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Nutrition

Nutrition

Monday

Don’t forget to check out the info on our Real Food Journey if you’d like the details of what we strive for in our home. There are links to each day and a printable PDF of the week as a whole.

 

Oh, Monday. Mondays can be hard, so it’s nice to make a favorite, hearty breakfast that will get everyone up and going.

Breakfast

Egg Muffins (pictured above)-  I mixed twelve eggs with chopped spinach, yellow peppers, and a bit of cheddar and put in muffin tins to bake. I make at least twelve so there are leftovers. We eat them throughout the week, or they are even great to make a bunch of and freeze!
Leftover Sweet Potatoes

 

Lunch

We spent most of the morning out sledding so the boys were looking forward to a really warm lunch, I didn’t have any soup frozen or on hand so we grabbed:
Amy’s Canned Lentil Vegetable Soup and made
Grilled Cheese with spinach and flaxseed sprinkles.

 

Dinner

We got in our pajamas before dinner just to make it a little more fun and had
Pancakes
Bacon
Smoothies (berries, banana, greens, chia seeds, almond milk and some protein powder)

 


Notes:

Our family mostly drinks water. You’ll notice these menus are usually a little lighter on dairy based on the government recommendations, but if you add in a glass of milk you should meet those requirements if they are important to you.

You’ll notice the menus are light on fruit as well, and that’s because grabbing a piece of fruit, especially apples, is a common snack occurrence in our household.  My kids would snack all day if allowed, but at least twice a day is normal. Typical snacks for the kids include: salami, cheese sticks, fruit (apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, berries), veggies (carrots, peppers, cucumbers, celery) and hummus or guacamole, crackers/pretzels/popcorn, Lara Bars, applesauce, raisins, greek yogurt & berries, or trail mix.

I am working on using The Wahls Protocol, along with other research, to follow an anti-inflammatory and nutrient enriching diet for someone diagnosed with MS. I am not a doctor and am in no way providing this as anything other than a documentation of what I am eating and how I eat this way alongside my children. Typical snack items for me include Suja green juice, kombucha, tea, raw nuts/trail mixes, popcorn, tortilla chips/veggies and guac.

 

 


 

My Breakfast

Water with Lemon and Cayenne
Suja Green Juice
Raw Nuts

 

My Lunch

I joined the kiddos for lunch with:
Amy’s Lentil Vegetable Soup
Red Butter Lettuce Salad with chia, avocado, red peppers, olive oil and vinegar

 

My Dinner

Even though I am gluten-free I try to limit my “gluten-free” purchases to a minimum.

Gluten-Free products can often be quite a trap, being just as bad for you with additives and poor ingredients. My version of being gluten-free means that on occasion, I choose to eat quality grain products that do not naturally contain gluten. So in other words, if I’m feeling a little deprived I’ll purchase a gluten-free pancake mix, but most often I opt out and have

Smoothie (same one as the kiddos)
Leftover Burger on Greens and Sweet Potatoes.

 

Nutrition

Sunday

Don’t forget to check out the info on our Real Food Journey if you’d like the details of what we strive for in our home. There are links to each day and a printable PDF of the week as a whole.

Breakfast

Sunday started out with He-Man (yes, our kids found a He-Man DVD in the archive at the library and now love He-Man!) and

Toast (covered in nut butter and sprinkled with ground flaxseed)

Greek Yogurt (with frozen blueberries and sometimes added honey)

 

Lunch

While they sat and complained that they were ‘starving’ and needed lunch, I set out some red pepper slices and guac and hummus and let them munch on that while I cooked

Mac and Cheese w Added Peas (pictured above)

 

Dinner

After we said our Thank You Fors (see the post on gratefulness), dinner consisted of

Burgers on the grill (with onions and spices) and served with a bun, cheese option, greens and ketchup. 

Chopped Sweet Potatoes with onions, garlic, oil and spices roasted in the oven (I made a lot of these so there were leftovers) and Red Butter Lettuce Salad 

 


Notes

Our family mostly drinks water. You’ll notice these menus are usually a little lighter on dairy based on the government recommendations, but if you add in a glass of milk you should meet those requirements if they are important to you.

