Honor Earth Day, Sustainable Living Tips

Earth Day is April 22 this year, it falls on a Monday. If you work in an office maybe it would be a fresh idea to start a walk and talk lunch hour jaunt with your coworkers. Or get out and enjoy the fresh air during the busy workday to ground yourself and find a moment of calm.

We all want to express our thanks to the planet for the sustenance, beauty, and life that it gives, but may wonder does what I do really matter?  Think of it this way, if YOU start with sustainable actions, you are likely to influence those around you to do so as well. This makes a ripple effect and leads to a bigger impact.

While we are turning the focus to our environment this month, it’s also important to take care of our internal environment. Yoga is a fun way to incorporate grounding, breathing, and fun poses related to the natural world. Think Mountain Pose, Down Dog, Cobra, and Sun Salutations.

If you’re new to yoga, here is a beginners free energizing yoga sequence from Yoga by Adriene to try:


Another way to honor the Earth, and yourself is to cut back on meat and animal products.

What might be a simple meal that you could have without meat? Cauliflower is a great substitute for meat in stir frys and other dishes and offers a “meaty” texture, as well as offering many health benefits.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Theresa

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

—Albert Einstein

“The most environmentally friendly product is the one you didn’t buy.”

—Joshua Becker

What is something that you can commit to this month to honor the Earth, and yourself? Please leave your comments and share your intentions!



In the Margins

What do you think of when you think of margins? Initially, for me, I think of time freedom, room to breathe, and extra space. There’s another piece to margin though when there’s not enough of it!

When there’s no margin left, or worse, you’re stretched beyond the margin, then we get into trouble. Whether it’s finances, time, drinking, giving, fast food, or any other facet of our lives, when we’re overextended and outside of our personal boundaries, it’s time to act!

Sometimes, when we’re stretched too thin it can be an opportunity to make a drastic change. Kind of like making the pendulum swing the other direction. For example, have you ever been so “saturated” in stress that it caused you to completely go a different direction, maybe even a healthier one? I’m no phycologist, but in my opinion, being out of margin is a clear opportunity to get aware of my life choices and adjust what I’m doing.

The part that is tricky is the tendency to be a victim of our circumstances, as in…

  • My boss makes me work too much
  • My metabolism slowed down
  • I don’t have time to exercise
  • It’s too expensive to eat healthily

I get it, I think those same things at times, and while it’s healthy to acknowledge the struggle when we choose to LIVE there for too long, we can make ourselves get STUCK.

Where we can gain power, is once we’ve made ourselves the player again, like being the subject of the story.

Of course, taking action won’t make you a superhero at every turn, it can simply frame our circumstances as something we can influence, even if that influence is acceptance, thus putting us back in the driver’s seat of our life.

The margins in a notebook are a place to jot down special notations, flags to come back to that are helpful. As you examine your margins, take note of where you might take a turn, detour, or possibly even discover a new and different path.

I love this quote from Fred Kofman, the author of Conscious Business…

“Unconditional response-ability is self-empowering. It lets you focus on those aspects of the situation that you can influence.”

Let’s see how we could reframe the statements above to empower ourselves in these hard situations after an adequate dose of contemplation…

  • My boss makes me work too much…
  • My schedule is unbalanced with my work commitments.
  • My metabolism slowed down…
  • I notice my body changing and am curious.
  • I don’t have time to exercise…
  • I fit movement into my life in stolen moments throughout my day.
  • It’s too expensive to eat healthily…
  • I find ways to eat healthy in light of changing prices on food.

These are simply examples of how we can respond, instead of giving over our control to circumstances. Try it yourself and see if you agree.

When I’m running out of margin, it often correlates with being out of alignment with my core values. I think it can be helpful to revisit your core values to make sure you’re in touch with the ones that are most pertinent to your life currently. Here’s a list of various values, see if you can find 5 that really fit you. It’s even more powerful if you can categorize them into your top 2!

Download your Complimentary Shine Health Values Worksheet

If you’d like to go deeper on this subject with a coach, please reach out for a complimentary discovery call.

