We are a family who loves to travel, and our most recent epic road trip took us to Michigan. But, travel can wreak havoc on anyone’s best attempts to eat healthy. Not always. Check out my post below where I show how we traveled across the country while (almost exclusively) staying on our Real Food Foodie Lifestyle (i.e., we ate really healthy in spite of being on the road). It meant extra work, which isn’t always the thing you want to do after a day of being in the car, but I’m simply not willing to eat crap food which is most often what’s served in restaurants.
Taking even 2 minutes to focus your attention on things and people for which you’re grateful can turn any frown upside down. Try it.
I’m grateful for my generous and smart husband. I’m grateful for my precious daughter. I’m grateful for all of my family.
I’m grateful for my friends.
I’m grateful for my health… I’m without cancer, disease, or pain.
I’m grateful for meditation.
I’m grateful for the delicious, superior, high quality foods my family enjoys.
I’m grateful for the roof over my head that protects me from the elements outside.
I’m grateful for our car so we can run errands, visit friends and family, and go on adventures.
I’m grateful for my big, comfortable bed and pillows.
I’m grateful for fresh water to drink, wash clothes, bathe, and make coffee.
I’m grateful for the warm sun of Arizona.
I’m grateful that my eyesight works and I can read.
I’m grateful that I can hear music with my ears and have a voice to sing along.
I’m grateful for my freedom.
I’m grateful for the Internet and my computer.
I’m grateful for the clothes on my back the shoes on my feet.
I’m grateful that I feel safe walking around my neighborhood any time of the day.
I’m grateful for gratitude.
I’m grateful for so many things. Why are you grateful?
Since changing my diet from vegan to omnivore, I have found myself looking into which foods are optimal sources of various nutrients. As a result, I started making lists to compile all of the data in one place.
Here’s my latest version, which is a work in progress, but I thought I’d share anyway because it’s a nice starting point. I’ve selected nutrients that I feel are important for my family’s optimal health. The items are not listed in any order of importance.
You’ll notice that most of the best sources, for many of these nutrients, are from animals. But, I would never settle for just any animals. As someone who cares for animals, and appreciates them and the nutrition they offer, I will only buy grass-fed and/or pasture-raised animal foods: meat, fish, some dairy, and lots of eggs. To see a list of the various places I source our foods, see this blog post.
Every New Year’s eve my husband and I sit down and write out our lists of goals and intentions for the coming year. I usually divide up the ideas by life segments such as career, family, relationships, leisure, finance, travel, etc.
For 2014, I did something different. I did something I’d never done before. I decided that 2014 was the year I would embrace only one goal for the whole year: Meditation.
Why only one goal? For a long time, I’d been wanting to make meditation a big part of my life, a regular staple in my daily routine. But for some reason, I wasn’t doing it consistently. I always said to myself, “Oh, I need to meditate…. I’ll do it tomorrow.” And, as the 2013 year was coming to an end, I decided it was of vital importance to make it a regular part of my life (and for my family, too). So important that it was going to be the only goal I focused on for the year.
Why I meditate. There was a reason that I suddenly came to place meditation with such importance. That’s because I’m now a firm believer that meditation deserves top billing.
As most of you know, over the past couple of years, I’ve dramatically changed the way I eat. I went from being a militant vegan, with animal rights fueling my purpose, to eating a Real Food diet of grass-fed omnivore foods, when my family’s health was failing with vegan foods. (See here and here and here for specifics.) The frustrating thing about using diet for optimal health and longevity is that you can find diametrically opposed camps — with each claiming to have science on their side — about what is right and what is not right when it comes to the food you put in your mouth.
Amid the firestorm of controversy on so many facets of what comprises “optimal” health, the fascinating thing I realized is that there’s at least one thing that pretty much everybody agrees on: Meditation is healthy and important for health and longevity. You might have respected doctors vehemently disagree on whether kale or bone broth is the best superfood, or which position is the best way to sleep, or how to treat a cold… but I have never heard any expert in recent years say you shouldn’t meditate as a daily practice for optimal health. After years of peer-reviewed interventional studies, meditation has become not only non-controversial, but they just keep discovering new amazing benefits. The only people who don’t say meditation is good for your health are people who don’t know the first thing about the topic.
