Basal Cell Carcinoma – Entry Two

Welcome to the second entry of my basal cell carcinoma series. I hope that the series is small, however, I would be naïve to think that I will never have skin cancer again. However, from here on out, my skin will be monitored closely by my dermatologist, and I will continue to carry out strict skin protection practices to prevent further skin damage.

You can read my first basal cell carcinoma entry here. On my first entry, I mentioned that I was to have my surgery on February 24th, however, I rescheduled the surgery for March 6th and had a pre-surgery consult on February 26th.

Health Insurance

On the 6th of February, I turned 26 and under current law before that age, a young adult is covered by their parent’s health insurance. Since I was no longer covered by my parent’s health insurance policy, I needed to switch to my husband’s health insurance starting March 1st. I still had coverage 31 days after February 6th, so the end of coverage date would be March 9th. I had a several day period between March 1st and March 9th where I had dual health insurance coverage. My surgery was scheduled on March 6th which fell within the range of the dual coverage, meaning I could receive the benefits from both insurances.

Pre-Surgery

Before I had the procedure, I met with the surgeon and asked him questions about basal cell carcinoma and the Mohs surgery. I asked specific questions because I really wanted to see how much the surgeon thought he would have to take out of my face. We discussed repair plans and if I needed a plastic surgeon to close my incision.

Initially, I was a bit of a mess trying to figure out when I should have the surgery, what to do with insurances, what kind of coverage I had, and for what amount I would be financially responsible. However, I made a lot of calls to the insurance companies and dermatology office and was able to sort out the issues.

After I figured out as much as I could on my own, I went to the Ogden Utah LDS temple to think about my decision. I chose to go there for a number of reasons, but one of the main reason was that I wanted a place of solitude where I could thoughtfully decide if I was making the right decision about my surgery. After prayer and reflection, I felt like my decision about my surgery was good. Therefore, I planned to have my surgery on March 6th.

Basal Cell Carcinoma Mohs Surgery

On Tuesday, March 6th, my husband drove me to the dermatology clinic for my surgery. We dropped our children off at my parent’s home on the way there. We arrived at the clinic and went into the room where the procedure would be performed. The physician’s assistant came in and with a marker drew some marks on my nose and face for surgery prep. The medical assistant numbed my nose and gave me anti-anxiety medication. My Mohs surgery was not under general anesthetic so I opted for some medication that would help relax me.

The surgeon came in and excised the first portion of tissue. During a Mohs surgery, the surgeon takes the first portion out and then takes it to a lab for examination of the basal carcinoma cells. The first excision did not remove all the basal carcinoma cells, therefore, he came back a second time and removed more tissue. They were able to remove all the abnormal basal carcinoma cells with the second excision. They examined the second biopsy and the borders were clean.

The spot was small enough that there was no need for plastic surgery. The physician’s assistant came in and closed up the spot with stitches and covered it with a bandage.

Post Mohs Surgery

Recovery

Post-procedural care entailed me not exerting myself for the 48 hours after surgery. I was to not elevate my blood pressure, lift heavy items, or strain myself. I rested and took it easy for those two days and felt pretty good. My family helped me a lot, however, I still performed mom duties. I was instructed that I could remove my bandage 48 hours after surgery. I woke up at three in the morning that third morning and couldn’t stand having the bandage on my face any longer. It was itching and irritating my face.

Bandage Over Mohs Incision Site

The dermatology staff encouraged me to take off the bandage in the shower to aid in removal. That morning, I jumped in the shower and let the bandage soak for a couple of minutes. I pulled it off and started cleaning the incision with the recommended hydrogen peroxide. With a hydrogen peroxide soaked q-tip, I started to clean it. My nose was still swollen and my left nostril was pulled up by the stitches. So, my nose was asymmetrical and slightly disfigured. The inside of my nostril was so swollen that I couldn’t breathe out of my left nostril.

Emotional Shock

The visual of the slightly deformed nose and stitches caused me to have a minor emotional shock reaction. I became light-headed and had to sit down in the shower to get more blood back to my head. I called out to my sleeping husband to get me a glass of juice. After I drank some juice and gained my bearings, I stood up and finished showering. I got back in bed but couldn’t fall back asleep because I was fretting.

