There is an opportunity for wellness and wellness coaching to impact the lives of millions of people in a life-saving way. 79 million Americans are estimated to have a condition called pre-diabetes. Usually symptom free, without intervention they will develop full-fledged Type II diabetes within ten years and possibly endure physical damage to their heart and circulatory system along the way. Yet, according to the American Diabetes Association, if a person is successful at lifestyle improvement they can completely avoid the onset of diabetes 70% of the time.
These vegan and gluten-free cheesecakes taste authentic and provide well-balanced nutrition. Protein from the Cashew Cream, and flavored with sweet summer fruit, this recipe will keep everyone’s blood sugar stable. Enjoy straight from the freezer or allow to thaw at room temp, for an extra creamy treat.
- 1 cup packed pitted dates*
- 1 cup raw walnuts, pecans, or almonds
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, quick-soaked*
- 1 large lemon, juiced (scant 1/4 cup)
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbls coconut milk (see instructions for note)
- 1/3 cup natural sugar of your choice-agave, maple syrup, honey, coconut palm, fruit juice or fruit
- 1/4 salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
*If your dates are too dehydrated, soak them in warm water for 10 minutes then drain. Pat dry to prevent
the crust from getting soggy.
*To quick-soak cashews, pour boiling hot water over the cashews, soak for 1 hour uncovered, then drain and use as instructed.
- 2 Tbls salted natural peanut butter
- Berries of your choice, blended and strained or decorate with whole berries
- Caramel sauce
- 3/4 c oats
- 3/4 c raw almonds
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 Tbls coconut palm sugar
- 4 Tbls coconut oil 2 Tbls Earth Balance Vegan Butter, melted
Everything gets blitzed in your food processor. Press into your pan and bake 15 minutes at 350. This crust can be served raw as well.
Date/Nut Crust: Add dates to a food processor and blend until small bits remain and it forms into a ball. Remove and set aside. Next, add nuts and process into a meal. Then add dates back in and blend until a loose dough forms – it should stick together when you squeeze a bit between your fingers. If it’s too dry, add a few more dates through the spout while processing. If too wet, add more almond or walnut meal. (Optional: add a pinch of salt to taste.) Lightly grease a standard, 12 slot muffin tin. Make these in a mini muffin pan, for a popable snack.
To make removing the cheesecakes easier, cut strips of parchment paper and lay them in the slots. This creates little tabs that make it easier to pop out once frozen. Next, scoop a heaping tablespoon of crust into prepared pan and press with fingers or a small glass. The back of a spoon also works to compact your crust. Set in freezer to firm up. If using an alternative crust, bake and cool well before topping with cheesecake filling.
Filling: Add all filling ingredients to a blender and mix until very smooth. For the coconut milk, scoop the “cream” off the top it provides a richer texture. But if yours is already all mixed together, just add it in as is. You don’t need a Vitamix for this recipe, just a quality blender. Taste and adjust flavorings as needed. If adding peanut butter, add to the blender and mix until thoroughly combined. If flavoring with berries or caramel, wait and swirl on top of plain cheesecakes.
Divide filling evenly among the muffin tins. Tap a few times to release any air bubbles, then cover with plastic wrap and freeze until hard – about 5 hours. Once set, remove by lifting the tabs or loosening them with a butter knife. Set them out for 10 minutes before serving to soften. They are good frozen as well. Store in freezer up to one week. This is a great do-ahead, for entertaining.
Cashews are a Drupe, just like the Coconut. Packed with minerals, particularly Magnesium and Manganese. These minerals are craving crushers! If you are having a craving for greasy foods, and/or sugar, it is generally due to a deficiency in these minerals. Grab 1/4 cup Cashews, and the craving will generally stop, unless it’s a “head” craving, (i.e., stress, fatigue, loneliness, and boredom).
