Hello Friends, and happy 2020! I hope the first few weeks of the new year have been good to you! It’s been a very busy start to the year for me, as I began the certification round of training for health coaching at Duke Integrative Medicine. So, I’ve been a little quieter here and on social media than I’d hoped, but I’m still here! I had actually planned to get two separate posts up about FAQs and Super Bowl prep BEFORE the Super Bowl, but clearly that didn’t happen so I decided I’d combine them into one!

First, as part of final phase of training at Duke, I’ve been offering complimentary coaching sessions (I still have space to take on a few more folks at no cost, so if you’re interested let me know). As a result have gotten a lot of great questions about what exactly is health coaching and what can it do for people. I wanted to go through a few of these questions here in case there are more of you out there with questions you haven’t asked.

What is integrative health coaching?

Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution to, for example, meditate each morning for 10 minutes, only to find you stuck to it for two weeks before your schedule got busier and you couldn’t keep up with it any more? Or planned to bring your lunch to work each day, but quickly realized this meant a change to your evening routine you hadn’t anticipated and so you never even started? Often times we’re given a recommendation from a doctor, or make the decision we’d like to change something, but then realize we don’t know where to start or we are easily side-tracked by the thousand other things on our plates. Health coaching motivates and supports health behavior change through a partnership between client and coach. A health coach helps you connect your desired change to your optimal health vision, set goals, plan for action (and setbacks), and maintain progress once you’ve reached your goal – all by focusing on the whole person, not just the one area you want to change.

So, how is this different than working with a personal trainer, dietitian, or other health care provider?

A personal trainer or dietitian will, for the most part, focus on either your physical fitness or nutrition, respectively. They may also give you a specific plan, such as a recommended set of workouts or a certain diet to follow. A health coach is different in two primary ways. The first is that a health coach will not be the one to give you a specific plan to follow: you’ll be the one who creates the plan. Health coaching is not prescriptive, but rather completely client-driven. The area of health we focus on, the direction we take, the goals we set, are all completely determined by you, the client. The second is that health coaching follows a “whole person” approach to health. We’ll explore all the different aspects of your health from physical fitness and movement, to relationships and communication, to personal and professional development.

If anything, a health coach is a great compliment to a personal trainer, dietitian, or any other health care provider should you find you’re having trouble figuring out how to implement the changes that they recommend. A health coach can help you see how and where another provider’s recommendations fit into your life, and help you navigate the road blocks and other factors affecting your ability to implement the recommendation. There are health coaches who have multiple certifications, such as personal training, nutrition, etc.; however, in general coaches will keep clients in these areas separate (i.e. not providing health coaching for someone who they are also working with for personal training simultaneously).

What makes health coaching effective?

This is a great question! Health coaching is still not a super well-known field, so I get this question a lot. I think there are a few things that make health coaching effective. The biggest one in my mind is that it’s really trying to target behavior change starting from where you are. It’s not a prescription with no guidance, or a one-size-fits-all plan. Health coaching is client-driven and tailored to your specific needs and wants for your health. A few other pieces that make health coaching effective for people:

  • Health coaches work with the whole person. They employ other-focused listening to ask powerful questions and help connect you to the motivation for making the changes you desire.
  • Health coaches spend time exploring what is most important to you in your health and allow you to drive the direction we take.
  • Health coaches work with you in partnership to plan for setbacks and create strategies to address those potential setbacks so you can keep moving forward toward your goals.
  • Health coaches help you track progress and hold you accountable for your action steps and goals.
  • Health coaches can provide additional resources for making healthy behavior changes.

What topics does health coaching cover?

This is another pretty common question I get, and the answer is: anything you feel will contribute to reaching your best health. That could be stress management, it could be improving your relationships, it could be better nutrition, it could be smoking cessation. If you believe that it’s integral to helping you achieve your optimal health based on your goals and values, then it’s a good topic for coaching. The health coaching relationship is truly unique, and this “whole person” approach is part of what makes it so.

…and now, the piece you’ve really been waiting for: the super bowl recipe review!

The whole spread (minus the pizzas and donut holes, which I made later in the game)!

A little known fact about me is how much I love the Super Bowl. It doesn’t matter who’s playing, and I’m not going to reveal my team because that may cause me to lose some clients :). I always take the Monday after the Super Bowl off, and I actually got engaged on Super Bowl weekend in 2018 (the day before, not the day-of) which of course made me love the whole weekend even more. I love the commercials, that it brings people together, and the half time show. And of course, I absolutely love the food. I made more food this year than I think I have any year in the past. I eat a mostly plant-based diet (not endorsing this specific way of eating, it’s just my preference), so the majority of the recipes I made are plant-based. But, all of my guests were meat-eaters, so I needed to make sure I made things that everyone would enjoy.

