By Kristin Boza
Big lessons and cultural shifts have been happening over the last couple of years in the health and wellness sphere. Rather than a focus on being thin and losing weight, people are understanding that overall health is more important than size. Putting in time at the gym is great for cardiovascular health and strength — as well as mental health. Meditation and yoga are essential mindfulness practices, which also contribute to a healthier overall lifestyle and outlook.
These Beverly/Morgan Park businesses are dedicated to helping clients realize the importance of balancing health and wellness to make a greater impact on overall health and wellness.
Go Coaching and Consulting: Commit to Changing Habits
Striking a healthy balance between “being and doing” helps people realize the big picture in life, according to Maureen Gainer Reilly, executive and personal development coach at her company, Go Coaching and Consulting. Coaching is a growing field of practice, as coaches utilize data and experience to create solutions with their clients that will form lasting change.
“People know what they need and want, but the demands and clutter of life can get in the way of clarity,” Gainer Reilly said. “A great coach uses powerful questions to help you articulate your values and then build a life that’s in alignment with those values.”
Now more than ever, people are faced with an unrelenting pace with work, home, family, volunteer commitments, and being constantly connected, according to Gainer Reilly. “Naturally, we focus on to-do lists and getting stuff done, and we are action-oriented and results-driven,” she said. “It makes sense that the ‘soft’ stuff is pushed to the background and it can feel unproductive to focus on ‘being’.”
She defines ‘being’ as who we are, how we think, what we want, and our purpose in life. However, when we fail to stop and care for that aspect of ourselves, we end up on the hamster wheel of life, constantly running around and trying to get everything done. “Ultimately, we feel exhausted, unfocused, disconnected, and longing for meaning and belonging,” Gainer Reilly said.
In response to these stresses, Gainer Reilly helps her clients find a healthy balance between the being and the doing. A personal coach can help guide clients to achieve their goals. She utilized the help of a personal development coach, who she still works with today.
“Although I enjoyed my work and was involved in activities, I was exhausted and scattered. At a work conference, I stumbled upon a great coach and that experience changed my life,” Gainer Reilly said. “Since 2018, as a coach myself, I have seen the practice of coaching have an incredible impact, both personally and professionally, on those I serve.”
Gainer Reilly likens the idea of a personal development coach to a fitness personal trainer. Just like with working out, no one can do the work for you to achieve a goal.
“The personal trainer can’t get on the treadmill for you, it is you doing the work. Coaching is the same partnership,” she said. Being mindful is a practice, just like meditation or yoga or eating well, and it takes time and commitment to change habits and be more present.
While most of her clients are business executives, Gainer Reilly believes anyone can benefit from a personal development coach.
“I love partnering with people who want to gain clarity around their values and live a purposeful life honoring those values,” she said. “The new year is full of expectations and starting over and there’s beauty in that; but in coaching, I remind my clients that it is a practice and you have to commit to the sustained, slow work that it is.”
Contact Maureen Gainer Reilly of Go Consulting & Coaching at 312-593-5681 or visit ConsultGo.com.
Lemon & Basil: Healthy Meals Prepped for Your Kitchen
Eating well-balanced meals during stressful weeks is tough for many families. Meal prepping is convenient and helps manage that weekday stress, but people have to devote a whole day to cooking and storing their food.
Enter Beth Hackett of Lemon & Basil, who takes over all meal planning and prep and delivers healthy food to her clients each week. In addition to her weekly clients, she provides brunches and dinners for small parties on weekends.
Not only does Hackett take the stress out of meals, but she’s also an Italian-trained culinary pro. She completed a culinary program in Northern Italy in 2013 in an old, renovated castle in Piobesi Torinese, then went on to complete an internship at the Bulgari Hotel in Milan.
“I was the rookie, one of only two women, and the only American in the kitchen, so I had to fight really hard to prove myself there,” Hackett said.
Lemon & Basil began as a side hustle for Hackett, who returned to the States from Italy to work in Chicago as a line cook, as a kitchen manager in Silicon Valley, and as a personal chef for a start-up company, eventually becoming a stay-at-home mom. Her meals with Lemon & Basil are influenced by the very healthy California health food ideal.
“From the start of my chef career, it has always been important to me to include options for those with dietary restrictions and to make these options just as tasty as the original,” Hackett said. “To keep things interesting for both myself and my clients, I never repeat meals unless they request me to do so!”
Lemon & Basil launched in mid-2020. Hackett reserves her weekends to cook for dinner parties and brunches, with the idea to bring a casual restaurant experience to the host’s own dining table. During the week, she works in her clients’ homes to meal prep nourishing dishes and snacks. Her clients are busy households with hard-working parents with school-aged children, and who have minimal time to plan and prep dinners.