Therefore, I grabbed a tablet and watched some Netflix in our living room to get my mind off of my nose. I texted my mom a picture of my nose while I was watching a show, not thinking that she was awake. However, she texted back wanting to call me. I told her she couldn’t call me because if I were to talk to her, I would burst into tears. So through text, my mom who also is a registered nurse, reassured me that the swollenness would die down and that my nose would be more symmetrical once the stitches were out. I felt a bit better after being reassured by her. Nevertheless, I was still emotional that whole morning and before my husband left for work, he made sure I was well enough to take care of our children.

Rest

When my children got up, I made them breakfast and I let them play in their room while I sat near them resting. However, late morning I continued to feel unwell, so I put us all down for early naps.  After I was able to rest, I felt better. As the hours went by that day, my nose was looking better. All in all, the incision actually looked really good. However, my physical and emotional equilibrium was out of whack and I wasn’t able to process my emotions very well.

Mohs Incision Recovery

Healed

A week after my surgery, the dermatology P.A. removed my stiches. I am very pleased with how my incision and nose look post-surgery. As of this moment, my incision is healing well.  I was instructed to keep it wet with petroleum jelly. As the incision heals and becomes less tender, I can massage it to promote healing and softening of scar tissue.

This whole experience has been a reminder of how lucky I am to be surrounded by such supportive family members and friends. I am grateful that I was able to have my skin cancer removed by skilled medical staff and that the surgery and repair were successful.

Resources

https://www.skincancer.org/

Honey Whole Wheat Banana Applesauce Muffins

Honey Whole Wheat Banana Applesauce Muffins are an easy breakfast or snack. You’ll feel good about putting this fluffy and moist morsel in your mouth because they are made with clean wholesome ingredients. It’s a simply delicious way to get some complex carbs and fiber!

Ingredient Breakdown

Whole Wheat Flour

Whole wheat flour is a wonderful source of fiber and is made from grain that has not been heavily processed or refined.

Sea Salt

High-quality sea salt has trace minerals that are beneficial in our bodies. Although you don’t want it in excess, a normal amount of sodium helps regulate the electrolyte balance in our bodies.

Ground Flaxseed

Ground flaxseed is rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. It also has phytochemicals called lignans, which reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Flaxseed that is ground is easier to digest and promotes a healthy digestion. Like other sources of dietary fiber, ground flaxseed should be taken with plenty of fluids.

Unsweetened Applesauce

Unsweetened applesauce is another great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Unsweetened applesauce possesses no added sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors.

Raw Honey

Raw honey is a pure unfiltered natural sweetener made by honeybees from the nectar of flowers. Raw honey has incredible nutritional value and has antibacterial properties. Raw honey can help with healthy weight management, natural allergy relief,  and reduction of free-radicals in the body.

Eggs

Eggs are an excellent source of protein, iron, essential vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids. If you have access to fresh farms eggs, they are an excellent choice because they contain more vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids and less cholesterol and fat.

Bananas

Bananas are a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin c, potassium, manganese and vitamin B6.

Nutritional Advice

Although these muffins are made with clean wholesome ingredients, they are high in sugar and carbohydrates. Therefore, eat the muffins in moderation. Enjoy your food and eat to nourish and fuel your body.

Ingredients

  • Whole Wheat Flour – 3 1/2 cups
  • Baking Soda – 2 teaspoons
  • Sea Salt – 1 teaspoon
  • Ground Flaxseed – 2 tablespoons
  • Unsweetened Applesauce – 2/3 cup
  • Raw Honey – 1 cup
  • Eggs – 4 count
  • Ripe Mashed Bananas – 2 cups (about 3 medium bananas)
  • Hot Water – 1/2 cup
  • Oats for garnish
  • Honey for garnish
  • Oil spray or paper baking cups

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 ℉ and gather all ingredients on the counter.
  2. Stir together dry ingredients in a bowl. Dry ingredients include whole-wheat flour, baking soda, and sea salt. 
  3. In a separate bowl, beat applesauce and honey together with a hand mixer.
  4. Add eggs to wet ingredients and beat well.
  5. Add mashed bananas to wet ingredients and then beat to combine.
  6. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.  Alternate adding dry ingredients with hot water to the wet mixture.  Mix well after each addition.
  7. Spoon batter into greased muffin tray three-fourths full. An alternate option of greasing the pan is to use paper baking cups in the tray.
  8.  If desired, drizzle the muffin batter with honey and oats
  9. Bake at 325 ℉ for 17 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and test done and clean with a toothpick. 
  10. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
  11. Enjoy!

