All Posts Tagged ‘Healthy food

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Dear Unsupportive Partner (and What She Really Wants for Mother’s Day)

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I’m hearing a common theme from my clients and friends.

“Oh, I could never serve this kind of meal to my husband. He won’t eat it.”

“I can’t exercise because my husband won’t take care of the kids.”

“I can’t join a gym because it would take too much time away from my husband.”

“I can’t change the way I eat because it would be too much work to cook a separate meal for my husband.”

In fact, an unsupportive partner has been one of the biggest hurdles with the majority of my clients, and friends, and friends of friends.

I’ve been sitting on this post for awhile because I am always scared to offend or cause trouble, but this trend is becoming overwhelming in my work and I feel passionately that this is a HUGE problem. So here goes…

Dear Unsupportive Partner,

I am pretty sure this will come as a shock to you. I’m almost positive that you have no idea that your words or actions may seem unsupportive, and I don’t hold it against you. Sometimes we don’t realize the power of our words and actions. So I’m going to spell this out for you.

Your wife wants to change her life. She’s come to the point where she’s realized that she can no longer pour from an empty cup. That she needs to put on her oxygen mask first before putting yours on you, or your children’s on them. She knows now that if she continues the way she has been going – surviving on little to no sleep, eating your children’s leftover grilled cheese, and spending every waking moment in the service of your family, she is going to burn out and have nothing left.

For a time, her priorities are going to have to shift. She may need to put herself first. (GASP!) It is completely healthy and necessary for her to take time for herself, and she needs your support and help. I’m pretty sure that you’re willing to give this to her, right? Because here’s the thing. You know that saying, ‘happy wife, happy life”? It’s true, but not in the selfish way it sounds.

If she is given the space and the support to be her best self and enjoy a healthy way of life, she is going to be so much more enjoyable to be around. She will be happy to see you and the kids when she returns from the gym (or a walk, or a coffee by herself, or whatever she needs to improve her health). The way she eats, when she doesn’t have to worry about you complaining, will make her body thrive. She will feel strong, confident, and sexy. And I’m pretty sure you can guess how you will benefit if your wife is feeling strong, confident and sexy.

Here are some ways you can support your wife or partner in this life change:

  1. If you’re lucky enough to have your wife cook dinner for you, eat whatever she cooks. I don’t care if its weird. I don’t care if you don’t like vegetables. Eat it. Eat it because it’s hard enough for her to change her way of eating, cooking, and enjoying food, and the last thing she needs is for you to complain, sigh dramatically, and make this change in her life any more difficult than it already is. ESPECIALLY if you have children watching. (If you seriously cannot stomach the healthy food your wife cooks for you, smile, kiss her, praise her for her hard work, and make your own damn dinner.)
  2. Give her the gift of time away, guilt free. If you’ve never handled the kid’s bedtime alone before, ask her to teach you so she can miss it sometimes. Find a babysitter for her to use when you can’t be there. Make it as easy as possible for her to get out for walks, runs, hikes, or whatever she needs to work towards a healthier lifestyle. I promise you she already feels (unnecessarily) guilty for leaving you and the children, so making this easier for her will really help show her that you will all survive just fine without her for an hour.
  3. I’ve heard many women say that they just can’t fit a gym membership into their budget. If a gym membership is going to help support your wife, please do whatever you can to make this fit into your family budget. Less Starbucks for both of you. Sit down together, look at the finances, and try your best to make it a priority and make it work. (I do understand that sometimes a gym membership is just not manageable, and I fully understand that situation and in that case, ignore me.)
  4. Be involved in her change. Encourage her healthy movement, but do it gently. If she’s feeling tired and lazy, suggest a nice, brisk walk for the both of you. I’ve had some of the best conversations of my life walking side by side with someone. Suggest fun, new activities that both of you could do together. (Rock climbing, hiking, swimming, kayaking, partner yoga, etc.) Help her notice and celebrate her non-scale victories.
  5. Take notice and praise her for her hard work and dedication. Do not praise her for weight loss. Do you see the difference? Since meeting my husband about 10 years ago, I’ve swung from a size 0 to a size 10 and all over in between, and NOT ONCE has he ever commented on my size, and that has been a gift that I will never forget. Of course you can tell her the different parts of her body that you love (in fact, stop reading this and go tell her how much you love her thighs right now), but avoid things like “Wow, you look so great now”, insinuating that she didn’t look great before. Stick with noticing and commenting on things you may have noticed like how strong she’s becoming, how happy she seems after exercise, how proud you are of her for tackling a difficult life change, how impressed you are with her new cooking skills. Be her encourager.

