A Healthy Snack for the Holidays

Tis the Season to Eat, Drink, and be Merry! For many of us, that means adding 2-10 pounds that we then have to work off as soon as January 2nd rolls around. The eating may be fun and taste great but the tight clothes, frustration, shame and guilt are no picnic!

One of the tricks that I have learned for managing my weight year round is to be prepared. That means when someone asks you to bring something, be sure to bring a healthy food that you will eat. That way, you know there will be at least one item at the dinner or party that you will be comfortable enjoying.

For Thanksgiving, my family went  to the beach. There is a lot of walking, biking, running and eating! My sister made these amazing snacks and I wanted to share them with you. I do not know who the original creator is but I do know they are healthy, yummy, and they will disappear very quickly!

I hope you enjoy them. They’re good to keep around the house year round.
No-Bake Energy Bites Recipe


1 cup (dry) oatmeal
2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
1/2 cup peanut butter or sunbutter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed or wheat germ
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla


Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed.
Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour. Once chilled, roll
into balls of whatever size you would like. Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for
up to 1 week.

Makes about 20-25 balls.
I’d like to wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season.  Whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope it is full of joy, laughter and good food! 
P.S.  The holidays can be emotional on many levels-some good, some challenging. If you’d like to have someone to help you navigate the holidays please contact me at nutrition@freshstartmind.com


Attaining Wisdom

I grew up in an extremely unhealthy family. It’s taken years to recover from the damage I incurred. In my journey towards wellness, I discovered a wonderful book in the Bible. This book has transform my foolish thinking. The book is called Proverbs. It has revealed wisdom for daily living.

Proverbs is called the Book of Wisdom. I try to read it daily. There are 31 chapters. I read a chapter corresponding to the day of the week. Every month, I recycle through this Book of Wisdom.

Looking for a fresh start? Give this a try. The results will be worth your effort. You will attain wisdom in your journey toward wellness.

Proverbs 1:1-3 “Proverbs written for attaining wisdom and instruction, for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right, just and fair.”



Quality Time with Your Man

If life is just a song, then our relationships are the dance that goes along with it. The trouble is, while women want their men to lead, some of them simply have “two left feet.” While some men are natural leaders, others suffer greatly when attempting to lead in the “quality time” department. I’ve seen several couples as a licensed professional counselor, and for most of them, the women had no problems communicating their needs via face to face exchanges, telephone conversations, via text, and any other way one can think to communicate. The problem is, their communication efforts were usually not reciprocated. I do imagine that some of the men in those particular relationships may have been resistant, but for many, they just weren’t motivated. What motivates a man to call, text, and make his woman a priority?

Before I give you 5 tips for creating an environment of healthy quality time, I’ll first tell you what does not motivate men. I’ve spoken about it several times in prior posts; nagging!

In my professional opinion, the most likely method to ensure that a man does nothing to change is to nag him. Nagging is just counter-productive and demeaning. I suggest women use the 5 steps instead:

1. Take self inventory. I often stress the concept of knowing thyself and this is essential here. We often want things in relationships that we don’t personally give. Many women want more time and attention from their men, but healthy and positive attention is not something that the women may offer.

2. Model the love you want. The law of attraction is paramount here; to get more love, women should display more love. The idea is to model exactly what you prefer to receive, but refrain from nagging before he has a chance to exhibit his love to you. Some women exclude themselves from getting positive attention from their men because of their own negative attitudes.

3. Assume that your partner does not read minds. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a respectful face to face dialogue session about expectations. I do believe that partners should check in often about their individual and collective goals for the relationship. This should take place at an agreed upon time with as little interruptions as possible. Even this “expectation talk” sets the tone for the need for uninterrupted quality time in the relationship.

4. Notice his efforts. I have a saying that “all progress is progress.” Comment on the fact that he is making an effort and this will in turn motivate him to continue to do those things that are important to you. When a woman shows a man that she respects him, as evidenced by her willingness to follow, she gives him the freedom to lead in his own way. The more respect he gets, the more love he will display.

5. Remember that relationships take time to build, then re-build. If you keep this in mind, your relationship will not go stagnate, because you are always looking for ways to add zest to the partnership. Since it is a partnership, it is important to remember that things always flow easier when the two parties are facing the same direction-towards a positive future.



What’s Your Parenting Style?

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Promoting the self-discipline and self-esteem of one’s children 0ften requires an emotional juggling act by parents. It is not easy to be firm and demanding one minute, then warm and affectionate the next. In addition, some adults naturally have personalities or temperaments that predispose them toward one parenting style or the other.

