Something Special

Registration is now open for my Discover Your Strengths to Achieve Your Goals 6 week live workshop, and there is still time to grab the very low investment price of $197.00.

And – because this is a special time of year with graduations and Mother’s Day right around the corner, I’m extending the $197.00 through May 17th for any high school or college graduate, or for Mom so …….if this is for someone special who falls into either category, just mention that at the time of registration and the lower investment price will apply!

This workshop is designed to jump start anyone’s transition to a new chapter in life, and is perfect for a graduate or someone who is wondering what life will look like after that graduate heads off into the world! (That was me several years ago – I remember all too well wondering exactly that as my son headed off to college!)

This class supports you in:

•Identifying your top strengths and talents and learning how to use them to move toward goals.

•Discovering the blocks that might be preventing you from moving forward, and helping you learn how to overcome them.

•Learning how to create more of what you want in life and less of what you don’t want.

•Learning practical tools and strategies that can help develop a focused, strengths-based approach to making positive choices in life.

•Creating a vision and step-by-step plan to achieve your most important priorities.

•As an added bonus, I am also offering a 30 minute private coaching strategy session to all participants.

I would love to have you join me! Thursdays, for six weeks, beginning Thursday, May 17th, in Evergreen, from 5:00 – 6:15 p.m. Space is limited and advance registration is required.

Here’s what participants have said about Discovering Your Strengths to Achieve Your Goals:

“Suzanne’s ‘Discovering Your Strengths’ class was one of the best and most practical classes I’ve ever taken….and I’ve taken a lot of classes.” R.E., Evergreen, CO

“I attended Suzanne’s class ‘Discovering your Strengths’ and I was amazed at how much I discovered about myself. Suzanne taught me what my strengths were and how to use them in my daily life. I found the class uplifting and fulfilling. I was shown characteristics that I was aware of, and unaware of, and learned how to use them. I walked away from the class with a new insight, and with knowledge of how to use the powers I was born with.” T.B., Conifer, CO

The Healthy Kitchen – Ten Essentials

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If you are serious about your health, you should pay thoughtful attention to transforming your kitchen from a glorified snack counter into what I like to call The Healthy Kitchen. There are a whole list of things that could be found in a healthy kitchen, but I’ve narrowed my list down to ten to make things manageable.

Before I list my ten essentials, I want to encourage you to take a block of time and really take stock of what is in your kitchen. Chances are you know when something on your pantry shelf should get the heave ho and what should stay.

And please don’t tell yourself you’ll just put that bag of orange-y chips up on the top shelf where it will be out of sight. The next time you’re frustrated or upset over something, those chips may be out of sight, but they won’t be out of mind, and you may find yourself eating three fourths of the bag in one sitting before you regain control. Do yourself a favor. Take an honest inventory of what you have and get rid of the things you know aren’t good for you.

Now let’s look at what I consider the Ten Essentials for a healthy kitchen.

One – Proper Equipment

You might be surprised that I’m not starting out with a list of foods, but proper equipment is so important to enjoyable cooking. If you are frustrated by not having the right equipment, your kitchen experience will be less than enjoyable. And the right equipment doesn’t necessarily mean expensive either.

I’m referring to the basics: a good chef’s knife that will hold a sharp edge, a food processor with multiple blades, a good stainless steel stockpot, a Dutch oven and (my own preference,) a large  cast iron skillet. Your choices may vary, but the point is to have good equipment you’ll love to use.

Two – Recipes

Recipes may seem like a no brainer, with everything you can find on the internet, but many of these recipes are laden with heavy fats and unhealthy ingredients. You can’t go wrong with respected chef and internationally known food writer Mark Bittman’s books, which include How to Cook Everything, How to Cook Everything: The Basics, and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

Three – Pure Water

Good water can affect the flavor of food and beverages more than you might think. And please avoid bottled water, which leaches chemicals from the plastic containers in which it is stored. A good water filter brand to install at the kitchen tap is Aquasana or purchase a pitcher type filter, such as Pur or Brita.

Four – Spices

Variety really is the spice of life and spices add so much flavor and variety to your food. Spices I just can’t do without are bay leaves, rosemary, basil, dill, oregano, fresh ground black pepper and sea salt. And don’t get me started on fresh garlic, as it deserves a category all its own.

