Archive for the ‘Coaching’ category

Snow causing problems? Or is it others’ negativity?

March 6th, 2018

It’s been very snowy this past week

Sometimes it’s not rain, but snow

Friends of ours tried to get home from Tenerife last week.  What would usually have taken the better part of a day, took over three.  I attended a wonderful writers’ conference last weekend in Geneva, and the Brits had a hard time getting there because of snow.  Is it raining (or snowing) on your parade?  It happens sometimes, and it’s usually not the weather’s fault.  Today I want to address negativity – raining on people’s parades.

Others’ Jealousy and Tantrums- the MEGA of negativity

Sometimes other people rain on our parade.  Those same people may also rain on other people’s parades, too.  Recently I have been noticing this phenomenon in my life, in my friends and neighbors’ lives, and especially in the social media and news.  Jealousy.  Tantrums.  Negativity is rampant.  This kind of “raining” has become prevalent.  I think we, you and I, should put a stop to it, at least as much as we have power over it.

Let’s look at a why for such negativity, and then suggest a way to put up your umbrella in protection, and finally encourage you not to rain on others’ parades.


Jealousy or Insecurity – or both

Maybe you are doing well, maybe you are even doing really great; other people who are not doing as well may want to rain on your parade.  Why? – maybe because of jealousy.  Or perhaps they are feeling so bad that any sort of positive movement or attention given to others makes them angry and resentful.  This kind of negative activity, whether it is talking about you behind your back, trolling, writing about you in the newspaper, or whining about you to the press so someone else writes, is really bad behavior on their part and truly has nothing to do with you – or your success.  It’s really more about them as people.  It is about those people and their attitudes and self-esteem and insecurities.

What to do?  Put up your umbrella!

Time to put up an umbrella of protection against others’ negativity

How do I put up and use my “umbrella” to protect me?  The “rule” Brené Brown uses is this:  only people actually getting out there and trying get ahead with you are allowed to tell you anything, and of those people, only the (very) few you can trust should be taken seriously.

You alone get to make that list of people who are on your side and the others “don’t count” so you don’t have to listen to them.  You can even, like Brené, write down that list and put it in your pocket, briefcase, backpack or handbag.

So, think about those who you are going to put on your list, write it down, and ignore all others.  If you have to, go off-line for a while.  Don’t read the local newspaper, if it helps.  Do whatever you have to do to put up that umbrella and use it until that storm passes.

Finally, make sure you are not raining on others’ parades.  Instead, celebrate with them!

It is important to recognize and celebrate success.  We need to do that for ourselves and friends and family, but why not spread the wealth and celebrate other people’s success, too?  If you practice this piece of advice, you will find yourself celebrating very often, and that is good.  For example, a friend of mine is taking over the family business on April 1st.  I may send him some chocolate as a gift.  Celebrating others’  accomplishments is a bit like being grateful for what you have, yourself.  It puts a positive spin on life.

Why don’t you try celebrating today?  Write a note of congratulations on LinkedIn or facebook.  Call a friend.  Give somebody an “ataboy”!

Let’s move into the future with a more positive outlook for ourselves, for your neighbors, and for the communities we live in.  Celebrate your own success.  Celebrate the success of others.

Patricia Jehle     


How is your plan going?

February 27th, 2018

Plan for Success to plan your business

One of the situations that must be well planned for is, perhaps surprisingly, success and what the next steps will be when that Big Deal comes through.  Scenarios must be worked through and plans made ready to put into action.  If the Offer of a Lifetime comes and you can’t promise to fulfill it because you aren’t ready, all your time and money may be for naught.


Plan A B or C – multiple options will be necessary for success

  1. Be prepared for big success

The lesson here is: be prepared to become a big success and make sure you know what you are able to do if the BIG CHANCE comes your way. Make sure you are prepared with a “what if” plan. But don’t have just one; make a few of those kinds of plans, because there will be surprises. Try and be prepared with – and for- various success scenarios.  Do you need access to more production space?  Do you need more people?  Do you need quick response to basic material orders?

  1. But you won’t be able to foresee everything, good or bad.

What is key is that no matter what, something you haven’t thought of will probably happen. Be prepared to change your strategy or your production or whatever in the middle of everything, because you will have to change, and maybe you will have to change fairly often. If you don’t change, you will not survive. Period.