You don’t want to be on the outside of this time in your partner’s life. I promise you. Rather than watching your wife struggle to change her life from the outside, throwing in some complaining about the new food and a few deep sighs, get right in there and plant yourself beside her through it all. When she is successful, she will look at you the way I look at my husband, overflowing with thankfulness. She’ll view you as a partner in her lifestyle change, rather than a stumbling block. This in itself will end up being a gift for you as well.

So this Mother’s Day, let your unconditional love and your unwavering support be your gift to her. I promise you won’t regret it.

Eat well, move your body, and have a great week,

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Disclaimer: 1) Not ALL of my clients and friends feel this way.  2) I’m writing to husbands/boyfriends only because so far, in my practice, this has been the case. I’m 100% sure this situation is reversed in some partnerships, so this is in no way a man bashing session. 3) NONE of these are direct quotes from any certain client. That would be a huge breach of trust. These are conversations I’ve had with so many women, in my work, in my friendships, with strangers, etc.

 

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Whole30 Week 3 – Favourites

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Hard to believe I’m on day 21! Here are some of my favourites from this week.

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Top left: Car lunch again – leftover baked chicken (rubbed with Turkey Rub seasoning from Epicure), butternut squash, pear, raspberries, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds. It was a perfect post workout meal!

Top middle: Soft boiled eggs, avocado, and some leftover Slow Cooker Puerto Pibil by Stupid Easy Paleo. 

Top right: Car lunch – chicken baked in paprika, garlic, oregano and salt with pan fried sweet potatoes, butternut squash and peppers with paprika, chipotle powder, garlic and salt. So good and so filling post workout.

Bottom left: Absolutely delicious Slow Cooker Puerto Pibil by Stupid Easy Paleo, with a simple salad and my new favourite: Spicy Lime Sweet Potato Mash by Popular Paleo. I want to eat these mashed yams every day! The Puerto Pibil made so many leftovers, which now makes it one of my favourite meals.

Bottom middle: One of my favourite salmon recipes by Melissa Joulwan, which I realized after is not available on her blog, sorry! Go buy her cookbooks Well Fed 1 and 2. We had it with yam fries, broccoli and cauliflower.

Bottom right: This is my go to, lazy, last minute dinner. Ground beef with taco seasoning (really just unmeasured amounts of paprika, cumin, chili powder, garlic and salt) with peppers, avocado, tomatoes and other random veggies on mixed greens. It’s sorta like a taco salad.

One week left! Wish me luck.

Eat well, move your body, and have a great week!

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Our Journey to Whole Foods with Charley – An Update

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Almost a year ago I wrote about my food struggles with our beautiful, spirited daughter, Charley.

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Her full story can be read here, but the gist of it is that she was an extremely difficult baby and toddler and pretty much hated all food except for packaged, processed garbage. Out of pure desperation and exhaustion, we allowed her to survive on that, until last June when we made a goal to have her eating only whole, unprocessed foods in our home (progress, not perfection) by age 5.

“Our goal is no packaged foods by age five. At home, she will have only whole, unprocessed foods. I don’t want her to miss out on some of the wonderful parts of childhood; ice cream on hot days, treats at her grandparents house, or cake at birthday parties. We won’t restrict things like that which are outside of the home. But her food in our house will be real.

Charley is 4 years old now, and you can’t imagine how many times I have regretted posting that article. Most of the time I’m on board and still fired up about changing her eating habits, but when it’s 5:30pm and I’m in the midst of the dinner battle, I often wish I never made that goal and I wish I had never posted it publicly. On the flip side, when the battle is finished, I feel so glad that I made that goal public as it keeps me accountable. Accountability in any health challenge is key.

Charley has come so far with her eating and her little self has changed quite dramatically because of it. Here are a few things we have introduced since the original post back in June of 2014.

1) If you don’t eat what is served for dinner, you don’t eat at all.