Five – Oils

In spite of all the rage over coconut oil, my mainstay oil is extra virgin olive oil. I use it to make a quick salad dressing with some good quality vinegar, drizzled over over steamed or roasted vegetables or for lightly sautéing.

Six – Nuts

Nuts can be great as they contain healthy fatty acids and are so versatile. I love keeping shelled walnuts and pecans on hand at all times. Store in your refrigerator in a sealed bag for longer shelf life.

Seven – Lemons

A squeeze of tart lemon juice can add just the right note to dressings and vegetables. And warm water and lemon is a great way to jump start your day when you drink it in the morning.   

Eight – Vegetables

I’m not sure you can eat too many vegetables, especially when they are of the green, ‘above the ground’ variety. Kale, spinach, crunchy Romaine lettuce, green or purple cabbage, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, collards, turnip greens, beet greens and more all have their charms. Again, Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is a great resource.

Nine – Grass Fed Butter

Yes, butter! Fats get a really bad rap but there are some healthy fats.  I am not talking about slathering butter on everything but having it in moderation. When you do eat butter, choose a butter made from the milk of grass fed cows, as it is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Kerry Gold Irish Butter is a good brand and can be found in most supermarkets.

Ten – The Cook

Lastly, you bring yourself into the healthy kitchen. I encourage you to bring your enthusiasm, curiosity and willingness to experiment. Have fun with your cooking. It is truly satisfying to plan a meal, buy fresh ingredients for it, and prepare and serve it to your family or friends.

Customize this list by adding your own essentials to it and enjoy meals in your new, healthy kitchen!

I love to hear from you so please share any thoughts or comment below.

Ready for the Next Level?

Do you use your innate strengths and talents to achieve your aims? Do you even know what they are? Most people don’t! All of us have gifts – special abilities and assets that we were either born with or have developed over time.

Join me for a 6 week live workshop to uncover your unique Signature Strengths! Every Thursday, for six weeks, beginning Thursday, May 17th – Discovering Your Strengths to Achieve Your Goals, at 5:00 – 6:15 p.m., 32065 Castle Court, Suite 325, Evergreen, CO 80439. In this workshop you will:

•Identify your top strengths and talents and learn how to use them to move you toward your goals.

•Discover the blocks that might be preventing you from moving forward, and how to overcome them.

•Learn how to create more of what you want in your life and less of what you don’t want.

•Learn practical tools and strategies that can help you develop a focused, strengths-based approach to making positive choices in your life.

•Create a vision and a step-by-step plan to achieve your most important priorities.

•As an added bonus, I am also offering a 30 minute private coaching strategy session to all participants.

For the month of April only, I am offering this workshop at the very low investment of $197.00. The price for this workshop will be $247.00 after May 1st, so please book your space now. Space is limited to 8 participants, and advance registration is required.

If you prefer, you can also register by mailing a check payable to: Evergreen Life and Wellness Coaching, P.O. Box 206, Evergreen, Colorado, 80437. Please note that registration will close at a maximum of 8 participants and register early to secure your spot!

And don’t forget that I am always available for a complimentary coaching consultation by appointment, and welcome the opportunity to talk to you about your goals and concerns.

If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact suzanne@evergreenlifeandwellness.com or call: 303.670.7863.

A New Spin on Achieving balance

Having a balanced life, one in which your energies are relatively evenly divided among work, play and emotional and spiritual sustenance is hugely important. But today I want to talk briefly about another sort of balance that is equally crucial to develop.

I’m referring to physical balance and agility, which is the ability to move quickly and easily and to recognize and maintain your body position in relation to other objects or persons. As we age, physical balance and agility start to decline and with that decline comes a real risk to your health and well being.

You may think, like many people, that declining balance is only a problem with the elderly, as this increases the risk of serious falls and subsequent hip fractures or even a head injury. But, as it turns out, your balance, along with strength, muscle mass and agility, starts to decline at midlife!

Try this simple test. Get out a stopwatch (you likely have one on your smartphone) or a watch and time yourself for a full 60 seconds as you try to stand balanced on one foot. Go ahead and do that now, note your results, then come back and read the rest of this article.