Bob the cat

Here is a funny example:  right now, it’s unseasonably cold outside and our cat, Bob, has been bringing his prey to play with (and eventually eat).  After all, it’s cold outside, so he heads to his owner’s bedroom to do his dirty work.  Luckily, I am not considered his owner.  But my son, is at this very moment trying to find a way to get the trapped mouse out of his bedroom and into nature before everything becomes bloody.  This is a new, and hopefully temporary phenomenon, but until the weather warms up, it is most likely going to happen on a daily basis.  After all, we live in the countryside.  So, we need a plan for tomorrow.  Suggestions are welcome.

  1. Know that there will be losses: Loss happens, so plan for that, too

Even with all the precautions and learning, loss still happens.  I also have discovered that the rabbits can die an untimely death, even if all the health and safety suggestions are followed. Loss happens.

Although you might be very flexible and can tolerate making numerous changes in the midst of the business action, there will still be losses. There are the expected losses but then there are the unexpected ones, too.  In any business losses must expected and be paid for, somehow.

This goes especially for startups.  You need to plan your startup business so that the losses, especially in the first few years, are covered financially, if at all possible. Many people say that if you quit your job to start up a business, you should be able to cover six to twelve months of working before making any income.  The potential losses will also have to be included in this calculation.

In fact, with some ventures, it may take years to break even. Losses are part of start-ups, just as much as any other business. That’s why so many of us start up our business while still working at another job; or we have spouses (or other family) who can be our “angels”; or we have saved and our substantial personal savings is then invested in the business.

But in the end though, there will be no profits if you don’t market your product.  Sales are what saves the business.  Getting sales is the key to success.

  1. Marketing will forever remain “the issue” -, even if it‘s not “in your DNA”

In my own coaching business I have learned to sell the outcomes of my services.  This is necessary for my business.  Also, I am not afraid of asking people if they need some coaching.  The fear of getting a “no” and the fear of new things is something I have  had to overcome.

So, what do you need to overcome to reach success?  Where do you need to grow?  What do you need to prepare?  What plan do you need to make?

Have a great week! I wish you much success!


Patricia Jehle



February 20th, 2018

Wow!  They started with a bang, those nineteen-year-olds, setting up their office in an empty “office space” that had no frills, none at all.  They begged and borrowed desks, chairs, a flip chart from family, and got started.  Boom!

When you’re in the flow, you feel like you can do anything

Yesterday they were in a flow, so much so that they stayed at their new office all night.  The five young men are starting their own business, and what they lack in experience they more than make up for in passion, energy, and creativity.

And I get to coach them, what an honor.  I am passionate because they are so passionate.

Bending over backwards to get things done can be difficult, but when you are passionate, it may work out great

They already have a few jobs, and contracts and they have hopes of making money next year.  I haven’t met with them as their startup coach yet, but it seems like they are on their way to success, and that is great!

Over to you

What about you?  What’s getting you excited about your life?  Your work?

You need a passionate why

Where’s your passion?  What do you always have energy for?

Or, where do you always get hung up?  What irritates you?  What can you do about it, or what can someone else do to help you with it?

A wise man once wrote that there is a time for everything– in Switzerland this is the time to go skiing, at least for some.  For these men, it’s time to start a business. This can also be a time for you to reflect on what’s happened so far in 2018, to reflect, refocus and redirect, and then move.  Maybe you’ve lost your passion.  Maybe you are stuck.  Or maybe you are doing a good thing, but not the right thing.

Time to reflect, refocus, redirect and move on your goals


Reflect:  What’s been accomplished, so far.  What still needs to be done?  What am I feeling about this?  What do I need to do to become more efficient?  The questions are myriad.  I love this stage.  I get to do this at my first meeting with this new company.

Refocus and Redirect:  If you are not going in the right direction, or if you are focusing too much on one thing to the detriment of the best thing, it’s time to redirect and refocus.  Make a plan to get your priorities in your activities.

Finally, move.  When you have a plan, whether it be for the week, month, quarter or year, you have to move on that plan.  Sometimes it is easy, because you are so passionate and have the energy of a nineteen-year-old.  But sometimes you are scared, or tired, or burnt out.  What then?

Weeeell, then maybe the reflection time needs a different lens, maybe a different viewpoint would be needed.  Maybe help would be in order.  But for today, I want to stick with the passion and the energy that I gain vicariously from those young men.  It’s catchy!

Have a week full of passion and energy!

Patricia Jehle   



Some News

February 13th, 2018

It’s cold, although Lent is beginning

What’s new?  It’s a new month, and soon it will be the season of Lent and that hails the coming of spring.  Time for a check-in!

