Books, Clean Eating, Menu Planning

Life Choices and Healthy Eating

It is summer break and with that comes easier meals for me and NO more school lunches to pack! We get to enjoy the outdoors, lots of time at the pool, and of course books in hand.   I am really am liking The Rhythm of Life -Living Every Day with Passion & Purpose by Matthew Kelly. It is a great easy read. If you haven’t read this book, I strongly urge you do! IMG_0552

When I look at the life I have, I realize I have been given life. The Lord has given me the ability to make choices in my life with the hopes of course that I will choose to follow him. I have lived in the past of negative thinking – why did this happen, why am I not where I want to be, if I only had this I would be happy, the list can go on and on. Over the last year or so I have been doing a lot of reflections on life. How I live each day, really is MY CHOICE. I can choose to be happy, or choose to be sad. I can choose to exercise, or choose not to. I can choose to eat healthy, or eat junk. I can choose to manage my money or let my money manage me. I can choose to love myself, or tear myself apart. I can choose to pray and go to church, or choose to stay home (or go to an event) etc.

Lets take eating healthy for an example. When talking with other people in my life, one thing I hear about is I want to make better food choices. Then next comes the long list of excuses as to why it is so hard or why they can’t do it. Really when it comes down to it, it is YOUR CHOICE to CHANGE! Only you can decide to take the steps in the choices you make. So okay you know you want to eat healthier. Now how are you going to get there? What goals and steps are you going to take to get to making better food choices? What resources are available to help you get to where you want to be?

I personally am a dive on in kind of gal, but not everyone is like that. Also every situation I may not be able to just dive all in and need to take steps. So create small goals to accomplish your one big goal of eating healthier. Maybe first is clean out your fridge and pantry of the unhealthy foods. Next you commit to only buying healthy foods when going grocery shopping. Start with buying more fruits and veggies and less processed food.  Maybe you start researching healthier meals to make and make a list of meals you would like to try. Another option is take meals you like already and substitute in healthier alternatives. For instance, instead of pasta noodles, you make zucchini noodles. Then  maybe you start to meal plan. You can start with just a couple of meals a week and then build up to a weeks worth of meals. Some people discuss the cost factor of eating healthier. This could then turn into a goal of setting a budget for weekly meals. Maybe limit the amount of times you go out to eat and instead bring your meals with you. I can always make adjustments in my budget, but when it comes down to it the cost really isn’t that huge. This is just a thought process to get you started. This same concept applies for all aspects in your life. I can tell you that you will hit barriers (ups and downs) along the way. Again, it is your choice to continue through, pick yourself back up and continue forward on this journey called life!  Keep in mind though, you never have to do it alone!

My goal here is to share pieces of my life in hope to inspire others or give them the encouragement they need to keep going on whatever journey they are on. So with that, comes in summertime meal planning. I still continue to meal plan, but it isn’t necessarily as strict as it is during the school year. I have a master snack list that I list on my board my kiddos can choose from twice a day instead of me planning them out each day. The snacks that need to be prepared I will meal prep so they are ready to go when they choose to have them during the week.

Week to week the snack list really does not change. Maybe one or two things I may switch out. This is my master snack plan for this week:

  • Banana Muffins
  • Rice Rolls with Sunbutter
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Raw Veggies
  • Apples with sunbutter and toppings (mini Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips, Shredded coconut, chopped nuts)
  • Ants on a log
  • Lemon Coconut Protein Balls -Link out to the recipe here.
  • Plantain Chips and Guac
  • Sunbutter Balls
  • Banana chips
  • Larabars
  • Trail Mix (raw nuts with dried fruit)


Breakfast for the week still stays the same as it does during the school year.

  • Fluffy Paleo Pancakes – find recipe here. Seriously the best pancakes hands down!
  • Daily morning breakfast -Sausage/Eggs/Potatoes. I blogged about it here.


Lunches during the week are leftovers from our dinner the night before. Making it easy peasy!

