Holiday Meal Swaps

There are a lot of holiday dinners from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. Studies show that the average person gains 7 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas, WOW! It’s cool to spend time with family and friends making memories, but you do not to give up on the goals you have been working on. A healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to be a hermit, you just need to know how to modify your meals. While you are making lifestyle changes, know that your meals can taste great and be even healthier if you swap out old standbys for some healthy recipes.

Here are a few to get you on the right track.

French Onion Dip

Appetizers are often the first course of the evening. Consider veggies instead of chips!


You don’t need to miss them or smother them with butter. Here are two great additions to the menu.

Green Beans with Lemon and ThymeRosemary Roasted Yams

Mashed potatoes can have a substitute with Roasted Cauliflower Mash!

Can’t forget the gravy! Try this Simple Gravy

Nothing says the holidays more than sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie. These recipes will be excellent additions to your meals.

Pecan and Sweet Potato Pie

Pumpkin Pie with Walnut Crust

Consider these alternatives. You may have some new favorites and some requests for your recipes.

Try adding a bit of healthy eating during the holidays as much as possible!  Remember it’s not what you do every now and then that causes adverse effects, its the daily malpractice.  So enjoy in moderation.

Until next time,

Nicole, your healthy lifestyle partner.

Fighting Inflammation

Inflammation like stress in small “controlled” conditions are actually good for the body.  It’s like exercise when we exercise we put our bodies under stress (a controlled stress); but when your body doesn’t know when to shut it down that’s when things can go haywire and start to fight something that’s not there which means your body starts to fight itself.

Most people will notice a mood change/fatigue initially or elevated blood pressure.   Fatigue can also set in fast when you have an immune system that is chronically over excited which is more like an adrenal rush which leads to adrenal fatigue.

Because everyone is different we know that inflammation can be triggered by different situations like too much exercise to no exercise, an unhealthy diet, or unaddressed stressful situations.  I know my inflammation went diagnosed because I not only ignored it, but I was what I call an intense person, I thrived under stressful situations I thought it pushed me to do more.  You know the saying Oh I work well under pressure, or oh pressure makes me work harder.  Well the pressure was doing so much damage that my body was breaking down on the inside.  So much so that when after a car accident that wasn’t major at all sent my body on a downward spiral because my system was already exhausted from fighting itself trying to get me in balance.

Here are a few tricks that can help with Inflammation

1. Eat More Leafy Greens

Whole-food plant-based diets are becoming more popular.  It is often called Vegetarian or some people go full Vegan. This eating lifestyle is when most of your meal is focused on plants and food made from plants rather than meat being the main focus.

If you are like me and you still enjoy at least one meal a day with chicken or fish another way to eat more leafy greens and other veggies is to have a smoothie.  Fresh is best but there are some amazing dried green options out there.  Bottom line is…..Eat more greens!

2. Gut Health

Probiotics are bacteria that line your digestive tract and support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection which mean they can have a positive impact and reduce the symptoms of heart inflammation. Try to add a daily dose of  fermented foods to your day like yogurt, pickles,miso, sour dough bread, kimchi, or sauerkraut.

You can also get supplements with all different types of probiotics.  The thing you want to look for is “live and active cultures”.  I use Ultimate Flora  I recommend you do a cycle of probiotics then take a break 10-14 days and cycle again.

3. Low Impact Fitness Time

Stretching, yoga, or walking can reduce your stress which can help to decrease your inflammation. Doing a low impact workout daily does make a difference.  Take a look at my online yoga retreat complete with a meal plan to help you along the way.

4. Laugh and Smile

There is some truth to the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Have fun with friends,  conversations, and social interaction has been known to release endorphins which are your body’s natural feel good chemical. Research shows that laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, which improves your resistance to disease.  Having positive social contact each day can be a powerful anti-inflammatory.

You can work on fighting inflammation with these 4 healthy habits that are both good for you and beneficial.

Until Next time,

Nicole, your healthy LYFEstyle Coach

Want personalized tips, schedule your one on one break through session 

Cheese Please

In honor of Grilled Cheese Day, I thought I would write this.

Who doesn’t remember enjoying a grilled cheese sandwich, mac & cheese at Sunday dinner, or how about the blue box mac n cheese that the kids love and give me anything parmesan. I mean if you messed up a meal all you have to do is sprinkle some cheese on it and everything was well with the world.

But then there’s the person who starts to notice constipation, sniffles here and there and high cholesterol levels. You grow up and realize the blue box man n cheese didn’t even contain cheese (yikes)

Yep that was me from one phase to the next. For a while I would say I’m going to give up dairy. But who else knows once you say you’re going to give something up that’s all you think about? I listened to the stories of people saying how hard it was to give up cheese. My friend told me she could teach me how to make macaroni and tease. It just didn’t sound right so I turned that down, thanks Cherie. But the reality of it was, it wasn’t hard.

I just stopped thinking about giving up dairy. I decided to focus on my health. I changed how I was cooking and eventually the cheese was out. One day my son wanted to make a quesadilla and said, “hey mom where’s the cheese?” I replied with “We don’t have any.”  After a few gripes and a oh yeah we haven’t had cheese in a while huh, that was that and a small victory was won.

You see because of my health concerns the decision to change started. I created meal plans and dishes that didn’t include dairy, because I decided I wasn’t going to buy cheese anymore. I decided to find different meals; meals with meaning. Meals that work with your body to reverse the damage from years of recipes that we ate out of habit to be honest. And some of the bad eating was due to misleading marketing, and maybe out of emotion seeking just for comfort 😉

Shortly after that I stopped buying milk. Yep, I just didn’t buy it. The kids would ask where’s the milk and I said it’s in there. Almond milk! That’s nuts!  I’m sure they wanted to say I was nuts LOL.  They complained at first because it wasn’t the same but slowly they weren’t either. Their taste buds started to change and they felt different.

My son noticed that his seasonal allergies didn’t flare up as often. My nasal congestion had died down to little to none and my youngest son’s yearlong eczema bouts diminished.

Now don’t get me wrong when we dine out if they decide they want a quesadilla or nachos they get it. If I forget to remind the waitress no cheese on my beans or salad I just avoid it as much as possible if I’m not in the mood for having them take it back because I forgot to mention it.

Now I share my dairy free meals in my Jumpstart plans. Delicious meals that you will forget that you are cutting out dairy.

If you aren’t ready to give up cheese but want to try healthier versions click the image below for three cheese macaroni casserole or try the recipe using daiya.


If you know someone who suffers with post nasal drip, allergies, or simply want to give up dairy hit me up or share this post with them because sharing is caring.

Until Next Time My Good People,

Nicole, Your Online Health Coach/C.H.A.N.G.E. Agent