain the peace of mind and discipline that’s so desperately needed in these high times of stress. The Proactive Health Solution is a powerful bridge that will lift you up, not tear you down. It will support and encourage you regardless of your political stance. All of us, need this. Now. Click here to order your copy today!

 

Finding Our Moral Compass

We are all unique souls traveling on this planet—learning, loving and living from day to day. Each individual soul is connected to a universal consciousness. This means that although each of us have been created in ways that are magnificently different from one another, we are still one and the same. How can this be? Essentially, we share the same collective consciousness. For instance, when a mother learns that her child has been bullied and beat up at school, she’s outraged. That’s because the heart of a good mother is the same regardless of where she lives or her social standing in the world. A mother’s political views and the color of her skin are entirely irrelevant when it comes to keeping her child out of harms way.  Of course, it’s not just mothers. As a collective consciousness, whenever we witness or hear about blatant, horrific crimes against innocent lives; this is disturbing to us all.

Yet in some instances, abuse is disguised in subtle forms. Perhaps it will manifest through a backhanded compliment, sarcasm, or the twisted words of a jealous, hypocritical, disrespectful friend or family member. Sometimes, abuse is not always easy to discern, but make no mistake, it can be exhibited in multiple ways—verbally, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Often in order to cope with painful situations, we choose to put on the blinders, but denial is NOT our happy place. Those blinders might work as a short-term coping mechanism; but in the long-run it has a way of backfiring. Over time, denial can cloud our judgement, insult our intelligence and diminish our self-esteem.  Mindfulness is essential to our health and well-being.

On the surface, we go about our day business as usual; but underneath this exterior, there is a great disturbance. That’s because our personal integrity and other aspects of our well-being are at stake. Whenever we discount our own truth, this begins to stifle our potential. Left unchecked, denial can slowly erode the quality of our life and negatively impact those around us.  Whether this underlying damage transpires individually, or collectively, there comes a point when enough is enough. In order to heal; whether mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or physically, we need to raise our awareness to a higher dimension and reclaim a better grip on reality.

Moreover, there’s something else we need to help us gain clarity, wisdom and peace of mind. Something larger than life. Call it whatever you want. God, Universal Spirit, Christ, Alpha and Omega, Divine Spirit, Allah, Messiah or Yahweh—this higher source of power is our moral compass. It’s the unifying force that can guide all of us along the right path. Inside each of us therein lies a hidden, yet shared cosmos. We are each a single point of consciousness, yet together, we’re connected to this universal source of power. Collectively, we are one.

Why is it so important that we start to see ourselves as one? Well, let’s face it; the aftermath of the Trump presidency has propelled us into a different era. Some call it an alternative reality. America is in the midst of tumultuous times—deep polarization has taken root in our collective soul. Changes are occurring rapidly, and while several of these shifts could prove to be beneficial, many people still feel overwhelmed, anxious and disillusioned. For some, fear of the unknown that is brought about by abrupt change makes every day more challenging to cope.

While several of us are trying to sort through a myriad of concerns, others have put on their blinders. After all, the surge of diversions seem relentless. As we scroll through our newsfeed, negativity bombards us at every juncture. Regardless of our political stance; the backbiting, disorder and strife will take its toll on our well-being—mentally, emotionally and spiritually. That’s because when we focus so much attention on our differences, together we lose our moral compass.  We are different, indeed; yet we do share in a collective consciousness which comes from the unifying spiritual presence of God.

Fortunately, since God’s laws are written on our hearts; intrinsically, most of us do recognize the difference between right and wrong. Regardless of our religious inclination; this moral compass can be found within each of us. Hebrews 10:16 (NIV):  “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”  However, in order for the compass to operate, it requires the power of one magnet. At the heart of that magnetic force comes a simple message which summarizes all rules of religious rhetoric. It says: Love your neighbor as yourself. Mark 12:29-31 (NIV): “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”  The receiver must activate the magnet through this basic rule of instruction, otherwise the compass won’t operate.