I actually didn’t make any cauliflower, but I did substitute some veggies in where you’d typically have meat. Here are the recipes I made and my thoughts about them:

Crowd-Pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad from Oh She Glows

This one really is a crowd-pleaser. Everyone I’ve ever made this for comments on it. The crispy chickpea croutons, the dressing, even the vegan “parmesan” are all a hit. This is my go-to salad for a group of people, or during the week for dinner. I got a bag of kale from Trader Joe’s that was already chopped to save myself some time (although they leave the stems in and it makes me crazy so I spent some time picking them out…).

Bang Bang broccoli from Rabbit and Wolves

Rabbit and Wolves is one of my favorite blogs for plant-based, comfort food recipes (side note: her blackened tofu with cheese grits is another week-night favorite in our house). This Bang Bang Broccoli was delicious. I didn’t bread the broccoli because I was breading brussels sprouts as well and didn’t want too many breaded things. Instead, I oven roasted it so the ends got a little charred and then tossed it in the sauce “naked”. Also, I would recommend going half chili paste and half sweet chili sauce (like the Trader Joe’s brand), unless you like super spicy food. I think with the spice from the wings/brussels (see below), we could have benefitted from these being a little milder.

Garlic Buffalo Brussels sprouts from Rabbit and Wolves

These were another hit! I actually doubled the sauce recipe and tossed the wings in the same garlic buffalo sauce that I made for the brussels. I thought about air frying these, but baking them as the recipe directs worked perfectly. The brussels were a little tricky to batter because the outside leaves fall off some in the heavy batter, but using a fork to dip them in (vs. your fingers) helps. The sauce was VERY spicy (I used Trader Joe’s Jalepeno Hot Sauce where it calls for hot sauce in the recipe) so I will use a milder version next time, but the garlicky flavor of the sauce is SO good. I made Minimalist Baker’s vegan ranch dressing to go with them.

We air fried the chicken wings, and while I didn’t eat any I was told they turned out well. We put in 1lb. at a time, and fried them at 375 degress for about 10 minutes, turned the wings and did another 10 minutes at 375, and then finished them off with 5 minutes at 400 degrees.

Chocolate Ganache Tarts from Thrive Magazine

Thrive Magazine is one of my favorite magazines, and when I saw this chocolate ganache tart recipe, I knew I had to try it. It was super simple to make, but SO good. Instead of making one large tart, I made 15 smaller ones using a muffin tin so they were easier for people to grab and go. One take-away from this: you don’t need to bake the crust for 8-10 minutes when you divide it into smaller portions. Seems like a no-brainer, but I didn’t think about it and had to re-do them because the first batch was a little charred. If you’re going to split these into small tarts like I did, you only need to bake the crust for about 5-6 minutes at 375.

homemade pizzas

So for these, I didn’t really follow any recipe. I make pizza probably once a month and always do the same two: one with peppers, onions, and red sauce and one with pesto, shallot, and either tomato or broccoli. I get the Trader Joe’s herb pizza crust (they also have plain and whole wheat, but the herbs give it something extra), Trader Joe’s pizza sauce, and Trader Joe’s vegan kale pesto. For the toppings, I use two bell peppers and half an onion on the one with red sauce, and one whole shallot and three roma tomatoes on the pesto one. I cook all my veggies down a little in advance so they lose some of their water before going on the pizza. I also lightly season them with salt and pepper while I’m cooking them down. Sometimes I put cheese on top, and sometimes I use this vegan parmesan recipe from Oh She Glows. For the Super Bowl, we did half of each pizza with cheese, and half with the vegan parm.

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes

I used this donut batter recipe from Tasty to make the batter. I didn’t want to deep fry them in oil, however, so instead of making full-size donuts I made donut holes and put them in the air fryer. I put them in at 350 for about 10 minutes, turning half way each time, and then rolled them in the cinnamon sugar as soon as they came out. The flavor was good, but the dough was pretty dense so they turned out more like sweet bread than light and airy like a typical donut. I need to play with this more to get closer to a traditional donut. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to replicate the good, old-fashioned deep frying effect with the air fryer, but now I’m on a mission to give it my best shot. More to come on this.

So, that’s it!

There you have it, my health coaching FAQ and Super Bowl recipe reviews. As always, let me know if you have questions on either of these! As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I still have room to take on a few more clients at no cost while I’m finishing up my training at Duke, so if you’re interested in free health coaching (and helping me learn), let me know!