Cashews are high in B vitamins, another stress manager. Cashews are a good source of Selenium, Copper, and Zinc, these minerals are antioxidant co-factors. This means they help the body produce very powerful antioxidants from the food we eat. Selenium is a co-factor for Glutathione; excellent for keeping our nervous system healthy. This helps prevent such diseases as Parkinsons and ALS, aka Lou Gehrig’s disease. Copper and Zinc are the co-factors to the production of Superoxide Dismutase, a powerful anti-aging antioxidant that also ensures proper growth and function of every bodily system. Cashews protect us from heart disease and with a small amount of Zeaxanthin, our eyes are less likely to develop macular degeneration. Who needs whipped cream, when you can have Cashew Cream!
Affectionately referred to as The Walking Encyclopedia of Human Wellness, Fitness Coach, Strength Competitor and Powerlifting pioneer, Tina “The Medicine Chef” Martini is an internationally recognized Naturopathic Chef and star of the cooking show, Tina’s Ageless Kitchen. Tina’s cooking and lifestyle show has reached millions of food and fitness lovers all over the globe. Over the last 30 years, Tina has assisted celebrities, gold-medal athletes and over-scheduled executives naturally achieve radiant health using The Pyramid of Power: balancing Healthy Nutrition and the healing power of food, with Active Fitness and Body Alignment techniques. Working with those who have late-stage cancer, advanced diabetes, cardiovascular and other illnesses, Tina’s clients are astounded at the ease and speed with which they are able to restore their radiant health. Tina believes that maintaining balance in our diet, physical activity, and in our work and spiritual life is the key to our good health, happiness and overall well being. Visit her website, themedicinechef.com
For many years if not decades, America has struggled with an identity crisis, for whatever reason people could not separate the difference between non-psychoactive hemp products and their evil cousin (LOL) marijuana. . .
Being proactive beats reacting every time. With our nation’s level of fitness deteriorating with each passing year, I thought it important to highlight these 10 keys. I am evaluating what it is that I may want to change in my own world and by sharing these thoughts with you hopefully move you to such a review as well.
1. Get a physical
As a nation we are not being proactive when it comes to our health and as a result we are over medicating ourselves and creating other significant health related problems as a result. Being on drugs is not an effective way to maintain our health – making healthy choices instead is a far better strategy for preventing illness and disease in the long run.
2. Get “real”
Being “real” with yourself starts with an honest evaluation of where you ARE in your physical and mental – and emotional life. Dumping old behaviors – and attitudes – that are no longer serving you is a place to start. Another step we can take is to get moving – doing whatever you can to positively move in the direction of what I call “your highest good”. We all have something we are here to do in life so get going and don’t waste a single day. Writing these articles is part of what I am to do so I am writing them!
3. Get moving
By way of reminder – we are meant to be active beings – not sitting beings. Find out what it is you enjoy doing and get moving. Your body will thank you every day you do this. I know how I feel after I run and lift weights and it is in one word “happy”.
4. Get a handle on your stress
We are all stressed at some point during our day so why don’t we start working on strategies for dealing with the stresses – and stressors – in our lives BEFORE they happen. Being proactive in stress management means knowing we are going to have to deal with stress in our lives so why don’t we practice before the event or stress occurs? I have passed on some of my strategies in prior articles: Meditation, prayer, visualization work, focused breathing, running, quiet reflection etc. These and other techniques are readily available and can be learned through classes and other forums.
5. Get excited
Getting excited about life fuels our imagination and creativity. The more I think about my potential to make a difference in the world the more excited I become about each day of my life. The same experience can happen to you if you are open and receptive to what your subconscious is trying to tell you. The world of technology is taking away our ability to “go into the silence” and discover what life has in store for us. The “noise” we face every day is keeping us from hearing anything that could be of help to us in planning for it is we may want to do – and accomplish. Take a moment and ask yourself “am I living up to my full potential and if not what can I do about it?”
6. Get clear on your purpose
Purpose driven people are happy people and they are self-actualized – meaning they don’t need someone to tell them what to do, think, feel, say, or do. They approach life from a position of “real power” and at the same time are able to acknowledge the uniqueness of each one of us. I got an email today from a reader telling me I would go to hell if I didn’t believe what he did and my response is – “it’s a free country and we get to live our lives the way we choose”. I am empowered and energized by this thought. I am free – as are you – to live a purpose driven life or stay on the path you are on. We are ALWAYS “at choice” so CHOOSE YOURSELF TODAY!