So where am I going with this? When the storms of life demagnetize our compass, we get lost.  Once we find a quiet place to leave the turbulent disturbance behind, we can magnetize our compass properly and get back on track. How do we do this? For a few moments, stop viewing people as: Republicans, Democrats, Liberals, Progressives, Deplorables, Bullies, Snowflakes, Racists, Bigots, Fascists, etc. That doesn’t mean these descriptions don’t exist—they do and some seem to be gaining more momentum than others. However, for the compass to operate as it should, the needle must be facing true north. Together we need to activate the magnet, magnetize the compass, and start heading in the right direction. When our collective moral compass is powered up in the right way, will any of our differences matter at that point?

Here’s another way to look at it. When a couple unites in marriage, they come forward as two entirely distinct individuals, yet they merge together into one.  In fact, they could be the polar opposite in many ways, but that contrast doesn’t detract from their love for each other. Instead, they embrace those differences as they understand it brings more balance and harmony into their relationship. For example, the Yang protects, and the Yin nurtures. Think of the Yin and Yang as complementary, not opposing forces; the whole being greater than its parts.

Similarly, when people join together to support a common cause, they’re representing one voice. The opposition may pose a difference in values, but not in humanity.  We can agree to disagree. This is our privilege—it comes with the gift of free will and being proactive. However, let’s not forget that we are still one people, one country, one voice. As such, this requires that we show respect for the dignity of mankind, not just for our preferred party. Forget the label of “Republican” or “Democrat.” Regardless of our affiliation, each of us should do our part to move forward with clarity, wisdom and peace.

As one nation, we need to heal; and there’s probably no better time than now to start reading the Proactive Health Solution. This uplifting book takes no sides. It provides healing to all of us—in mind, body and spirit. In these uncertain times, the basic structure of the PHS is exactly what we need. It will help inspire, enlighten and guide us on a better path. There’s no other health and fitness book of this kind on the market—one that combines the inspirational word of God with insight from a highly experienced certified personal trainer—aka, yours truly. Oh and let me leave you with something else; a founding theme that should resonate in all of our hearts. Read below and notice the words in bold.

The Pledge of Allegiance: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Click here to order your copy of The Proactive Health Solution.

#showrespect

 

 

 

Secret #5 on Delicious Cooking: A Tasty Five-Course Series

15683243130_b852e6747a_nJames 1:2-4 (NIV) “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

At the beginning of this series, I mentioned that if you care at all about your health and weight, then you’d better care about what you eat. That sounds great in theory, but for busy people, preparing healthy and delicious meals is a very tall order. Realistically, everything takes work. Reading labels, scrutinizing GMO vs. non-GMO ingredients, staying in-the know, grocery shopping, hauling groceries, putting them away, prepping meals, and developing a decent set of culinary skills requires time and energy. For many of us, to say that perseverance is needed is quite the understatement.

Cooking for yourself is one thing. As hard as that may be for some, when you factor a spouse and several children into the equation, your need for perseverance will rise to a whole new level! The truth is many of us are hard-pressed for time. Consequently, some of us overlook the work involved with cooking in a health conscious way and prefer the short cut of convenience foods. But unfortunately in this day and age, given how much our food system has been altered, we can not overlook anything. If we do, then it shouldn’t come as surprise when we fail to lose weight or reach any of our health and fitness goals. To make matters worse, eating the wrong foods will wreak havoc on our bodies and deter us from setting a good example for our families. So how does one who’s serious about health gain the motivation and discipline to get out of this funk? First of all, making significant strides toward a healthier life doesn’t occur overnight. It’s a process and for some of us, a very long one.  Over the long haul, it may require some serious lifestyle changes. That’s where being proactive and taking responsibility come into play. Those crucial principles set the foundation for how well we manage our lifestyle as outlined in chapters five and six of my book The Proactive Health Solution. We must learn to focus on what we value in life not merely through lip service, but through proactive behaviors. Anyone who’s serious about improving his/her lifestyle and health should read this book. In the interim, perhaps the next secret will help.

Secret #5: Practice makes perfect!