Basal Cell Carcinoma – Entry One

To update friends and family and to raise awareness of skin cancer, I wanted to share my basal cell carcinoma skin cancer experience here.

Background

To give you some background about me, I have fair skin and medium blonde hair. Growing up, my dad had red hair and fair freckled skin. My mother has dark brunette hair and olive skin. My skin is a mix of the two.

Growing up my mother was very vigilant about applying sunscreen on us children. As a teenager, I would often apply a daily moisturizer containing broad spectrum SPF. As a grade school athlete, I would always wear sunscreen, hats, and protective clothing (covered shoulders and chest) when practicing and competing outside. I have never fake baked in a tanning bed, despite invites from others to do so.

There are a very small handful of times where I have laid out in the sun. Obviously, that wasn’t the smartest thing to do, although, I always covered my face and never was severely burnt. I never was one to sunbathe by pools at friend’s, family’s, community’s, or hotel’s pools. I felt like I was always the one wearing sunscreen, a hat, and a sundress while sitting in the shade. A couple of times in my life I have had sunburns, but it was never anything too severe. I never had any sunburns that caused blistering or major peeling.

Since graduating high school in 2010, I’ve been very vigilant about skin protection. I have even received a comment that I must not get outside much because of my paleness. I proceeded to tell that person that although I get outside, I try to take the proper precautions to prevent skin cancer because I have a strong family history of it. Both of my grandfathers, several of my uncles, and my dad all had skin cancer primarily on their faces. Most of their cases were basal cell carcinoma, however, some of the skin cancer cases were melanoma.

Dermatology Skin Check

About three years ago in 2015, I thought it would be a good idea to get a dermatology skin check to make sure I didn’t have any irregular spots or moles, which would show skin cancer. No issues were found at that appointment.

As I was approaching my 26th birthday this year on February 6th, I needed to use up some cash that I had on a health insurance card. I used that money on a specialty office visit copay to get another skin check at the dermatology office.

I scheduled a skin check the day before my 26th birthday, on February 5th. I showed the dermatology nurse practitioner a couple of spots I thought we should keep an eye on. I had a mole on my back that was irregularly colored. I also had a new growth in the crease of my nose on the left side. It was a recent growth since having my son in March of 2017. I thought it was either a new mole or a molluscum contagiosum lesion. My daughter had recently healed up from a severe case of molluscum contagiosum that transferred to me. Luckily though, I only had a minor case.

At the appointment, the dermatologist took two biopsies, one from the mole on my back and the other from the new growth on my nose. While the mole on my back was two different colors, the spot on my nose was a pink shiny bump.
 The nurse practitioner notified me that they would call me and report the findings of the biopsies.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

I received a call from the office a week after my appointment to tell me that the nose biopsy came back positive for basal cell carcinoma. I was very surprised, as I mentioned before, I have been very careful about not damaging my skin. When I told my husband, he told me that he didn’t know of anybody else who was more careful about skin protection than I.

Basal cell carcinoma is a common skin cancer that is slow-growing. It is rare that it metastasizes and is removed through surgery and other medical treatments. Although it’s not urgently life-threatening, it should be treated promptly.

Skin Cancer Removal

I have a Mohs surgery scheduled for February 24th, however, my family and I want to consult with a trusted plastic surgeon we know to make sure we are proceeding in the best possible way to get cancer removed from my face. The surgery date might change.

Skin Protection

I cannot stress enough how important it is to protect your skin to prevent sun damage and skin cancer. I highly recommend getting skin checks by a dermatologist to check your skin for issues. I will continue sharing updates on my plans for skin cancer removal and plan of care.

Blessings In Trials

Throughout this whole ordeal, I am reminded how blessed I am to have such a supportive family. Trials such as these put things into perspective. My family and faith in Christ are of the utmost importance.
 May we all realize that we are all fighting secret battles. Know that you could be an answer to somebody’s prayer. Reach out to those in need and you will be blessed.