Healing Power of Smoothies

Ever wake up with a jolt of cortisol and race right into your to do list for the day without thinking of fueling your body and brain? Maybe you grab an energy bar or just head out the door with a dose of caffeine only to find yourself short on patience and stressed by mid-morning. Did you know that making a smoothie can be a perfect way to boost servings of plants and get you off to a healthy start to your day as fast as eating a muffin with a much better nutritional profile!

Drinking our food like in a smoothie is very healing on our gut and delivers a fast nutritional punch to our body. It’s partially digested which gives our body a rest, sending energy to other areas. Sometimes, like when we are sick, our body can really benefit from the ease of sipping on a plant-based power drink. Smoothies can be customized to your liking and specific needs as well. It’s an economical way to use up ripe produce like bananas and other fruits. Throwing in a handful of spinach or other greens packs in phytonutrients and enzymes found in those foods.

What’s the difference between a juice and a smoothie? Blending our plants and including the fiber and protein has the benefit of including all the vital parts of the plant. You can even include seeds and a bit of the peel of most fruits. In fact, the skin of a pineapple is where the most concentration of bromelain is found, include a little sliver in your next smoothie. Lemon peel is a great source of Vitamin B and gives your smoothie a fresh, revitalizing flavor. When we juice plants, we are taking out the bulk of the fiber which is an important part of the plant that we tend to be deficient in because of our highly processed diets. I’m a fan of the Vitamix, however any blender that will pulverize greens and berries will do.

Remember to add a healthy fat to your smoothie to make it more satisfying and support your brain. Some good examples are coconut oil, avocado, nut butters, and seeds. If you find your sweet tooth appearing on an evening or afternoon, try making a themed smoothie like chocolate, banana, peanut butter, instead of reaching for packaged snacks that won’t serve your body nearly as well. Adding in the extra fiber from plants can help to remodel your gut quite quickly and you might find those cravings staying at bay.

I like to keep a plant-based protein powder on hand to boost the nutrition of my smoothies, and for an easy shortcut when I’m busy. My favorite is Juice Plus Complete chocolate which I blend with frozen cherries, nut butter, and spinach regularly.

Many of the most common health challenges that we experience like heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes could be prevented or bettered by smoothing out the blood sugar spikes that come from a high sugar, low fiber, processed diet. Leveraging the power of produce and streamlining our morning routine with a daily smoothie assists our body in protecting itself and staying in balance.

How would your day be enhanced with the simple habit of a daily smoothie?


This is one of my favorites, and the bright green color is stunning – good enough to drink!

Elimination or Addition: The science of positivity+++

Do you dread the feeling of needing to go on a diet in order to be congruent with your health goals? Maybe your doctor has told you that you need to cut back on sweets, or fat. So many times I’ve had the pattern of indulging on all the “bad” foods to fasting and starving myself, which feels like being on a hamster wheel.

Taking positive action by contributing to the healthy vision that you have for yourself is a way to increase positivity and optimism. I like to focus on what we can add instead of what we need to take away. Being mindful of adding healthy habits means that the things that are not serving you will get crowded out naturally.

John Hopkin’s expert Lisa Yanek M.P.H. found that…

“positive people from the general population were 13 percent less likely than their negative counterparts to have a heart attack or other coronary event”.

This begs the question, what can you add?

More sleep?
More water?
More veggies?
Weighing yourself regularly?

We’re all busy so it can seem daunting to add something new. But consider what you will also be adding in the way of more time, mindfulness, less weight, and better health markers!

Here’s some easy ways to start…

  • ADD Lemon to your water and drink 1 L before 10 AM
  • ADD blueberries and 2 cups of greens to your lunch
  • ADD a gratitude journal with the five things you’re grateful for before bed
  • ADD reading instead of binging on Netflix so that you get to sleep earlier
  • ADD your favorite herbal tea instead of a cup of coffee
  • ADD a new scale that analyzes your body composition to your bathroom landscape so that you are aware of your metrics
  • ADD raw almonds and an apple to your afternoon snack
  • ADD a 20 minute walk at a brisk pace
  • ADD 15 squats before you go to bed, or push-ups, or both!

