Six months

It took six months.
Six months of making zucchini noodles with my spiralizer. I would make them once every couple of weeks and smother them in the most delicious homemade meat sauce.
Six months of Tom and I slurping up the bottoms of our bowls of the deliciousness.
Six months of watching Blake and Caleigh turn up their noses at the thought of noodles that were made from zucchini. (“Why do other kids get to eat spaghetti and we get zucchiniiiiiiiiii????”)
Six months of telling myself (and them) that one day they would love it.
Six months of zucchini noodles going into our fridge as leftovers for Tom and me.

Then today happened. TODAY. Today Caleigh ate zucchini noodles and loved them.
Moral of the story? Patience. One day soon your kids too will eat vegetables they so vehemently are against this evening. Even if it takes months.
Apparently with Blake, we’re still waiting.

Zucchini noodle pic courtesy of Against All Grain.

Zucchini noodle pic courtesy of Against All Grain.

Not giving up on healthy eating

As a parent, it can be really hard to get your kids to understand the benefits of eating good food.  When I was six, I’m sure I wanted the doughnut over the apple.  The number of times uneaten vegetables sat on my kid’s plates after everything else is gone is countless.  The attempt at negotiation to swindle a treat into their day is funny but can be exhausting time after time.  The sighs, grunts, groans, etc. that can sometimes come with our after school snacks (“But I had vegetables at lunch today already!”) can be tiresome.

Sometimes I think they are never going to eat the healthy foods and be truly happy and grateful for the healthy foods they are able to eat.

Trying to inspire other parents who are having the same challenges is hard too.  When it’s a constant battle at the kitchen table over what is for dinner, it can be disheartening.  I can attest to how hard it can be to put together a healthy, hearty meal for a family of five then only to hear complaints of “I don’t want to eat this”.  It’s frustrating!

But here’s the thing.  I know.  I know, in my heart, that one day they will clean their plates consistently every meal.  They will appreciate the work and love that goes into their food.  They will understand why I choose to make healthy foods instead of resorting to easy, pre-packaged, processed foods that have no benefit other than maybe saving me effort in the kitchen.

So, when I logged onto Facebook the other day and saw this update from a practice member of ours, I was so excited for her.  Because I know the struggles parent go through when trying to change the eating habits of a family.  It’s not easy.  So kudos, Kristine, for this awesome update.  And kudos to the kiddos for being on board!!

I guess all our talk about “healthy food” is starting to sink in with the kids. Often they want me to quantify how healthy our meal is with a percentage. Like “This is 80% healthy because it has 3 colours of vegetables, but it loses 20% because I used a bottled sauce instead of homemade (too much sodium or sugar). Tonight after a long day and insufficient planning, I ordered chinese food for dinner. Son #1 asked “Is this healthy?” and the truth was NO. Not at all. His reply, “Then why are we eating it?” I nearly fell off my chair because he’s SO right! If it’s not helping to make healthy bodies, then why am I feeding it to the ones I love the most? Sometimes it takes these simple statements to remind me what my priorities are; a healthy and happy family.

Eat this!

Eat this!

Weekly Meal Prep

Remember in this post, I talked about prepping the kitchen for the week?  I wanted to elaborate further.  Now that it is September, that routine falls once again on Sunday.  I love Sundays in the fall.  People think it’s because of football but really it’s because of family.  There is something about autumn Sundays that draws my family together.  We start the day at the football field watching Tom play and then we spend time together in the afternoon watching football.  It’s become a bit of a tradition for us.  Admittedly by the time January rolls around I’m tired of football but I’m happy to still get my family together.

This weekend we were talking to people about what we do at the Home & Garden show in Barrie.  I love taking any opportunity to talk to people, specifically families, about creating greater health for themselves.  Whether it be at screenings, talks, play groups, church groups. workshops, or wherever.  Give me the opportunity to speak about my passion and I’m happy!  Connecting with so many amazing new people at the H&G show was inspiring.  I can’t wait to introduce them to chiropractic and the possibility of exceptional health at our office.