If you have any questions, please ask them in the comment section and I would be happy to reply.

Resources

Skin Cancer – https://www.skincancer.org

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – https://www.lds.org/

Health and Fitness Measurements

Health And Fitness Progress Trackers

When beginning a new health and fitness routine, it is helpful to do an initial assessment of your current health and body state. As you use progress trackers, such as body measurements, photos, and journaling, you can see the improvements you have made.

Non-Measurement Progress Trackers

Pictures

Take a picture of your current body state. Use the same location, body position, and time of day to take the photograph. Keep a folder on your phone or computer of your dated photos. Tracking progress through photographs is a visual reminder of the physical progress you have made.

Journal

In a self-development journal, write down the goals and progress you have made throughout your health and fitness journey.

Measurement Progress Trackers

Heart Rate

Measure how many times your heart beats per minute. The WebMD article, Your Heart Rate, includes instructions on how to take your pulse. The range for a normal resting heart rate is 60-100 beats per minute. When exercising, you can work towards achieving your target heart rate. The article above describes how to calculate your target heart rate and how to use that number when exercising.

black sphygmomanometer

Blood Pressure

A normal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg. People who have raised blood pressure are prone to cardiovascular diseases. To lower blood pressure, practice heart-healthy habits.

Blood Pressure Cuff

Weight

A high amount of body fat can lead to being overweight. Therefore, if you are overweight, tracking your weight can show pounds lost or gained. For those who are underweight, track healthy weight gain through the scale as well.  Healthy body weight depends on your sex and age. Just remember, weight is not always an accurate indicator of health. Body shape and composition are unique to every person, therefore, healthy body weight is unique to every person.

Body-Fat Percentage

Body fat percentage is the percentage of fat your body has. Common methods to measure body fat percentage are skin-fold measurements and bioelectrical impedance analysis. More accurate methods are x-ray analysis, water displacement, and DEXA body fat scan.

Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a broad and general equation that provides a numerical rating of your health based on weight and height. As your BMI increases,  your risk for weight-related diseases increases as well. Nevertheless, BMI doesn’t show body composition and cannot distinguish fat from muscle. The WebMD article, Body Fat Measurements, discusses the exact ranges for a healthy BMI and body-fat percentage and how to measure and equate them.

Tape Measurements

Grab a flexible tape measure and a close friend or family member to record the body measurements.

Thigh // measure where the thigh meets the buttocks.

Hips // measure the widest part of the hip.

Waist // measure at the level of the navel.

Bicep // when measuring the bicep, use the same spot for accuracy.

Chest // to measure, lift up your arms and have someone wrap the tape measure around your chest. Measure above the nipple line with your arms lowered.

Shoulders // to measure, have both arms down at your side and have a friend measure the widest point from shoulder to shoulder.

Neck // have a friend measure around your neck. Relax your neck and make sure your friend isn’t plotting to strangle you.

Bonus Measurement

Hair // if you are trying to grow your hair out long, a healthy lifestyle will promote healthy hair and cell growth. Measure how long your hair is and how quickly it grows when taking care of your body!

blue tape measure

Check out my article, Workout Motivation and Goal Setting, where I include tips on how to make smart goals and how to meet them.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These delicious and chewy pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are wholesome and nutritious.

As we approach holiday festivities, I am sharing one of my favorite cookie recipes.  These pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are nutritious, delicious, and wholesome! When I bring these little bits of goodness to parties, my friends and family rave about them. They are a feel-good after eating it kind of dessert. Those who are trying to eat “healthy” love these little morsels of wholesome ingredients. These cookies are not the “healthiest” cookie out there, however, the ingredients such as wheat flour, olive oil, ground flaxseed, cinnamon, oats, and pumpkin purée help me feel better about eating a dang delicious cookie.

