January 11, 2017

New goals, fresh beginnings

Today I’m focusing on goals for 2017, or rather fresh beginnings (because remember in my recent post {here} I shared about my views on “resolutions”).

So yes, let me share with you my new goals that have evolved to priority most recently. Now since I have a passion for health and wellness, these goals have evolved to encompass the most common pillars of wellness.

1.Write consistently on this site and continue to further strengthening my writing abilities and connect with women. {intellectual wellness, and social wellness}

Why? I’m excited about this new chapter of BeWellWellness and consistency is key. My goal is to post 3-4 times per week. I also want to connect with women more. I’m such an extrovert and interacting with others-in person or online- makes me so happy. And I want more of that since I’m still adjusting to making some more new friends since our move last year.

2. Do a handstand for 10 seconds and walk on my hands. {physical wellness}

Why? While I have other goals related to my physical wellness, listing handstands as a goal is quirky and I like quirky. I like the nontraditional approach and different. But really, I just think it’d be fun to do. I can do a hand stand right now but not for very long. So by listing this as my goal, there are subsequently other areas of body strength I need to improve (therefore this goal was strategic). Note: I first listed 15 seconds as my goal but then changed it because, well, um, let’s be a little more realistic- 15 seconds is a long time.

3. Take a family vacation and a couple-only anniversary vacation. {emotional wellness, social wellness}

Taking vacations has a whole new role in our family lately because training {link} isn’t a factor anymore for anything- timing, length of stay, location, etc. So this is a whole new ball game! The purpose of these vacations will just be to connect more with each other without the normal routines of daily life. We’ve got little ones and I want to create memories with vacations related (even including road trips- because vacations need not be expensive). But also- we have a ten year wedding anniversary approaching this year so a couples-only vacation would be perfect.

4. Read the whole bible {intellectual wellness, spiritual wellness}

I have attempted this last year and I didn’t get through the whole thing. But a friend recently shared with me the app of ReadScripture, which is free, and it organizes your one year reading goal into a manageable calendar with notification prompts. It’s easy to follow because it’ll include chapters from various books of the bible in one reading, as opposed to reading the book from front cover to back cover. While I have my personal hardcover bible and trusty daily devotional, my goal is to read the bible this year.

5. Read 1-2 books per month {emotional wellness}

This is for personal growth. And I listed this because I truly enjoy reading. And I read a lot online- websites, articles, other blogs, etc, but I want to be intentional in reading books too. I read quite a few books last year so I want to maintain my consistency- whether e-books or hardcover books, it doesn’t matter.

 

So that’s it! I kept it to five realistic goals. I’m looking forward to what lies ahead for this year- I’m curious and hopeful.

Let me ask you- do you have certain priority goals? Any goals that are similar to mine above?

Have a great Wednesday!

January 10, 2017

The Evolution of ‘BeWellWellness’ and What to Expect

Hello Tuesday! Today I wanted to share with you the purpose of BeWellWellness in a little more detail, but with bullet points (because who doesn’t love bullet points).

First let me give you a little background. It’ll help.

Before this health/wellness site came into existence, I started a personal blog over six years ago. It was a way to document family and personal things with out-of-town family and friends. Blogging was new and foreign to me, but yet I kinda got a thrill being out of my comfort zone so I kept blogging.

Then a few years ago I started a health/wellness blog. It originated out of passion and desire to talk about all things related to health and wellness, because I wanted another outlet to talk about such things- in addition to my day job which was teaching health and wellness in higher ed. Thus, a blog. But at the time, I wanted it separate from my personal blog.

So for YEARS I have been writing on both my personal and my health/wellness blog separately.

Oy vey.

But, as health and wellness goes, it’s personal. At times it was hard to separate the content on the personal blog from the straight health/wellness content on the other blog, because it’s all connected. Plus I wanted to streamline my efforts in one place as well as connect with other women in community.

Therefore while this health/wellness blog (now BeWellWellness) is taking the lead in spearheading this fresh start, as the two blogs are rather (eventually) morphing together. Because the way to gain greater strides in health and wellness is with solid, trusted information/knowledge along with a community of support and encouragement. And that’s what this is.

BOOM.

See, it has evolved.