Back to the house this afternoon for my weekly routine of getting the fridge ready.  I love watching the change in the grocery stores and Farmer’s Markets in September.  Apples are a plenty.  Squashes are tempting.  And every fibre of my being wants to make vats of chill.  It’s fall y’all.

My weekly meal prep starts early during my morning power hour.  I browse through websites to get ideas of what culinary creations to work on.  I write the days of the week on a piece of paper with lines for both lunch and dinner.  Then I fill in the blanks with foods I’d like to each that week.  Midway through, our two older kids usually join me in this process.  They like to pick out a couple of meals each week.  At six and four, their imaginations don’t run too far when it comes to food – they like to stick with what they know – and so Blake always asks for salmon and Caleigh loves a chicken dish.  Then from the meals we chose, I make a list of all the ingredients I’m going to need.  The list of meals, by the way, goes on our fridge so there is never a question as to what is being made that day.


I like to cook as much of the food ahead of time as possible.  I don’t know about you, but week days tend to get away from me sometimes.  Often at 4PM on any given day the last thing I want to do is make a meal from scratch.  So, I prep a lot of food in advance.  Today I spent 4 hours in the kitchen and came away with a full fridge of awesome foods for our lunches and dinners this week.

  • pulled pork
  • meat sauce (our first this fall, so excited for meat sauce again!)
  • banana muffins
  • hardboiled eggs (6 of them)
  • 3 steaks (BBQd and pre-cut to eat for snacks)
  • meat balls
  • 1 head cauliflower done in the food processor to make “cauliflower rice
  • 2 heads broccoli chopped & ready to be roasted later in the week
  • 1 large zucchini done in the food processor in the future
  • 2 large carrots done in the food processor for stir fry
  • greens pre-washed, ready to be used in omelettes & salads
  • fruit pre-washed & cut (if necessary) for easy use
  • pork chops seasoned & ready to go in slow cooker on Monday
My fridge today!

My fridge today!

It probably seems like a lot of work.  It is, up front, for sure.  But I save so much time and aggravation later in the week.  And by planning our meals and ingredients list, I save money and time at the grocery store.  I go in, get what I need, and I leave.  Today’s groceries came to $134.52.  I already had the eggs, ground pork (for meat balls), pork shoulder (for pulled pork), and steaks at the house.

I love the quote “A failure to plan is a plan to fail.”  Speaking from experience, if our fridge isn’t packed with healthy foods, then we are definitely likely to eat out or grab snacks whenever we are around town.

Nut free Snacks? No problem.

We’re into the final part in a four part series of our eat by design school lunch series.  You can check out the previous steps here:

A Full Fridge

School Lunch Basics

Making Lunch Fun

Okay, okay.  Yes, if we get the kids to eat the proteins, veggies, fruits, and fats it’s awesome.  But they are kids.  And at school they are surrounded by other kids.  Other kids with lunch boxes that contain candy, chocolate chip cookies, chips, chocolate bars, crackers, and other things that just don’t equate in my world to stuff I want my kids eating.

Case in point.  I took this picture at the grocery store the other day.  What used to be on the shelves for one day a year, is now marketed towards kids and their parents for back to school “treats”.

Gross, right?

Gross, right?

I don’t know about you but if a big box of 95 candy bars are in my home, most will be consumed in a short amount of time.  That’s why I don’t keep them in the house.  Period.

Here are my food rules.  I want my kids to grow up with an appreciation for good food. I want my kids to grow up with the understanding of why we choose to eat healthy food.  I want my kids to grow up with a healthy relationship with food.  But I also remember what it’s like to be a kid, see lots of other kids (if not every other kid) with a treat in their lunch box, and be happy that I have a treat too.

So, I feel like part of my compromise with Eating by Design is that I give my kids something that makes them smile each time they open their lunch box.  They may be healthier versions of a treat but they are still a treat.  The first goal of eating by design is to eat real food.   To me that means that I choose whole foods over and above processed ones.  But the 80/20 rule means that I send a treat in my kids’ lunch boxes.

