5 Types of Meal Planners - Which One are You?

There are many things that influence our individual style of how we feed our families. The styles are influenced by our personalities, our upbringing, our income levels, our schedules and careers and so on. I believe that healthy eating can be incorporated in all these areas (maybe) if we are purposeful in seeing that it happens.

So I have compiled a list of five general types of meal planners. Read each one and see which one(s) you are... and please leave a comment to let us know which one best describes you. And of course, there is no judging going on on this blog... everyone is unique and we all live different lives.

1. The Drive-Thru Diva... Ok, maybe you're really not a diva, but you get the gist. Your weekly meals are planned around your local drive-thru and your particular mood at the time. You tend to be on the run, busy with kid's sports, appointments and other events that keep you in your car many days. Now I am not judging... because believe it or not, our family has been seen a time or two in the drive-thru lane! I do believe there are healthy choices, although challenging, but who can pass up the fries??

2. The Coupon Queen... Your budget is tight. Coupons are your friend. You plan your meals around what is on sale at the store and you stick to your weekly allotted grocery budget. Some weeks you may have leftovers for dinner, PB & J's or soup from a can to meet your budget. Your eyes are quickly drawn to the "Manager's Specials" and you can ingeniously design a meal around what you snatched up cheap that day at the grocery. This meal planner can definitely incorporate healthy meals into her squeaky budget.

3. Planned & from Scratch... Budget usually isn't the main driving force with this planner. She is driven by her personality of having things in order and cares about having a well-balanced meal, too. She usually has her menus planned for the week and does not rely on frozen meals or boxes from the pantry. She labors for a good amount of time in the kitchen to prepare her daily meal and is happy to provide a meal that her family would enjoy. This planner definitely has an advantage in bringing great health to her family.

4. Convenience Rules... This meal planner is usually concerned with budget and time. She enjoys convenient foods, but also values eating at home. Frozen pizzas, mac-n-cheese are just some typical meals you'll see on her table. Not everything is out of a box though as she uses meats and other things to incorporate a balanced meal as well.

5. Designated Diet... This person doesn't have too much of a choice. Someone in the family needs to eat a certain way to be healthy. Whether it be a gluten-free, diabetic or so on, this is the driving force around how she plans her meals. She is focused on the health of that person more than the budget or convenience of things. Most people in her family follow the diet as well, to aid in it's overall effectiveness.

I know there may many more types of planners than the ones I have listed and there always combinations of all of the above as well. But we generally tend to fall into one or two of those categories.

So I'm dying to hear which meal planner are you?


WB Meal Plan... Trying to Embrace Fall

Summer is my absolute favorite season. I hold on to it for as long as I mentally can. So when I was taking my dog out the other morning and heard her crunching on the frost-covered grass, I knew my dreams of summer were officially gone... boo.

So with some slight hesitancy, I offer some fall inspired meals for this week of "trick to treat". Ok, Monday's isn't really for fall or Friday for that matter... oh well... I'm trying.

Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa
Black beans
Fresh Pineapple

Hearty Minestrone from Clean Start Cookbook (Thanks to my friend, Carrie!)
Homemade Applesauce
Whole Wheat Baguettes

Cincinnati Turkey Chili from Cooking Light magazine (secret ingredient: 2 T. semi-sweet chocolate chunks)
Jack-Corn Muffins
Fresh grapes

Oven Fried Chicken Parmesan over Polenta from Cooking Light magazine
Romaine Salad with homemade dressing
Pickled Beets

Spicy Tuna Wraps with brown rice, watercress, avocado, julienne carrots and a low-fat mayo and Sriracha (sweet Asian hot sauce) spread.
Fresh honey crisp apple slices

I am happy to email any of these recipes you might be interested in!

Happy Clean Eating!!


