Planning Ahead

As I think about this week coming up, I have to include preparations for a child getting her tonsils out next Monday.  Everyone has said that popsicles are best during recovery, and while agree with that (we’ve already had one child get a tonsillectomy), the challenge then becomes,…”Find a popsicle that is not completely made of sugar, food coloring, and things I cannot pronounce.”

After looking around, I have found some pure fruit pops that look pretty appealing.  I think she’ll like them.

As for nutrition while she’s recovering, we will also have available:

-pure bananas, pureed, and frozen (like pops)

-homemade chicken and bone broths

-smoothies, made very thin and with coconut water for good hydration AND nutrition

For the rest of us, I want to plan ahead, so she doesn’t feel like she’s missing out on too much,…..

For breakfasts, we’ll have smoothies too.  So I’ll need to have lots of fruits and greens on hand. We’ll use homemade yogurt, almond milk, and fresh whey.  (Fresh whey comes from when we use our homemade yogurt to make ‘sour cream’, ‘cream cheese’, etc.)

For lunches, things will pretty much stay the same since the other children will still go to school and she won’t see what they’re eating.  So, wraps, salads, pastas, and sandwiches.

For dinners, we’ll have homemade soups.  I’m thinking onion, potato-leek, chili (not her favorite, so she won’t miss it, but plenty hearty), split-pea soup (toward the end of the week in case she’d like to try), and creamy curried quinoa and vegetable soup. 

**I’ll try to get all of the recipes posted this week.

Planning ahead is the key. 

Do you plan your menus ahead?  If so, do you do it by the week, month, season,…..?  I’d love to hear about it!

Keepin’ it real,


What have you been up to?


Gesundheit.  😉 

Never heard of Kombucha?  Well, let me tell you.  It’s a fermented drink that tastes yummy!  (Read on…)

I don’t know what’s on your ‘bucket list’ for 2012, but I can tell you that a few of mine are:

1)      Learn how to make Kombucha at home

2)      Learn how to make sourdough at home (not just for bread)

3)      Learn how to make kefir at home

4)      Learn how to make sauerkraut at home

5)      Finally read through the entire book: Nourishing Traditions

In case you are wondering,….it’s because my theme is to incorporate more fermented foods into our diets and to continue to find ways to save money.

Fermented foods offer a variety of benefits.  For example, fermented foods improve your gut.  See, fermented food is like eating partially digested food, therefore, easing the digestion burden on our bodies.  In fact, fermented foods help to restore the proper balance of good bacteria in your gut. 

Do we want bacteria in our gut?  YES!  We want GOOD bacteria!  There are several conditions that have been identified as potential ‘side effects’ to a lack of good bacteria in our gut.  IBS, celiac disease, food allergies, asthma, …..

Fermented foods are rich in enzymes that our bodies use to properly digest and absorb all of the nutrition in the food we eat.  In fact, during the fermenting process, certain vitamins levels naturally increase!  How great is that?! 

Go back in time, way back in time,….before refrigerators, freezers, and even canning jars.  What do you think people did to keep their food from spoiling?  Well, I think that before they even ‘thought’ of it, they realized that certain foods ‘kept’ on their own.  Sure, the flavor changed a bit,….but, there is a clear difference between “fermented” foods and “spoiled/rotten” foods.

Their foods fermented.  It was a way of preserving their food supply.

Have you ever noticed that your yogurt will last a lot longer in your fridge than your milk?  Just check the dates, you’ll see what I mean.  What about pickles versus cucumbers?  Salsa versus tomatoes?

See, fermented foods are really another little blessing straight from heaven.  God knew exactly how to help us keep our food from spoiling, and how to use it and benefit from it.  Imagine that!

By the way, making yogurt is way cheaper than buying it.  A head of cabbage turned into sauerkraut doesn’t cost but a few cents.  And,….have you tried Kombucha?  Organic, raw Kombucha is an effervescent tea-based beverage that is often consumed for its anecdotal health benefits or for medicinal purposes.  Personally, I find it yummy and a GREAT alternative to sodas.  (Yes, I admit it,…I’m a recovering Diet-Coke addict.  Ugh.) 