You’ll notice the menus are light on fruit as well, and that’s because grabbing a piece of fruit, especially apples, is a common snack occurrence in our household.  My kids would snack all day if allowed, but at least twice a day is normal. Typical snacks for the kids include: salami, cheese sticks, fruit (apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, berries), veggies (carrots, peppers, cucumbers, celery) and hummus or guacamole, crackers/pretzels/popcorn, Lara Bars, applesauce, raisins, greek yogurt & berries, or trail mix.

I am working on using The Wahls Protocol, along with other research, to follow an anti-inflammatory and nutrient enriching diet for someone diagnosed with MS. I am not a doctor and am in no way providing this as anything other than a documentation of what I am eating and how I eat this way alongside my children. Typical snack items for me include Suja green juice, kombucha, tea, raw nuts/trail mixes, popcorn, tortilla chips/veggies and guac. You can also find my husband with an old fashioned and me, with a glass of red wine or Glutenburg with lime at the end of the day.


 

My Breakfast

During the kids’ breakfast I had hot water with lemon and cayenne. Not much, I know, but I am researching the importance of breakfast right away vs. full night fasting right now, and am doing some experimenting.

 

My Lunch

Between 10-11, before I cooked their lunch I made myself a large smoothie with multiple servings of greens, colored fruits, seeds, avocado, coconut or almond milk, water and sometimes an added powder like protein, collagen, lions mane (nerve health), chia or hemp seeds and so forth. Then I munched on the red pepper and guac with them!

 

My Dinner

For dinner, I had a burger too, but I put mine on a bed of greens with some horseradish mustard and a serving of sauerkraut on the side. I made a large, simple salad with some red butter lettuce, chia seeds, oil and vinegar and I enjoyed the sweet potatoes, too.

 

 

 

Nutrition

Real Food Journey

No matter where you lie on the belief system of eating real, whole food, I think most of us agree that the Standard American Diet can be pretty rough on our bodies. Because I am a nutritionist, and because I eat as a way to feed my body with it’s MS imbalances, I am often asked the question – What do you guys eat? So, here it goes.

In this post you will find some main start-up points and theory. At the bottom of this post will be a weeks worth of meals, with a few photos and a little explanation. It is here to give you simple ideas for feeding yourself, feeding your family, or combining the two. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard.

To begin, our family goals for eating include the following:

  • to eat from all the categories in the food pyramid
  • to find alternative ways to get protein and calcium besides meat and dairy
  • to eat extra and very colorful vegetables
  • to strive for real, whole foods
  • limit processed foods – always reading labels so that we are informed
  • enjoy our eating experiences
  • allow ourselves a night out on occassion
  • allow choice
  • and most importantly, educate and explain food and nutrients to our children

As a family, we do choose to eat mostly organic and non-gmo. We are at the beginning stages of looking into eating locally, and love the farmer’s markets when it’s the season, but we definitely don’t have this as a constant priority right now. If there are not organic options for what we need available, or the cost is outrageous for that product, then we find a different organic option, or we choose a non-organic whole food option that suits us. We have found in changing our eating style that although organic foods seem more costly, we stay out of the processed food aisles and we actually end up eating less food all around.

On average we spend about $800/month on groceries with our family of four. We also go out about 4 nights in a month (which is where we can either tighten or explode our budget depending on the places we go!). I’m not going to include specifics on brands or types of each product because I want people to feel that this is an option for their family (organic or not, whole wheat or multi-grain, etc – everyone is on this journey at their own pace). I do most of my shopping at Target right now, with occasional visits to Cub Foods and Lakewinds Co-op. If you want to know any more specifics don’t hesitate to ask.

You have to start at the step you are ready for. If adding in more vegetables is the only change you’re interested in, then do that. If you want to go organic, go. As I said, we are just starting to experiment with eating local. Everyone is at a different step. There is no right or wrong place to be. You have your own beliefs, your own budget, your own needs. Just do some research/reading in the meantime, because there is always room for improvement. For now, do what feels right for you. Small steps are still steps.

