Getting the Family On Board

I’m a cold turkey kind of girl, and I’m all or nothing. For me to succeed at something, I need laser focus – even when it comes to my nutrition and fitness. To some it may be obsessive, but in my world, it works.

For instance, a few weeks ago we made cookies for my husband to bring to work, he forgot the cookies, so I threw them away – drama ensued (I’ll spare you the details).  I knew if the cookies remained in my house, I would eat every last one of them, and probably top it with a glass of milk. Like I said, I’m all in, sold out, or not interested at all.  If I’m going to indulge, I indulge all the way. Some people, like my husband, tend to have a bit more self control. He can successfully just eat one cookie, step away from the kitchen, be satisfied and move on – lucky for him.

I came up with the idea for this post while grocery shopping with my husband today. We are two different animals, polar opposites, and at total odds when it comes to grocery shopping. When I grocery shop, I generally stick to my list, rarely impulse buy (we’re on a budget!) and don’t buy junky snack foods; however, when shopping with my main man, Oreos and Captain Crunch cereal tend to make their way into the shopping cart.

Which leads me to my point, getting your family on board to your new eating habits can be tough. I’ve noticed that getting spouses or significant others on board can be the most difficult as these people probably have the most power to derail your new lifestyle changes, and having a significant other that isn’t totally on board can present some challenges.

If you’re struggling between trying to eat healthier, but finding those Oreos in the shopping cart, here are a few things that worked for me  to make it a little easier in getting  the family on board with healthy eating:

– I started small. First I started by buying fresh, local produce, then a few weeks later I stopped buying processed snack food, then a few weeks after that I stopped buying processed grains. Like I said, I’m cold turkey, but my husband functions better on a gradual plan.

– I tried to get creative with meals. Instead of making spaghetti and meatballs, I would make spaghetti squash and meatballs. Instead of having fried chicken, mashed potatoes and bread for dinner, we transitioned to grilled chicken, cauliflower mash and salad. I never wanted my family to feel as though I was depriving or starving them, and I still wanted to serve those comfort food favorites, but in a healthier way. Pinterest and are great inspirations for healthy versions of your favorite meals. Check out “paleo pizza” – the kids will love it!

– I started keeping fresh produce on the counter. If an apple, peach or banana is in sight, we’ll grab that as a snack before anything else.

– I talked about my “why” a lot.  My “why” is my reason for wanting to live healthier. For instance, I don’t want diabetes. I don’t want heart disease. I don’t want to be on cholesterol or blood pressure medications. I want to see my child(ren) grow up. I want to be able to play with my child(ren)… Your “why” can be anything you want it to be. Let you family know that this isn’t a fad diet, but you are making a lifestyle change, and you want their support.

The best thing to remember is, don’t nag. If you are trying to make a healthy lifestyle change, focus on you. Your family and friends will see it, and although it may take some time, eventually they will come around. Lead by example!




What’s the beef with dairy?

Let me start off by stating that I LOVE cheese, I also LOVE Greek yogurt, I take my coffee with a splash of cream, and when I “cheat” I often “cheat” with ice cream. I grew  up drinking several glasses of milk per day – milk does a body good, right? Or wrong? Isn’t everything we were taught in the 1980s coming back to bite us in the butt?

The USDA recommends 3 cups (24 ounces) of dairy per day for people over 9 years old.  That’s a lot of dairy. An entire “block” of cheese is 8 oz. Most single serving yogurt containers are 5-8 oz (depending on the kind you buy). A traditional scoop of ice cream is about 2-3 ounces. My point in listing this is to show that we’d have to consume a lot of dairy throughout the day to reach the USDA recommended serving.

So why does the USDA make this recommendation? According to the USDA, their claim is that consuming the recommended amounts of dairy will give us the calcium, potassium and vitamin D we need to maintain a healthy diet.

Here’s a list of information refuting the USDA recommendations. The following list is directly from Walter Willett, M.D., Ph.D, the second-most-cited scientist in all of clinical medicine and the head of nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health:

1. Milk doesn’t reduce fractures. Contrary to popular belief, eating dairy products has never been shown to reduce fracture risk. In fact, according to the Nurses’ Health Study dairy may increase risk of fractures by 50 percent!