And I’m so excited.

So let’s get to some bullet points…

Who will benefit most from BeWellWellness?

  • Those who are health-inspired (or want to be).
  • The busy parent who wants to have an easy and healthy meal on the table for their family.
  • Those who desire to regain clarity in their health and want to feel better about themselves.
  • Busy women and moms who want to form community and connect with others with encouragement, support and authenticity.

What will you find here?

  • You will learn and be inspired to discover ways to enhance all aspects of your personal wellness- body, mind and spirit, and to be well according to your values and priorities.
  • Community and support
  • Easy, healthy recipes and ways to move more despite a busy schedule.
  • Encouragement to be brave, authentic and you in order to overcome fear and persevere towards your goals.

What makes BeWellWellness different?

  • My background, experience, and education (undergraduate and graduate) is all in health promotion, wellness, public speaking, teaching, and people. Yes, my background is people. I’ve worked and taught in higher ed, worked in public health, consulting, k-12 schools, and the community.  #yadayada
  • I’m married to a guy who has earned a spot on Team USA Olympic Team three times- 2004, 2008, 2012. So this brings a unique perspective to the table. We met at the very start of his training so I have been through the entire training and Olympic Games experience(s) as his supporter from the start. He has recently retired as an athlete and we are exploring a very new way of life (without training as an aspect) and last year we moved to a new community 1,000 miles away from where we lived for 13 years (and I’m still adjusting).
  • I’m a mom to two little ones and it’s one of my greatest joys.
  • I know what it’s like to juggle multiple things- being a parent and spouse, working outside the home (full time or part time), while still giving attention to you (self).

So stick around! Visit often! Get new posts sent to your inbox (click in top right corner).

Come back tomorrow for something new!

Thanks for stopping by!

January 9, 2017

New Site Design!

Ta-da!! A new site design!

New year, same me, but new design and more plans for creativity and connectedness with you! For some reason the new year prompted me to freshin’ up things on here and start cranking out my goals that I’ve been planning.

The funny thing is that it may seem like I’m a week late to this whole ‘new year’s fresh start.’

“Uh, the new year started about 1 1/2 weeks ago.” Yeah, I know. But here’s the deal- spring semester officially starts today with teaching my classes (and since my life’s personal calendar has been based off of a fall semester/spring semester/school schedule for 30 years), today starts my “fresh start.” I’m not necessarily into ‘new years resolutions’ but I do like the idea of fresh beginnings. For some reason it feels more encouraging rather than commercial. And when the spring semester begins for me, not new years day necessarily, it’s when routines are back in place and we are ‘back at it.’

So welcome to the new site design. Everything health and wellness is here and actually this is just the beginning. Right now you can search by topic, get new posts sent to your email in the top right corner (do that), find resources, search recipes and more. You also may notice that I changed the title and website domain to www.BeWellWellness.com. My social media handles/names are still wellfithappy, but BeWellWellness will encompass many more things.

Because it’s not just about the new site design.

Coming soon there will be even more recipes, a marketplace area, videos, and more. This is just the beginning, we are just getting started. Even though I have been an author, writer, and personal website developer for almost 10 years now (wow!), I have evolved over the years and this upcoming year will be one of my best yet in this capacity- because the goals I have are outside my comfort zone.  I’m excited and confident, and nervous too (read: butterflies).

(I believe the excited + nervous  + butterfly feelings prove to me that I’m growing and getting out of my comfort zone, which- as we know- is typically where “the magic” happens… whatever that magic is). Even after so many years of teaching, I still get butterflies on the first day (so please be thinking of me later today).

As much as new designs, new goals, and fresh ideas are exciting- fresh starts can be daunting. Believe me, I know. Sometimes I feel like I need to have everything in place before I choose to begin something but we all know that those are just excuses.

“I need to have “x” in place before I can do “y.”

“I need to wait until my kids are older until I start focusing more on me.” 

“I need to save up “x” amount of money before I join the gym to get healthy.”

“I need to get a different job before I can focus on my finances.” 

All just excuses. So just begin. Just start. Whatever it is. Whatever you’ve been thinking about and mulling over. “The beginning” may be a different beginning that you expect, but just begin. And keep moving, even if it’s just small steps.