Pictured above is an example of my meal planning board. It often looks like this in the middle of the week because, what I have found is that even when I’m meal planning I still want to be flexible. We still want to randomly meet up with some friends for dinner, and sometimes you just don’t feel like what’s on the menu that day. So really, the plan is a list of the meals that are in our house that week. It helps our budget when we grocery shop, and it helps us choose a healthy meal no matter what’s in store that night. I often try to include a few bigger meals, a few easy meals, a night of leftovers, and a night out every week.

So, I guess all that’s left is to let you take a look at our week of eating. Included with each week is a description, a picture, and also the way I change what I’m serving to the family to fit the needs I personally have with my MS diagnosis, as well. If you have any questions or want to chat feel free to hit up my contact page.

 

Full Menu and Notes (pdf, printable format)

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

 

Featured Nutrition

You Are The Magic

Dieting can be hard. Finding a diet you can stick with forever can be even harder. Sometimes diets focus on limiting our menus, and to be honest, that just kinda sucks. If someone tells you that you can’t eat something, then you end up wanting it pretty badly. My personal nutrition journey has opened my eyes to the idea of not following a diet and instead, to eat with health and nourishment in mind. One way to change your eating behavior without limiting food is to focus on adding in.

Colorful vegetables and fruits are a key component to proper function for our bodies. They are anti-inflammatory, full of antioxidants, vitamins and more. Start by simply adding them in. In the morning, before you eat your usual breakfast have a bowl full of color rich berries. Put some red, yellow and orange bell pepper slices and a side of guac or hummus in your lunch to eat before you have your usual lunch. Have a big salad or a vegetable soup before you have your usual dinner. Let those changes happen. Just give it time. You’ll notice how you feel, you’ll notice it curbs your hunger. Enjoy it.

Then, when you’re comfortable, take it to the next level. Have two servings of color rich foods before you eat your regular meal. And it will just get that much better. Enjoy the food and enjoy the feeling of nourishing your body. You just might notice, eventually, that the colorful foods taste good and become easier to cook. You will give your body what it is so desperately searching for, and over time your body will crave those nourishing foods. In the meantime, do your research. Learn about food and what makes it good for you. When you understand it’s function, your choices will mean more to you.

Remember that the reason we eat, the fundamental reason we need food, is to nourish our body. So nourish it. Provide for it. There’s no magic pill. You are the magic.

 

 

Nutrition

Starting Their Lives in Color

Keeping color on my kids’ plate has been my way of encouraging them to eat their veggies since they were babies. We started them with colorful soft foods~ steamed veggies, avocado, and so forth. I just loved seeing them with a colorful plate. And for some reason, I just never give up on it, even when I know they are probably not going to go for it.

If I am serving salad, I always put a small salad on each of their plates. With my first-born, he started eating it right away. He loves it, and loves what it does for his body (we also talk a lot about why we eat certain things). My second was different. He didn’t touch it for close to a year (thank you dad for clean-up duty) Occasionally, with encouragement, he would try a bite. We never forced it and we always plated multiple veggie options. We kept it consistent – three or four leaves with a little dressing, just so he could see it. And now, all of the sudden, he gobbles it up! He claims, “I’m fwee (three) now, I can eat sawad (salad)!”

I try to add color, and nutrients, to “normal” dishes too – like the grilled cheese pictured above. I just dice up some kale and add it to the cheese. Our mac and cheese always has peas. And there’s even a great recipe from 100 Days of Real Food that has carrots in the Sloppy Joes. I try not to hide the vegetables because I want them to know what they are eating, and to understand the importance of eating in color. Most of these additions have no real taste change, add nutrients, and again, allow them to see that we need to eat color! I can’t promise it works, but I do know that tonight my kids asked me for seconds of brussell sprouts and that has to be good for something.