[Side note: Eat by Design recipes are very similar to Paleo recipes.  One of my biggest beef with many paleo bloggers and foodies is that they have tried to “paleoize” some of the worst foods on the planet – doughnuts for example.  I eat by design because it’s the way I was designed to eat.  My body functions at its absolute best when it’s fed eat by design foods.  It does not function well on a paleo doughnut.  Stepping off soapbox now.]

Back to my kids lunch boxes….

Some of the treats that my kids and I agree upon are:

  • nut-free homemade granola bars
  • homemade dark chocolate bark
  • by design muffins
  • by design cookies
  • nut-free trail mix
  • fruit leather  (how easy is this!!)

You’ll notice I keep mentioning “nut free”.  Of course any parent sending their kids to school these days knows of “peanut free” or “nut free” schools.  This hampers some of the treats I make at home, including granola bars & trail mix because nuts are completely out of the question.  Here’s the good thing – seeds are okay.  So is coconut.  So, stick with those two base ingredients for treats and you’re golden.

EBD Granola Bars


(modified from Paleo Chewy Granola Bars from PaleoMom)

  • 2 cups finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup pepitas
  • 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil  melted
  • ¼ cup sunflower butter
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 1½ Tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup your favorite chopped dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots, etc.)

1.    Preheat oven to 325F.  Grease a 9”x13” baking pan with coconut oil.
2.    Mix ground flax seed with water and let sit for 3-4 minutes.
3.    Pulse pepitas in a food processor a couple of times to break up to the size of sunflower seeds.
4.    Add coconut oil, almond butter, eggs, honey and vanilla to flax goop and mix well.
5.    Add coconut flour and baking soda and stir to combine.
6.    Add shredded coconut, pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chocolate chips and dried fruit.  Stir to combine.
7.    Spoon batter into prepared baking pan.  Spread out and flatten well with your hand or the back of a spatula.
8.    Bake for 22-23 minutes, until golden brown.  They will puff up slightly while baking, so immediately after removing from the oven, flatten the bars with the back of a spatula (or something else heat resistant and flat).
9.    Let cool completely in pan before cutting into bars (I actually like to refrigerate before cutting).  Cut into bars (I usually get 18-20) and wrap individual bars in plastic wrap.  I prefer to store these in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Bark


I don’t make this often because it doesn’t last long.  It’s that freakn’ good.

  • 2 c dark chocolate
  • 2 1/2 c of add-ins (raisins, cranberries, coconut, bacon [oh yes, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it], goji berries, pepitas, etc.)
  • coconut oil

Melt chocolate in a double boiler.  While melting, grease an 8×12 dish with coconut oil.  Pour melted chocolate into dish and sprinkle add-ins on top evenly.  Let cool completely and break apart.

By Design Banana Muffins 


My favourite EBD muffin is the Simple Blueberry Muffin by Paleomg but they contain almond butter and almond flour so they are out for school lunches.  But honestly, they are awesome for breakfast or snack around the house.

So I give you a delicious (modified) banana bread recipe, which I make into muffins, from Civilized Caveman instead.  A note on using sunflower butter.  When heated & combined with baking soda, sunflower butter turns green so if your muffins have a greenish tinge, it’s all good.  Eat and enjoy.

  • 4 bananas, mashed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c sunflower butter
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 c coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Combine your bananas, eggs, and nut butter, and grass-fed butter in a bowland mix well (if using a mixing bowl I use a hand mixer)
  3. Once all of your ingredients are blended, add in your coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, and sea salt and mix well
  4. Grease a 9×5 glass pan with a fat of your choice (I used coconut oil). If you use a metal pan it will probably bake in 35-40 minutes so start checking at 35 to ensure the middle stays moist
  5. Pour in your batter and spread it evenly throughout
  6. Place in your preheated oven and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
  7. Remove from oven and flip your bread out onto a cooling rack
  8. Slice and serve

Ginger Cookies from Paleo Parents


  • 1/2 c sunflower seed butter
  • 1/2 c grass-fed butter
  • 1/4 c soaked dates
  • 3 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/3 C coconut flour
  • 1/3 c tapioca flour (not by design….it’s a compromise)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 oz (1/3 c) crystallized ginger, diced finely diced

1.  Combine wet ingredients in food processor

2.  Add dry ingredients except for ginger to wet ingredients and pulse until combined.

3.  Fold in crystallized ginger.

4.  Form balls with your hand, about the size of a tablespoon

5.  Set dough balls on cookie sheet and press down with palm of hand to flatten.

6.  Bake at 325 for 10-14 minutes.

7.  Let rest for 10 minutes.

EBD Trail Mix


I make a batch of this and keep it in a large mason jar in our fridge.  So delicious and easy to grab a handful for a snack.