If you didn’t make it to 60 seconds, don’t feel too bad. A recent study in the The Journals of Gerontology found that while people who were in their thirties or forties had an average time close to a minute when they were tested, people in their 50’s were able to stand balanced on one foot for only 45 seconds. And those over 50 fared worse. People in their 60’s made it 40 seconds, people in their 70’s stood for 27 seconds on average and for those 80 and over, only 12 seconds.

Your balance is a result of a very complicated mix of factors, including inner ear functioning, strength, vision, flexibility, touch and even mental functioning. Here are some simple tips to improve your balance and reduce your risk of future problems. Note: if you have balance problems or have already fallen, please consult with your qualified medical practitioner before trying any of these.

One – As in the balance test above, practice standing on one foot while striving to increase your duration. You can do this while standing in line or while at home washing the dishes. As you build up your capacity, try closing your eyes. You may want to start by holding on to the back of a chair for support.

Two – Walk a virtual balance beam by doing heel to toe walking in a straight line.

Three – When you get out of a chair, try not to use your hands.

Four – Consider taking up tai chi and/or yoga, both of which have been shown to improve balance.

Here’s to a more balanced life!

I love to hear from you so please share any thoughts or comment below.

Suzanne xo

Discover Your Strengths to Achieve Your Goals

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Evergreen Life & Wellness Coaching

Suzanne Levy, CMC, CHWC, CPPC, NBC-HWC

Associate Certified Coach, International Coach Federation

Do you use your innate strengths and talents to achieve your aims?  Do you even know what they are? Most people don’t! All of us have gifts – special abilities and assets that we were either born with or have developed over time.

This presentation will help you begin to recognize and uncover the unique Signature Strengths everyone has.  Research shows that discovering and learning how to best utilize one’s innate gifts and talents – what positive psychologists have labelled signature strengths –

  • enhances life satisfaction and well-being;
  • supports learning and creativity;
  • helps individuals identify personal values and sense of purpose;
  • aids in develop increased self-awareness and self-efficacy; and,
  • boosts positive accomplishment.

This free workshop is designed as an introduction to Positive Psychology and:

  1. Identifying top strengths and talents and learning how to use them to move forward toward goals;   
  2. Discover blocks that might prevent you from moving forward, and learn ways to begin to overcome them;  
  3. Learn how to create more of what you want in your life and less of what you don’t want;   
  4. Learn practical tools and strategies that help develop a focused, strengths-based approach to making positive choices personally, socially and academically; and,
  5. Set yourself up for success, personally and professionally.  

When:  Wednesday, April 11, 2018; 5:30 – 7:00 pm

Where:  32065 Castle Court, Suite 325, Evergreen, CO  80439

Questions?  Email me at suzanneylevy@gmail.com; Evergreen Life and Wellness Coaching, P.O. Box 206, Evergreen, Colorado, 80437; 303-670-7863.

“Success is achieved by developing our strengths,

not by eliminating our weaknesses.”

~ Marilyn vos Savant

Pets and Your Health – Five Ways Owning A Pet Can Make You Healthier

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Here are five interesting (and sometime surprising!) health benefits of pet ownership:

Pets Fight Allergies

I’ll bet some of you were surprised to read this one. I know I was! Turns out that what we used to believe about pets causing allergies simply wasn’t true. Researchers have found that children who grow up with a cat or dog or who live on a farm with large animals are less likely to develop allergies as well as asthma.

Scientists believe that infants’ early exposure to pet dander and the dirt and yes, germs that come with pet ownership, actually strengthens children’s immune systems. Of course, if your child is already allergic to a particular animal, this does not mean you should expose them further. I’m sure you knew that, but just want to be clear!

Pets Are Great for Senior Citizens

True story: Some insurance companies have begun to ask consumers who are over 75 if they have a pet in the home, as they recognize the positive effects of getting exercise as part of caring for the pet as well as the benefits of animal companionship. Alzheimer’s patients have fewer episodes of anxiety when there is a pet in the home and the very presence of a pet can also benefit caregivers.

Pets Decrease Stress

If you are a pet owner, you know firsthand that simply being in the presence of a beloved pet is extremely soothing (at least most of the time!) In fact, when stroking or petting your dog or cat, your brain is flooded with the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. These are the same neurochemicals that drive drug addiction. Petting your cat or dog is a much healthier way to feel good!

