Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Broken Resolve: Why setting goals for 2009 is better than making “New Year’s Resolutions”

By Ashley Chin, PhD, MPH, MA

Each year about this time, people ask me, “So, what are your New Year’s Resolutions?” As I have been considering this lately, I’ve decided I’m not making any resolutions this year. Instead, I am developing “Goals for 2009”. What’s the difference you ask? It’s the difference between being disappointed sometime in mid-February and achieving lasting change throughout the year. Turns out, there’s a big difference between resolutions and goals.

  • Usually time bound to January 1
  • They are often all or nothing, once they’re “broken” they’re over
  • Not always specific or measurable
  • New Year’s resolutions tend to be huge, lofty goals that don’t always include the intermediate steps


  • Can be made at any time and cover any time period (i.e. annual goals, monthly goals, weekly goals, daily goals)
  • Are less rigid and can be measured by the amount achieved
  • SMART: Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound
  • Well written goals include objectives and action steps

Here’s an example of a typical New Year’s resolution:

2009 New Year’s Resolution: Get healthy.

Not very specific – what does “get healthy” really mean? How will you measure it? How do you know if you can achieve it? Is it really realistic for you to resolve to “get healthy? What is the deadline for this – February 1 or December 31?

Perhaps a better way to improve your health is to set goals for 2009. Here’s an example of one way to formulate goals:

Goal for 2009: Improve overall health by losing weight, controlling stress and improving eating habits.
Objective 1: Lose 10% of current body weight by June 1, 2009.
Action Steps:
1. Find out when Weight Watchers meetings are held and join one convenient to me.
2. Make list of non-food rewards.
3. Reward myself for each 5lb loss.
4. Buy new walking shoes.
5. Walk 20 minutes, 3 X per week.

Objective 2: Utilize stress management techniques at least twice per week, beginning March 1, 2009.
Action Steps:
1. Before March 1, learn about stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, prayer, biofeedback, progressive muscle relaxation etc. by asking friends, calling local yoga/fitness facilities and reading books/internet.
2. Try at least three different techniques before March 1.
3. Beginning March 1, utilize a specific stress management technique at least twice per week.

Objective 3: Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day at least 5 days per week and limit alcohol/sweets to 2 days per week, beginning Jan.1.
Action Steps:
Make use of my cookbook collection and try a new vegetable recipe once per week.
Subscribe to the “Meatless Monday” internet newsletter for ideas on incorporating more fruits/veggies into diet.
Once per week, try one new fruit/vegetable I’ve never eaten before.
Invite girlfriends to come over for movie night (with healthy snacks) rather than meeting for drinks.

As you can see, the goals above are much SMARTer – specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and time-bound! Good luck with your goals for 2009.

Ashley is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor with over 15 years of experience. One of her goals for 2009 is to become a certified Wellness coach so that she can help others in their quest for total wellness. She can be contacted at

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Skinny on What to DO and What to BUY ... to get a started doing things holistically

This is a VERY BASIC to do list to get you started on a holistic approach to good health...


  • Try to get sun at least 15 mins everyday. If you cannot get sun, take cod liver oil for vitamin D and A -- in the summer, when you are in lots of sun, take fish oil everyday instead.

    (more herbs and supplements will be added per your personal needs)

    raw milk (or organic WHOLE milk)
    raw almonds
    raw / unprocessed honey (best w/in a 50 mile radius)
    vitamin c
    vitamin b complex (sublingual --under the tongue)
    oil of oregano-sublingual (for migraines, candida)
    flax, flax oil
    borage oil (for SKIN health)
    coconut oil (for skin, organs, blood sugar and to fight candida)
    fish oil or cod liver oil (depending on season)
    ginger (fresh)
    cayenne -- amazing stuff!!!
    cinnamon -- lowers blood sugar!
    milk thistle
    enzymes -- fresh pineapple and other tropical fruits
    aloe vera plant
    various herb plants
    probiotics -- milk/water kefir, yogurt (homemade)
    sauerkraut or sauerkraut juice (homemade)
    kombucha (homemade)
    aloe vera juice
    teas - green, black, chamomile (make teas w/ spring water)
    1 black coffee daily - if you want (organic)
    sea salt
    dark veggies -- eggplants, greens
    good quality proteins: egss, meats ... without hormones/antibiotics
  • a distiller (to make your own distilled water for drinking)
  • a water filter (that removes chlorine, but not minerals)
  • a regular juicer (I like the Jack LaLanne's best)
  • a masticating juicer (I use the manual kind -- It looks like an old fashioned meat grinder)
    If you buy a masticating juicer you can make your own wheat grass juice. It is VERY good for you (but requires a lot dedication to grow) -- u can buy it directly from a grower (I used to buy a flat for $20 and divide it w/ a friend) OR in little baggies at wholefoods, but its a bit EXPENSIVE -- but if you are having health problems, I feel it is worth the expense.

Sprout your own stuff: alfalfa, beans, almonds, wheat grass ... sprouting anything sproutable makes it that much better for you ... lots of good enzymes!!!