  • 1 1/2 c shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 c pepitas
  • 1/2 c sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 c sesame seeds
  • 1/3 c cranberries (or raisins, dried banana chips, dried apple chips, etc.)
  • 1/3 c dark chocolate chips

Mix together and enjoy.  If you want some flavour changes, roast the pepitas on a frying pan for 10 minutes at 325 with a bit of cinnamon.

So, there you have it.  Some treat recipes to add into your kids lunches.  I hope this series of posts has helped in getting your kids lunches prepped.  I love the conversations that have evolved from friends, emails, comments, on Facebook, on Twitter, and in the office as a result of these posts.

Parents, know that you’re not alone when it comes to feeling overwhelmed with healthy school lunches!  You’re in great company!  Keep evolving.  Try new recipes.  Get your kids involved.  And remember…even if something bombs with your family, it’s a step in the right direction.  And that direction is BETTER HEALTH.  And you’re a rock star for starting a movement in your own home towards it.

Making Lunch Fun

So after yesterday’s post, I hope it’s made it is easier to imagine how to create a healthy, by design lunch for kids.  Now that we’ve got the basics down, let’s make it fun for kids. Remember, the basics are protein, veggies, fruits, and fats.  It can maybe appear boring but there are lots of ways to make food combinations and/or create funky ways for the food to be presented that makes the kids smile when they open up their lunch box. Here are some ideas:

  • Roll up the all-natural cold cuts with avocado, Julienne vegetables, cheese (if you choose to eat that, we rarely do), mustard, or other fillings.  Think of ham & pineapple, chicken & guacamole, turkey slices rolled with red pepper, or more.
  • Skewers.  Pick up some of the fun sword skewers at the grocery store and then cut up veggies, fruits, and meats and make kebabs.
  • Dips.  Other than my kids, most little people love to dip their food.  Make guacamole, homemade ranch dressing, homemade mayo-based dips, homemade condiments, or salsas to dip foods into.
  • Turn veggies into fun shapes.  I made a heart-inspired lunch for Caleigh on Valentine’s Day this past year.  Just start practicing with a knife and carrot peeler.  Here is a tutorial to get some idea for fruit, it would work well with vegetables too.
  • Use lettuce leaves (if your kids love them) to make sandwich wraps in lieu of bread.  We use collard greens because they hold up better.  Fill it with tuna, salmon, all-natural cold cuts, vegetables, etc.  There are wraps that are made from coconut meat & coconut water that mimic tortillas but I haven’t tried them to know how well they work.

Hopefully this post gets the creative juices in you flowing.  Share your ideas!  You can check out my Facebook page and as people send me their brilliant lunches, I’ll post them there. I do love sending notes to my kids while they are at school.  I don’t remember every single day but Caleigh loved it when she could read something from home.  AND it was cute because she started writing back to me.  (“I love you too mama!”).  Here are some pics from the web for inspiration.


Fruit or veggie kebabs. Add in some pork and chicken and it’s a meal! Smaller skewers for kids lunches.

Pic from the great NomNomPaleo.  Use sunflower butter!

Use sunflower butter!

Skip the crackers and put some vegetables in there. I'm not big on plastic bags but this is darn cute!

Skip the crackers and put some vegetables in there. I’m not big on plastic bags but this is darn cute!

Choose heirloom carrots for different colours than just plain orange.

Choose heirloom carrots for different colours than just plain orange.

Kids love cauliflower?  Mix it up with different colours!

Kids love cauliflower? Mix it up with different colours!

Zucchini noodles with meatballs.