What’s new for you?

I am doing quite a few new things:

Starting a new semester teaching Negotiations

This semester is one of the semesters where I will be trying new practice negotiations, one of which I will write myself.  Teaching negotiations is one of my favorite courses to teach.

Speaking three times with three different topics at the American Women’s Club in Zürich

I have volunteered to speak on sustainable eating (March 12th), on bouncing back after a set-back (March 13th) and I will give a Reformation Tour (March 14th).  What a wonderful opportunity to share some of my passions!

I’ve recently been to quite a few interesting events

January 17th I went to the 13th Wirtschaftssymposium Aargau– an excellent afternoon of speakers and networking.  For me the highlight was André Blattmann’s talk on security.

January 18th Was the SVC Prize Award Ceremony for best SME in Zürich- with the Schibli Group winning a much-deserved first prize.

Then I took a helpful Case Study Writing course for professors at the FHNW.

On February 1st I was able to be part of the audience in TEDx Selnau and one of the talks I enjoyed most was that of Dr. Lijin Aryananda’s discourse on simplicity in development (of robotics, mostly, but it can be extrapolated to most problem-solving issues)

TEDx Selnau was a highlight this month

I will go to a few more exciting events in the near future, all before Easter!

In two weeks, I will once again attend the Geneva Writers’ Conference.  Each time I return with ideas and new writing projects.

The weekend after that I will attend the Forum Christliche Führungskräfte in Fribourg.

A friend of mine, Hoger Hendrichs will be heading up a new effort for Christian startups in Switzerland, and I am very much looking forward to it:

Supervision is on the horizon

I will continue my journey of extending my qualifications this fall, and I am very thrilled about it.

But some things remain the same

I still love (and do) coaching

I had hoped for one or two more clients and that has happened, and I continue to enjoy each session and every new issue and client.

I still love learning and writing

My love of learning has been re-confirmed again in the case study writing course and the other courses I have recently taken.  I still wish one could be paid to learn; I’d earn a million.  Writing is such a passion of mine, I blog, I am in the midst of writing books, and now I am working on case studies.  Even the few podcasts I have done have been a joy to write.

I am and will be a Hygge fan

I now ask myself the kind of mindful question that a Dane may ask.  Hygge is all about coziness, but it is a very mindful way of life.  As the weather takes a colder turn again, I am happy that tonight is “Pancacke Tuesday” (Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, literally “fat Tuesday”).  As a family we eat way too much: scrambled eggs, pancakes with maple syrup, and fried bacon.  After all, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, and the start of Lent.  I read in a book that Lent means spring (or spring is on its way).  So, time to finish fattening ourselves up for winter.

Well, that’s my news, what’s new with you?

Patricia Jehle

Healthy Work

February 5th, 2018

A heathy work environment can make you a very productive person

Are you working “healthy”?

January is a month where we turn away from eating and turn to healthy living.  We often take on new exercise regimes, maybe we change our eating patterns, we often do not drink much (or any) alcohol, and so on.  But what about at work?  Are we working “healthy”?  There are at least four aspects of work that can be heathy – or not, and here are some things you can do about each aspect:

A Healthy work environment?

How is the light in your workspace?  Can you add a daylight desk lamp to give you more energy?   Can you take a break and walk outside in the daylight for ten to fifteen minutes each day?

How is the eating situation?  Do you have access to healthy fresh lunches and snacks?  Do you need to make a plan to bring food from home?  Are you drinking enough water or healthy drinks, and avoiding sodas?

Are you able to get fresh air into your office space?  Can you “air” the room a couple of times a day to regenerate the oxygen levels?  If not, go take that walk!

Are you moving enough?  Research says you are more productive if you work in shorter bursts and then move a bit in between.  So, do you work for 45-50 minutes and then go get a drink at the water cooler, or go up and down a couple of flights of stairs?  Can you walk to where you eat lunch, if you eat out?  What else can you do?

Unhealthy work relationships?

How are your work relationships?  I have a friend who when one part-time colleague shows up, her environment changes so much that she feels very uncomfortable.  She has decided to avoid working when that colleague is there, if at all possible. I have another friend who was being used against her will for “office politics”.  She finally left that company, because she could not easily change the situation.  So, are you in a relatively good relational environment at work?  Yes?  Good!  If not:

  • Can you change the situation- either work at home more, work in another office space, or something else?
  • Can you talk to somebody about it who can help you change the situation?
  • Can you live with it?