On your journey of healthy cooking, inevitably mistakes and setbacks will happen, but don’t give up! Practice, practice and practice some more. Be persistent. This is a secret of life success whether you’re trying to cook a healthy meal or accomplish any goal.  As the scripture says, consider your trials a joy, and continue to persevere. As you continue to practice, you will learn what works and what doesn’t work. Then before you know it, you can whip up a healthy and delicious meal like it’s nobody’s business! This is your time to start implementing these health secrets into delicious meals.

If you missed the secrets in this series, go back and read each one. For now, let’s recap. Learning how to make heathy food choices means gaining a good understanding about what you should eat, as well as what you should avoid. (Secret #1) Striving to cook in a healthier way requires a basic belief in yourself along with a conscious effort. (Secret #2) You must accept the learning curve involved. For instance, if something doesn’t turn out quite right, rather than just giving up and resorting to the quick-fix of ordering pizza, that’s your time to be creative. Can you repurpose a flopped dish? Remember, cooking is not just a skill, it’s an artistic expression. (Secret #3). Maybe you know how to cook a healthy meal, but what in the world does it taste like? Do you know how to amp up the flavor and health benefits of your meals by using a wide array of herbs and spices? (Secret #4) In time, it’s your diligent practice that will make a meal healthy, delicious and simply perfect! (Secret #5)

All these secrets can help you eat healthy and improve your ability to cook, but in light of everything you learned, the power rests in your own hands. Will you put your knowledge into action? Nothing will change, until you make a change. Although you’ve reached the end of this series, you don’t need to go this alone. The Proactive Health Solution is always there to help. When the going gets tough and you feel overwhelmed, pick up this book.  It will guide, inspire, educate and empower you to take control of your life and health!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secret #4 on Delicious Cooking: A Tasty Five-Course Series

25631580153_593008b3e0_nHave you ever watched an episode of Chopped on The Food Network? If so, you get it. A contestant prepares a meal that hits all the right notes and tastes ultra-yummy. As a result, the judges tend to be more forgiving if that same meal had been served with a less-than-perfect presentation. In a competitive throw down, the tastier meal will triumph over another dish that might look prettier on the plate, but falls completely flat on the flavor profile. It’s only human nature that many of us make assumptions about a dish based upon what it looks like. However, as the old adage goes, you can’t always judge a book by its cover. Realistically, what keeps us coming back for more is every scrumptious bite of goodness.

To elaborate, let me give you an example.  Every so often, my family and a few extended relatives will gather together for dinner on the weekend.  On one of those occasions, my cousin who has a very raunchy sense of humor said something hilarious about an Arabic dish called kefta. He looked down on his plate and said: “Soon you’ll disappear. I must say bye for now, but I will see you tomorrow!” Certainly, you would have to know what kefta looks like to get his joke, but I’ll give you a hint. It’s long and brown. With that said, the next secret should become obvious.

Secret #4: Make it taste good! As you can see from the example, nothing quite dictates what we eat more than our taste buds. Having spent years in the health and fitness industry, I’ve worked alongside many personal trainers who never wanted to accept this reality when dealing with their clients. Typically, these were young and inexperienced trainers who would eat the same bland food every day. Plain oatmeal, egg whites, chicken breast cooked without any salt or seasonings, an apple, a small bag of carrots or celery sticks; you can get the idea. When they tried to convince their clients to follow suit, this failed time and time again. Basically, because that type of diet might work well for body builders, however for most of us, it’s just way too strict and monotonous. Yes, we should eat clean, but healthy food doesn’t mean we must sacrifice great taste. In fact, quite the contrary. As I mentioned throughout this series, the right food choices which includes organic, unprocessed, and NON-GMO ingredients are the foundation to better tasting meals.  So let’s summarize what we’ve covered thus far. To cook a delicious meal, start with good-quality ingredients, believe in yourself and be creative. Next, make it taste good! How?