Again, from NomNomPaleo, zucchini noodles with meatballs. Get a spiralizer to make the noodles. It’s my new favourite kitchen tool!


Meat skewers


Sweet potato fries. Spice them with s&p or cajun spices.


Zucchini pizzas. Add whatever topics you want!

Eggs, sausage, tomatoes & grapes.  Does it get any easier?

Eggs, sausage, tomatoes & grapes. Does it get any easier?


Kale & sesame chips. Google it and discover a new way to add greens into your kids lives.


Cut hardboiled eggs! Or devil them with homemade mayo or avocado mayo. Delicious!

Sharpen your culinary skills!  Make stars, moons, hearts, and flowers!

Sharpen your culinary skills! Make stars, moons, hearts, and flowers!

Rolled meats & veggies tied with chives and mustard to dip.

Rolled meats & veggies tied with chives and mustard to dip.

Swap out the hummus for guacamole.  Delicious!

Swap out the hummus for guacamole. Delicious!


For a fun treat, try russet potatoes.


Can’t wait to make these for Blake! Apples & grapes with tooth picks.

Chicken salad.

Chicken salad.


A favourite breakfast repurposed for lunch. Ham slices in a muffin tin and pop in an egg. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes and your’e good!


Write a note in the skin of a banana with a tooth pick. It will turn brown through the day!


Cookie cutters to make fun shapes out of fruits & vegetables.

School Lunch Basics

As I go into year four of making school lunches (four years??  seriously?!?!?), I am planning ahead to make this process as easy as possible.  When Caleigh started kindergarten, we were not eating by design.  I was making all of her lunches from scratch (nothing processed) but there were grains in her lunch often.  When we started to eat by design, this was one of challenges I had in switching over to healthier eating.  It was easy to throw a sandwich into her lunch.  What would I send now to keep her happy and full?

I break school lunches into the same categories we would eat any other time of day.  I aways pack a protein, a vegetable (or two), a fruit, and a fat.  What helps is using a laptop lunch box.  It has separate compartments that are made of a hard BPA-free plastic.  It keeps things in tact, clean, and prevents them from mixing together.

I also go to Etsy and buy reusable snack bags to get rid of the Ziploc plastic that is taking over landfills.   They are made of cotton and nylon and are super cute.  Kids love them as do teachers because of the less waste produced.

Fun, right?

Fun, right?

Last week, I sat down with the kids and we made a list of foods that they were excited to eat in each of the categories (protein, veggies, fruits, fats).  Here is what they came up with:


  • all-natural cold cuts (ham, turkey, roast beef, chicken)
  • pork
  • chicken strips
  • beef strips (Caleigh only)
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • salmon (Blake only)
  • sunflower butter
  • bacon
  • beef jerky
  • grass-fed, all-natural salami
  • beef (bean-free) chili

Vegetables (the list is short, but the important thing is that they will eat them)

  • carrots
  • snap peas
  • broccoli
  • cucumber


  • banana
  • apples
  • oranges
  • grapes
  • blueberries
  • apple sauce
  • peaches


  • avocado
  • seeds
  • coconut
  • full fat Greek yogurt


  • nut-free homemade granola bars
  • dark chocolate bark (homemade)
  • by design muffins (I’ll post recipes in the coming weeks)
  • by design cookie treats
  • nut-free trail mix (choc chips, seeds, coconut, dried fruit)
  • fruit leathers

* A note on treats.  These aren’t every day but I would say we pack treats three times a week.  Kids are easily swayed and influenced by their peers.  I find these treats help them feel akin to the rest of their classmates PLUS they are much more likely to eat the whole foods when they know they have something to look forward to.

Then each week we choose foods from the above lists to pack lunches before going grocery shopping.  The kids decide each school night what they want the next day and they understand that they have to fill each compartment with a by design food.  There are literally HUNDREDS of combinations so while some parents think that eating by design can get boring, I argue the opposite.

Easy peasy.  Honestly.  It’s not hard.  They kids are involved each step of the way so if the foods come back from school, we can have a discussion as to why they chose not to eat it.  It will then become their after-school snack or we make changes in the future so that other healthy choices are eaten.