Totally harsh. I know it is. But we’ve implemented this rule a few months ago and guess what? My kids are both still alive and functioning well. They do go to bed hungry sometimes, but they sleep fine and wake up ready for a big healthy breakfast. I know some parents warm up the leftover dinner and put it out again for breakfast for their child, but I don’t do that. We start each day fresh. (Note: I didn’t implement this rule at the beginning of our journey to whole foods, as I do think it is quite a leap, especially for a 3 year old. We made this decision and rule after about 7 months of slowly transitioning from packaged to whole.) Also, this applies only to dinner time, where we sit and eat as a family. Her breakfasts and lunches are often different than mine, but still whole and unprocessed.

2) New Food Chart.

Charley has a simple sticker chart that we keep taped to the fridge. Every time she tries a new food (trying a new food is quite intimidating for her – she has a very sensitive gag reflex) she gets to put a sticker on her chart. When the chart is full, she gets to pick out a new toy from the toy store. Huge thanks to my friend Alyne for this idea. Notice that she does not get a sticker for eating everything on her plate. We aren’t even going there at this point. Prior to this sticker chart we were bribing her with a couple chocolate chips or smarties, but we knew it was wrong and not helpful, plus, SUGAR. We don’t need any more of it.

3) Charley is involved in preparing her food.

This girl loves to be in the kitchen with me. We make everything from scratch and I love passing that down to her, and dreaming of one day when she will pass it on to her children. She has her own adorable little apron and recently received an awesome children’s knife set for Christmas from her auntie and uncle. These knives are sharp enough to actually chop but are totally safe. She loves them! You can find them here.

Chopping leeks in the morning sun for our breakfast

Chopping leeks in the morning sun for our breakfast

Making healthy cookies from The Jordan Project blog

Making healthy cookies from The Jordan Project blog

4) We are consistent with our “rules” and the way we talk about food.

I wrote the post Why We Don’t Use the F-Word and Other Family Rules some time ago, and we stick to this. We continue to encourage her and remind her that food is fuel for her body, food gives her energy and strength, and strength is beautiful.

Since we started this challenge back in June, Charley has been sleeping like a rock. She’s in bed sometime between 6:30-7:00pm and sleeps until around 7:00am, with barely any exceptions. This is a huge improvement from before, where she was waking up every 1-3 hours during the night and not able to fall asleep until after 8:00pm. Her intense mood swings have calmed down, although they haven’t vanished. She is still our spirited little girl and struggles with transitions and other things, but the amount of outbursts and temper tantrums has decreased hugely. We can clearly see now when she does have excess sugar how much of an effect it has on her behaviour.

It’s still not perfect. Every once in awhile my kids still eat Annie’s noodles, although way less often. They both still fight me on most vegetables and fruit. Often I want to throw my hands up in the air and give up, but then I remind myself to think of her future…

Wouldn’t it be wonderful for her to enter her teen years not hating her body? To live her young adult life knowing that her worth is not dependent on a number on a scale? To grow up already having healthy eating habits and exercise built into her life, rather than having to begin them at a later age, making it so much more difficult? To look in the mirror and feel strong, capable, and loved? Most adult women don’t feel that way about themselves, and it’s time to break that cycle. We need to stop passing it down to our children. The cycle can be broken, and as a parent, you have the power to do it.


For some of you reading this, it may seem so simple and obvious. You probably fed your child only whole and unprocessed foods from the very beginning. You can’t figure out why some of us didn’t do that. Be kind. You may struggle with some other aspect of parenting that comes easy to us, or you may not. Either way, be kind.

For others of you, the struggle of getting your child to eat only whole and unprocessed foods seems impossible. This post isn’t meant to make you feel guilty about that. It’s meant to be an encouragement and a promise to you that if I can do it, so can you. You can start somewhere and make slow, consistent changes. It’s really really really difficult, but it’s worth it. Break the cycle.


Recipe for the cookies can be found on The Jordan Project blog.

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Whole 30 – Week 5 – Meal Plan

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Only two more days! Congratulations to everyone who has held on this far. Now the most important part is coming next: Life After Whole30. Don’t mess this up! Carefully re-introduce foods in the proper manner. You’ve worked hard so please don’t throw it all away now.

Breakfast:

Sausage Egg Cups

Spicy Breakfast Stew (I’m sure by now you guys have become accustomed to eating weird stuff for breakfast!)