First off, unless you’re a culinary expert or bona fide foodie, making a meal taste good does involve a learning curve. The difficulty or ease of preparing a meal, and the length of time required, depends considerably on the meal itself. For example, you could make pasta from scratch, or just buy your favorite variety premade. Furthermore, taste is a matter of preference. What tastes great to you may be overpowering to someone else or vice versa. Sometimes, your taste preference depends on your mood. Are you feeling something deep, complex and authentic to your culture, or something light, crisp and refreshing? What’s your tolerance to spicy foods? Consequently, the type of dish you want to make and what your taste buds dictate are important considerations to keep in mind.

Fortunately, certain foods by the very nature of how they’re cooked can create a flavorful, universal appeal. For instance, grill some of your favorite vegetables: green, red, yellow or orange peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and zucchini with just a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. The natural char that occurs on those veggies will amp up the flavor of any dish. Toss those charred veggies into a crispy mixed-greens salad, or add them into pasta, quinoa or a jasmine brown rice dish. Suddenly the same old meal has a little pizzazz and tastes delicious! Of course if you want to keep it simple, just stuff those veggies into a warm pita with some roasted chicken slices and garlic sauce.

Another way to pump up the flavor of a dish is to start experimenting with an array of savory herbs and spices. Aside from your basic garlic and onion powder, this includes: black pepper, ginger, cloves, oregano, rosemary, thyme, cinnamon, cayenne, cardamom, and the list goes on! Not only do seasonings add zest to a dull plate, but many herbs and spices contain healing properties and antioxidants. For example, turmeric—a spice common in Asian cuisine, contains a substance called curcumin which is widely used to make medicine. It’s considered an anti-inflammatory which helps to ease arthritis pain, manage Crohn’s disease, and so much more. Another gem that could be hiding in your cupboard or pantry is paprika. Paprika doesn’t just taste great on hummus or in Hungarian food, it’s also a good source of Vitamin C and helps promote circulation.

Although everyone has different taste preferences, most people would agree that authentic Middle Eastern food is phenomenal! One reason is because Arabs use a wide variety of spices. Baharat, for instance, isn’t just one Arabic spice; it’s a mixture of seven spices which can be used to add depth and flavor to meats, sauces, soups, grains, vegetables, stews and more. There isn’t a hard and fast recipe for Baharat. Different countries have slight variations on the blend of spices used and the amounts; however, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, coriander and cardamom are frequently included in the mix. Speaking of nutmeg, research indicates it’s helpful in relieving indigestion, bloating, diarrhea, and chronic nervous disorders. Similarly, a study on cinnamon found it to be helpful in reducing blood sugar levels in those with Type 2 diabetes, and in lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

The health incentives for making your meals taste good is a very long one! Virtually every spice or herb comes with a benefit or healing properties. Let me give you just one more. Years ago, many American’s viewed parsley as just a pretty garnish. Yet parsley is a nutrient rich herb which has since been used to help treat urinary tract infections, indigestion, and colic. It also inhibits tumor growth, can be used as a diuretic and helps in detoxifying the body. So don’t just order tabbouleh in your local Mediterranean restaurant, be creative and start cooking with parsley! You know that kefta I mentioned earlier? Yup, it’s in there!

For more great tips on eating right and getting in shape, be sure to follow this blog or click here to order the revised edition of The Proactive Health Solution!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secret #3 on Delicious Cooking: A Tasty Five-Course Series

279775064_117a6d9fbb_nYes, it’s been a while. Hopefully, you didn’t forget the first two secrets in this tasty five-course series! So before moving on, let’s recap. Remember, the first secret—use good quality ingredients; this carries tremendous weight. Why? In a nutshell, better quality equals better taste. The second secret—just believe in yourself—simple enough, yet quite powerful.  You shouldn’t allow a flopped dish to make you throw in the kitchen towel so to speak. When you follow the next secret, you’ll have a better chance of turning those flopped dishes around.