 Making kombucha at home versus buying Diet Coke all of the time,…..whew, now that’s saving!  Plus, I’m doing my body a favor, not harming it.  It’s a win win! 

Some of what I’m saying may sound just down-right gross to you.  I get it.  At first, it did to me too.  BUT, fermented foods really taste good!  You are probably ingesting some already, and just haven’t stopped to think about it.

For example: Wine, cheese, yogurt, ….. those are pretty common.  Kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, sourdough bread, and kombucha are also examples of fermented foods. 

So, now you know what I’ve been up to AND what my plan is.   What have you been up to?  What is your plan?  I can’t wait to hear about it!  🙂

Keepin’ it real,


A Day Late and A Dollar ‘Short’

A Day Late and A Dollar ‘Short’…..perhaps,….BUT,….not without a lesson learned! 

So, my apologies for not posting as I said I would, I was a little preoccupied with saying good bye to my son.  After being home a month on college break, he had to return. 

He and I had some really great conversations while he was here, and watching him interact with his siblings was such a joy.  🙂

Yesterday, we had to say good bye.

So, after dropping him off, I drove away praying aloud, “Please dear God, take care of my baby”.  I held back tears of sadness (for me) and tears of joy (for him) all at the same time.

See, I knew if I began to cry, I wasn’t so sure I was going to be able to stop before I reached the tolls.  I didn’t want to make the innocent person wonder if I was going to be okay, or if something horrific had just happened, when really, all he/she needed was my dollar.

Stoically, I drove away, up the interstate, through the toll booth, and did what many other Americans do when they have just had an emotional moment and have some time on their hands,………….I went shopping!!! 

I had the best quiet time I’ve had in a LONG time!  I bought things for other people, my favorite thing to do, …….  AND, oops, I broke a BIG no-no in my house!  All in the same day!  You’re probably wondering what I did,…..well, even at the risk of my older children reading this, I’ll tell you.  I went through a drive-through restaurant and ate the worst-for-you, yummy-for-my tummy cheeseburger!  Gasp!  Wow!  They don’t call it a Whopper for nothin’!  Ugh. 

Why am I telling you all this?  Well,….one, I feel better ‘confessing’ my cheeseburger sin; two, I enjoy writing and I owed you a post; and three, I want you to know that I really practice what I preach.  BALANCE!  I am NOT perfect!

I ate healthy all week.  I make about 75-80% of all our food from scratch,….but yes, I am normal.  I’m a work in progress.  Sometimes I forget that and I expect too much from myself, which only leads to greater disappointment or frustration later.   *sigh.

God is so patient with me each and every day, and I want to make sure you know that you need to be patient with yourself too.   In order to have lasting changes, you really need to go one-step-at-a-time.   You WILL have oopsies too, but, get up, dust off (or wipe the crumbs off of your mouth) and try again!

What will I learn from this?   Be prepared!  It’s not like I didn’t know that I might get hungry after being in the car and running errands for three hours.  I should have had my water bottle filled up, my almonds in my bag, an apple, a cheese stick, maybe even a little piece of dark chocolate………. Clearly, my emotions got the best of me when I was least prepared. 

Well, now I must balance it out.  I need to go get on the treadmill for some extra time, and drink my water.  Tonight, we’ll have a homecooked meal (instead of me handing someone our hard-earned money) of grilled chicken, brown rice, and a giant Caesar salad. 

By the way,….how’s your week going?  I’d love to hear about it! 

Keepin’ it real,


Clean thinking

Did you write down your “bucket list”?  Do you know what improvements/changes you’d like to make in 2012?

Today, for just one minute, let’s think about the way that your relationships and food are connected.

As the founder of the school I attended, THE largest nutrition school in the world, “Health and happiness are inextricably linked. The better you feed yourself, the better you feel and the bigger the impact you can have on the world. In a transformed world, everyone is doing work they love.” –Joshua Rosenthal

Think about it.