Tomorrow….I start putting some recipes together and some ideas on how to combine some of the above food choices!


A full fridge

There is a great sense of contentment with a full fridge.  Full of healthy, colourful, filling, awesomely delicious foods.  Part of my Monday routine (switches to Sundays in the fall but I’m still on summer time for one more week!) is to get the fridge stocked.  There are few worse moments in our home when we hear “Mom?  Dad?  I’m hungry!” and there is either nothing prepared (easy to throw together) or worse yet, nothing available.  Even harder is when Tom decides he’s hungry and there’s nothing to eat.  So I’ve created a weekly routine that gets me ready and minimizes complaints in the kitchen.  As it has saved me a ton of time and headaches over the last year, I thought I’d share it with you.

First of all, the night before I plan out 7 days of meals and determine what I need at the grocery store in order to make those meals.  I get inspiration from my family (they tell me what they absolutely DO want each week) and from some of my favourite “eat by design” websites and blogs.

Before leaving for the grocery store, I’ll clear out the fridge of anything that either can’t or won’t be eaten.  Part of the pleasure of this ritual for me is clearing out of the old and bringing in the new. It also makes it a lot faster when I get home if I don’t have to wait to put food away because I haven’t dumped out any leftovers from the week prior.

I go to the grocery store and get what is on the list, rarely anything more.  Even better is if you can do this sans children.  That’s not always the case for me but it’s a treat when it happens.  If I had a choice between an uninterrupted night of sleep and grocery shopping on my own, I’d be hitting up Zehrs solo in a heartbeat.

I get home, unpack everything, and I start the biggest part of the job which is to do meal prep ahead of time.  Essentially the goal is to not only have easy access to snack foods that the kids or us can grab in a pinch but I also want some meals done in advance.  For example, yesterday I sweated beets (for beet salad), roasted brussels sprouts (for brussels sprouts & pancetta salad), roasted two fresh ham roasts, and BBQ’d 8 chicken breasts to be used as a meal and as an easy protein snack through the week.  I cut up veggies for snacks and pre-wahsed the fruit so the kids can just grab as they want it.  One batch of morning glory muffins and one batch of grain-free granola later, I was ready for the week.

Beets & brussels sprouts with pancetta prepping in the oven.

Beets & brussels sprouts with pancetta prepping in the oven.

My fridge was packed.  I was happy.  And I know that there is next to nothing I have to do (other than cook up a couple of proteins here and there) to make meals for the next 4 days at minimum.

Some other ideas for pre-made meals:

  • bake salmon in advance to make salmon salad (great for lunches) or make salmon cakes with them
  • chili (football season is around the corner!)
  • anything in a crockpot, if not two separate meals at the same time in two crockpots.
  • BBQ steaks, chicken, pork, (insert favourite meat here) and cut up ahead of time.  Keep in containers in fridge so that they are easy add-ons to salads or on their own
  • pre-cut vegetables for different reasons (small for omelettes, larger for dips and lunches)
  • pre-make dressings and marinades so that they can be used on the spot versus making them last minute
  • I make one “treat” a week – banana bread, muffins, cookies, etc. using “by design approved” ingredients such as almond or coconut flours – which I find is crucial for the kids to keep them happy.  The key here is not to go overboard with the treats and instead focus on whole foods.  A loaf of banana bread lasts us a week, not a day.

Around Barrie, I get most of my food from Zehrs.  I do hit up the Farmer’s Market (Innisfil Farmer’s Market on Thursdays in the summer and Barrie Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings during the rest of the year) and Nicholyn Farms (on Horseshoe Valley Rd) when I have the time and need different proteins (elk sausage for example is so delicious and Nicholyn stocks them).  I go to Bulk Barn for almond and coconut flour as it seems to be the most affordable there.  I go to Nature’s Emporium in Newmarket once a month for staples (cacao powder, flours, coconut cream, and other specialty items).  We have a patient who supplies us with grass-fed chickens, pork, and beef when we need it and we keep it in a large freezer in our basement.  She also brings us free-range, grass-fed eggs every two weeks.  And my friend, Karen, has just sent me a link to the Ontario Natural Co-Op which I’ll be joining for staples as well.   So there are a ton of sources that I draw from to feed my family.  Can it get overwhelming?  Maybe it was in the beginning but the more organized I am, the easier it becomes.  And there is something so satisfying about providing my family with delicious, satisfying, healthy meals.