NO SUGAR (you can have honey, stevia, blue agave) -- though ingesting sugar is a no-no, you will need regular white sugar to make kefir and kombucha... don't worry, the kefir and kombucha eat the sugar, so you don't have to.:)

You can eat peanuts and peanut butter, but not much. I don't eat peanut butter as a general rule, but sometimes I do crave a little. Almond butter and other butters can be subbed or added to your peanut butter if you love eating large amounts and don't want to give it up.

No pre-made juices -- make your own. Pre-made juices are like peanut butter. They contain lots of junk. Juices are also too concentrated and too sugary (natural sugars should be taken in whole form)

TRY to avoid gluten: do not eat any wheat, corn or milk (unless keferized)... whenever in doubt, ferment! Wholefoods has a really good gluten free bread in the freezer.

Avoid soy -- it is to be used as a supplement for women's hormonal problems and not as a food. If you want to eat soy, eat it fermented -- you can buy wheat-free natural soy sauce at Wholefoods. No tofu.

If u are dying to eat something sweet, though kefir and kombucha often curb cravings for sweets -- a little dark dark choc w/ all natural ingredients (no flavorings, hydrogenated oils or other junk)
Coconut oil is naturally sweet and u can make cool things w/ it for a sweet tooth.


    TOPICALLY for rashes (while taking internally)
    milk kefir -- for yeast/candida -- female yeast infection, thrush, acne
    kombucha -- for fungus -- ringworm, fungus nails, athlete's foot, acne, cradle cap
    vitamin C, tea tree oil -- Warts and some moles, acne
    coconut oil -- yeast/candida, dry skin/hair conditions, cradle cap

    blood root (old-fashioned Indian black salve) -- for serious problems (Be very careful about this: They do have people that sell very dangerous counterfeits -- use this under the close supervision of a holistic adviser)


  • lanolin -- extremely dry skin, chapping from nursing, medium for homemade baby ointment
  • Puffy eyes -- a potato slice for about 10 mins or used green tea bag (or cold spoon)


GET RID OF white table salt. I call it "table poison."

GET RID OF toothpaste w/ fluoride, mouthwashes and pre-washes that have words that you cannot pronounce -- instead floss, Waterpik and scrub your tongue (and if you have bad breathe, you can use Waterpik to clean stones out of your tonsils) ... you can do oil pulling for serious gum problems. Oil of oregano and itty-little-bitty amount of food grade tea tree oil, OR my personal favorite is food grade peppermint oil on the tongue instead of mouthwash. The occasional baking soda OR lemon, strawberry or hydrogen peroxide cleaning is fine (DO NOT SWALLOW peroxide!).

GET RID OF "fat free" and "diet" foods -- eat fats (good fats!), eat everything WHOLE ... if you want to drink milk, at least drink it whole. Your body needs the whole product to use it properly. Eat butter, not margarine. Feel free to use as much good oils as you want (Do not cook olive oil to a high heat). Flax and Borage are best uncooked. You can heat coconut oil.

GET RID OF deodorants w/ aluminum or waxes (I just use salt -- I never ever stink, a good premade one is Lafes Natural and organic Deodorant spray.

GET RID OF Tums and antacids -- Drink milk kefir and/or aloe vera juice for an upset stomach (antacid prescriptions are, in my opinion, very dangerous -- if you are interested in learning more about the dangers of those and other prescriptions, I would be glad to forward you more information)

GET RID OF hair conditioners and that kind of stuff -- use coconut oil, lanolin (when needed) and essential oils mixed in the oil for smell (flax seed oil is good too, but more expensive and not any better than coconut)

GET RID OF perfumes and colognes -- If you can't go without them -- you can keep em, if u don't spray them on your skin. Spray them on your clothes instead if u really want to use them. Remember, you might be suffering from allergic reactions to those things and haven't realized it. Headaches, allergic reactions and sinus problems can be caused by lab formulated scents. Ask me to send you more info about this if you are interested in learning about the dangers of certain scents.

GET RID OF sunblock and bug repellent -- they have natural alternatives which are fine (but a bit expensive). Sunblock in general is poison. Cover up with cotton, just like they did in the old days. If you NEED a sunblock, make your own from broccoli or buy some from the Wholefoods Store OR Dr. Mercola has a real good one.

GET RID OF sunglasses -- let the sun get in your eyes everyday. NOTE: I am not telling you to stare at the sun, but allow the sun to get in your eyes. It is an important part of our optical process (the dilation and response to sun on the back of the eye is important) it is also needed for the brain's proper functioning and is a natural antidepressant. It is no coincidence that God placed a gigantic sun in the sky to shine on us while we work outside or commute to and from work... we were NOT born with sunglasses attached to our heads, but with eyelashes ... and common sense.

  • For easier reading, I have given only a limited amount of information per subject.If you found anything in this blog that you want more information on, feel free to ask me for resources.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Water Kefir Workshop

I am becoming over-run by happy water kefir grains (curds) ... that means it is time for a workshop again. I have enough for you to bring your friends too!

I will have a water kefir workshop during the Christmas holidays. Sooooooo, if you are interested in learning how to make kefir; I will give you a starter and get you started!

Please reply to this blog and let me know if you are interested in attending and then we will all work out a time to meet together. I am thinking a Sunday afternoon is best for me.

Let me know if you are interested in attending:)

in New Orleans