Dinners: I plan 5-6 main dinners and then will have at least 1 leftover night to clean out the fridge before the next round of meals. This ensure we are eating up what we brought and reduces the amount of food waste. You will always know when it is grocery time in my house because my fridge is almost bare. Each dinner will have salad available. Here is my meals I planned for the coming week:

  • Tuna cakes and Sweet Potatoes
  • Ginger Lime Meatballs and cauliflower rice. I use turkey instead of pork for the meatballs. You can find the recipe here.
  • Chicken Salad Lettuce Boats with raw veggies. Recipe coming this week so check back!
  • Grilled chicken and grilled veggies (zucchini, mushrooms, and carrots)
  • Taco Night
  • Asian Zoodle Bowls

Now to update my grocery list in Wunderlist, and off to the store I go.


About Me, Clean Eating

Food Intolerances

More and more restaurants these days are making accommodations to their menus to support those with food intolerance/allergies. For that I am thankful. I do like to go out from time to time with my hubby and enjoy a date night.  For the most part I know what restaurants are a go and which ones are not. I make the same considerations when it goes for eating at friends and family houses too. Usually I pack our meals so we can still enjoy time with friends, or just know we take a risk of being cross-contaminated. It isn’t the end of the world and I know it is only temporary. It is bound to happen from time to time, and because of that I don’t let it control my life. I eat fairly clean; not always PERFECT, but I try to be close. I feel like I know my body well and I am happy for that. I know I face some food intolerances, one for sure being gluten. Although it is hard to test at this point so I do avoid it. The test for celiacs would be most accurate if you are already eating gluten while running the test. Since I avoid it, the test wouldn’t be necessarily accurate for me. I also know dairy is also on my avoid list as I tend to break out in acne; although I can handle goat cheese and raw milk cheese in moderation.

Just like working out makes me feel amazing, so does the food I put into my body. With over four years of doing a food elimination diet and monitoring the foods I eat, I have a good sense how my body will react to the foods I eat. Which plays into my clean eating diet. I am not a “health nut” but I do eat to fuel my body. Don’t get me wrong, I do struggle from time to time with emotional eating. Even though my emotional eating consists of healthier foods, eating anything in extreme excess isn’t healthy. So I try to incorporate yoga or earlier bed times when I know I may be under some stress. It is progress, not perfection!

So I am sharing today a picture of me and how my body reacts to foods I am intolerant to. I am not 100% sure what I was exposed to, but this typically happens when I am exposed to gluten. I get extremely bloated almost to the point where my stomach is pretty solid. I usually have a delayed reaction of about 24 hours before symptoms take. Although, sometimes my symptoms will be same day. These pictures are about 10 days apart. These are not exaggerated, but wanted to share something I personally struggle with. IMG_0551

It is always important to listen to your body and you will be happy for it in the long run. I have to do what is best for me and my body. I am responsible to nurturing the body the good Lord gave me.  Living with purpose in this journey called LIFE!

Charlotte's Story

Charlotte’s Story (Part 1)

This is a very personal story to me, and I struggled with whether or not to share it.  I figured if it could help just one person, then it is worth it. I struggle because it caused me pain seeing my baby girl in uncomfortable pain and many sleepless nights for months on end. We went through many ups and downs her first 2 years of life. Trying to talk with the pediatrician, friends, and doing my own research. What also worked for us, may not for you. I am not a medical professional so please consult with one.

It all started around when Charlotte was about 4 months in age, and she would break out in eczema patches. At first I didn’t think anything about it because it would come and go. It didn’t seem to affect her much and doctors stated she would eventually grow out of it. At the time I already decided not introduce food until they were 8 months of age. I am a cautious parent, and when I found out I was pregnant with the twins I decided to rid the house of chemicals. Which also included taking a look at the kinds of soaps and lotions we were using also. I love Earth Mama Angle Baby so my twins used their line of bath, lotions, and butt balm. Still to this day, I love using their lotion.