If not, maybe you should start looking for a new situation, especially if the situation is making you feel unsafe, making you have sleepless nights, or making you ill.  My friend chose this route, maybe you should, too.

Are you working too much?

Some people may have to put in a long week every month or two, but if you are doing this consistently, you may be heading towards burnout.  Think about what you consider normal working hours.  Think about this, and then google the normal work-week for your country.  Are you within 10-15% of that “normal” amount most of the time?  Then I would not worry too much.  But when you are working 50+ hours a week consistently, most months of the year, consider what you can change, and do it fast!  Maybe you need a coach to help you find ways of optimizing your way of working, maybe you need to delegate more.

No vacations?

There are many people who really do not take their vacations.  Maybe it’s from fear of not getting everything done in time, or fear of getting too far behind while gone, or fear missing out on an opportunity.  When people make decisions based on fear, there is usually something negative (and possibly unhealthy) going on.  Watch out!  This can be a red flag!  Maybe you need to talk about those fears and find ways of getting around those issues.

We all need time away.  I have a friend who is (finally) taking 16 days to go away with her husband and leaving their business to be run by the team.  This is a first and she is hopeful it will become a more routine (at least once a year) activity. My friend really needs a break, as most business owners do.

When was your last vacation?  Did you take all your vacation days last year?  If not, why not?  Vacations are healthy ways of getting back not only energy, but also your creativity, which is needed for your work.  We usually come back from with fresh perspectives after a good holiday.

So, how are you doing at work, health-wise?  What do you need to change?  How are you going to do it?

Have a healthy work week!

Patricia Jehle


Solutions to our problems

January 29th, 2018

Got problems? We all have, but what’s there to do?

We need to see the big picture and understand the problem before finding a solution

My January has had its ups and downs, especially regarding hearing bad news about family and friends, especially about their health.

But I have to balance that with new clients and new beginnings. Maybe your day, week or month has been like that, too. – full of decisions, full of positives and negatives. Life is usually a balance of good and bad, in the end.


At the end of the day the question is always what am I going to do about what has happened? How am I going to process my morning, my day, my week…? Personally, I do two things: I go through the problem-solving set of steps I have made for myself and then remember my “3-a-day”. I bet you have problems and hard days, too, so maybe my steps will help you!

Wrestling with the problems

What about the hard issues at work, at home, etc?   First ask yourself: Is it really a problem? Do I let the issue go? Do I fix it, or can I find someone else to fix it? Or must I continue working with the problem for a longer time, working on finding an answer or someone who can solve it?

Question one: Is it really a problem? (Evaluate the issue)

First things first, after all. Sometimes our issues are only perceived as problems, but when looked at from another angle, they are actually not problems at all. I had one of those recently. Because I could realize that it wasn’t a problem, I slept well last night. Sometimes it is a little problem, too, and not worth my energy, at least at the time.

Question two: Can I solve it? And how?

Some issues are worth my time (and saving money on a professional); some are not. Some problems are best left to my friends and family to help me solve them.

Some issues are, for the moment, “unsolvable” and then what am I going to do? Steven Covey reminds us to focus on our circle of control. What can I do about it? I may have to let the issue lie, do some research on it, or let it go. Last week I let something go. At least for the time being, it is “not in my radar”, anymore.

There is an upside of not “fixing one problem: because I could let one problem go, I was able to focus on and solve another problem. That solution went on my gratitude list for the day. What a great feeling to have solved a rather complicated issue, and all by myself! I had a great feeling of accomplishment.

Here is a step-by step way of dealing with your problem:

So, if it is a real problem and I have to solve it now, there is a first step of finding out as much as you can about the problem by asking even more questions, for example, the 5 Whys, or using What, Why, How, Where, Who and When:

  • What do I want to achieve, what are the facts, what would happen if no decision were made? Or no solution found? What do I need in order to find the solution?
  • Why do I want to have a solution? Why did the problem happen? Why do I need a solution?
  • How will the situation be different with a solution? How relevant is the information I am gathering? How can I involve others? How can I find out more about the problem and the solution?
  • Where did the problem begin? Where is the impact? IS the “where” important, and if so, why so?
  • Who is involved? Who cares about the situation? Who is affected? Who needs to be informed? Who am I trying to please, if anyone?
  • When did the problem arise? By when does there need to be a solution? When is the deadline for (any) action?
  • The 5 Whys: is a technique to find out the cause – and effect – of a problem. Why is asked 5 times, each time using the answer as the base for the next why. The car isn’t starting: why? The battery is dead: why? The alternator is broken: why? It’s belt has broken: why? It was old and had not been replaced: why? The owner had not followed the schedule for part replacement. (this is the root cause)

Then it’s time to identify solutions. That is a great place to be at, as then you can decide if you do it, do some of it, or delegate it. Then you choose the best solution and break it into manageable steps. Then you try out the solution and evaluate it, refining it. Repeat ad infinitum.