Ingredients

  • Wheat Flour – 1 cup
  • Old-Fashioned Oats – 3/4 cup
  • Ground Cinnamon – 1 teaspoon
  • Baking Soda – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Sea Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Ground Nutmeg – pinch
  • Canned Pumpkin Purée – 3/4 cup
  • Sugar – 1 cup
  • Olive Oil – 1/4 cup
  • Ground Flaxseed – 1/2 tablespoon
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – 1 teaspoon 
  • Milk Chocolate Chips – 1/4 cup 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Stir together dry ingredients (wheat flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg) in a mixing bowl.
  3. Mix together in a separate bowl the wet ingredients (pumpkin, sugar, olive oil, flaxseed, and vanilla extract).
  4. Combine and mix dry and wet ingredients.
  5. Stir in the milk chocolate chips in the dough.
  6. Drop rounded tablespoons on a greased cookie sheet. Press cookie dough down into a cookie shape with a utensil. Space the dough about 1 inch apart.
  7. Bake for 15-16 minutes.
  8. Take the cookie sheet out of the oven and move cookies to a wire rack to cool.
  9. Consume and enjoy! Makes approximately 24 cookies.
Dry Ingredients
Wet Ingredients
Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Cookie Dough
Yummy Cookies!
Watch out for those little hands!
Kirtley Freckleton

Kirtley Freckleton Interview – RN + Health Coach

I feel that one of the best ways to gain knowledge is by learning from others. I wanted to know more about Health Coach Kirtley’s view of health and why she enjoys being a health coach. Kirtley is a registered nurse, horse-enthusiast, outdoorswoman, and lover of health! So obviously she is my kindred spirit!

You can find her website here.

Here is the interview I had with Kirtley:

Breanna: Introduce yourself. 
Kirtley: I live in Utah with my husband in an old farmhouse. I’m a horse lover and we’ve got two horses outside. One is a thoroughbred and a racehorse and the other horse is half Clydesdale. It is so fun to have them. We have three miles of cornfield property. We have a labradoodle and I love training him. He is a bit of a trick dog. I want to do competitions with him one day.

Breanna: Why are you interested in health and fitness?
Kirtley: I grew up playing soccer and running track. My mom is pretty healthy and has been a good example of exercising. I decided to go into nursing. I graduated from nursing school and after I graduated, I asked myself the question, “What would be the most fulfilling thing to do?” I decided that I wanted to help people lose weight and get healthy. I love having a healthy body and I want to pass that on. I am a health coach and wellness practitioner. I love it!

Breanna: I think nursing really does go hand in hand with health coaching. I think when you know what the consequences are of these unhealthy choices, you are better able to teach and understand why a healthy lifestyle is so important. 
Kirtley: I’ve had broken bones before and my ACL tore, so I couldn’t walk. I was really struggling in my life when I couldn’t do the things that I wanted to do. It really taught me to love my body and made me very grateful to have it. I’ve always been an outdoorsy person. I enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking, and camping. I just love having a body and I want to enjoy the freedoms that come along with a healthy one.

Breanna: Definitely a healthy mind and a healthy body go hand in hand. So, you told me a bit about your credentials. You are a registered nurse and a certified Health Coach. Do have anything more to say about that?
Kirtley: I was a full-time nurse for the most part of two years. I just didn’t feel fulfilled because I didn’t feel like I was actually helping people the way I thought I would. I didn’t have time to connect with anyone. I was taking blood pressures, handing out medications and then doing paperwork. I really didn’t feel like I was helping anyone and I felt more like a waitress. So, I was coaching on the side and I didn’t think it would go anywhere, but then somebody told me that I had saved their life. I had never been told that as a nurse, not even something close to that. I was told that I had made them feel better. I became bored with my job and I just wanted more fulfillment and love my job every single day. Love every day of your life. If you hate your job, find one that you love. Life is short. That is when I looked at my business and I was doing better than I had thought. I quit nursing and went full-time coaching and treated it like a full-time job. It took off and now I feel way more fulfilled!

Breanna: I feel that if we focus more on preventive care instead of treating high blood pressure and diabetes, we would be better off. If we are trying to prevent chronic diseases, we wouldn’t have to take care of it later. What does your weekly health and fitness routine look like?
Kirtley: I like to work out in the mornings. My husband and I will go to the gym together in the evenings. I rotate between doing arms, abs, legs, and cardio. I’ll do my own weight-lifting at home with 5-10 lb weights. I do those weights with higher reps to create muscle tone for me. I love abs. I’ve also been focusing a lot on cardio. I love to play ultimate frisbee with a team nearby. I am getting into road biking again. My friend and I went on a 2.5-hour road bike ride on Saturday morning. It was so fun! I also enjoy running.