7. Get close to “real” people
This key is important in today’s world. “Friends” are NOT on the internet – they are in our REAL lives. Be aware that we need each other. Make it a point to be kind to others – smile, acknowledge them when you can, call people by their names and look them in the eyes when you speak to them. People are what make life worth living – not the cyber world of “fake” experiences and relationships.
8. Get close to your family
My daughter is going through a difficult time in her life right now. She is facing challenges that are most uncommon and have her living “on edge” every day. She has a 7 year old son who needs her and a career in business to re-establish and beyond. I spoke with her last night and told her “I am here for you – whatever you need”. As a father I sometimes feel helpless because she is a grown woman but she is still my daughter and I love her. It is my job now to just be her father and love her – tough as that may be for me. Take this step in your own life in the coming year and see what happens – you might surprise yourself at how your family responds to you.
9. Get serious about your own health and fitness
Time has a way of marching on and to the degree that you acknowledge the passage of time you begin to appreciate what you have been given – and have in life. I am grateful everyday for my passion for training and running because I know it can be taken from me at any time. I live in the present when I am running or lifting weights and it is a practice I hope to continue until the end. I am serious about my fitness program because it gives me the energy and strength to do my work – teaching, speaking and writing on matters of healthy aging, fitness and exercise. Are your energy levels low? Get moving!
10. Get to know yourself
This is perhaps the best thing we could do to prepare for the year ahead. Get to know yourself and start appreciating the magnificence that is you. Getting to know your self is a lifelong pursuit. The journey never ends. I have learned during the course of my 66 years that I DID NOT appreciate myself at all – I had to learn the hard way through difficult and painful experiences that until I could love myself – and appreciate what it is I am here to do – that no one would ever appreciate – or love – me either. I spend time (each day) thinking about my life – and my contribution to life itself – and ask myself “is there more that I can learn or do today?” You should do this too – it will help immeasurably improve the quality of your life now and in the years ahead.
Why not take the time between now and the end of the year to see what you might want to work on in the year ahead and see how you can live more fully and completely. Can you make a more expansive contribution to your own life and the lives of others as well? Of course you can! Isn’t this what the fitness lifestyle enables us to do in the first place? So get moving, be willing, be open, and appreciate who you ARE right now because you have only scratched the surface of your potential!
Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.
Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach and fitness professional with over 25 years of experience. His passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii, where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.
It all started over 40 years ago, when I chose as my sport – some would say, my life – the Korean martial art of Tae Kwon Do. I was young, fit, pretty strong and, unbeknownst to me, very flexible – perfect for the art of kicking high and hard. Once I got hooked on it, I was in the gym a few hours a day, 6-7 days a week…for the next almost 20 years. That did not include the running I did to get my cardiovascular conditioning primed for the art and sport I was practicing at high levels of both skill and competition. I knew then, at age 19, that I was going to pay for the training and abuse I was putting my body through, but not until I was older, say, 40 or so.
There are three distinct areas of exercise as it relates to healthcare – and reimbursement. Most trainers and fitness professionals are aware of cardiac rehab, which actually began in the US in the 1960s, but gained ground as a reimbursable health care service in the 1980s. At that time there was a lot of good exercise and sports medicine research available in peer reviewed publications, and there was a push on the part of health care to include cardiac rehab as part of rehab and health promotion services. The fact that most cardiac programs were reimbursed up to 36 sessions was a plus.
The second area of healthcare that is relatively new is the Silver Sneaker’s program – started in Arizona in 1994, it quickly grew to the nation’s leading reimbursable wellness program for seniors. It was accepted by Medicare Plus
Choice, and a host of other health plans across the nation – so that within a few years of its inception, seniors from anywhere in the US could take advantage of free exercise and health classes at area health clubs, YMCAs, and JCCs. The program was recently sold to Healthways health systems from Nashville for over $400 million – a testament to the interest of such programs within the healthcare industry.