Nutrition

The Wahls Protocol

Good teachers inspire you; great teachers show you how to inspire yourself every day of your life. They don’t show you their magic. They show you how to make magic of your own.  Alfred Doblin

I will never regret giving myself the time to think about my body, my family, and my life before starting an MS medication. There was A LOT of pressure from my doctors and the drug companies to get on a medication immediately. But, somehow, when my beautiful little sister sent me a link to Terry Wahls’ TEDx Talk (click here to watch!), it gave me the strength to stand up for myself and say, ‘Give me a minute’. I learned about what was actually happening to my body. I learned about what I could actually do naturally to help my body heal itself first. I had no set intention on definitely starting medication or definitely not starting medication. My only thought in the beginning was to see how much I could heal naturally at first.

I don’t want to put myself in a box and be forced to live there.

Two years later, I continue to use food, sleep, stress management, exercise, and relaxation to live my life in a healthy and happy way. Will I need meds some day? Maybe. Am I completely opposed? No. I don’t want to put myself in a box and be forced to live there. Giving myself the freedom to do what I need each day, gives me the freedom to uniquely care for each little problem that will arise.

I don’t have the records to prove that food and self care have healed my MS. My eye issues are gone. My energy level (or as much energy as you can have after chasing a 3 and 4 year old all day) is optimal. I am strong. And most importantly, I feel confident in what I am choosing to do for my health every day.

Terry Wahls has forever changed my life and encouraged me to live my life the way I think I should. I am forever grateful for her courage to share her story and for her incredible dedication to wonder and question and simply have hope.

If you would like to learn more http://www.terrywahls.com

Featured Nutrition

Ditch the Rules

Most of my life I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it. I was overweight for a chunk of time where life was difficult, but even when I wasn’t, the nutrients I was choosing to give my body weren’t optimal. I would occasionally try and follow a diet or program, but nothing ever really stuck.

It’s ok if you fall down and lose your spark, just make sure when you get back up you rise as the whole damn fire. ~ Colette Werden

Two years ago, my life was jolted by a diagnosis of Muscular Sclerosis. It’s a story for another time (Wanna grab some chai?). But what ended up being the major result is that I looked at the nutrients my body was lacking, and I tried to provide it. For the first year I followed the Wahls Protocol developed by Terry Wahls, MD. Only level 1 (there are 3), but very strictly level 1 and some parts of level 2. I combined this and exercise to jump-start myself into the mindset of repairing. I chose to remain medication free – which is also another story – and I focused on sleep, meditation, and stress reduction as well. Fast forward another year, and I have eased myself back in to eating some of the things restricted on her diet. I continue to strive for whole, real food and multiple vegetables, mostly greens, at every meal. I recently completed the requirement to become a Holistic Nutrition Coach from the AFPA, mostly to further my own knowledge on this whole nutrition journey.

For so long I believed that a fad diet would make me a better person, and if I could just follow their rules I would be in a better place.

So, to say the least, understanding nutrition has been a journey for me. For so long I believed that a fad diet would make me a better person, and if I could just follow their rules I would be in a better place. What I have come to understand most though, is that my diet and my nutrients are up to me and my body. Following someone else’s way of energizing themselves is stressful for me because it does not fit my life or who I am. I can learn from others, I can use their suggestions, I can try recipes, but if it is not authentic to my life, my family, my experiments in the kitchen then eventually I will “fail”. Sometimes failure can spin us into a not so great place.

When my nutrition is my own journey, I never fail…and that keeps me in a good place. So, I read and read and try to understand what it is that our bodies need to work best. I make choices and changes that resonate with me, I try and provide the same for those around me, and then I let it go.

I don’t give myself the rules of eating this or counting that, I give myself knowledge and resources. And then I trust myself 100% to believe I am worth it to make the best choices. There is definitely a time and place where following a strict set of rules is a must, and there are definitely days where I feel like I didn’t do a great job. But allowing myself to ditch the rules, allows me to forgive myself easily and try again the next day.

I feel freedom in the choice. Because really, it’s all about making today better than yesterday, right!?

 

 

Nutrition

Nutrition Insight and Hope

Here a just a few of those resources that give me insight, enlightenment, hope, and inspiration.