Secret number three: Be Creative!   Cooking is not just a skill; it’s an artistic expression. Consider for a moment, all those beautifully decorated wedding cakes or your niece’s festive Christmas cookies. Flip your TV channel to The Food Network and watch experienced bakers duke it out in a creative battle of Cupcake Wars! Yup, even that monstrous sandwich your little brother contrived can be considered artwork. Order hummus in an authentic Arabic restaurant, and just observe the garnish! Often, it’s sprinkled with fresh parsley along with a decorative streak of smoked paprika, chickpeas nestled in the center, all drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil. This could be served with some olives, pink turnips on the side, and a tempting warm basket of bread beckoning you to dig in. That’s just the appetizer! When you visit a fancy Italian restaurant; the waiter comes by and grates some parmesan cheese on your wild mushroom fusilli, or grinds a dash of fresh pepper into your crispy mixed-greens salad. Simple, yet elegant. Our trajectory of creative food concoctions is endless!

Those added touches are not only pleasing to our palate and great for presentation, but we can take advantage of that same creative process to fix many cooking mishaps. For instance, in the last post, Joan’s first attempt at making brown rice turned out to be a pile of mush. However, with a bit of creativity, she could’ve repurposed that rice into a delicious homemade soup. Instead, she got frustrated, dumped it out, burned the second batch and ended up ordering pizza! Well, of course there’s nothing wrong with enjoying pizza occasionally, however, if we’re continually resorting to fast food as a matter of convenience, this will certainly take its toll on our health. That’s because our main food system has become so infiltrated with unhealthy additives, even organic ingredients can be ruined under false pretext.  If we’re not buying our own groceries, proactively reading labels and know what to avoid, then ultimately we will lose control over the junk we ingest. That junk has a negative impact on our weight, energy levels, cholesterol, blood pressure and so much more!

Don’t be fooled by false advertising. Do your own homework! Food that is legitimately good quality will taste significantly better than it’s highly processed, quick-fix counterpart. For example, which would you prefer? A slice of carrot cake that is homemade with real organic ingredients, or the store bought version loaded with trans-fat and genetically modified gobbledygook. Seriously, there’s no comparison in taste. By making healthy food choices a way of life and learning to prepare your own meals, you will inherently gain more control over your health. So remember, if you mess up a dish, don’t despair; be creative! As mentioned earlier, pay very close attention to the details. Stay tuned, there’s still more to come. To learn more about the positive changes you should be making in your diet, read The Proactive Health Solution!! This uplifting, resourceful guide is packed with gems of wisdom!

 

 

Secret #2 on Delicious Cooking: A Tasty Five-Course Series

3211175826_1bab9ec1ba_nIf you’ve been following my blog, you already learned secret number one on delicious cooking. As mentioned, better quality ingredients = better taste; and remember, knowing what NOT to cook with, is equally important. Today we’re moving onto the next secret, so in case you missed the first post on this series, don’t forget to catch up and read it.

Secret number two: Believe in yourself.  Now you may be scratching your head wondering what in the world does believing in yourself have to do with cooking a delicious meal. Maybe you were anticipating a secret ingredient like a pungent spice loaded with antioxidants. Surely I should tout the flavorful health benefits of thyme, fenugreek, and turmeric, right? Not so fast. First, you need to just start believing in your ability to whip up a delicious meal.

Why? Here’s the deal. Believing in yourself is a secret ingredient! Having confidence in the kitchen is a secret weapon to battle any cooking demons you might encounter. Think about it. Whenever you’re preparing something for the first time or learning a new recipe, there’s always a cause for concern. This anxiety could be experienced even by individuals who enjoy cooking; but for those who don’t, it can become entirely daunting. Unless you’re eating patterns lack any sort of diversity, you’ll find that preparing a variety of healthy and delicious meals does require some time and effort.  Aside from the grocery shopping, prepping and so forth, there’s also a learning curve to contend with.

So what typically happens when you make a valiant effort, but fail? Well, if you lose faith in yourself, you’re tempted to hang-up this entire cooking notion. Consider Joan and her new fiancé Bill. Several months before their big day, they decided to start eating clean and healthy. One of the changes they agreed to make was to replace their white rice with organic brown rice. In hopes of making a stir-fry dish, Joan called Bill on his drive home from work. “Hi honey, I followed the directions for the brown rice and it turned out to be a pile of mush. I dumped it out and attempted it again by backing off some of the water, but apparently it cooked too long. Sorry, the second batch is burned! Cooking sucks, let’s order a pizza instead.”