“I change my menus every two weeks and try to keep them as versatile as possible,” Hackett said. “A typical menu for a family with no dietary restrictions uses little gluten, little dairy, and zero refined sugars. I really try to show people how amazing whole, unprocessed foods can be when they’re prepared properly and customized to their likes and needs.”
Hackett enables her brunch and dinner party clients to gather for a special meal without going to a restaurant during a pandemic. “It has been a joy to give groups of friends and families this experience during a time when they would not have been able to get together otherwise,” she said. “Dinner party clients choose from a wide variety of options from steakhouse fare to nutrition-focused courses. My menus are customized based on the dietary needs, allergies, and likes of each client. Each dinner party or brunch menu has its own unique vibe as I love getting to know people and creating dishes specifically for their menu.”
When it comes to meal prep, Hackett’s number one tip is to keep it interesting, which is easier than it sounds. “For me, anything can be fun to eat with the proper seasoning, sauce, and garnish. A lot of times we confuse nutritious with boring and bland, but adding a splash of citrus, fresh herbs, flaky salt, crispy shallot, or chopped nuts just before serving a dish provides so much excitement,” she said. “Actually, go put all of those things on some roasted carrots right now – you can thank me later! I strive to give meals those simple yet surprising elements to keep them fun.”
Next, she advises to keep it real; it’s not about replacing favorite treats, because that’s not realistic. “We’re adding to our snack options, not replacing,” Hackett said. “When I make chocolate peanut butter bites from dates, cocoa powder, natural peanut butter, and almonds, I’m not trying to replace a peanut butter cup; instead, we choose to have this whole food option on hand as the go-to sweet tooth cure and eat the real thing in moderation.”
Finally, Hackett says to keep good food stocked. Having a protein, veggie, fruit, grain, and a sweet on hand is her standard set-up. “I call these my lunch kits, and clients love them for an easy and filling grab-and-go option. At my own house, I often have each item stored separately and then I portion them out at meal time. This is also a great habit to get into if you often have leftovers as they can easily be incorporated into the prep,” she said.
In the new year, Hackett is offering groups of up to 12 to book in-home parties where they can learn to create a simple and beautiful appetizer.
Contact Beth Hackett at LemonAndBasil.co.
Better Balanced: Macro Approach to Nutrition and a Healthy Diet
Better Balanced, owned by NASM-certified nutrition specialist Caitlin Harrigan, launched in March 2020 as a way for Harrigan to utilize her expertise to help her clients break the diet mentality.
“I’ve always been involved in sports and fitness and health has always been important to me,” Harrigan said. However, this former high school and college basketball star admits she struggled with nutrition. “I followed every fad diet out there. I became an extreme yo-yo dieter and I broke down mentally,” she said.
As a neighborhood group fitness instructor for the last five years, she realized her clients needed more than just a workout coach.
“The one-hour workouts weren’t getting the results they needed. So, after my son was born and COVID hit, I knew it was time to do something more.” With a degree in science and a minor in coaching and psychology, Harrigan took the leap to earn a nutrition specialist certification and create a much-needed program.
“This is a program created for people to lose weight but also enjoy all the foods they love in balance. I create personalized caloric and protein goals for my clients and coach them through a six-week program to see how we can make eating well a lifestyle, not a diet,” Harrigan said. She checks in with her clients each week to ensure their physical and mental health is solid. After the initial six weeks, clients can choose to stay with her services for as long as they are needed.
Harrigan welcomes clients of all ages and activity levels, noting that everyone can find success with her Better Balanced program. “I offer my programs to high school athletes but also the average Joe who just walks his dog for his daily exercise. Anyone willing to meet me halfway and ditch the fad diets will benefit from this program,” she said.
The core philosophy behind Better Balanced is Harrigan’s belief that a healthy diet is a diet without restriction. “This plan goes beyond a four-week quick fix, it’s a lifestyle that you can still be out with your friends and family and doesn’t hurt your mental health,” she said. “Some of my clients focus on weight loss, others on mental health. I realized some people want to learn how to portion out their pizza and wine, while others just want to be okay with eating pizza and wine without guilt. Fueling your body with nutritious foods 80% of the time and then fueling your mind or heart with foods that make you happy and sane 20% of the time is a good rule of thumb at Better Balanced – but one size does not fit all.”
Building confidence in her clients is what drives Harrigan. “I think we live in a society that makes us feel like we are never good enough and that is not true,” she said. “I love this job because I teach my clients that they are worthy and they deserve to feel good about themselves. It’s about helping someone that needs a support system.”
Better Balanced will be hosting neighborhood events to build a community that supports health and wellness.
Follow Better Balanced on Instagram @better_balanced_.