Pet Are Good for Your Heart

Studies have shown that people who have had a heart attack live longer than heart patients who do not have a pet. Also, owning a cat could lower your chances of having heart disease in the first place. Researchers found that having a pet cat cut the owner’s chances of having a heart attack or stroke by more than a third.

Pet Make You More Social

Pets act as natural ice breakers. A 2015 study published in the journal Plos One found that people who owned pets were more apt to meet their neighbors than non-pet owners. If you’ve ever been out walking your dog, you know that the mere presence of the animal can make starting a conversation easier. The study also suggests that owning other pets can help to forge new social connections as well.

Post A Pic of Your Pet!

Clearly, there’s plenty of evidence that owning a pet is good for your health. I’d love to see a picture of your pet! Just go over to my Facebook page and post a pic of your favorite friend in the comments.

P.S. Fun facts: Cats rule the internet! As of 2105 there were an estimated 2 million cat videos on YouTube alone. This doesn’t even include other social networks. And CNN, that same year, estimated there were an astounding 6.5 billion cat pictures on the internet.

I love to hear from you so please share any thoughts or comment below.

Developing Your Own Personalized Wellness Plan – Six Steps to Success

In my last article, I explained why you should consider developing your own personalized wellness plan.  I also emphasized the importance of approaching your wellness plan as a living, breathing document, one that is carefully designed to help you reach your wellness goals, rather than an inflexible set of rules you must follow. As you get healthier, you’ll want to be able to easily modify your plan to keep meeting your needs. As always, please consult your qualified medical practitioner before making changes to your diet or exercise routine, especially if you have been diagnosed with a chronic condition or you are on
medications.

Developing a wellness plan might seem like a daunting task, but I’ve found that breaking it down into six manageable steps makes the process more enjoyable.

Step One – Focus

Take some time to think about and focus in on the areas of your life in which you want to make changes. Make sure you include some aspect of your physical being, but you don’t have to confine yourself to only the physical. Maybe you want to get to a healthier weight or improve your cardiovascular conditioning or get stronger. Perhaps you really want to get a handle on your response to stress or improve your attitude and mindset. Everything counts so don’t limit yourself at this stage.

Step Two – List

Make a list of the deeper reasons you want to change, if you haven’t already. Last time, I gave you a simple exercise to do that will really help you to get at your deeper motivation. If you haven’t done that exercise, please go here [link to previous article] and read the instructions on how to complete it. Don’t skip this step. Having a list of your deeper reasons for wanting to make changes can be very motivating when you become discouraged or aren’t happy with your progress.

Step Three – Choose

Now that you have examined the areas you want to change and uncovered your deeper motivations, choose three areas for your wellness plan. You don’t want to get overwhelmed by trying to make too many changes at once, as this is a certain formula for failure. When you are satisfied with your choices, decide on exactly what changes you will make in these areas.

You will have more success if you are very specific when you decide what changes you are going to make. For example, “decrease my stress” is too broad. A more specific change would be “meditating for fifteen minutes each morning,” or “walking for thirty minutes 4 days a week,” both of which are good examples of specific changes you can make.

Step Four – Distribute

For some people, spreading those changes out over time helps them to keep from becoming overwhelmed and quitting their plan. Maybe in week one of decreasing your stress level, you meditate for fifteen minutes each morning, then in week two, in addition to meditating, you add walking for thirty minutes in the afternoon. In week three, besides meditating and walking, you add another goal – say, having one cup of coffee in the morning and herbal tea for the rest of the day.

Step Five – Reward

Plan a series of small rewards you can give yourself along the way. Rewarding yourself when you achieve milestones helps to keep you motivated and makes the process fun. Don’t forget to plan a big reward when you’ve reached your goal! Some examples of small rewards are buying yourself a book you’ve wanted to read, taking yourself to a movie or a museum or anything else that brings you joy.

Step Six – Watch

Keep up with how you are doing. You may want to track your progress in a calendar. Some people prefer to journal about their experience and others like to keep a list, checking off milestones as they go. Choose something that works for you.

I love to hear from you so please share any thoughts or comment below.