Modifying our eating patterns isn’t always easy because most of us tend to be creatures of habit. Even if our eating patterns aren’t healthy, it’s what we know and let’s face it, sticking with what we know (like ordering pizza) is a lot easier than improving our culinary skills. However, when you start believing in yourself, there’s still a good chance you can turn even a flopped dish into something healthy and delicious. Joan learned the hard way, but for many others here’s a newsflash: Following the directions for cooking rice doesn’t guarantee success. Depending on the type of rice grain you choose, more often than not, the amount of water and cooking time will vary from the actual instructions. It seems ironic not to follow the instructions; yet growing up I used to watch my mom make rice regularly. Never once did I see her use a measuring cup, yet time and time again, her rice always turned out perfect.  The best way to make rice is to practice with one healthy grain as many times as necessary, until you get it right! Be brave, throw out the rule book and trust yourself. In the meantime, Secret #3 will help you to make the most out of your not-so-perfect cooking attempts, so be sure to stay tuned!

Matthew 17:20  “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

For more inspiration and education, click here to order your copy of The Proactive Health Solution!

 

Secret #1 on Delicious Cooking: A Tasty Five-Course Series

3621275081_bf3e1f3f67_nSome people find cooking to be therapeutic, while others despise it entirely. Despite your personal stance, if you care at all about your weight and health, then you better care about what you eat. It’s your everyday food choices and eating patterns that will ultimately make a tremendous impact on your waistline, cholesterols levels, blood pressure, and so much more. In today’s busy world, it can be a real challenge for many of us to find the time to prepare healthy and delicious meals. Learning to eat the right foods is one thing; developing our culinary skills is yet another. If you’ve been struggling in this arena, then today’s your lucky day. Starting right now, I’m going to be divulging secrets which are bound to help you eat healthier and improve your cooking skills.  These secrets will be shared over a five course series so you can digest one delicious nugget at a time.

Secret number one: Choose good quality ingredients! This secret is the foundation for any healthy and delicious meal. Good quality foods are not only better for you, they taste better too! Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t mean you should brand health food into any one category, such as gluten-free, fat-free, low-carb, and so on. Don’t get neurotic or confused by hypocritical information. Of course some individuals must adhere to certain guidelines such as following a strict, gluten-free diet; but keep in mind that someone’s tolerance for gluten as with any other food sensitivity or issue, is still a personal matter. Yes we should learn to qualify our food choices based on our particular needs, but we must always consider the inherent quality of the food itself.

When trying to determine what constitutes good quality ingredients, we must pay close, and I mean very close, attention to the details. For example, some food items might be labelled in such a way that sound 100% healthy, but because of other additives, the quality of those goods instantly deflates. Unfortunately, countless people have been duped because the danger of such additives are not readily known. Some are falsely touted as healthy and yet these additives are frequently hidden within many packaged items. Though I don’t want to divert into this subject of so-called processed health foods, the same rule still applies. When choosing good quality foods or anything that comes in a package, we must pay very close attention to the details—a huge part of this first secret. To help you in making that determination, let’s use a comparison to illustrate.

The next time you go grocery shopping, consider the history of that chicken you’re about to purchase. Do you know whether the chicken fed on cheap grains—genetically modified food which also contained harmful pesticides? Was the chicken crammed in a cage with other chickens; forced to stay inside where their feces spread and built bacteria? Was the chicken induced with antibiotics and plumped up with growth hormones? Sorry to break the news, but unless you’re raising chickens yourself or choosing organic, the answers to these questions is an overwhelming yes.

On the other hand, if chickens are raised on an organic farm they enjoy a diet the way mother nature intended. This includes non-GMO grains, bugs, and different types of grasses without pesticides or harsh chemicals. Those chickens get plenty of exposure to sunlight, are allowed to roam free-range and often moved to lush new grasses for feeding. They aren’t crammed into cages with other chickens, forced to live in unsanitary conditions with their animal by-products. Nor are organic chickens induced with antibiotics and plumped up with growth hormones.