“The excess protein in our diet has promoted excess oxidation, and we no longer consume enough plant-produced antioxidants to contain and neutralize the damage.” (WHOLE: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by T. Colin Campbell, p10) So I read that, along with other articles, and I know that two things are important- reigning in on the protein and upping the plant intake. I don’t give myself rules like one 6 oz. steak two times a week, because I will fail at that. I keep it simple and give myself a little grace and say – fill your plate with mostly veggies and start experimenting with some vegetarian-type meals. I will never say I’m done with meat because I can fail at that too,  but the easier it becomes to make vegetable based meals, the more likely I will be to eat less meat. Small steps are still steps.

“The whole apple is far more than the sum of it’s parts.” ( WHOLE: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by T. Colin Campbell, p65) It is tempting to take the pill that tells us it’ll fix it all. And there definitely is a time and place for supplements, vitamins and such, but there’s so much in the food we eat that we don’t even understand yet. Choosing real, whole food is the simplest way for me to ensure I’m getting what I need and more.

“Eat (real) food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” (In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan) This is one of my favorite quotes thus far. It couldn’t be more true, or more simple. It resonates. And it gives me goals and reminders to strive for while I nourish my body.

“What really matters is how your genes interact with the accumulation of your choices.” (The Wahls Protocol by Dr. Terry Wahls, p. 24) Genetics is real. So is our environment. The moment you stop and look around at what you do to your body, put in your body, and expose your body to in just a day, your eyes will be opened to the overload. Being aware of this and making changes to be more simple and kind to our bodies will no doubt give your body more space to do its job.

 

Nutrition

Small Doesn’t Mean Worthless

Keeping our kiddos healthy is a priority for every parent. Eating nutritious, real food is one of the best ways that we can keep our kids healthy and set them on a path to keep themselves healthy as well. In my mind, as a new mother, a huge garden sounded completely ideal, and almost essential, to providing my children the food and example they needed. But not long after I started organizing for a giant garden did the reality set in. Having a garden provide the bulk of your needs as a family requires a lot of space, a lot of work outdoors in the hot sun (not ideal for babies), and a dedication to care for it on a daily basis. As much as I wanted this, I felt overwhelmed and almost gave up altogether. But here’s what we did instead:

For my birthday I asked for a garden box. Convenient because I can put it wherever I want (also known as out of the way of the tree swing or soccer game or dog-fetching). We started small the first year. I planted greens – lettuce, spinach, kale. Food I knew we’d use no matter how it turned out because we would definitely just throw it in our smoothies. And that’s it. We didn’t have much “extra”, but it probably saved us from getting greens at the store for about a month. I felt a little proud but mostly disappointed, and questioned the worth and convenience of it all. Until I sat back and took note of what it was doing for my kids.

Sometimes my thoughts make me feel like if I don’t do it 110% it’s not worth it. But small doesn’t mean worthless.

I let them just play in the box of dirt for a couple weeks. Then they helped me plant. They helped me water. And many times we would bring out our magnifying glasses and notebooks to see and draw what was happening to the plants…simply making them curious and involved. They helped me harvest, wash and even chop so they could see what and how this whole food thing works. It was a complete highlight when I asked my then 3 year old to run out to the garden and grab some greens for a smoothie and he came back, greens in hand, like it was no big deal, a natural thing.

This was when I knew that even though my garden was extremely small that it was giving something to my family that was irreplaceable. Sometimes my thoughts make me feel like if I don’t do it 110% it’s not worth it. But small doesn’t mean worthless. Small steps are what get us everywhere. Keeping it simple, but allowing it in their lives and conversations may make it that much more natural to them – to eat now, or in their future. So now, the majority of our food comes from the grocery store. Small amounts of our food comes from family farmers and gardeners, and smaller amounts come from our own garden. I am satisfied and proud, and I have room to grow. A wonderful place to be.

So turn off your negative thoughts. Turn off the ones that tell you what you’re doing isn’t good enough. As long as you are doing your best, you are living a meaningful life.

“Just do your best – in any circumstance in your life. It doesn’t matter if you are sick or tired, if you always do your best there is no way you can judge yourself. And if you don’t judge yourself there is no way you are going to suffer from guilt, blame, and self punishment. By always doing your best, you will break a big spell that you have been under.” (Don Miguel Ruis, The Four Agreements)

 

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