My twins were on breastmilk until almost 18 months of age. Earlier on I didn’t think much about food playing a factor in her break-outs.  When she was about 3 months of age I already cut out dairy.  I did with my other 3 because I noticed they were sensitive to it.  All my kiddos would spit up, but once I eliminated dairy they would stop. It never crossed my mind that other foods may be playing a factor until after having dinner with some great friends. In September of 2012 my husband and I decided to do an elimination diet to see if it would help. We figured it would be easier if we had the whole family involved. For one, it would be easier on me for grocery shopping and meal prepping as a mother to 5 young children, and two, minimal complaints about food since we were all involved.  So in came the Paleo diet. If you are not familiar with it, check out here to read up more about it. You can also google Paleo diet and get more information that way. So that meant we eliminated gluten, dairy, legumes, and processed foods/sugars. We cleaned out the fridge and pantry and went head on. Rob and I did a strict Whole 30, while the kiddos followed a paleo diet.

The changes we saw were incredible not with just Charlotte, but the whole family. They way the kiddos felt, their attitudes, and energy levels.  Same went for Rob and I. Feeling better about ourselves, losing weight, and the joys of cooking together. I don’t want to go much more in detail about it. I may do that in another post. Furthermore, Charlotte was showing improvements and started to sleep better for us.

Two months later, things changed again. Beginning in November I started to notice the breakouts lasting longer and not going away like they use to. The picture to the right is when she was 10 months old. This was the time I started taking pictureIMG_0827s to help me with trying to keep track of what her skin was doing. I figured there had to be more to the problem.  She was not just going to grow out of it, and there had to be more I could do.  It just didn’t sound right to me, to let her be.  There were many nights I would cry because I felt so helpless. She would be so miserable.  Most of the time I kept clothes off her because I was trying to eliminate any irritation to her skin. She would break-out almost over her entire back, legs, and upper butt region. Her back may heal up, but her upper butt region would be inflamed for weeks. She would also scar up on her lower legs from all the itching. I would talk with her pediatrician, and once again was told she would grow out of it. (Side note we did
make 1 change in pediatricians earlier on). I figured since I had seen improvement with the changes in our diet, we would stay the course. I had to be missing something…

Next I figured I would try out some different creams to help with the itch.  So I started my journey on researching creams. I wanted to provide her with relief, but at the same time not have to use a steroid to do it.  I did some research and tried different creams.  Earth Mama Angel Baby waIMG_1142s great, but didn’t help her with the inflammation and itching.I tried Aveeno, and it seemed to make it worse. I tried Burt’s Bees Baby multipurpose ointment, and she would just get redder. The picture to the right is from a month later in December. As you can see she is still red and inflamed. I would remember endless nights of crying and her not being able to sleep. Even holding her through the night, she may only get a total of about 3 hours here or there. Then wake up screaming, moving around constantly, and itching. Rob and I were back at it with nighty rotations of staying up and comforting her through the  night. Even though I felt our diet was great, there must be something I was missing. It wasn’t all the time she was breaking out. She would go through some periods of her skin clearing up and then being inflamed again. So I started a food journal to try to help me figure out what was going on.
In the meantime I still needed to help her out with all the itching. About mid December after some more online research I found MooGoo skincare bIMG_1582ased out of Australia. I contacted the company to get more information about their products. I decided to order the Eczema & Psoriasis Cream with Marshmallow, Elderberry and more. It was expensive, but worth a shot.  The reviews I have read were amazing, and after emails back and forth with the company, I figured why not. The cream arrived, and finally some relief for my baby girl.  Within a week her back pretty much cleared up.  This photo was taken January 2013. You can see her back is clear, but pigmentation discoloration from where she was inflamed. Still to this day, I keep this lotion on hand. So finally, yes she got relief. Finally sleeping through the night. Finally a happy go lucky girl again! That will all change again come April 2013.

This post is already so much longer than I thought it would be. Part 2 to come regarding food allergies and food allergy testing. Along with my research in diapers and wipes! Click for Part 2 here.

***these are my own thoughts and opinions. I was not given or asked to write a review on any of the products I mentioned.

About Me

Living With A Purpose

It has been a few years since I have last blogged.  I have decided now that my children are a little older I will get back into the swing of things.  My goal in life is to always live with a purpose physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  I will be sharing my passion around food and fitness. I will be sharing my journey to health that changed who I am four years ago with the birth of my twins. Come along for the ride of a lifetime!