I have goals in my head, these same goals that I’ve written down and that I’ve told people. But I don’t have every.single.thing worked out. And I likely won’t until it happens. But that doesn’t mean I stop and wait until everything is in place (aka perfect) before starting or beginning. Because we all know that nothing gets done when we wait for perfect to arrive. Perfect doesn’t exist.

So today starts a renewed beginning here at BeWellWellness which will evolve, and I’m excited for that. I want to thank you for reading as this serves as a place where people can get ideas, learn, laugh, reflect and discover, and build community with others on their personal journey’s towards health- body, mind, spirit- whatever and however that may look. Yet this is also my square on the internet to be me and only me. I’m not perfect whatsoever and it’s likely that you aren’t either (gasp!), BUT we can still support each other and encourage each other amidst bravery, vulnerability, and authenticity in our personal journey’s.

Again, welcome!

 

December 9, 2016

Local Review: Braymiller Market in Hamburg, NY

My hometown is Hamburg, NY. And even though it has been many, many years since I have permanently resided in this town, I visit regardless of what state I currently call home. My whole family still lives in this town and it’s a great community that continues to grow and is quite more trendy now with more restaurants, boutique shops and events. 
And this place, Braymiller Market, usually gets my business. For me, this is a staple.
This local produce and grocery stand has been in business for years. Years! It started as a roadside stand and has grown over the years. I know so many people who have worked there over the years, including my best friend. But the interesting part for me is that ownership has recently switched to a dear family. Every summer during my college years, I was at this family’s house watching their kids. I remember having so much fun with these kids whether it was using chalk in the driveway, going to the zoo or aquarium, or scavenger hunts, or making science experiments, swimming, etc. And now, they own this staple of a market.

Which, by the way, these kids I watched are grown adults now. How does that happen? Aren’t they supposed to stay little forever? Did they not get the memo? 

Main point: Great family.
Anyways this market is just down the road from my childhood home and we were frequent customers. Heck, my family still is a frequent customer. But when I stop by, I don’t hesitate to get some bananas and fresh veggies for dinner. The food is fresh and local, and there is a deli, grocery area, ice cream parlor, etc. 
If you are in the area, I encourage you to stop by. Tell the owner that Laura says hi, and that his kids need to stop growing up so fast. Did I really just say that? #I’mgettingold
November 30, 2016

Healthy Pumpkin Banana Muffins

I always like to use up ingredients, produce and refrigerated items I have so I don’t have to throw them away. Two ingredients I had were 2 very ripe bananas and about a cup of a can of pumpkin puree. I enjoy baking so I wanted to make a healthy, baked good.
I merged a few of my go-to recipes together and I created this. This is a perfect to-go recipe and it makes two dozen muffins, so therefore PLENTY to freeze for later. If I know I’m going to have a busy morning, I’ll take out a little freezer bag from the freezer with several frozen muffins inside so it can thaw overnight. In the morning I’ll just heat up a couple in the microwave for a moment, and sometimes I’ll add a little peanut butter or nut butter.  
This recipe has some major power houses: almond flour. oats, pumpkin, cinnamon, bananas and walnuts. It’s a win win for health and they are good too. 
Ingredients:
2 c. almond flour
3/4 c. steel cut, quick oats
1/4 c. quick oats
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. fine sea salt
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped (optional, but encouraged)
1/2 c. chocolate chips (optional, but encouraged- because CHOCOLATE. 
I used 70% cocoa chocolate chips)
3 eggs, beaten
1 c. pumpkin puree
1-2 mashed bananas
6 T melted unsalted butter
1/2 c. maple syrup
1 t. vanilla extract
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with liners.
One one bowl, mix together the almond flour, all oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt, walnuts, and chocolate chips.
In another bowl, mix together eggs, pumpkin, bananas, butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.
Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. It’ll be a thicker consistency. Fill muffin liners 3/4 full and bake for 25 (or 30) minutes.