These micro adjustments to your schedule overtime will become big results.
Thinking about taking things away like a traditional diet leads us down a path of negativity from loss and the changes that are made probably won’t stick. It’s better to think of what we can add in our life and making choices that support our lifestyle.

Negativity is very heavy and adding things is an act of positivity on ourselves. What good thing can you say yes to and have in your mind today? By giving something new a try you open yourself up to a fresh positive change. And if it doesn’t feel right, just move onto something that does.

It’s not about losing, it’s about gaining. You are perfect just the way you are, maybe you need to hear that right now. What would you like to add today?

Making Mindful Food Choices

I want to ask you, how are you taking care of you?

Today more than ever our personal wellness is a top priority, and for most of us, it’s up to us to maintain our health. Nutrition, stress management, and mindfulness are crucial aspects of our health that we have control over. Can you identify an area that you want to put more focus on to improve your overall wellness?

Be mindful to include these categories of superfoods into your diet…

Go Green – Choose organic salad greens and herbs.

Go Blue – Eat a variety of organic berries for the richest source of antioxidants.

Go Nuts – Include raw, unsalted nuts and seeds into your diet. A serving size is a handful.

Go Fish – Eat 2 6oz servings of Wild Pacific Salmon each week for sufficient Omega 3. Or you can add a plant-based Omega supplement.

Simple Snacks

Keeping your blood sugar in the zone of willpower can keep stress at bay. Have smart snacks at your fingertips to grab. Making a nibble tray with cut up fruits and veggies along with some raw nuts is a great way to get a variety of healthy foods into your diet. Include healthy, clean dips like hummus and nut butter for more variety. Shakes make a great breakfast or snack throughout the day also, packed with lots of produce!

Super Food Brain Boosting Smoothie

1 C unsweetened plant milk
1/2 C frozen blueberries
1/2 peeled frozen banana
1 Tbsp nut butter
Handful of spinach
Dash of cinnamon

Scoop of plant-based protein powder (I use Complete by Juice Plus+)

Blend and sip throughout the morning for an immune boosting, gut healthy breakfast, or recovery meal.

Eating with mindfulness exercise inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh

Every time we eat can be an opportunity to embrace the gifts that surround us. When we allow ourselves to slow down and have gratitude for our food it naturally reduces stress and brings more joy into our lives.

  1. When you eat or drink recognize the food you are ingesting as nourishment for your body and a miracle.
  2. Consider all that went into this food, the people who prepared it, and the plants & animals that it came from.
  3. Observe gratitude for this food and moment that you are experiencing.

Now, can you feel the freedom and joy that comes from being supported and nourished by this food?

A great place to start is by taking notice of the food you are eating and recognizing how you feel when you eat.

Are you mindlessly shoveling food into your mouth between meetings or in the car before pick up? My wake up call was when my 10 month old said “french fry” as one of her first words because we were running through the drive through so often out of sheer desperation.

The first step for me was to realize that fake food and poor nutrition was zapping my energy and contributing to constant colds for my family. Once I got a handle on the importance of a diet rich in a variety of plants and clean protein and gained some skills like making smoothies regularly everything began to shift. This personal shift eventually led me to become a health coach because of the power that I found in lifestyle and nutrition. I wanted to pay it forward in hopes of impacting another busy mom’s life. Reach out if you would like to chat about your specific health concerns and feel free to check out the blog for more ideas to make health simple.

Best of health,

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About The Author

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Suzy is a Nationally Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach, researcher, and a mom who specializes in empowering busy professionals and families who lead fast paced lives to have optimal health. She has worked in the field of nutrition for the past 18 years and bases her coaching on the 4 pillars of health L.E.A.N. Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude and Nutrition. Suzy has expertise in pinpointing the causes of work-related stress and how it impacts health markers. She incorporates nutritional healing into her plans with clients to heal from the inside out.

Positivity Works

Check out my take on how positivity works with regard to our health and how to put it into practice in your everyday life.