Questions that are well-placed can gain great insights


Keep on Problem-solving, remember FLEXIBILITY and Gratitude!

Keep trying the solutions, and keep working on the questions. Because more than one of my problems is large and on-going, as they are something almost totally out of my control, I work on other problems that are more “solvable”, and then do what I can, waiting until it’s the right time to address the other issues.

Thus, flexibility helps a lot with bigger problems, try this, try that. Wait. Then try again another way. Ad infinitum.

My 3-a-day Gratitude List

The three a day gratitude list is a “to do” I not only do myself, but tell everyone I know to do it, as well: friends, clients, and colleagues alike. So ask yourself: “What am I grateful for today?” Then write it down on paper. Some people even keep a gratitude journal. The writing by hand is important, trust me. This will help you focus on the positive at the end of your day.

Still got problems? Me, too!

But don’t worry, if your problem is to be fixed, it will be. By me? By you? By friends, colleagues family? By another? Be assured it will be fixed, one day. Then you can put the answer on your 3-a-day list.

Enjoy the rest of your week, despite your issues!

Patricia Jehle

Grateful for Expertise

January 23rd, 2018

Experts are needed and we should be grateful for them!

I am very grateful for the experts in our world, as googling can only get us a very short way in life. Personally, my life has been saved by medical experts and I am taught by experts how to be a better educator, a better writer, a better coach, and so on.


I have been very thankful for competent ER staff

Recently I have been grateful for these specific experts:

I am so thankful for the Emergency Rescue experts that saved my friend’s daughter after a terrible bicycle accident last week. She broke the sixth disc in her neck, but luckily the spinal cord and the nerves were not damaged. That emergency crew was able to get this young teen safely to the ER, where the expert medical crew treated her, grafting bone from her hip and recreating this disc. AMAZING!

I am thankful for the expert teaching of Sebastian Walzik last weekend regarding case studies and how to write them. It is always a pleasure to sit under great teaching.

I am thankful for the expert furnace repairman who fixed our furnace this afternoon. We are warm again, and that is really something to be grateful for!

I am also very thankful for the expert radiant heat oven builder (a kind of high level brick layer extraordinaire) because while the furnace was not working this oven kept us relatively warm.

Next time you go poo-pooing experts, remember, we can only be experts in one (possible two) things in our lives, and to be a REAL expert takes time to study and practice.

The world-famous Swiss tightrope walker, Freddy Nock, said at last week’s Wirschaftssymposium Aargau that he started to work on the tightrope at age four, and he practices (still) up to nine hours a day. To be a real expert, it takes lots more than a two-day course, or skimming a book. It takes the hard work of really getting it right. Think of Freddy as he gets ready for his next daring walk. He over-prepares. Most experts do, somehow, because they really are “know it all”s.

Right now I am also very grateful for the medical experts caring for several friends, and for three family members who are ill —these days, we can trust the doctors around us, as they try their best in a world where diseases mutate and spread in alarming manners. I have been in the place of needing those kind of experts more than once, and I am thankful they were there for me, as they are for my loved ones, right now.

So, are you an expert? At what? I am able to call myself an expert at teaching business communication, I am beginning to be an expert coach, and I am working on becoming a supervisor and a writer.

What experts are you thankful for?

Be grateful for the experts in the world

Patricia Jehle



2018 Word for the Year

January 16th, 2018

Good team and other relationships are key for success

What’s your word for 2018?

I usually choose a word like hope or presence for the year to remind me what’s important and to keep me on track. Do you do that?

My word for 2018 is RELATIONSHIP

This is a word I can apply to all my life: work, family, church, friends, and “free-time,” and when it comes to decision-making, it will be a filter I use to make my choices.

When it comes to family and friends, I will attempt to choose for relationship and not activity. What helps our relationship? What helps others and their relationships? Activity for activitiy’s sake is going be a red flag for me this year. I hope it will be for you, too. The “Why?” question will be asked by me a lot. Why am I doing this? What benefit does it offer others and our relationships?