November 27, 2016

Recipe: White Chicken Powerhouse Chili

If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know that I will use a recipe once and then I’ll go off onto my own beaten path and create my own version of it. I will likely taste it along the way and add ingredients or spices to adjust it accordingly.
This recipe, however, came from the origination of me and whatever I had on hand. No recipe, even from memory, to recall from memory and guide my ingredients.
My kids LOVED this too. It was a family meal after we drove to a Christmas tree farm and cut down a tree, then decorated the house- inside and outside- for Christmas, and naturally watched some football. So basically it was an easy and healthy crock pot dinner after having the best day ever.
Ingredients:
1 lbs. uncooked, raw skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 small can of diced tomatoes
1-2 chicken low sodium bouillon cubes (*your preference. I added one in the beginning, then after tasting it I added another one)
1 T. oregano
3 c. water
1/2 c. red onion, chopped
3/4 t. minced garlic
1 can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2-2 cups of brown rice or quinoa- already cooked. (I used a quinoa, rice and flax seed blend found HERE– just dump the package in)
Directions:
Start with the chicken first, but put everything into the crock pot (*depending how many bouillon cubes you start with). Cook on high for 3 hrs or 6-7 hours on low. 30 minutes before serving, shred the chicken and return it to the pot.
Optional: Sprinkle with cheese and/or a dollop of sour cream
So good. I even had it the next day for lunch. Enjoy!
November 26, 2016

The Nutritious Life: “The Healthiest Grain -free Morning Glory Muffins”

I really enjoy baking. But that doesn’t mean I have to give up an interest in baking if I also want to eat healthy! If anything, I feel even better when I bake because I know I’m creating items that can fuel my body with wholesome foods. I typically explore grain free recipes, sometimes gluten free recipes by accident, and many many recipes that are free of refined sugars. Grain free and refined sugar free recipes are most common for me.

So this recipe was excellent. If you don’t follow Keri from Nutritious Life, you should. She’s knowledgeable, passionate, and she continues to grow as an entrepreneur.

You can find the recipe HERE. It’s grain free with the use of pumpkin, coconut, and almond flour. They were moist and delicious. And my kids liked them when they came right out of the oven. I ate them for days.

The one adjustment I would make would be to use my food processor for the coconut to make the coconut a little smaller- just personal preference, not a deal breaker. I subbed craisins for raisins too.

Don’t they look pretty? I also added mini chocolate chips on top because, umm, I wanted to. 
These are really good- you should try them. 
And Keri- keep up the great work!!
November 10, 2016

Momentum is a Driving Force

I’ve been having a lot of conversations with others lately about the power of momentum. When it is in your favor, watch out- you are in the drivers seat cruisin’ down the highway. It’s when you are driving your car and eventually the wind starts pushing your car (and save some gas). And when you go through hills and valleys- the momentum helps push you up that hill and gather speed on your way down (which will help you on your next hill too).  
Image result for momentum quotes
It is that unexplainable movement that pushes you further. 
But there are two key facets to momentum: 
Consistency and greater evolving goals. 
Consistency is typically the harder of the two, because it takes the daily ACTION of behavior. The development of a routine- even if it’s small. It’s hard. It can be boring, and not really that sexy. Sometimes if we don’t see quick results of our hard work, we get discouraged. But we all KNOW that consistency (not necessarily speed) succeeds. Because it’s the hard work. The extra mile. It’s more likely for the slow and steady to win the race- even if it’s just baby steps. Each step- consistently- starts to create momentum.
Creating and establishing greater goals as your momentum evolves and grows is key. The goals will evolve over time and will likely adjust according to your preferences, interests, and growth. They may develop to be different than your original intentions. But it’s hard to evolve your goals if there is no consistency in the first place. 
Many times I talk with individuals to identify HOW to get started and how to develop these routines of consistency. Because motivation is key, however motivation when linked to emotions and feelings, can be fleeting. You don’t feel motivated one day, or you don’t feel inspired. But when your consistency is linked to routines– it takes the emotional part out of the equation. It’s just like brushing your teeth (a normal routine- not really linked to emotions) you don’t even think about- but you do it.
So identify what small daily steps you can do in order to create momentum to reach your first goal.
You can do this- start small and be consistent. Momentum will come. It will evolve.
November 4, 2016