Although I don’t like to think of how I eat as a “diet” … sometimes that word just works.
Today, I’m sharing with you a meal I had in New York recently, where I went off the rails completely in exchange for a true New York foodie experience. Was it worth it? Oh yes. Yes, I enjoyed every devilish bite.
As you can see from the picture above, I had a sandwich. Ooooh so crazy, eh? Ha. Well, since I don’t eat wheat these days, it was very different for me. Plus, it wasn’t grass fed. But, a healthy lifestyle goes beyond just food. It involves happy experiences, family, friends, rest, fun, and so much more. And, take note, I always say that when I travel to France (some day), I will enjoy their authentic foods with pleasure in all its wheat filled glory. Same goes for Italy.
As you all know by now, I’m a wee bit picky when it comes to my food. I want the highest quality and most nutritious goodness for my body and for my family. I want high performance, longevity, and energy. So, to ensure I get all of those things I prepare all of our high quality foods from scratch. That’s no small task as you might imagine, but it matters to me.
Sometimes, I need a break, or sometimes we’re traveling and food choices are limited.
One of the places on our list of “OK to eat” is Chipotle. It’s by no means perfect; but, on the spectrum of fast casual restaurants, they get my vote. They try to source quality ingredients and they listen to their customers. For example, they changed their oil by switching from crap gmo soy oil and now use less-crappy-but-still-crappy rice bran oil due to customer complaints.
We traveled to Mexico during the winter and it was the first time taking Kamea outside of the United States. I was concerned about the possibility of getting ill as you so often hear from people traveling to Mexico, so I did my best to research and prepare well for the trip. Thankfully, as a result of my preparations and packing, we all stayed perfectly healthy.
Please note: I am not a doctor, nor a midwife, nor a nurse… I don’t even have a Ph.D. in motherhood yet. The following info, as well as everything on my blog, is not to be considered medical advice. Please, do your own research.
Before leaving for Mexico, we were advised by our Naturopathic doctors to start taking probiotics and to continue taking them while traveling. We usually have probiotics on hand in the house anyway so that was easy. Here is the brand that Greg and I take and here is what Kamea takes.
The following list is what I packed for our trip.
I’m not much of a social butterfly, though I pretend to be one sometimes (because deep down I wish I were more extroverted). But I’m a mom now, and, well, Kamea needs more human interaction than just from her parents, right? Add homeschooling to the equation and the pressure increases to expose her to people and situations so she doesn’t grow up to be a hermit.
Therefore, the hunt to do more with others began for us.
To start, it seemed like a good idea to enroll Kamea is various classes where she could learn skills, enjoy herself, experience new activities, and meet other kiddos. I put her in classes like music, gymnastics, dance, swim, etc, but I learned that in those structured environments it’s kind of difficult to really meet and get to know the other kids. Not to mention it’s hard to strike up a conversation with other parents who usually have their noses in their smart phones. Err… not that I would ever do this myself.
So, I did what I always do when I’m trying to figure something out… I went to the internet. It works for most things, including introducing me to my husband years ago (thanks, eharmony!), so why not see if I can learn how to make more friends for us with it?
I frequently get asked about my life these days. How is my family faring on our omnivore diet since ending a decade of being vegan (read more about that here and here)? What are we eating? How’s life in general?
Life in general is awesome. :) I’m living a dream life and feeling overflowing gratitude every day. We’ve been traveling a bit, going on lots of play dates, spending extra time with my parents, and we have seen the movie Frozen three times. :)
What are we eating? Has anything changed since my last update? Not much. You can pretty much see what we’ve been eating from my food journals and all of the recipes I post. But, for those who are new here, our diet is higher in fat, moderate for carbs (with some days being lower in carbs), and comprises a ton of high-quality animal products, including:
- Wild caught fish, usually salmon (including wild caught salmon roe)
- Grass-fed and pasture-raised meats (including massively nutrient dense organ meats and bone broths) How can I eat organ meats? Well, it’s been a process to find the best way I like them but finally that’s happened. I hide liver in butter-and-brandy-rich pate as well as in cheeseburgers smothered in BBQ sauce like this one. I hide beef heart in stew and enjoy some weird beef tongue in this recipe here (and beef tongue in ratatouille is my new favorite way, recipe coming soon). I am determined to keep my family eating grass fed offal (i.e., organ meats), and so far they’re totally loving them, thankfully, because the nutrition is stellar and unbelievable. These organ meats are the true super foods of the world.