How do you feel after you’ve eaten a little too much of something you shouldn’t have eaten versus after you’ve made a healthy choice?  My answer: dirty vs. clean.

I like feeling clean.

What steps could we take today to feel a little cleaner?

I would encourage you this week to think about that.

This is my plan:

Monday – Take a few items off of my “to do” list by taking several items down to my local donation spot.  I will feel good about decluttering a bit and that someone will have access to some really good stuff.  Family dinner plan: A large salad with mixed greens, with some freshly baked chicken breasts diced in there, a few glazed walnuts, some gorgonzola cheese and a fresh batch of my homemade white balsamic salad dressing.  It will feel good to feed my family a fresh and nourishing meal.

Tuesday – Meet with a friend and treat myself to a cup of hot (black) coffee and some ‘me’ time.  I will feel good about doing a little something for myself and not indulging in sweet treats.  Family dinner plan: Tacos, loaded with fresh veggies, bean, and a side of brown rice. It will feel good to feed my family a dinner packed with protein and fiber.

Wednesday – Give a presentation to a group of educators regarding health and wellness with students.  I will feel good about sharing some information that will affect many people in a positive way.  Family dinner plan:  Whole grain pasta served with a fresh batch of homemade (with fresh organic tomatoes) marinara sauce along with a large salad packed with a variety of veggies and nuts.  It will feel good to feed my family a dinner made with many fresh vegetables and not from a can or package that will power them through the rest of their week.

Thursday – I will volunteer my time to go on a field trip with my daughter’s class.  I will feel good helping out the teacher and spending time making memories with my daughter.  Family dinner plan:  Whole baked chicken (free range), lots of steamed veggies, and cilantro-scented quinoa.  It will feel good to feed my family a meal that will nourish their bodies and not load them with chemicals or starchy fillers.

Friday – I will focus on my home. Cleaning and caring for my home so that my family can enjoy their weekend time together will make me feel relaxed and enable me to enjoy that time with them.  Family dinner plan:  Homemade pizza! It will feel good to have fun with my family as we use our creativity designing our personal pizzas with meats, veggies, and personality! It’s always fun to see the imaginations of each child come out onto the dough.

So you can see that food DOES impact much more than satisfy your appetite.  It sort of goes back to the basics of “you are what you eat” and much more! 

Feed your body some yummy and creative food this week and you will find that it will feed your mind and your relationships as well!

Keepin’ it real,



Welcome to 2012

Welcome to 2012 and congratulations in taking a positive step to making 2012 a year to remember!  Woohoo!  Way to go!  🙂

Since I practice a holistic approach to health and wellness, we are going to look at how all areas of  life are connected and get this revolution going!

 Maybe stress at your job (or in your home, relationships-with people or food) causes you to overeat.

 Maybe lack of sleep (poor sleeping habits) or low energy prevents you from exercising or being as active as you’d like to be.

As we work together, we will look at how all parts of your life affect your health as a whole.

We are not going to dwell on calories, carbs, fats, and proteins.  We will learn about them and get some yummy recipes along the way, but that will not be our focus.

 I enjoy working with my clients to create a happy, healthy life in a way that is flexible, fun and rewarding.

 So, let’s get started shall we?  😉

 The first thing I want you to do is take a deep cleansing breath.  That’s right; close your eyes, exhale all of the air in your lungs, and slowly take a nice deep breath.  Hold it for a few seconds, and then let it out through your nose.  You may even want to do this a few times so you can really focus.

 Now, I want you to think about what drew you to this moment right now.  Maybe you read the post about what the plan is around here.  Maybe you are looking for some help in making some paradigm shifts in the way you think about your relationships, food, or time management.  Maybe you just want to get some tips and recipes to jazz things up this year. 

 Whatever brought you here, I’m glad you chose to be here. 🙂

Every day we make LOTS of choices.  Some because we have to (ya gotta eat right?), some because we need to (and maybe don’t want to), and some, we don’t even think about, they are just so routine or instinctive, we just make them.