“A failure to plan is a plan to fail.”

Ignore the Critics

Some people will always be a critic.  A critic justifies their deficiencies by telling you that you’re wrong.  Regardless of what you choose to do, how well you succeed, and regardless of all the amazing things that come into your life as a result of your choices, they will be critical.  They will point out what they would have done differently.  They will claim they could have done it easier, faster, better.  And they’re not going to change.  They will always be a critic.

You’re not going to silence them.  But you can ignore them.

I hear about these critics when I practice.  Stories from people I have the opportunity to work with.  Stories from people who are making BETTER choices in their life to create a HEALTHIER lifestyle.  Stories from people who are no longer willing to live a life that is less than that that they deserve.

“My co-worker thinks eating by design is wrong.  She thinks it’s just a fad and that any ‘diet’ that eliminates food is wrong.”

“My husband doesn’t believe in chiropractic.  He says it’s a sham.”

“My best friend heard that CrossFit causes too many injuries.”

“My wife thinks it’s pointless to wake up at 5AM just to work on myself.”


All you can do is ignore these people.  Because even when you do see the success come into your life that is a direct result of all the hard work that you do to create more exceptional health for yourself, the critics won’t care.  So just ignore them.

I’m more proud of the way I feel, the way I look, and the way I function NOW more than any other time in my life.  I’m healthier.  I’m more vibrant.  I’m feeling awesome.  My body is working better than ever before.  I’m stronger.  I’m happier.  I’m all of these things because I choose to make better lifestyle choices.

I move by design.  I move every single day.  And I lift heavy stuff at the gym three days a week.

I eat by design.  I don’t eat grains.  I limit sugar and dairy.  I eat  protein, vegetables, fats, and a bit of fruit.

I think by design.  I get up for a morning power hour.  I read.  I journal.  I play.  I practice gratitude.  I serve.

I am powered by design.  I get checked, and often adjusted, weekly by a chiropractor.  My brain-body connection is optimal and my mind and body loves me for it.

So critics can be critics.  They can look at the my lifestyle and think it’s for not.  But in my own life, I see the outcome.  I see how much healthier I am.  And so to the critics who think that it’s too much work, too strict, not backed by research, and crazy….keep on with your thinking.  It’s okay.  I choose not to listen to you.

But have an awesome day.

Increasing my level of awesomeness

I love the word “awesome”.  I’ve loved it for a long time and there is something about it that makes me smile.  It’s such a perfect response to so many beautiful things in life.

“Dr. A, I’m functioning so much better today!”  That’s AWESOME!

“Mom!  I scored a goal!”  That’s AWESOME!

“My baby slept through the night for the first time after her last adjustment!” That’s AWESOME!

And so with my profound love of the word AWESOME, I am constantly acknowledging ways that I increased my level of awesomeness in a day.  Which is honestly just ways to live a healthy, vibrant, most fantastic life.

  • I didn’t eat sugar today.
  • I got a solid 7 hours of sleep last night.
  • I read another chapter from “The Charge” by Brendon Burchard
  • I played tag with my kids
  • I drank nothing but water today
  • I wrote in my journal
  • I spent an hour with my mom
  • I listened to an inspiring podcast
  • I set a personal record at the gym
  • I went to the gym, despite feeling tired

….the list can go on and on and can incorporate your own ways.  I started off my day with a bit of a sleep-in as I’m feeling under the weather.  Scratchy and sore throat.  A sign that my sleeping patterns have been in the tank with Maggie’s teething and so I needed an extra hour this morning (increasing my level of awesomeness).  Fried up three eggs with some cracked pepper along side a handful of fresh raspberries (increasing my level of awesomeness).  Journaled about my awesome date night with my husband last night where we got to connect and spend time together and how AWESOME that felt (increasing my level of awesomeness).  Then threw my stuff in a bag and walked a mile to work (increasing my level of awesomeness).  Get to do what I love to do today by adjusting a number of families this morning and then get adjusted myself (increasing my level of awesomeness).