Breanna: What is your favorite healthy treat?
Kirtley: Dates. I love to make date paste. It’s incredible and super sweet. You can just blend up dates together. I also love 100% cocoa baking bars. It helps me not eat chocolate. I’ll overeat chocolate if it is in my house. It is incredibly bitter but you can dip it in date paste. Fruit is also my go-to treat. I love herbal tea, especially the ones that have licorice root in them because it is super sweet. Celestial Seasonings Cinnamon Apple Spice is my favorite herbal tea. Whole dates dipped in peanut butter is a really good snack as well. Those are my magic tricks!

Breanna: What are your go-to healthy meals?
Kirtley: I have four fast and easy meals that only take ten minutes. Almost every country has a stew and once you learn the basics to each stew and you know their basic seasonings, you can almost make anything. I like to make a 10-minute curry. I love to throw in vegetables and frozen vegetables and cashew cream. I also love making a Mexican one pot dish. Spaghetti and chili are easy to throw together as well. They are also nice for multiple meals throughout the week. They are so fast and easy!

Breanna: I also love soups and stews. I feel that it is a good way to get a lot of food groups into a meal. What fitness goal are you working towards?
Kirtley: I love working on physical goals! Last year, I saw a couple on Facebook doing acro yoga and I thought it looked like the most magical thing on earth. And I thought I need to get more flexible. Therefore, I made a goal to do the splits and straddles. I really got into that, in which got me more into yoga. So I was able to meet my goal. That was super fun for me! And I want to do even better, so I am still stretching. My arm was injured for a while and then it got better. However, I had the goal to do 12 pull-ups and so I have worked on my upper arm strength. I want to have really strong triceps. I have focused on that.

Breanna: What are some other ways you like to stay fit?
Kirtley: I think my favorite current sport now is ultimate frisbee. It is exhausting and is kinda like soccer in a way.

Breanna: What else are you passionate to communicate to my readers?
Kirtley: I was able to lose 30 lbs. Not everybody knows that. My first step in my weight loss was to love myself. That is what I have my clients do first thing. You can love your body! You don’t have to love how you look to love yourself. So first, be grateful for your body and decide to take care of it. As you take care of it, listen to it. Listen to your own body cues. Your body knows everything. At least start listening to when you are hungry and when you are satisfied. Start eating slower and actually think about the food you are eating. We also view our food emotionally. Are you eating this chocolate to satisfy your emotions? When you view it this way, you will realize that you don’t need food as much as you think. I love teaching about emotional eating. Wake up and come into awareness. Understand yourself and have a better relationship with yourself.

Breanna: I agree that we need a shift in how we view our bodies. As a postpartum mom, I have stretched out skin and stretch marks. Who was that person years ago that decided that those were ugly and hideous? It is a normal thing that happens to our bodies. Why can’t they be indicators that my body is amazing and grew to babies! We need to view our bodies as beautiful things that can do amazing stuff. We need to focus on our strengths. 
Kirtley: I love coaching because my mission is to help people become free and experience more fulfillment in life. That comes with physical health and emotional health. You can also say spiritual health as well. I love it because when I work with people, we are going to focus on what is going on emotionally. I ask them, what are your habit cycles? Then we create new ones. I talk about social eating. A lot of people have the same routine. And their friends eat unhealthy so they eat unhealthily. I empower my clients. I like to start slow. I try to match their pace. Start off with really good and simple nutrition. I help them to do gradually more and more healthy choices on their own. If they want to learn themselves about how to be healthy, they need to be educated. They need to learn how nutrition affects their body. Most women I work with lose about 10 pounds a month, which is pretty fun. The men go a bit faster. However, the biggest thing is the lasting benefits of choosing a healthy lifestyle. We want to keep the weight off forever. It’s not like a diet. It’s about really connecting with your body.