So if you are what you eat, then the better quality choice here becomes obvious. And when it comes to delicious cooking: Better Quality = Better Taste. As mentioned in my book, to eat healthy we must choose foods that are a product of nature versus a product of industry.  Focus on ingredients that are natural, unrefined and unprocessed.  To help facilitate this process, let me give you a few more examples.

  • Choose Himalayan pink sea salt over processed, white table salt. Why? Himalayan salt contains 84 minerals and trace elements, whereas processed table salt has none, or at best one—iodine. White salt of any kind, even if it’s labeled as sea salt is not full-spectrum meaning it’s devoid of the essential minerals your body needs. Not only are those pink crystals better for you, they’re bursting with flavor. No comparison in taste to the white stuff.
  • Replace canola oil with a variety of oils that includes extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil. Why? Canola oil is highly processed and genetically modified—it’s anything but natural. There exists no canola plant. However, canola oil is contrived from rapeseed oil which is used as a lubricant and biodiesel fuel to power motor vehicles, aircrafts, steam engines and other naval vessels.  In several countries, canola oil is illegal to give to infants. Enough said there.
  • Use organic butter as opposed to margarine. Why? Again, margarine is not a product of nature. It’s created through a process called hydrogenation meaning the oil has been chemically altered and highly refined—the end result makes it a source of aluminum and nickel. A diet that contains aluminum has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease, senility, osteoporosis and cancer. Some research suggests that margarine is nothing but plastic butter. As far as taste, well…I think real butter tastes better than melted Tupperware any day.

To discover the other four secrets on delicious cooking, be sure to follow my blog! https://theproactivehealthsolution.wordpress.com

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What are the PHS Benefits?

16175604853_3b20aa0c49_n How is the Proactive Health Solution (PHS) different from all the other health and fitness books on the market? Many who have read my book understand that the PHS offers an integrated, educational path toward healthy self-management which is essentially overlooked within the vast growing trends of diets and fitness hoopla. That being said, it’s only part of the answer. While a great deal of fitness programs are focused solely on improving one’s physical appearance, it’s fair to say some savvy fitness professionals are finally catching on to the bigger picture. More specifically, they are starting to recognize that optimal health includes more than just changing the physical body. Serious health gurus motivate their clients to improve all aspects of health and well-being—in the mind, body, and spirit. Certainly we all know this positive change in behavior and mindset doesn’t occur overnight. It’s the accumulation of incremental modifications that take place gradually and sometimes randomly, over time, not by some universal method of personal evolvement. At least, not until recently…that is.

This brings me to the first advantage of what sets the PHS apart. Not only does the PHS unequivocally take into account this bigger picture of optimal health by incorporating all dimensions of health and well-being, it does in fact, offer a proven path for lifestyle modification and personal evolvement. The PHS is a tested model that seamlessly goes to work on improving your lifestyle as it positively changes your heart and mind. Yet, the journey keeps you in control. The personal choices you make, and the outcomes that follow—will rest in your own hands. It’s from your personal paradigm shift and process of inner-change, that the outward transformation naturally follows suit. Ultimately, where eating healthy and exercising become more intuitive. When you apply the PHS principles in your own life, this intrinsically increases your motivation to reach your health and fitness goals, yet the benefits don’t stop there.

A unique byproduct of the PHS is that it improves one’s spiritual well-being. Although you might not consider yourself a spiritual person, we are all spirits having a human experience. Moreover, if you neglect this spiritual dimension of your health, you may become powerless over your addictions to food, alcohol, drugs and so on. This is why many individuals end up in a vicious cycle. For every positive step forward, they might be taking two steps backward. That’s because if we’re only operating from our own human capacity with its given set of limitations, we are bound to struggle. However, when we operate through the spiritual power of Jesus Christ, we find strength and a means to renew our spirit. Christ can help us overcome our weaknesses. Therein lies the second distinct advantage of the PHS. It encourages you to submit to a higher source of power as it supports a healthy lifestyle transformation.

