Hello, August! Yes, it is a few days into the month already, but I am so excited to bring you this new monthly health email! I hope to provide a few resources, a little motivation, and some tools to progress our health journeys together!
This month, we’ll be focusing on the overarching theme: “Small Steps”.
My view on health from my health education teaching days is holistic, meaning focused on our lives as a whole instead of just the physical dimension. We’ll look at our physical, mental, social, spiritual, environmental, and intellectual health, and I have a mini challenge for you in each of them!
I have included a few goodies for you at the end:
**If you are a skimmer and are like yada, yada, get to the point, Jess! I have a specific “cliff notes” sheet/outline included for you, so you can get to the meat of it right away!
-For those of you who enjoy a bit more in-depth knowledge, read on and use that sheet as a reminder or outline you can refer back to when you’re working on your health throughout the month.
-I have included my monthly meal plan (many of these recipes are on my Instagram- @wholeehealthy and Facebook- Wholee Healthy- Holistic Health coach Jess)! I have highlighted a few dinners, desserts, and snacks for you to try out this month as well!
-Lastly, I’ve included a worksheet for you to use as you complete your mini challenges- writing it down helps you accomplish things!
And now, let’s dive into Nutrition (Physical Health)…
Raise your hand if you’ve ever jumped into a nutrition program wholeheartedly only to crash and burn within the first two weeks! 🙋♀️🙋♀️🙋♀️
I know I have! And I always blame the program… 🤦.
But, let’s actually look at the root of this problem: when we make drastic changes, we’re much more likely to quit. Why? Because our brain is overloaded. It likes routine. Simple. The caveman in us wants all status quo all the time because it is programmed to do this for survival.
How do we combat this predisposition? Gradual change.
Yes. I’m on an eating plan now. But, no. I was not successful with it the first few times I tried going all in right away. The reason I am successful with it now is because I eased into it.
The hardest thing for me (and I’m guessing the majority of people) was eating more veggies, so that’s where I started. I eat 4 cups every day. At the beginning I was around 2 cups. So, first I upped it to 3, and then, when that felt comfortable, 4.
That brings us to this month’s challenge: up your veggies by 1 cup every day! A side salad. A snack pack of carrots with hummus. A few microwaved frozen veggies. An extra serving of roasted veggies with dinner. You got this!
How do we apply this to our concept: “small steps”? When we are consistent in small things, we gain confidence when we are successful in maintaining even the smallest of habits! This encourages us to continue, take the next small step, and, in the end, reach our goals!
Another facet of physical health? Exercise!
“Ahh I’m so tired.” “I had a stressful day.” “My back hurts.” “I’m too busy.” “I should really do housework instead.”… These excuses look familiar? Once again, our caveman brains are fighting that routine change of exercising.
In fact, are you sometimes impressed with what you’re willing to do when it offers an excuse to skip a workout? “Clean the toilet? Yes! That needs to happen immediately! I cannot wait!”
Instead of thinking of excuses and other things to do, let’s focus instead on that amazing feeling of being done with a workout!
How do you feel? Accomplished. Proud. Fit. Focused. Happy. Strong. Motivated. Any others that come to mind?
The challenge: pick the feeling you like most about finishing a workout and use it as your motivation to start your exercise session each day.
How does this fit into our monthly theme? This small attitude tweak can have a big impact! Not only will we have more motivation, but we’ll continue to be prouder of ourselves with each completed workout. The better we feel and the more we focus on those good feelings, the more likely we are to continue!
Ready, set, think of those good feelings, and get moving!
Speaking of feelings, Mental Health is next!
Ever watched a completely awful reality tv show and felt like a worse person? How about hung out with a negative friend and felt completely drained and down afterward? Or one of the most common: watch the news way too much and feel overwhelmed and like you are taking on problems that are not your own? That is because everything we surround ourselves with affects us! In fact, every message we put into our brains contributes to the feelings/words/actions that will come out of us!
Think you’re made of steel and this is not the case for you?! Or maybe feeling this is so true for you and you need more positivity around you!? Then, take the challenge: 5 or more minutes a day of positive, inspirational content (or tack on 5 more minutes if you are already doing this!). You get to choose where it comes from- a podcast, an online sermon, devotional book, personal growth book, hanging out with positive friends or chatting with them… you choose!
This SMALL STEP (concept) will give you at least one source of positivity and hopefully encourage you to surround yourself with more and more positivity- and maybe even be a more positive light yourself!
Not only do the words and attitudes we surround ourselves with affect us, but our physical surroundings, or Environmental Health, affect us just as much!
“Ugh… I still have to do the dishes.” “The mail is stacking up, and I just cleaned the kitchen table this weekend!” “Ahh how did this basket of things to bring upstairs fill up so quickly?”
We all have those target areas in our homes where things tend to pile up. And how does it feel? Stressful! It may not be constantly on our mind, but that space gives us anxiety every time we look at it… So, this month, we’re going to do something about it!
