Healthy Her: Strength To Serve

Healthy Her: Strength To Serve

Meet Emily, a Registered Dietitian and author of the blog The Savored Life. Today we are thrilled to share her inspiring perspective on why you should make your health a priority, as well as a killer soup recipe to help get you started! Enjoy! 

As a Registered Dietitian working with primarily cancer patients on a daily basis, I am given the responsibility of helping my patients to stay strong and nourished during the hardest physical battle of their lives. Working with this population comes with a long list of unique challenges as many of my patients are faced with devastating physical limitations, side effects, and often unbearable pain.  Everyday, I am amazed at the physical and emotional strength of these warriors as they stay positive and strong, even on the most difficult days of chemo and countless surgeries, and am so happy that I get to be the one responsible to feed and strengthen them throughout their time in the hospital.  Being in this environment day after day also makes me realize how much I take advantage of my physical health and how often I take my healthy physical body for granted. My physical health is not something that I am just given: it is a beautiful gift that I should use to serve and care for those around me that may not have the optimal health that I have.

Over the past year or so, I have been continuing to learn that the steps I make to take care of my body directly affect the way that I live and serve. For example, instead of grocery shopping, cooking healthy meals, and exercising out of my own feelings of obligation or selfish motives, my attitude has shifted towards a desire to feed and move my body in a way that gives me the energy and the mental capacity to better love and provide for the needs of my friends, family, patients, and the world around me.

I have learned to shift my very inward view of health and self to an excitement for the good that can come from caring for my body well and loving on the world around me more, whether that be in the way that I eat, drink, exercise, or even rest.

I so often get asked by my patients and clients what the best way to eat and take care of your body is, and my answer is often as simple as “make your health a priority and it will absolutely change  your life.” When I put my  health and well being at the top of my to do list even before I attend to all other obligations (work, family, friends, other hobbies), I automatically have more energy to give to the people and activities that are most important to me. It sounds extremely simple, but putting this theory into practice can actually be incredibly difficult when you are being pulled in a thousand different directions each and every day.

So where is a good place to start? I believe that one of the first things you can do to start truly making your health a priority is to plan ahead when it comes to making meals and exercising. One of the most effective ways to do this is to prep your meals early in the week before life gets in the way, so that you have healthy and delicious meals (so delicious that you actually want to eat them) on hand at all times. That way, you can’t help but make a smart choice, and you save money along the way.

One of my favorite winter recipes is this cozy White Bean, Kale, and Couscous Chicken Soup that is perfect for a quick weekday meal! The kale adds a healthy punch of color and the couscous adds a little extra texture to this already filling bowl of deliciousness. This may just be my new favorite soup!

{White Bean, Kale, and Couscous Chicken Soup}

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (cooked and shredded)

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups chicken broth

8 oz kale, stems removed

4 cans white beans, drained and rinsed (I used canellini beans)

1 cup whole-wheat couscous, uncooked

1 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

 

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic for about 2 minutes.
  1. Add chicken broth and kale. Cover and bring to a boil.
  1. Add the beans, whole-wheat couscous, cooked and shredded chicken, pepper, and chili powder.
  1. Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  1. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve immediately or let cool and keep in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days for those busy weeknights!

 

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