My 8 Tricks to Beating a Cold

"Let thy food be thy medicine" -- Hippocrates

Before I begin getting all worked up over this post's content... let me first say, I am not an expert on the cold and flu season. I understand that it can strike any humble soul regardless of how healthy and fit they may be. But I earnestly believe with a few key actions in your daily life, you and your family can truly outsmart a cold and/or flu from happening in your home.

The typical cold and flu season in America is seen as early as October and as late as April. A recent statistic stated that 1 in 5 people will contract influenza and there are over 200 different viruses that can cause the common cold. Seems a little daunting to some... but not me. I guess I don't buy into the idea that we're all "doomed". I'm also a little frustrated that mainstream medicine constantly sends the message that getting a flu shot is the only possible thing you can do to prevent the flu. Our bodies are perfectly and wonderfully made (Ps 139:14) and I believe they are designed in a way to heal itself if given the right tools and environment.

There are several things you can do, on your own, without the use of drugs and vaccines to help you beat the cold this winter. Now before I give you my list of tricks, understand that one's diet plays a HUGE role in all this. If a person's diet consists of high fat, processed sugars and flours, lots of red meat and is also low in fiber, fruits and veggies, and whole grains... they're already several steps behind. A cold can only survive in an environment conducive to it's survival. But a body that is healthy will not have a problem fighting off a cold.

Along with a healthy diet, remember that good handwashing and keeping your home clean with all natural cleaners is another way to minimize bacteria and viruses that may enter your home. Open windows occasionally to bring in fresh air and make sure the humidity in your house is at optimal levels.

I will admit several times throughout the cold and flu season I do start to get a burning, itchy nose which usually leads to a scratchy throat... this is how I know I am on the road to a cold. But thankfully with some good genetics and my go-to list of cold remedies, I am 100% in just a day or two. Every individual is different, but these following remedies truly are gems when it comes time to beat a cold.

So here is my go-to list of things I am armed with every cold/flu season:

1. (And most important) Xlear Nasal Wash with Xylitol. We move approximately 3,000 gallons of air from the nose to the lungs a day. This air can become polluted with bacteria and viruses, this is where xylitol comes in. Xylitol is a sweet crystalline carbohydrate that occurs naturally in virtually all fruits and vegetables. Xylitol has been show to decrease the adherence of harmful bacteria to the cells in our nose. In a study of 857 preschool children who chewed gum with xylitol, of those who chewed the gum had 40% less ear infections than those that didn't. Personally, I have used this spray for years and it has proven over and over it's effectiveness in preventing colds. My suggestion is to use it as often as you wash your hands. It's just like washing the bacteria out of your nose which in turn keeps your respiratory tract less immune to infections.

2. Emergen-C Flavored Fizzy Drink Mix. This is powerful stuff. I first read about this fizzy wonder many years ago in a health magazine and thought I'd pick up a box. So glad I did. One packet provides a powerful blend of Vitamin C, 24 nutrients, 7 B vitamins, antioxidants, and electrolytes. All you do is dissolve one packet into a glass of water and drink. When I know a cold is hitting hard, I take up to 4 packets in a day. I can't say that the taste is THE best, but for me, it works and I seriously can't live with out it!

3. Elderberry Extract. This Native American herb comes in many forms, but I prefer the liquid form. It has been shown to have effectiveness against the common cold, influenza and also helps with the symptoms that accompanies the cold and flu. Black elderberries are a detoxifier and overall booster to the immune system. Take as recommended.

4. Vitamin D. It's fall and where I live, the sun is hiding these days. We need the sun to deliver the all important vitamin D to help feed and nourish the immune system. Unless you are continually getting sunlight during the fall and winter months, you should be taking vitamin D. Vitamin turns on the genes that empower the body's immunity and it's germ-fighting ability. According to Dr. Mercola, "the research is quite clear, the higher your vitamin D level, the lower your risk of contracting colds, flu, and other respiratory tract infections." Read more about that here

5. Hot Tea. We are coffee drinkers around here, but when someone is coming down with a cold even my kids ask for some hot tea. There is just something about hot tea in your system when you are getting sick. Not only are fluids essential when you are getting a cold, but the steam from the tea helps to relieve congestion. White and green teas have the added bonus of being loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants, which may fight colds. Another recommendation is to drink tea with echinacea. Unlike antibiotics, which kill bacteria, echinacea stimulates the production of white blood cells and makes your body more capable of attacking viruses and fighting colds, coughs, flu and other respiratory conditions.