The third area is the use of exercise therapy in worker’s compensation programming. Over the past decade there are some significant programs implemented that contract with large employer groups and HMOs to use exercise both in a preventive and therapeutic format. These programs include strength and aerobic training geared to improve functional strength, reduce WC costs and reduce lost work days. Clearly these areas of clinical exercise have set a precedent regarding both the use of fitness programs in healthcare, and reimbursement for these programs through third parties.
Enter Cancer Wellness. There were few programs for cancer survivors for any type of health program in the early 1990’s. A few health clubs and hospitals had specialty exercises for persons with cancer, but programs really started to grow when Dr. Meryl Winningham from University of Utah began publishing the first sports medicine research in the field in the 1980’s (which became more widely read in the mid 1990’s), and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong made his remarkable comeback from cancer in the late 1990’s. Over the past decade the number of health clubs and hospital wellness centers that offer cancer exercise programs has grown exponentially. There are now hundreds of programs in existence nationally – in clubs, private training centers, Pilates studios, and hospitals. More are interested, but the main question remains – is this program reimbursable?
For those in health promotion who haven’t noticed – reimbursement has changed dramatically in the past 10 years. Programs that historically received reimbursement (such as cardiac rehab), have been cut dramatically (while, ironically, cardiac operations and prescription medication costs have escalated three-fold). However – that doesn’t mean that reimbursement doesn’t exist for health programs, you just have to know where to look. An example is smoking cessation classes. Instructed by counselors and physician assistants, most of the reimbursement for these classes (and nicotine replacement therapy) is funded by state tobacco settlement grants and initiatives, which is very helpful in terms of passing along savings to patients.
Is reimbursement possible for cancer wellness? Select groups from areas in the US are working with local health plans, or pharmaceutical companies to capture their markets in terms of offerings to patients. For those who are interested in looking towards reimbursement for their program – here is some advice for getting started:
- Find out how many persons in your region are cancer survivors. Your local cancer treatment center should have statistics. Most areas have well over 1,000 new cases per year. You may also market to persons who have had cancer diagnosed years before. They may still attend support groups, or be on mailing lists from the same cancer centers.
- Establish a relationship with a local oncologist or treatment center. You may be able to hold exercise programs on-site and bill through your community local oncology or rehab clinic. This is similar to billing for group therapy or physical therapy. However – it should be remembered that this is a wellness program, and there are specific wellness codes that physicians and billing departments can bill under.
- Know your billing codes. In order to receive any form of reimbursement – you should know the system you are working in. There are resources that may assist you in learning coding for wellness programs, and you should take advantage of them (see resource section).
- Know what outcomes you are interested in reporting. For many cancer patients, a reduction in lymphedema, less pain and fatigue, and increases in fitness parameters are an excellent way to show that the program is working well. Improving these outcomes will also boost attendance, which is another important aspect of the program (compliance).
- Look for local sponsors. A proposal to local pharmaceutical reps may increase your odds of receiving reimbursement – through a third party such as a pharma company. They often set aside money in their budgets for health programs, and cancer wellness may fit the bill very well.
What to do once you’re up and running? In the first year it’s important to have a working budget. This may only lend itself to 3-5 patients coming to your program to start. Once they experience the benefits of exercise and wellness, they will quickly tell their fellow patients. It’s also important to spread the word via small group lectures and fitness demonstrations. Since most cancer centers have monthly support groups, it’s a great place to conduct a 30 minute lecture and demonstration for local survivors. Next – a couple of sample articles for the local newspaper (perhaps a series) on the benefits of exercise for cancer survivorship. There are new research reports out each month. Lastly – call your local radio show and book a time to discuss exercise for cancer survivorship. They would love to have a topic like this for their time slots.
The initial year is a “make or break” one for survivor programs. In my experience with many of my national programs – those that got some funding, and did some promotion have programs that have grown. Those who relied solely on patient membership fees in many cases have not been able to grow their programs. Funding is important, and reimbursement may be a part of patient’s health plans, so it would benefit you to contact local health plan reps to see if they cover the cost of post rehab exercise, and/or health club membership for their members.
