Many of us prioritize our health routines at the beginning of each new year, but the habit disappearing by springtime is an all-too-familiar outcome for most. When wellness transitions into a lifestyle, focusing on health becomes less of a resolution and more of a daily reality. For Carlye Waters, a certified integrative health and wellness coach and the owner of Village Yoga in Spring Hill, a mindful combination of food choices and fitness are the keys to keeping energized all year long.
Waters’ commitment to herself and her health began when she was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in 2009. Despite a lack of family history and testing negative for breast cancer genes, she developed the disease and was determined to adjust her lifestyle once she was cured. She focused on learning holistic ways to prevent cancer from returning, which inspired her to step away from a career in medical sales to earn her certifications as a health coach and a yoga instructor. This commitment to fitness is matched by her determination to eat foods that nourish her body in a way that keeps her feeling her best season after season.
“I don’t follow one style of eating. I have learned which foods are best for my body, and I like to cook a variety of things,” says Waters. “I live by the 80/20 rule. I eat healthy foods at home 80 percent of the time, and for the other 20 percent, I allow myself to go out to dinner and enjoy whatever I’m in the mood to eat. I have found that when I follow this, I feel better physically and mentally.”
Establishing a more mindful routine doesn’t mean eliminating all the foods you love or completely adjusting your schedule to accommodate an all-new lifestyle. Waters chooses to avoid gluten and limit dairy due to intolerances she discovered by elimination testing, but dietary needs differ for everyone and vary in breadth. Even small steps to improve your health can have a significant impact. Make simple ingredient swaps to incorporate more nutrient-dense whole foods, such as coconut milk in place of heavy cream, or avocado in place of mayonnaise. Adding in a new form of exercise, such as yoga, can help you avoid burnout in your routine. For coaching clients, Waters recommends focusing on disease prevention by understanding how food affects our bodies.
From left to right, Carlye teaches daughter Maury the benefits of clean eating. Stress-relieving exercise, such as walking, pilates and yoga, is key to maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Take your workout outdoors for an extra boost of calm.
“To start the new year off in a healthier way, I’d recommend cutting back and avoiding processed foods as much as possible and adding in anti-inflammatory foods,” says Waters. She recommends upping the intake of foods such as berries, cruciferous vegetables, dark and leafy greens, nuts and seeds, and wholesome flavor enhancers, such as garlic, onions, leeks, ginger and turmeric, for optimum inflammation prevention. Your choices don’t have to be perfect, but if you like any of them, consider trying to increase consumption to find the balance that works best for you. “You don’t have to have an all-or-nothing attitude. Just do the best you can when you can,” Waters says.
One rewarding way to introduce new habits is to integrate components that your entire family will enjoy. Finding foods and forms of movement that suit adults and kids alike increases your chances of creating a sustainable routine.Consider your family’s needs based on schedules, budgets and preferences, then a healthful lifestyle will last.
Carlye’s Pantry Staples
• Broths, including chicken, vegetable, beef and bone broth
• Legumes such as beans and lentils
• Canned coconut milk
• Canned tomatoes
• Vegetable oils, including avocado, coconut and extra-virgin olive oil
• A variety of nuts and seeds
• Vinegar: apple cider, red wine and balsamic
• Protein powders, either plant-based or whey
• Pink Himalayan salt and other flavorful spices
One Pan Salmon and Potatoes with Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Arugula Salad
This wholesome dinner balances protein, fats and carbohydrates. plus one pan means minimal prep and easy cleanup!
1⁄2 pound baby potatoes
4 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced into quarters
4 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
4 4-ounce salmon filets
1-2 tablespoons creole seasoning
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 cup arugula
1⁄2 cup basil leaves, roughly torn
Chili flakes, to taste
2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. On a large baking sheet, combine potatoes, brussels sprouts, 2 tablespoons of avocado oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss well to coat the vegetables, then bake for 15 minutes.
3. Rub 1 tablespoon of avocado oil on the salmon, then coat in creole seasoning.
4. Remove the pan of potatoes and brussels sprouts from the oven and place the salmon in the center of the pan. Bake everything together for 10-15 minutes or until your salmon has reached your desired doneness.
5. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of avocado oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add the arugula, basil and a pinch of chili flakes. Toss to combine.
6. Add the butter to a small pot over medium heat and melt. Once melted, allow the butter to brown until fragrant and golden, about 2-3 minutes. Stir often. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
7. Serve the salmon, potatoes, and brussels sprouts together with the arugula salad on the side or on top. Drizzle the salmon with brown butter to finish. Serve warm.
Chia Seed Pudding
This pudding makes a fiber-filled breakfast or energizing snack, full of healthy fat and omega-3s.
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
1/3 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup toasted walnuts (or other nut of choice), chopped
1⁄4 cup blueberries or strawberries
cacao nibs, for garnish
1. Mix the coconut milk, vanilla extract and honey or maple syrup in a medium bowl until combined.
2. Slowly add the chia seeds in, mixing well to fully coat.
3. Pour the pudding into a glass container with a lid and refrigerate for 1 hour.
4. Remove from the refrigerator and stir the pudding, then return to refrigerate
for at least 2 hours or overnight.
5. To serve, divide into 4 small ramekins or bowls, then top with walnuts and
berries. Sprinkle with cacao nibs to finish and serve chilled.
White Chicken Chili
Nutrient-dense ingredients fill this chili, and it’s easy to make ahead, pack for leftovers, or freeze! To ramp up the nutrient content, add chopped kale or spinach at the end of cooking.
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 whole rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups chicken bone broth
1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
4 ounces diced green chili
14 ounces full fat, unsweetened organic coconut milk
Salsa and sliced avocado, for garnish.
1. Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, garlic and jalapeno, and cook 5 minutes until softened.
2. Add shredded chicken and seasonings, then stir to combine.
3. Add broth, beans, green chili and coconut milk.
4. Bring the chili to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until thickened.
5. Ladle into bowls and finish with salsa and avocado. Serve warm.