When it comes to work, I will continue to teach in as relational manner as the system allows. I will continue to work on building good rapport will colleagues and team members. I will be a team member in the best sense. These are my work goals.

In some ways, relational coaching is just a given. But I will continue to make the coaching relationship a must for my business. I will ask myself how I am doing with my client relationships and what can I do better. I will do what I encourage my clients to do: reflect.

As I continue in my further education as a coach and lecturer, I will make relationship as much a goal as possible. This weekend I will be trained to write and teach case studies, and the weekend is a team learning effort so I look forward to learning together with a talented and diverse group. As I look to becoming a supervisor, I also am thrilled to be working with a group of diverse coaches who are moving forward.

Even the books I read and the fun things I do with friends and family I hope to use to enhance relationships this year. I have just bought another Henry Cloud book; this one is Boundaries for Leaders. I am looking forward to this read very much!

Again, what is your word for 2018?

Relationally yours,

Patricia Jehle  

working together gives us better solutions

Healthy, sustainable Eating

January 13th, 2018

A double pyramid to help you eat healthily and sustainably

An Eco-Friendly Diet that’s healthy? What’s that?

After this week’s earlier blog on good decisions and the placebo effect, especially regarding healthy food choices ( ) I started thinking about meat (and other protein) eating and I started researching on the ecological sustainability of high-protein diets and the recommendations of the UN and medical associations.

While doing my little research, I came across the “double pyramid”, which shows the effects of what we eat (diet) on the environment and comparing it to the updated suggested dietary pyramid used by the UN and medical authorities.

I assume we all want to be healthy and for the world to be a better place, and one of the ways we can help these goals is to care about what we buy in general, and specifically, what we eat. I personally think we need to eat a more sustainable, but yet a healthy diet, and it’s a viable choice, both environmentally and financially.

So, here’s what our eating footprints look like, depending on our general diet: Vegans (though I could never claim to be one) have the lowest carbon and water footprints. Just saying. This is followed by vegetarians and then omnivores. I am an omnivore, but I readily will give up eating meat or other animal/fish proteins for days on end. This excludes our own home-grown eggs from our (free range, very happy) chickens, and Swiss milk products. I do live in Switzerland and come from Minnesota, after all.

Having said that meat eaters have the highest carbon and water footprints, it can also be said that most dietary recommendation pyramids now say we should not eat so much meat, especially red meat, anyway. And if you cut your meat eating down to twice a week, you already halve your footprint levels. That’s not too bad, considering it is healthier, anyway.

I did note that coffee and chocolate are not listed on the pyramids, and find that not so helpful for my personal lifestyle.

Coffee and Chocolate

After a quick google, I found that black (UGH!) coffee has 21g carbon footprint per cup and the latte (MMMmmm!) 340g- gasp and sigh. The water footprint is high, one article said 20 049 m3 per ton of harvested coffee just for the growth, and that does not include roasting containers and any other preparation. But maybe we should be buying at least a FairTrade version.

Deforestation aids to adding to chocolate’s carbon footprint, so we should really only buy sustainable fair trade brands. In Switzerland, the UTZ seal is important (for both chocolate and coffee). Regarding chocolate, one article says “Cadbury estimates that 169g (6 ounces) of carbon dioxide equivalent are emitted into the atmosphere for each 49g (1.7 ounce) Dairy Milk chocolate bar. This calculation includes emissions from the production of raw ingredients such as cocoa, cocoa butter, milk and sugar, and from packaging and distribution, but not from land-use change.”

Maybe a diet after Christmas would be in order for me, but first we have to eat all the chocolate in our house, and there is quite a bit left. Anybody want to come help?

A sustainable Diet

Now, let’s go back to the suggestions. Here’s the low-down on my interpretation of the double pyramids:

What to eat a lot of:

Local and seasonal fruit (and dried version) and vegetables, bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, legumes, olive oil (- which for me is local), nuts, and milk products and eggs. For those who don’t have good olive oil, try something else that’s local and healthy.

What to eat a little bit of:

Fish and seafood (see the wwf list for what is healthy and not over-fished), local chicken and other poultry. They put cookies here, interestingly enough, too. I like cookies.