With my science background I like to geek out on research and found it interesting that there are numerous studies published talking about the benefits of allowing positivity to guide your life.

In a study done at the Mayo Clinic they found that positive self talk was correlated with enhanced cardiovascular health, longer lifespan, and improved immune function.

Can you think of an area in your life that could use a positive reframing?
Best of health!

Maximize your food prep by doing these simple things

One of the reasons that I love to coach people in their health is to empower busy people with simple nutrition hacks and tweaks in their diet that maximize the nutritional power of the food we eat.

The CDC recommends that we get 3 cups of veggies and 2 cups of fruits (5 cups total produce) each day into our diet to improve our health and prevent disease. Here are some of the highlights from foods that I recommend, and ideas to help you get that goal.

I hope these tips help you to increase your IRAH (Individual Retirement Account for your Health) Enjoy!

Cruciferous veggies – Think crunch, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and kale are cancer fighting powerhouses!!! They release even more power when they are cut and lightly cooked. Pig out on crucifers!

Cocoa – Pure organic cocoa powder contains polyphenols that contribute to decreases inflammation and helps support brain function. Heating it will harm the antioxidants so warm gently and do not use the microwave.

Nuts and Seeds – Great source of prebiotic fiber, vitamin E, and healthy fats. Your palm is a good measurement for a serving size, and you want to eat them raw and unsalted. Pepitas, green pumpkin seeds, make a nice topping for soups or salads.

Omega 3 – An essential nutrient to get from food because we have to have it and our body can’t make it. Wild Pacific salmon, flax seeds, walnuts, Brussel sprouts, and sea vegetables like algae are your best sources.

Ginger – Grate fresh ginger into your tea, sauces, and dressings for a flavorful twist and to sooth digestive distress. Ginger can be used in recipes both savory and sweet and pairs especially well with lemon and curry.

Onions – Antimicrobial, rich in Vitamin C, and other antioxidants that support immune and cardiovascular function. Used to be given as a gift and used as currency because of their many health properties!

Lemon – Great for your immune system and loaded with vitamin C. Naturally detoxifying and a staple for marinades and dressings. Use the peel for extra B vitamins.

Peppers – Source for A, C, E, folate, and B vitamins which makes them especially helpful for healthy eyes, heart, and during pregnancy. The red peppers have a higher concentration of vitamin C.

Apples – Fiber rich and loaded with antioxidants like polyphenols, vitamin C, and copper. Find a new variety to try and definitely eat one every day!

Greens – a cup is a serving size, and all of the different varieties offer unique benefits for your health. Add a little crunch with romaine and mix in a blend of baby greens to give you some different tastes. I like to add spinach to the bottom of my bowl when I serve soup or chile.

Berries – Flavonoids are some of the antioxidants in berries and they are protective for DNA and help circulation. Blueberries are considered the brain berry and can be added to smoothies or salads.

Organic vs Conventional Produce Guide

Dirty Dozen+ (Top to buy organic)

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes

Clean Fifteen – (Lowest in pesticides)

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  7. Eggplant
  8. Asparagus
  9. Cauliflower
  10. Cantaloupe
  11. Broccoli
  12. Mushrooms
  13. Cabbage
  14. Honeydew Melon
  15. Kiwi


Easy To Practice Nutrition Tips For The Workplace

Did you know that March is celebrated as ‘National Nutrition Month’? March is the right month to focus on improving eating habits and becoming more active through physical exercise. Interestingly, the theme for 2020 is ‘Eat Right, Bite by Bite’.

You spend a minimum of 8 hours at your workplace and that’s why enjoying optimal health is so important. However, many of us tend to make the wrong food choices especially when we’re caught up with work. For instance, reaching out for a doughnut is easier than peeling an orange and grabbing a soda takes less time than walking to the water cooler. I’m here to tell you that even the smallest tweaks can have a big impact on your health. Becoming more mindful about nutrition is much easier than it sounds and here are my 5 tips on how to make the most of National Nutrition Month.