The challenge: Pick an area you can improve in your home this month, brainstorm a solution and make it happen!
It could be a new mail system, a new shoe rack, a chore chart, a cleaning schedule, a note on your fifth stair telling you to take things upstairs, or even just a conversation with family members to communicate new expectations (and then a phone reminder to remind them 3 days, 7 days, and 10 days later… and so on…). It should be simple, quick, but effective!
How does this fit into our overarching concept? When we solve small, but persistent issues that nag at us, it relieves a small portion of our stress, leaves us feeling accomplished, and motivates us to keep making changes for the better!
And when we change for the better, it aligns more with who we want to be in life (Spiritual Health)!
How often do we just sit around and ponder how aligned the lives we’re leading are with our life goals? If you do, you are way ahead of the rest of us!
It is so easy to get sucked into the day to day hustle and bustle without thinking about our actions and words and tedious little things we do and how they play into the big picture of who we are becoming as people!
Does this have to be a long, drawn out, come to Jesus epiphany every time? Nope. It just needs to be reflection, learning, and planning for how you can do better in the future.
The challenge: Set aside time on a regular basis to realign yourself with who you want to be. You pick how often and what your reflection will look like.
Maybe you sit down on Sunday nights and reflect on your past week, write a few things you are proud of, a few you’d like to improve, and then plan how you can continue the things you’re proud of and improve those you aren’t. Make it a measurable solution so you can look back the next week to see how you did!
How does this fit with our concept of the month? Putting in a little time on a concept this big will have a huge impact! Taking a pause to realign is a life hack that keeps us on the path to becoming the human beings we want to be.
There are other ways we can be good human beings in our Social Health dimension…
“That is so cool that they’re doing local service projects.” “I should really look into volunteering.” “I really should donate to that cause my friend on Facebook posted a GoFundMe for.”
It’s so easy to sit on the sidelines and feel like we’re doing something just by appreciating the good we see happening around us. It is easier and more comfortable to support by applauding and noticing than actually getting our hands dirty and getting in the mix personally!
We all want to be a part of communities full of generosity and love, but are we ready to actually take on the responsibility of creating it… or at least contributing to it?
The challenge: Pick a way to give to your community— and do it! (above and beyond what you already may be doing)
Donate, volunteer, do a service project, pay a stranger’s drive-through bill, call in and pay a random water bill that is overdue, give a homeless person a warm meal or cold drink… be a compassionate human being when you feel that tug at your heartstrings!
The concept tie-in? When we give to our community in a small, positive way, we may not feel the ripple effect directly from other community members, but we’ll know that we helped and feel that we are a part of a community in more than just location!
Now, we venture into the exciting stuff- Intellectual Health!
When’s the last time you broke out the ole’ trombone? Painted a picture? Climbed a mountain? Read a novel? Planted flowers? Put together a photo album?
It can be the last thing we actually want to take time for because it is hard to fit it into the schedule, but sparking our minds in new (and fun) ways lifts our spirits, revives us, and will do a world of good more than clicking that tv on to relax!
The challenge? Pick a hobby and give yourself a project to create this month! (it needs to be new and outside of what you currently do!)
Go on a few walks to get back into it and then go on a hike again at the end of the month! Plant a flower pot and tend to it. Start playing piano again and aim to play 2 times a week. Read an entire book.
Our concept? A small change sparks your brain and gets you excited and revived in a new way!
So many challenges and so little time!! I can’t do all of this!
Social media. TV. Gaming. Do any of these? Know what I’m going to say? Yep. Take a few minutes out of the mindless stuff to improve your life. Tough love? Maybe. But, what you put into your life is what you’ll get out of it!
If it’s too much to take on all of the challenges, start with one and go from there… Small Steps!
Wait a minute! I almost forgot this month’s **HEALTH HACK**!! When you are trying to establish a few of these new habits, a great tool is “habit stacking”.
This is a proven habit “hack” that helps you to establish new habits by tacking them onto already existing ones. Maybe you want to start flossing? Do it right after you brush your teeth! Maybe you want to start going on evening walks? Do it right after you finish the dinner dishes. Include daily prayer? Do it in your shower each morning. Listen to a podcast? Put it on while you drive to work.
This is a tactic that fight’s our brain’s pull to stay at status quo. Remember every time we change something, our brain goes into overdrive, trying to pull us back to the routine it knows because this is how it keeps us safe… But, if we stack a new habit with one our brain is already okay with, it fights less because it falls into line with a routine it is already comfortable with.
We are also more likely to stick with a habit that we stack because we remember more easily and naturally adopt it as a part of our routine faster!
Let me know what you’re up to this month! I am excited to see how you are personally taking on this challenge!
This meatball recipe is borrowed from Beachbody’s Fixate show. It includes tons of recipes that all are made from quality and healthy ingredients! This one is a definite family favorite. Enjoy!
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound lean turkey burger
2 large eggs
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
2 TBSP grated parmesan parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 425°.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine bread crumbs and almond milk in small bowl and set aside for 10 min.
Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat.
Add onion and cook until translucent- 5-6 minutes.
Add garlic and cook for 1 min.
Combine onion mixture, bread crumb mixture, and all remaining ingredients in large bowl and mix with spoon or hands for best results.
Form about 25 meatballs, 1″ round with clean hands on baking sheet.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or until browned and cooked through.
Mushroom lovers, prepare yourselves… For Portabella Mushroom Pizza!
6 portabella mushrooms
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz can pizza sauce
1 package turkey pepperoni
1 lb Italian sausage
1 cup shredded cheese of choice
Heat oven to 425°
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Wash mushrooms and remove gills.
Place cap side up on baking sheet and brush with olive oil and top with light dusting of salt and pepper.
Bake for 10 minutes
Meanwhile, heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat.
Saute onions until translucent 5-6 minutes.
Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Heat another pan and brown Italian sausage.
When mushrooms are done, flip them to cap side down and divide onion mixture evenly between pizzas.
Spoon pizza sauce in next.
Add sausage, pepperoni, and top with cheese.
Bake for additional 10 minutes.
Remove from pan and allow to cool at least 10 minutes before eating.
Store in refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Tis the season for cold brew! ☕🧊
I have shared our method for cold brew before but we’ve made a few adjustments that make it more simple, so I’ll start with that. The simplest containers to measure are quart mason jars! We add:
80g course ground coffee
Water to the top (about 3.5 cups)
Let sit for 18-24 hours
Filter with coffee pot filter into another quart jar
Add water to top (.5-1 cup)
I usually just add thick oat milk and ice, but Joel concocted a salted caramel recipe this year that is delicious!
To make it into a salted caramel or vanilla latte, combine:
3/4 cup coffee
1/4 cup milk, half-n-half, or oat milk of choice
1 TBSP maple syrup
1 pinch coarse ground salt
1 splash of carmel or vanilla extract
About 1 cup of ice
(Keep in mind, we like our coffee strong, so you may want to play around with what water ratio works for you in the cold brew process.)
Enjoy your caffeine fix!
They may not bring you as much energy as this little monster has, but these Monster Cookie Energy Balls are pretty delicious!
All you do is mix them up, refrigerate them for about a half hour if they’re sticky, and then form them into balls!
2 cups: Oatmeal, old fashioned
1/2 cup: Honey or agave
1/2 cup: Peanut or nut butter
1/4 cup: Hemp seeds or ground flax seed (I did half flax, half chia)
1/2 cup: mini M&Ms
1/2 cup: finely shredded unsweetened coconut
These are a great snack or dessert!
The Kociemba crew is loving these cookies and the monster theme lately… We may have a couple little monsters in our house! Plus their parents appreciate a little something sweet to go with the copious amounts of cold brew they need to consume to keep up with them!
This recipe isn’t the healthiest I’ll share, but a definite improvement to a typical cookie recipe if you’re looking to make something sweet without it being too unhealthy.
1 cup natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
2/3 cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup M&M’s (we didn’t have any so doubled or, fine, maybe tripled the chocolate chips and added sprinkles)
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling on top
✅Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
✅In a mixing bowl, mix together the peanut butter, melted butter, coconut sugar, vanilla and eggs. Add in the oats, baking soda, chocolate chips and M&M’s and stir to combine.
✅Scoop the dough into balls and place on the baking sheet 3 inches apart (these cookies spread quite a bit). Gently press the cookies down to flatten if you want thinner cookies. Place a few extra chocolate chips and M&M’s on top of the cookies and sprinkle with sea salt. (It only makes 12 but they are large cookies and cutting the size in half would make cookies that are a great size for kids
✅Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown. They may look slightly underdone but they will continue to bake one they’re removed from the oven. Let them sit for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
✅Enjoy from a sealed container for up to a week!
Wholee Healthy news:
I am a one-on-one health coach and am in a busy season of life, but take on 1 new client a month. There is a space available to begin in September, so email me at this address or check out: wholeehealthy.com for more information! The basic program:
- After an in-depth survey, we form goals for you
- We break these goals into manageable, bite-sized, weekly tasks
- We have brief weekly check-ins and monthly one-on-one deep dive chats where we change things up or progress goals as needed
- I’m here for you for troubleshooting, support, and tools whenever you need!
(I am a Beachbody coach and would love to work with you on your nutrition and exercise goals if you think Beachbody is right for you- it has been a game changer for me, as it’s taking the guesswork out of eating and workout programs completely and trained personal trainers and nutritionists form every program!)
- Bikes are coming to Beachbody!
- BODi live classes are coming soon!
- An Intermittent Fasting meal guide is here
- Two new workout programs- 645 (lifting and cardio) and Let’s Get Up (dance)
- A new flavor of Shakeology superfood shakes (cookies and cream!)
Follow Me on Social Media!
Have a great month, and stay healthy!
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.”Mahatma Gandhi