What to eat once or twice a week, maximum (SORRY!)- and the list is rather the same, surprisingly:

Sweets, “bad” fats, and red meat

That’s it! Al we have to do is the good old rice, vegetables and beans thing, which I have known and done since college days. I bet we all know this. Luckily I bought a new (to me) Moosewood cookbook recently to jazz up my vegetarian cooking.

Tonight we will be eating chili and rice. What about you? So, let’s eat healthily and sustainably for a better world and a better life!

I raise my carrot to you and to our better health!

Patricia Jehle




Placebo effect and decisions

January 11th, 2018

Mind over Matter

Get out of Your Own Way and make sure you are making good decisions

I recently read an article that said that January is the month where you and I would most likely spend (waste) money on bogus health products, so watch out! This is the season of getting our lives in order, of losing those extra Christmas and New Year holiday pounds, of starting new self-improvement programs, and the like.

When I put cynicism aside over our overzealous resolutions to improve, is there some truth to these efforts and ideas that we can indeed change, or is it really the placebo effect at work.


Is there a Placebo at Work?

My medical-student daughter says that the placebo effect is real and very helpful in a lot of cases. This means if you decide to spend a lot of money on a bogus home remedy of sorts and you believe it’s going to work, it probably will. This means of you follow x diet for so many weeks, it is likely to work if you believe in it.

So, what do you believe in? What’s your go-to remedy for x, y, or z?

My nephew is a convinced user of mega-vitamin supplements with zinc, etc. to enhance his immune system. I have got to admit that I use something similar when I travel or feel a cold coming on.

The real question is what is at work, the vitamins and mineral, or a placebo? The other question is if it matters or not.

And does the placebo effect continue to diets and such?

My next thoughts lead to eating habits and diets, as this is the season of shedding our extra pounds, or at least attempting to do this. I have to admit I really don’t believe in diets, as I have seen friends and family do the diet yoyo – and I, myself, have been rather stable in weight for the past several years, even during chemotherapy. As and aside, I had hoped to shed a few pounds during therapy, but alas, it was not to be, sigh.

So, at least for a time, does the placebo effect work for diets? And what is healthy, anyway? Are carbs all that bad, and is sugar a “drug”? Now, here is my layperson, non-expert opinion:

Diets don’t work, instead we should eat, move and live healthily.

According to Mayo Clinic this is hwat you should be eating for a normal 2,000 calorie eating plan:

  • A variety of vegetables — dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy and other
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt and cheese, and fortified soy beverages
  • A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds and soy products
  • Oils, including those from plants, and those that occur naturally in nuts, seeds, seafood, olives and avocados


Vegetables 2 1/2 cups a day
Dark green 1 1/2 cups a week
Red and orange 5 1/2 cups a week
Legumes (beans and peas) 1 1/2 cups a week
Starchy 5 cups a week
Other 4 cups a week
Fruits 2 cups a day
Grains 6 ounces a day
Whole grains ≥ 3 ounces a day
Refined grains ≤ 3 ounces a day
Dairy 3 cups a day
Protein foods 5 1/2 ounces a day
Seafood 8 ounces a week
Meats, poultry, eggs 26 ounces a week
Nuts, seeds, soy products 4 ounces a week
Oils 27 grams a day
Limit on calories from added sugars, solid fats, added refined starches 270 calories a day (14% of total calories)

Thus, I would have you note that grains and starch foods are BIG on this list, and I find it interesting that so many people I know are scared of those foods. It’s not those foods, but the processed versions that are really bad. Another aside, for those who know what they are, Twinkies still exist. I saw some last week in a Target store in Seattle. I know that many of you are off all sugar, but unless you are diabetic, this could be a bit extreme. A little sugar is not going to hurt you, unless you are addicted to it, as I am to coffee and salty foods. BUT, so you know, the Mayo Clinic only allows a normal snickers bar worth of sugar a day. That’s all. Luckily, I don’t like many sweets and can forego this, but many friends have sweet-tooths.

One other thought on bias

Our biases are rampant and the goal is to become aware of them (and our assumptions) and take them into consideration when we make decisions. When we make un-considered biased decisions or decisions based from fears we are most likely to make poor decisions and mistakes. So, we need to ask ourselves, or better get the help of others to ask, what are our biases, our assumptions, our fears. We must move beyond t these to find the solution and make the best decisions.

Which decisions and why?

Whether it’s diet, activity, health, or future, let us make good sustainable decisions based on truth and not a placebo effect. 

Have a healthy rest of the week and weekend!

Patricia Jehle