 Well, the goal for this week is to begin simplifying all of those choices and decisions we make on a daily basis.

 Your assignment:

1)     Think about the relationships you cherish most.  How would you like to improve them?

2)     Think about the relationships you cherish least.  How would you like to change them?

3)     Think about your relationship with food… you enjoy cooking, do you dread mealtime, or does food control you due to time, cost, convenience, or price?

4)     Think about your relationship with physical exercise.  Do you enjoy it? 

5)     Think about your faith.  Do you have faith in yourself?  Do you have faith in God or some other higher power? 

6)     Write down your “bucket list” for 2012 based on the relationships of the mentioned topics. 

Once you have your “bucket list”, think about the things you would like to “detox” in your life so that you can face those obstacles/challenges with your eyes wide open.  We are going to slowly and steadily remove all of those obstacles and help you accomplish that list. 

My goal is that twelve months from now, you will feel more energetic, more enthusiastic, and more healthful than ever before.

Now,  you have a whole week to think about these things, so don’t overwhelm yourself,….take it easy and remember, slow and steady wins the race. 

 My suggestions/recipes for the week:

 Every morning, before you eat breakfast, have a cup of warm, soothing, and cleansing cup of water with a generous ‘squeeze’ of fresh lemon juice.  It will help cleanse your liver, your mind, and rejuvenate your skin.  An extra healthful tip: add a sliver of ginger as well!  😉

Every evening, rub some lotion on your feet and massage them a bit.  It will improve circulation, help you relax, and help you get a more peaceful rest.  An extra healthful tip: choose a lotion with lavender, or add a few drops of lavender oil!  😉

 Keepin’ it real,

 Elena  😉


Are you ready????


Has your “get up and go” “gotten up and gone”? 

Are you finding yourself overwhelmed, confused, and not sure who is really right in the world of nutrition? (ie: good fats, bad fats, empty calories, complex carbs, sugar vs. sugar….)

Did the holidays bring a little more than you bargained for, like a bigger pant size?

Are you ready to get back on track? 

Well, I hope you’ll join me in 2012 as I shake things up and conquer the challenge of eating REAL, WHOLE FOOD that feeds the body, mind, and soul.

Call it a New Year’s Resolution if you want, I’m calling it my New Year’s REVOLUTION! 

rev·o·lu·tion  noun   \re-və-lü-shən\

 : a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something : a change of paradigm

I’ve made ‘resolutions’ in the past, and they just didn’t last as I had hoped.  Reason,…..I ‘wanted’ to change and to see change,…but really, you have to change your way of thinking, the way you see things to really have a change of heart.  (Not just pant size or your blood pressure.)  

So this year,  we will experience a REVOLUTION around here!

We will look at different aspects of our lives and we will make changes!

First, we will examine ourselves and really takes notes.  What are the things we are happy with?  What are the things that we would like to change?  On a scale of 1-10, how bad do we REALLY want to make those changes AND what are we willing to do in order to achieve them?

Next, we will examine ourselves and find out what works best for us.  Once we make a decision, we will make a commitment on paper with a beginning, a check point, and an end.

Last, we will be encouragers.  We WILL persevere and feel success!  We will learn, expand, and embrace our new lifestyle.  We will celebrate, we will share, and we will celebrate again!  🙂

Things you will need:

1)      A good attitude!  Even when it seems we’ve “fallen off of the wagon”,…we WILL get back on (together) and keep on goin’! 

2)      Commitment,…NO throwing in the towel in 2 months!  I’m in this for the long haul, so don’t despair, you’re NOT alone! 

3)      Patience…..whatever changes/improvements you want to make will take time.  Remember, we want this to last! 

4)      An open mind. 

5)      A binder with dividers, page covers OR a multi-subject spiral notebook

6)      A journal and writing utensil

I will be posting weekly, my goal, Sunday evenings or Monday mornings, so keep your eyes open! 

 Keepin’ it real,

Elena   😉