Find the time to get quiet, pray, and meditate. Meditation reconnects your inner self to the Divine Spirit and studies have shown there are numerous health benefits. Just to name a few, meditation reduces anxiety and stress, helps to clear your head, and improves metabolism. And according to the scriptures, it can even make you beautiful!

1 Peter 3:3-5  “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.”

1 Peter 4:7  “The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.”

1 Peter 5:7  “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

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Monitor Your Internal Critic

5983042915_d1ace38e17_nAt the onset of every New Year, people from all walks of life start pouring into the gym. Being a personal trainer, I realize that January is a time we get more determined to set and reach new goals; however, is this the only month when our health becomes a top priority? What about the weeks and months that follow? Well, in February, this exercise enthusiasm dies down a bit, and by the time March rolls around, regular gym members breathe a huge sigh of relief as the resolution hoopla finally subsides. Have you ever wondered why this fitness frenzy occurs, and why it’s so short-lived?

Certainly there are a host of reasons, but there’s one major stumbling block that can trip anyone up (except perhaps, Donald Trump). It is the self-bashing voice of one’s own internal critic. For example, a few weeks ago while I was in the gym, right before my workout, here’s what a 52 year old man said to me: “I was doing so well, I lost 7 pounds, cut out alcohol, and so on. Then my sister-in-law came over with these massive trays—an array of exotic desserts and I didn’t just have one piece, I had one of every kind. I don’t know how many of each, there were numerous varieties. I can’t control myself when it comes to sweets. I’m so stupid, so stupid, I gained almost all my weight back and I hate myself.” The following week, a middle-age woman told me a similar story: “It’s so hard to lose weight. I’m so stupid, last night I snacked on a huge bag of potato chips while watching TV, all that salt and fat, I know it can’t be good. I ate candy too. I’m so stupid, I know I shouldn’t do it, but there are certain sweets that I just can’t resist.”

First of all, when it comes to losing weight, deprivation isn’t always a good thing, but we also need to understand how to deal with “trigger foods” which can personally derail us. (Refer to Chapter 11.) Second, for those who haven’t read my book: The Proactive Health Solution, you might not readily recognize the tremendous irony in this type of diminishing self-talk. The irony however, becomes obvious to anyone who understands the building blocks of developing a healthy lifestyle; or more specifically, the PHS Pyramid and its corresponding principles. To clarify, developing a healthy self-image is a precursor to healthy self-management and this precedes any exercise or nutrition program. Yet, both of these individuals are suffering from a poor self-image because their internal critic is feeding them negative messages and contaminating their mind-set. The irony exists because like many others, they’re basing their self-esteem on something external—the scale and certain conditions, rather than their God-given intrinsic value. Yes it’s true if they lose weight, this could build their confidence and self-esteem, however, they’re actually going backward in terms of developing healthy behaviors. By not following a natural progression that ultimately leads to discipline and optimal health, they’re cutting corners and short-changing themselves in the process. Neither of them have learned how to monitor and tame their internal critic and this creates a vicious cycle as they attempt to pursue their weight loss goals. In other words, they aren’t climbing up the PHS Pyramid, but rather sliding down from it.

It’s inevitable, in the process of pursuing our health and fitness goals, we will have some good days and some setbacks. The way we talk to ourselves along this journey is absolutely crucial. If we don’t monitor and keep our internal critic from discouraging us, our best efforts can become counterproductive. We must learn to focus on the actions taken, not only on the immediate outcomes. Do you know what steps are necessary to develop a healthy self-image and keep yourself on track? Realistically, there are many. Some steps need to be big and bold, while others will happen incrementally. To be sure, reaching your health and fitness goals is a multifaceted process. Transformation doesn’t happen overnight. In addition to proactively managing your lifestyle, you should work on improving all aspects of your well-being—in mind, body and spirit. There’s a lot to learn. Don’t quit or give up. Read The Proactive Health Solution, eliminate the guess work, and make this year those New Year resolutions finally come true!

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. “