- Sardines, Oysters (and other shell fish)
- Pasture-raised organic eggs
- Organic vegetables
- A little fruit (usually in the form of berries)
- Grass-fed butter
- High-quality oils (grass-fed ghee, high vitamin butter oil, coconut oil, MCT oil)
- Coffee shakes (yum!)
- Organic Norwalk cold pressed fresh green juice but the recipe is different from what I used to in the past (no heavy greens like kale, collards, or spinach because when we consume those now they’re cooked). The recipe is usually celery, cucumbers, romaine, cilantro, occasionally parsley and other herbs, and we might have a pint or two every week or so.
- Supplements These change based on our diet for the week as well as new things I learn every day. I’ll soon share how I make my own liposomal vitamin C.
- White rice (occasionally)
- Dark organic fair trade chocolate
- Raw organic sauerkraut (I love Farmhouse Kraut)
- Nuts and seeds (sometimes these appear in the form of paleo style treats like my Vanilla Chocolate Chunk Cookies)
- Dairy products like raw grass-fed organic cheese, grass-fed organic ice cream (not raw, usually Straus brand), and grass-fed organic yogurt (not raw). After some experimentation it seems we tolerate them very well. The ice cream and yogurt make up a very small percentage of our diet and it doesn’t make a regular appearance, but we do have it sometimes. It must be from free range grass fed cows and organic. I go back and forth on dairy… some say it creates inflammation but others say if it’s high quality and tolerated then it can be very nutrient dense.Therefore, we enjoy it at times and other times we abstain for awhile.
As you can imagine, we don’t eat out very much. As much as I love cooking, I do need a break from the kitchen. I make almost everything from scratch, and that’s a lot of time in the kitchen for three meals a day. So on occasion we go out to eat for gluten-free pizza (maybe once every 10 to 14 days) and we also go to Chipotle every couple of weeks. I really don’t care for Chipotle’s crap oils they use on their rice and for cooking, but a girl needs a break from meal prep, ya know? I sure wish there were some options with truly high quality everything. I can find a grass fed burger here in Scottsdale, but the salad it’s served with has junk canola oil on it as an example. Sigh.
The holidays are here. Our xmas tree is up (has been since November 16). Ooooh how I love this time of year. Food! Gifts! Family! Errr… I mean Family! Food! Gifts! There, that order is better.
As the holiday shopping season is about to begin I wanted to share some of my favorite things that some special people in your life might also love.
Looking for something to put in someone’s stocking?
Scrub Daddy Sponges – These very popular sponges are all the rage now that they’ve been on Shark Tank (one of my favorite TV shows). Using cold or hot water changes the stiffness of the sponge to help you clean everything from pots and pans to counter tops to everything in between. Buy the 4-pack for the best value and you will have 4 stocking stuffer gifts to divide amongst four of your most cherished family and friends.
Bamboo Hands – For the person on your list that has plans for healthier eating come new year… bamboo hands are a great little incentive gift. They are the coolest salad tongs and will do just the trick in helping your loved one eat more salad. Hey, it sounds good, right?
Egg Beater – This egg beater is the cat’s meow for the egg lover in your life. It makes me feel a bit old fashioned when I’m using it (in a good way) but it also does a totally kick butt job. Love it. (Read some of the many ways we enjoy pasture raised eggs here.)
Offset Spatula – Everyone needs at least one offset spatula in the kitchen. They make for the perfect spreads whether you’re spreading butter on toast or frosting a cake or making a raw gluten free cheesecake.
Looking for something to inspire better cooking?