How the Food You Eat Affects Your Brain

I love food. And I love how food impacts our health and bodies which we have control. I believe that food can change us, at times- cure us, and heal us. But when I found this video, I wanted to share it with you because it’s another way which details about how food affects our brain, our mood, and our sleep. But it may also serve as a great reminder too. This video reiterates the facts that the food we eat impacts all aspects of our wellness. It.is.THAT.powerful.
It’s another way to prove and showcase the importance of eating lots of greens, some fruits, and complex carbs and lean proteins. There can be balance in a nutritional diet, and ideally stricter diets if trying to lose weight, reach health goals to impact your lipid profile or cholesterol, reach athletic goals.  
Our perception of our nutrition habits can be misleading or off. The best way to identify the details of nutrition is to track your food. You could certainly do it with pen and paper, but honestly the tools online to use e-trackers make it fool proof. MyFitnessPal is very popular and rather user-friendly. But food logs or food journals are the first step to identifying nutritional gaps in your diet.
*Let’s also mention that many times we think we already know what we are eating- how much, what quantities, and what’s appropriate for us right now.  But our nutritional needs change and vary based on our activity, age, special circumstances (pregnancy, illness, healthy goal setting, etc), and therefore doing a food log is actually helpful for awareness and adjustments. 
Are you eating enough?
Is is quality food to benefit your body and brain?
How are your other aspects of wellness (mood, emotions, sleep, intellectual, etc) affected lately?
Changes in our nutritional diet can make big differences when it tailored to our needs. Not everyone is the same as we each may need certain tweaks for our needs, but the basis is the same and this video highlights that well. 
So routinely enjoy more nutrient rich greens, juicy fruits with fiber, and lean proteins. You’ll feel fuller longer, giving your body and brain the nutrients is needs and deserves, and your mood and sleep will reap the benefits along the way. 

October 23, 2016

What is the Role of a Wellness Coach?

After working with hundreds thousands of individuals over the last five years (wow- that’s crazy to type that) at my last job in order to orchestrate plans towards more health-focused behaviors, I’m now venturing into working with others on my own. My own business, per se. 
I have found that going out on my own to help others change behaviors needs a title. Right now the University of South Dakota (USD) has contracted me as their (lead) Wellness Coach at their Wellness Center {link}. That’s my title but I have found that “wellness coach” can be confusing to people. And I understand that. There can also be misconceptions to the title. But the role of a wellness coach is to provide support, guidance, accountability, and insight to others reaching new health goals. 
Image result for health
The goals can range from reducing percent of body fat, finding life balance in a busy schedule, overcoming stress, gaining clarity in occupational career goals, etc. I’ve worked with so many individuals that there are very few topics that I have not addressed with clients/individuals. However there are times when referrals are made to mental health professionals or etc, when needed. But I have found that many individuals are in need of guidance, accountability, and insight from someone who is experienced, trustworthy, and aware of their abilities and limitations (note- this is really key. Do your research and find out the experience and background of who you work with). 
We all need support and guidance in making health changes, especially when it comes to our behavior, which, is usually the hardest to change and is the most important. As much as I help others, I need key individuals to help me too otherwise I become stagnant and uninspired and ineffective. 
After less than 8 weeks at USD, I am working with individuals who desire to lose weight, learn how to better manage the stress of work/life/parent roles, reduce percentage of body fat, and seek additional ways to nutritionally fuel and nourish their bodies (and therefore, their families bodies) with delicious foods that don’t take a long time to prep or purchase. These are all different health goals and desires (and really, just a glimpse of examples) of how I’m helping others improve their health as their Wellness Coach.  
Not only am I working with individuals at USD, but I have started serving as a Wellness Consultant to local businesses and providing health and wellness presentations, employee wellness initiatives, health and wellness programming and communication initiatives, along with one-on-one consultations to employees, at companies who desire a healthier workplace. Research shows that businesses who prioritize, support and encourage employee health and wellness experience higher morale and productivity, reduced sick days, and healthier and happier employees.  
What areas in your life are you looking to gain more strides towards health? 
Consider a Wellness Coach. Do your research and identify what would be a good fit for you. It may serve as a good starting place to identify next steps. And who knows, there’s a chance you make other gains/strides in other unexpected areas in your life too.
Until next time…
In health, 
Laura 
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