Snack Healthy

It’s only natural to feel tiny hunger pangs during the day even if you had a hearty breakfast. Snacking on foods that have fiber like apples, oranges and almonds are a great way to stay full and to give yourself many nutrients in a jiffy. If you have the time to prep, even a small bowl of salad mid-day will keep you full.

Stay Hydrated

The body can send you confusing signals of hunger when all it really needs is water to function properly. In fact, drinking a full liter of water at the start of the day is a good way to give your internal system a boost. Keep a bottle of water on your desk so that you can take a sip of water every hour.

Plant Based Diet

It’s no secret that the Mediterranean diet is the healthiest for the body and is recommended if high blood lipids and cholesterol levels are a concern. In fact, sticking to a vegetarian or plant-based diet every alternate day will not only help you feel lighter but also improve your blood reports.

Take Breaks

If your job requires you to sit at a desk for long hours, don’t forget to take mini breaks in between. Walking for even a short pace will help circulation in the body and make you feel more alert. There are plenty of short exercises you can do while sitting in your office chair too. Do a quick search on Google and find out which exercises work best for you.

Order Healthy

With food delivery apps ready to deliver whatever you feel like eating anytime of the day, ordering the right food is not a simple choice anymore. However, by reading the ingredients listed for each dish in the online menu, you’ll get an idea about the number of calories it has as well. Add dishes and restaurants that serve healthier options to your list of favorites!

Getting more nutrition in your diet is no fun if you’re making an attempt to eat healthy all by yourself. So, why not ask a colleague to join you in making a lifestyle change and you’ll see how getting healthier can motivate you to do better. If you think you are ready to make the change this month and you’d like a friend to help you, then simply email me and let’s do it together!

How To Improve Your Heart Health

The month of February is celebrated as American Heart month and it’s quite a good reminder about just how important heart health is. Even today, it is estimated that 1 in 4 people die from heart related illnesses which are often preventable if it is diagnosed early. Learning about heart disease and the different ways in which they can be treated is one of the first steps you can take to become heart healthy.

What Getting Tested Can Reveal

There are so many tests you can take to understand how healthy you really are. The most common 4 ways of measuring heart health are-

Blood Tests

Getting a lipid profile done can tell you how much healthy fat you have in your blood vs unhealthy saturated fat. Blood tests are also a very reliable medium to check if any heart muscle damage has already taken place.


If your doctor wants to make sure that your heart is beating normally, then this is the test to undergo. An ECG will also help to diagnose any abnormalities in the cardiac rhythm which could be a precursor to an attack.


This test commonly uses a probe to check if there are any blocks in the heart valves or arteries and also lets your doctor know if your heart is functioning normally.

Calcium Score

Also known as Coronary Artery Calcium scoring, this non-invasive scan can calculate your risk of artery disease simply by measuring how much plaque has calcified in the heart’s arteries.

Positive Steps Towards Heart Health

You can do your heart a big favor today simply by understanding how important it is to your every day. By making a few changes to your lifestyle, you can help to ease the stress that your heart goes through in order to function on a daily basis-

Eating Less Sugar

Sugar is one of the main culprits behind weight gain and the more overweight you are, the more stress you unknowingly put on your heart. Cutting down on sugar will do wonders for your body.

Reduce Saturated Fat

Saturated fat which is found in meat, processed food and junk food is the biggest culprit behind poor heart health. By increasing intake of healthy fats from natural sources, you can reduce your chances of getting a heart attack.

Eat Berries

Berries are chockfull of heart healthy antioxidants which not only help to improve overall heart health but which also give your immunity and well-being a big boost. Add a handful of berries to your morning oatmeal, muesli or eat as a snack.

Work Out

Whether it be going for a brisk walk to burn calories or to, staying active is a great way to keep your heart healthy and happy.

Believe it or not, but you do not have to burn yourself out by spending hours at the gym just to make your heart healthier. Your body is capable of healing itself with consistent minimal exercise. I believe that by following a well-planned plant-based diet, you will without doubt see a big improvement in your lipid profile tests.

So, do you need an expert to make sense of the tests and scans and to help you follow a preventative plan that’s approved by your doctor? Then, give me your feedback below and let’s connect.