Authoritarian Parenting 
Parents who tend to overemphasize the discipline side of the equation are referred to as authoritarian. Authoritarian parents are demanding in the worst sense of the word. They are intimidators, requiring obedience and respect above all else. They become overly angry and forceful when they don’t get that obedience and respect. Their love and acceptance appear totally conditional to the child. They do not listen to their kids or explain the reason for their expectations, which are frequently unrealistic. They often see their children’s individuality and independence as irrelevant or threatening

Research has shown that authoritarian parents tend to produce children who are more withdrawn, anxious, mistrustful and discontented. These children are often overlooked by their peers. Their self-esteem is often poor.

Permissive Parenting 
Parents who overemphasize the self-esteem side of the equation are referred to as permissive. They may be warm and supportive, but they are not good disciplinarians. They make only weak demands for good behavior and they tend to avoid or ignore obnoxious behavior. They seem to believe that children should grow up without any anger, tears or frustrations. They reinforce demanding and inconsiderate behavior from their children. Their love and acceptance are “unconditional” in the worst sense of the word, for they set few limits on what their children do.

Research has shown that permissive parents tend to produce children who are more immature, demanding and dependent. These children are often rejected by their peers. Their self-esteem is often unrealistic and hard to interpret, for they often blame others for their misfortunes.

The Authoritative Parenting Model 
Parents who are able to provide for both the discipline and self-esteem needs of their youngsters are referred to as authoritative. They clearly communicate high—but not unrealistic—demands for their children’s behavior. They expect good things from their kids and reinforce those things when they occur. When kids act up, on the other hand, authoritative parents respond with firm limits, but without fits of temper. They are warm, reasonable and sensitive to a child’s needs. They are supportive of a child’s individuality and encourage growing independence.

Another Quick Tip: Tantrums!!  When your child throws a tantrum, what is the first thing you should do? Disengage immediately. No talk, no emotion, no eye contact. Why? Because you are the audience for the tantrum, the target of their anger, and the power that can grant them their frustrated wish. Courage!  [This may seem daunting at first or, for some parents, impossible to carry out given their own physical, mental, and/or spiritual weaknesses…..contact Dr. Jones today for consultation or quality referrals for additional help and support for you and your child!]

Source: 1-2-3 Magic Parenting Newsletter © 2014

Simple, straightforward parenting advice and helpful tips from Dr. Phelan’s award-winning parenting resources. To learn more or to subscribe visit www.123magic.com/Newsletter.


Let’s Talk About “Kangaroo”

Today, I had the pleasure of meeting with authors, Susie Himes & Erin Hinshaw.  This mother/daughter team recently released their amazing book called, “Kangaroo Had The Flu & Her Friends Have Problems Too!” The book not only inspired this blog post, but will also help open the door for discussing some difficult health-related topics.  In the book, “Kangaroo” and her friends have many common medical problems, some as simple as a scrap or a burn, and others’ more serious conditions like Diabetes, Crohn’s Disease, and Depression.  The beautiful illustrations (by Paula Sadler) make this an interesting-read for children and the fun rhymes will inspire necessary parent/child or teacher/child discussions: 1. To help children with related symptoms see that they’re not alone in their suffering.  2. To help others become more aware and sensitive to those with medical illnesses.

In my profession, I see parallel problems; though mental illness oftentimes comes with more of a stigma.  Many parents and other adults may have a hard time accepting certain conditions.  Plus, children with learning, social, or behavioral deficits are often outcasts.  Because our society has “labeled the labels” in my opinion, some kids who truly have ADHD, Autism-spectrum, or Bipolar conditions are incorrectly being defined as “just a boy,” “weird,” “hormonal,” “angry like her mother/father,” or “unmotivated and lazy.”

Let me say, I view mental health diagnoses as a necessity when it comes to getting certain services, specific treatment plans, and academic modifications.  They merely help with considering the next-step and no, medication is not always the answer!  When we simply talk (and keep talking) about the struggles that individuals have, whether in children or adults or with physical or mental health, we open the door for understanding, acceptance, treatment, and relief.

We not only need to talk more, but love more, accept more, and give more.  For many, it begins with understanding that we are all different, we all have struggles, and we all should know we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14), despite the “label.”

At the end of our meeting, Susie left me with a quote by C.S. Lewis, “We read to know we are not alone.”  I so appreciate this truth!  In a world where many kids, adolescents, and adults feel alone, and where so many have resorted to taking their life or others’ life rather than dealing with hurt, pain, confusion, and anger; this is the time to come together and understand the beautiful blend of our physical and mental health.

—- To Susie & Erin: Thanks ladies for opening the door and making so many precious “friends” find comfort in knowing that others face similar challenges.  I look forward to the next one, and the next one, and the next one 😉

To order this book or request a signed copy, visit Susie & Erin’s website @ www.fourdoorsaway.com