Cancer Wellness is one of a handful of growing wellness programs in this country that health specialists AND physicians are looking to for avenues of increased reimbursement, or sponsorship. There are many local and regional resources (cancer treatment centers, non profit organizations and foundations, pharmaceutical companies, and regional HMOs) that may be interested in funding such programs. It is up to you to start looking for financing as you start your education program. This will ensure future success at both the educational AND financial levels.
Written by Eric Durak, Medical Health and Fitness ©2011-2014. Eric Durak is the President of Medical Health and Fitness, and Director of the Cancer Wellness CEU Program in Santa Barbara, CA. He is also the author of The Reimbursement Book for Health and Fitness Instructors . Contact him at email@example.com / 805-451-8072. www.medhealthfit.com
Durak, EP. The important link between exercise and cancer. ACE Matters. Pg. 13, Sept. 1999
Author – Exercise reduces cancer treatment side effects. Health News. 12(9):pg.8, 2006
Jones, LW, Denmark-Wahnefried, W. Diet, exercise, and complementary therapies after primary treatment for cancer. Lancet Oncology. 7(12):1017-26, 2006.
Korstjens, I, Mesters, I, et al. Quality of life of cancer survivors after physical and psychosocial rehabilitation. European Journal of Cancer Prevention. 15(6): 541-7, 2006.
What I’m about to share with you are two very harmless words except when they’re used together . . .
Currently, health clubs offer a variety of cardio and strength options. They offer a plethora of equipment and classes yet attrition remains high. By combining the science of cardio and strength training with a motivated and energetic instructor new programming combining….
If you want to get fit or stay fit, you need a good motivator — a primary reason why you want to exercise, eat right, and live a healthy lifestyle.
I talk to people about this all the time. Active adults have powerful, compelling reasons why they lift weights, run, swim, take yoga, ride their bikes, and more. Here are just a few most often cited:
- Playing with children/grandchildren
- Reducing medication
- Sports and hobbies
- Avoiding obesity, hypertension and falls
- Social interaction
- Better recovery from surgeries
- Treatment of chronic conditions like Parkinson’s, diabetes and more
- Being active without the risk of joint pain and hurting themselves
- Do any of these strike a chord with you?
Any reason is a good reason. In fact, you don’t really even have to have one. Most people, however, need to remind themselves of what truly drives them to lead a healthy lifestyle. It can give you a boost when you’re not feeling motivated and it can guide your choices about how to spend your time and energy.
Knowing your deeper WHY leads to better results and a more vibrant life. Fully connecting with your why will motivate you to make better choices with how you eat and maintain your health. Many people are not aging well, but they are living longer, which means that their quality of life may be less than optimal. You have to ask yourself what’s more important to you right now. If you’re going to live a long life, you may as well live a healthy life.
Knowing your motivation is vital, but motivation can only get you so far. Your habits and daily routines are more powerful than motivation. Your motives for being healthy will help you get started on your goals, but your habits will get the results that you want. Think of it like this: You have to work regardless of whether you feel like it or not, right? You can apply the same reasoning with regards to your health. You must work towards good health and wellness regardless of how good or bad you’re feeling. When you discover the power of what good health, wellness and being fit can do for you, you’ll ask why you didn’t embark on your health journey sooner.
Bottom line, don’t let a lack of good health prevent you from living out your best years. Protect your brain health, improve your strength, lower your need for multiple medications. Good health leads to happiness and you deserve to happy. Find your motivation and strengthen your good habits as you eliminate the bad ones.
Ron Kusek is Transformational Wellness Coach & Holistic Chef. He is certified as a personal trainer through the National Strength & Conditioning Association, as well as holding certifications with the Institute of Transformational Nutrition as a Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach, and a Functional Aging Specialist with the Functional Aging Institute. Ron specializes in functional aging for mature adults; he runs a home-based wellness program for women 50+ called the Lean & Sexy Fitcamp. He’s working to change the lives of the community in the Antelope Valley in a positive, holistic way.