Meat Crust Quiche

Dinner:

Beef Pot Roast

Baked Garlic Mushroom Chicken

Grilled Flank Steak with Cilantro Balsamic Marinade

Spicy Shrimp Butternut Squash “Rice” with Tomatoes

Italian Chopped Salad

Hawaiian Turkey Burgers

Crockpot Pulled Pork Chili

Previously:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

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Bacon Wrapped Date Salad

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I’ve got this really great friend. In the past year or so, I’ve watched her completely dive in to a healthy lifestyle for her and her family. She’s a busy super mom who runs an in-home daycare and yet she’s managed to build a healthy lifestyle through working out (often including her kids and husband) and healthy eating. We’re big food nerds and so we often send each other picture messages of what we’re eating. (Don’t judge me. I seriously LOVE FOOD.) The other day she sent me a picture of her lunch: a salad with bacon wrapped dates on top. I drooled a little, and then got to work making my own version. I came up with this, and now I kinda wanna eat this every day for the rest of my life.

Ingredients:

-8 dates

-4 pieces of sugar free, nitrate free, pastured bacon

-2 cups spinach

-1/4 red onion, diced

-1 nectarine, diced

-1/2 tomato, diced

-1/2 jalapeño, seeded and diced

-1/2 cucumber, diced

Instructions:

1) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.

2) Using a small, sharp knife, carefully slit a hole in each date and remove the pit.

3) Cut your bacon slices in half so you have 8 pieces, each a couple of inches long.

4) Tightly wind a piece of bacon around each date and secure it by piercing all the way through with a toothpick.

5) Place the bacon wrapped dates on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until bacon is cooked to your liking.

6) Once cooked, remove from the oven and gently pat dry each bacon wrapped date. Set them aside to cool.

7) Place your spinach on a large plate or in a large bowl and throw all your vegetable toppings and nectarine on top. Add your bacon wrapped dates and enjoy!

Eat outside as often as you can. Food just tastes better outside.

Eat outside as often as you can. Food just tastes better outside.

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Roasted Nectarine Salsa on Wild Salmon

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I am really enjoying the abundance of ripe, fresh fruit this summer and the abundance of fresh wild sockeye from our CSA. I combined my love for nectarines and salmon tonight and came up with this meal that we devoured in minutes! We enjoyed this with a side of roasted beets and mixed baby potatoes.

Ingredients:

1 large tomato

1/2 red onion

1 nectarine

1 jalapeño, seeded

1 small sweet Italian pepper

1 lb wild salmon fillet

1 avocado

2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Directions:

1) Wash and dice your first 5 ingredients into small, uniform pieces.

2) Toss them in melted coconut oil and spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

3) Place your baking sheet on the top rack of your oven and set your broiler to high.

4) Broil for 5-10 minutes or until salsa just begins to blacken. Remove and let cool.

5) Place your salmon on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

6) Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on the top rack of your oven and broil on high for 10-15 mins until salmon is cooked through.

7) While the salmon is broiling, dice your avocado and gently mix it into your salsa. Add the chopped basil and toss gently to combine.

8) When salmon is cooked through, remove and place it on your plate. Top with your salsa and enjoy!

salsaonsalmon

 

 

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Whole 30 – Week 2 – Meal Plan

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Hey there! Wow, this no caffeine thing has been ROUGH. For the first 3 days I had a non stop pounding headache, was exhausted during the day, and awake in the middle of the night. By day 4 I was feeling way better though, and I’m excited to see how things improve even more over the next few weeks.

Here’s my meal plan for this week. A few breakfasts that I will double, and leftovers for lunch every day. 

Breakfast:

Yams and Eggs (There isn’t much to this “recipe” but it’s one of my favourites. I chop the yams into cubes and fry them in coconut oil and steak spice until cooked through. I remove them from the pan and cover them to keep them hot. Then I quickly fry 2 eggs and put them on top of the yams. You could partially boil the yams at the beginning of the week to make them quick and easy to fry up in the morning.)

Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet

Potatoes with Kale and Bacon

Crustless Quiche

Dinner:

Mexican Meatza

Chocolate Chili on spaghetti squash

Spicy Coconut Shrimp Bisque (skip the corn)

Sweet Pineapple Ginger Meatballs 

Lemon Garlic Chicken on Zoodles and Kale

Italian Sausage and Zoodles

Moroccan Spiced Salmon

I suggest tripling the Chocolate Chili and Spicy Coconut Shrimp Bisque and freezing them for Whole30 emergencies. Those are two of my favourite recipes…you won’t be sorry!

Enjoy!