So, I ask you.  What did you do today to increase your level of awesomeness?

My walk to work this morning.  The sun at my back, the moon out in front.  It was beautiful!

My walk to work this morning. The sun at my back, the moon out in front. It was beautiful!

Taking Care of Me

This post is about me.  I’m making sure I’m taking time for me.  I find that in times when I have my greatest amounts of stress is when it’s very easy to let the most important things in my life fall to the wayside.  Like my health.  Sound familiar?

Everyone has their stuff.  I don’t think it should ever be a competition about who has more on their plates.  Besides which, different people react differently to different levels of stress anyhow.  I think, however, many of us sometimes have difficulty realizing we have too much on our plate until it’s too late.  Increase in stress.  Not taking care of ourselves.  Symptoms manifest.  And then we ask “why did I get sick?”


Whatever state of health we are in is a direct result of the life choices we make.  Tough pill to swallow (pun intended) but an important concept to understand and respect.

So, as I started out this post saying, it’s about me.  While I have a lot of plates spinning right now, I’m making a point of carving out ME time each day.  I’ve been judged for being selfish or told that it “must be nice to have so much free time to be able to do this” but it’s neither of the above.  These are essential steps for me to be at my best, even when I feel like I’m at my worst.

  • Getting adjusted.  Hands down the most important thing I can do is get my brain body connection checked.  The more stress I’m under, the more often I get checked.
  • Power Hour.  Still happening.  Although I do admittedly deviate from the 5AM hour based on the amount of sleep I get.  But certainly I start it at the latest 5:45 in order to get a good hour in before the rest of the family gets up.  I’m journalling a lot lately during this power hour of mine.  I’ve been inspired by an amazing woman (Melissa ) who has reminded me of the benefits of journalling lately.  And I find that by writing down my thoughts, I am feeling more connected, more on purpose, and more organized.
  • Eating Paleo.  With a little more chocolate than usual thrown in.  Vegetables.  Proteins.  Fruits.  Fats.  It’s really that simple and is necessary.  If my eating gets off track, then everything gets off track.  The chocolate, however, keeps me sane right now.
  • Moving regularly.  The last month I’ve averaged twice a week int the gym but I’ve been doing tons of mobility work as well as walking.  Like with my eating, if my activity levels go to the wayside, I don’t keep up good habits in other areas of my life.
  • Hugs.  I don’t know about you but when I’m under stress it is easy to not put focus on the relationships with people you value and care about the most.  Extra hugs for my husband and my kids are needed and appreciated.
  • Meditation.  I am TERRIBLE at meditating.  Really truly.  Same with yoga.  Anything that makes me sit still and be with my thoughts makes me bored.  This is why I know it’s something I need to be doing more often (both meditation and yoga) so that I can learn to appreciate aloneness as well as the art of achieving a zen-like calm.  I have simply been focusing on calming different parts of my body from the tips of my toes and working my way up to my scalp.  It’s a small step but a step in the right direction.
  • My Accountability Group.  I am so grateful to Karen and Amy who keep me on track and help me keep on purpose each Wednesday morning during our call.  I am so appreciate of them.  A couple of weeks ago I was having a really tough time and they ended up texting me back off the ledge of feeling like a failure in both the professional and family aspects of my life.  Amy wrote about how tough it is being a working mom in this blog post and I am forever grateful for women who can be honest and bare their souls through paper and blogs.  I think we are definitely stronger for admitting when we need help.

So, this intended to be a short post but apparently it became a cathartic release for me to be able to share what I know helps me in times of high stress.  Keeping my family healthy and organized starts with me being healthy and organized.  If I fall apart, my family falls apart.  This I’ve learned.  So it’s not selfish to set time aside for yourself.  Far from it.  It’s vital.  And removing whatever guilt that might surround this time for ME was crucial for me to be able to enjoy, appreciate, and respect the time I create for myself.

We all have 24 hours in a day.  It’s how we choose to spend those 24 hours that matters most.