2. Less dairy, better bones. Countries with lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Africa and Asia) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.

3. Calcium isn’t as bone-protective as we thought. Studies of calcium supplementation have shown no benefit in reducing fracture risk. Vitamin D appears to be much more important than calcium in preventing fractures.

4. Calcium may raise cancer risk. Research shows that higher intakes of both calcium and dairy products may increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer by 30 to 50 percent. Plus, dairy consumption increases the body’s level of insulin-like growth factors — a known cancer promoter.

5. Calcium has benefits that dairy doesn’t. Calcium supplements, but not dairy products, may reduce the risk of colon cancer.

6. Not everyone can stomach dairy. About 75 percent of the world’s population is genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products — a problem called lactose intolerance.

Because of reason 6, I am slowing cutting dairy out of my diet. For me personally, while nursing my daughter, I noticed she was extremely fussy after I consumed dairy products. I now try to limit my consumption to less than 4 ounces per day – which is substantially less than the USDA recommendation of 24 ounces per day. Also, please remember to check your labels, many of dairy products contain added sugar, especially ice cream, yogurt and some milks. Additionally, all dairy (unless you find a local farmer who sells raw dairy) is processed in some way. Finally, people who are lactose intolerant may experience IBS, allergy, sinus, and anemia directly related to dairy consumption.

For now I’ll take my coffee with a splash of cream and top my eggplant with cheese (everything in moderation) unless I can find a raw milk farmer!

If you’re considering cutting out dairy, I recommend reading the following articles:

While you’re researching, check out the USDA guidelines:

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I want to be Julie! {Italian style stuffed peppers}

Remember the 2009 movie, Julie and Julia? It was the story of Julia Child’s cooking profession intertwined with the story of a blogger named Julie who cooked through all the recipes on one of  Child’s cook books. Man, I love that movie. It was quite disappointing that Julie and Julia never actually met. I digress.

I feel a little like Julie in the sense that I like to cook and write about food. I have a slight obsession with the cookbook Practical Paleo and Diane Sanfilippo, the author. I own a ton of cookbooks, more than I have room for, and this is by far my favorite. The book contains educational, practical, Paleo recipes as well as grocery lists, food plans, menus for certain diseases and much, much more. As an added bonus, the food pictures are so amazing!

Also, like Julie, I’m going to try to cook through the book, and post my favorite recipes ( I do have a very hard time following a recipe, so there will probably be some deviations from the original). I’ll start with a family favorite, Italian Style Stuffed Peppers. It’s so easy and quick. In less than 40 minutes you’ll have a full meal, it’s self contained (veggie, protein and fat in one dish), and it’s healthy!

Italian Style Stuffed Peppers

What do you need…

2 bell peppers, cut, ribs removed – I like red, orange or yellow

1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil

1/2 onion, diced

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

4 cloves of garlic, pressed or chopped

1/2 cup diced tomatoes (fresh is best, can is okay)

2 cups of finely chopped spinach

1 lb ground beef, bison, turkey, deer or chicken

6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish

Fresh shredded mozzarella cheese (my opinion – if you’re going to eat cheese, buy the good stuff!)

Let’s cook…

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the cut bell peppers in a roasting dish for 10-15 minutes. While the bell peppers are cooking, heat your oil in a skillet. Cook the onions, adding salt and pepper to taste, until they are translucent. Add the tomatoes, spinach and garlic to the onions and simmer for approximately 2 -5 minutes.

Add the ground meat and cook until fully done. Remove any extra grease from the meat by spooning it out. Taste the mixture and adjust seasoning to your liking. Mix in the chopped basil.

Remove the peppers from the oven (if you haven’t already done so), and flip them over. Spoon the stuffing mixture into the pepper, and put back in the oven for 5-10 minutes. If you’re feeling naughty, sprinkle a small palm full of cheese on top before placing back in the oven.

The great thing about stuffed peppers is that they freeze and reheat really well. This would be a great meal to batch cook.

Food theatrics:

Food prep


Finished product



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