Breanna: It’s all about sustainability! How is health coaching different from personal training?
Kirtley: As a health coach, I don’t even use exercise for weight loss in my coaching. If you use exercise for weight loss, you are more likely to say, “since I worked out for an hour, I can go and eat a brownie.” Then the justification comes and the obsession comes on how much do I need to exercise to eat this much. It is really in the diet mode. Health coaching focuses on the whole being and holistic wellness. I focus on nutrition first and then as they feel better, they naturally want to exercise. Exercise then becomes a part of a healthy life. If you naturally enjoy Zumba, that is what you are going to do. If you like walking your dogs, that is what you naturally are going to do. I want them to choose something that they can habitually do for the rest of their lives.

Breanna: It truly is about finding what you enjoy doing because that is what will stay with you. 
Kirtley: Find something that you love and you are more likely to do it forever.

Breanna: What is one piece of advice you would give someone who is just starting out on their health journey. 
Kirtley: My number one is to clean up your environment. It is surprisingly simple and most people actually aren’t willing to do that. That is what has helped me the most and kept my 30 pounds off. You cannot keep unhealthy food in your house. Your home needs to be a very safe place. Home is where most of your emotions occur. Keep your house clean so you are forced to eat clean.

Breanna: How do you help your clients find motivation?
Kirtley: That is a great question and I love the topic of motivation. When my clients ask me how do I find motivation, I tell them you don’t wait for motivation to come. Stop relying on your feelings because we naturally want to take the easy way out. That will lead into laziness. Decide that this is what I want, these are my goals, and if you want to start making more homemade healthier foods, you are going to have to meal plan. Force yourself to do it and then the motivation comes after. After you start feeling the benefits of your choices, motivation will be there.

Breanna: Mentally you need to say, “This is something I do.” Every day when you want to make a habit to be a part of you, tell yourself it is just something you always do. 
Kirtley: Yes! It is like defining and branding yourself. This is Kirtley. This is what I do every day!

Breanna: I think that in this day and age, so many people think you have to purchase things to be healthy. However, we have food from the earth and the outdoors to play into health us achieve health. With your business, what are your keys to success? What has helped you the most?
Kirtley: Consistency. I have to commit to putting a little bit of work in every day. There are days where I really don’t feel like working. That is ok but I can’t let that get me down. It is always good to remember my why. Health coaching is not this fairytale job where clients are rushing through your door. It is a lot of work and you have to be ok with people not being ready to get help. I am throwing them a life jacket and they can take it or not. I will not be offended. Don’t care about rejection and be. That is what helps me the most. Every morning I have that vision of seeing me help someone become free. I use visualizations and affirmations.

Breanna: Thank you so much, Kirtley, It was a pleasure talking to you!

Zucchini Egg Waffle Breakfast

Simple & Substantial Zucchini Egg Waffle

Happy Monday! I can tell it is going to be a great week! As the end of summer is approaching, my garden is producing some tasty fruits and vegetables. So far, we have harvested a couple of raspberries, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini squashes. At the bottom of this post, you can check out my garden!

I am excited for the beginning of the month of August tomorrow. With every new month, I love to check my progression towards my goals and recommit myself to them. One of my goals is to eat more wholesome foods, including vegetables. Out of all the meals of the day, I tend to not eat as many vegetables during breakfast. So, I want to find ways to incorporate vegetables into my morning meal. With zucchini coming out of our garden,  I was wanting to incorporate them into my breakfast.

Zucchini Egg Waffle

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil spray
  • 2 eggs (OR 1 egg + two egg whites)
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini

Instructions:

  1. Rinse and clean zucchini. Shred enough zucchini to fill 1 cup (I use a salad shooter to shred the zucchini). Turn on waffle iron to preheat.
  2. Break and whip eggs in a mixing bowl. Add shredded zucchini in mixing bowl and mix with eggs.
  3. Coat hot waffle iron with olive oil spray.
  4. Pour mixture into waffle iron.
  5. Cook! (Don’t open until iron beeps that it is done!)
  6. Add toppings of your choice such as cheese, salsa, ketchup, tomatoes, and etc).
  7. Enjoy!

Zucchini Egg Waffle

For more garden inspiration, click on the hashtag #brehealthygarden on my bre.healthy Instagram page!

#BreHealthyGarden

Garden Starters
Garden Starters

Zucchini in metal colander
Gorgeous zucchini

Sun Sugar Tomatoes
Toddler favorite finger food – sun sugar tomatoes

Garden

Frozen Banana Cream

Yesterday, I saw that it was National Ice Cream Day and didn’t realize it before I headed up Little Cottonwood Canyon to visit my family at Snowbird. I didn’t want the national ice cream day to go to waste, so, I got resourceful and used some ingredients we already had. We made a frozen banana cream treat and it hit the spot!

Ingredients:

  • 4 yellow bananas, diced and frozen
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • optional: milk chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Dice the bananas and put them in a plastic baggy. Put the bag in the freezer.
  2. Once the bananas are frozen, put the frozen segments in the blender with vanilla yogurt and milk.
  3. Blend and enjoy! We also added some milk chocolate chips for fun! Serves about 5-6 people.
  4. So tasty and wholesome!
White Chicken Chili and Sour Dough Bread

Family Favorite And Flavorful, White Chicken Chili

White chicken chili is nutritious, flavorful, and easy to make! It will surely become one of your family’s favorite meals, as it has become mine!

Family and Food

I attribute my love of creating delicious and wholesome meals to my mother Elizabeth and Grandma Melva. A lot of my favorite recipes are ones that have been passed down through my ancestry. Some of my sweetest childhood memories were created in their kitchens as I was surrounded by loving family members making and eating homemade food. The importance of family meals is underestimated. Family ties are strengthened when we sit down and eat as a family. Now that I am a wife and mother, I love sitting down to eat with my handsome husband and two beautiful children. It’s a time when we can laugh, visit and talk about how our day is going while being nourished with wholesome food.

This white chicken chili recipe is from my mother. I make it at least once a month if not more! I love this recipe because it is easy to make, flavorful and serves a large number of people. When I make it for other people, they always ask me for the recipe! So here it is!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • ½ tsp garlic minced (I use bottled minced garlic)
  • (2 cups chicken broth) OR (2 cups water with 2 TBSP chicken bouillon OR 2 chicken bouillon cubes)
  • 1 pinch cayenne red pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 pinch of pepper
  • 4 oz. can of diced green chilis
  • 3 cans of great northern white beans
  • 15 oz can of chicken OR rotisserie chicken OR freshly cooked chicken
  • 8 oz of sour cream (I haven’t tried it yet, but a lot of people substitute plain greek yogurt for sour cream. I bet it would work well).

Instructions

  1. Gather all ingredients. Chop the onion.
  2. In a large soup pot, saute the chopped onion and minced garlic in butter. Tip: While the onions are sauteing, I put all the spices together in a little bowl so I can put them into the pot all at once. Also, open up the cans so they are ready to pour into the pot.
  3. Once the onions are soft, add the broth from the can of chicken and the 2 cups of broth (or two cups of water).
  4. Add the spices to the pot (cayenne red pepper, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and chicken bouillon – if you didn’t use broth). Add the can of chilis, great northern white beans, and chicken.
  5. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Before serving, add the sour cream.
  7. Serve with homemade bread or rolls. Pictured above is tasty sourdough bread. Recipe coming soon!
White Chicken Chili in Large Pot
White Chicken Chili

Oven Roasted Seasoned Asparagus

Oven-Roasted Seasoned Asparagus

It is extremely satisfying to watch my husband and toddler chow down on a meal that is not only delicious but nutritious as well.  As a mother of a two-year-old and a nursing infant, I don’t have time to spend all day in the kitchen making an extensive meal.  Therefore, I’m sharing an easy prep meal that is a go-to favorite in our home.

I’m overwhelmed with the mass amount of information on what foods are good for our bodies and what is not.  Within my religion, there is a law of health that I have loved relying on. The law of health includes:

  • Abstaining from alcohol, tobacco, and hot drinks
  • Eating meat sparingly but with thanksgiving
  • Eating fruits, vegetables, and herbs within its season
  • Using grain as the staff of life

As I live this law of health, I try to eat fresh produce. I love finding different ways to cook and season vegetables! Hope you enjoy this recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • sea salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • onion powder to taste

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°  F.
  2. Spray baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray.
  3. Rinse and trim asparagus spears, then place them lined up single-layer on a baking sheet.
  4. Spray asparagus with olive oil spray. Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder on asparagus to taste.
  5. Cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

Resources:

http://www.michiganasparagus.org/our-team

Oven-Roasted Seasoned Asparagus