6. Lemons. Lemons are a powerhouse of vitamin C. Regardless of what others may say, I believe vitamin C is more effective than antibiotics when it comes to treating colds and viruses. When lemons are added to warm water they are considered a tonic for the liver. Warm water works well with lemon juice because it helps to increase the body's flow, and it stimulates the immune system. Drink many cups of warm lemon water throughout the day. Not only with it keep you properly hydrated, you'll be on your way to feeling well again.

7. Regular hand-washing. Germs travel. They will most likely travel from things we touch. Handles, door knobs, skin to skin, and so on. Make sure you wash your hands regularly and please avoid anti-biotic soaps.. triclosan is no good

8. Exercise. Well you definitely don't feel like moving your body when you're feeling under the weather, but believe it or not, it is one of the best things you can do. A recent study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported that in a study of 1,000 people over a 3-month period, the more the participants exercised, the less they reported getting sick. Those who exercised five days a week for 20 minutes or more experienced about 40% fewer days of illness compared with those putting in less than one day a week of activity. Exercise amps up blood flow, which increases the circulation of immune cells, allowing them to attack the viruses and bacteria that cause the common cold and other illnesses.

How do you combat the cold and flu season naturally?


Why I'm Ok with B.O.

Seriously, I could really care less if I emit a "little" b.o. here and there. I know I am clean. I bathe daily. (I know your eyes are like silver dollars at the moment and I'm totally fine with it.) Through research and reading, I have come to realize that deodorant is more harmful than good... in my opinion.

Awhile back I did a post on the skin... our skin is the barrier that can either trap or absorb what it comes in contact with. For instance, if it is something that is spread onto the skin and is made up of a laundry list of chemicals, it will definitely be absorbed. In respect to the use of deodorant, breast cancer is high on the list of concerns, not only because of the underarm's close proximity to breast tissue but because several common ingredients in deodorants are estrogenic compounds.

Deodorant contains several ingredients, four of which are dangerous chemicals that are absorbed through the skin. They are: aluminium, parabens, propylene glycol and triclosan.

First, the aluminum in deodorant is designed to plug pores and stop the skin from emitting sweat. Sweating is an important function in the body for maintaining proper body temperature and to eliminate toxins. So by using deodorant you are stopping something that nature intended. More importantly, a
luminum is a metal that mimics estrogen and can promote the growth of cancerous and non-cancerous cells. One of estrogen's roles in the body is to promote the growth of breast tissue, so an excess might lead to cancerous overgrowth.

Another chemical found in deodorant are parabens. Parabens are artificial preservatives found in over 13,000 personal care products. Again we have another hormone disruptor being introduced to the skin around the armpit, and then being absorbed into the body... very close to the breast. Studies prove that evidence of parabens are present in breast tissue and tumors.

Next harmful chemical in deodorant is proplyene glycol, this is an agent that prevents things from drying out. Ironically, proplyene glycol is a chemical currently found in antifreeze. It is a neurotoxin that is known to cause dermatitis, kidney and liver damage.

Lastly is triclosan, an antimicrobial agent used to kill bacteria on the skin and other surfaces. There are studies showing that triclosan disrupts thyroid and other hormonal functions in the body. You can read more about triclosan here.

To me, the dangers of deodorant definitely outweigh the benefits. Why mess with nature? We can't eliminate every toxin our body comes in contact with, but we can take baby steps in the choices we make when it comes to the products we put on our body.

So you may be asking, "what do I do about the smell... the sweat?". Luckily, all natural deodorants are becoming more mainstream and have improved their effectiveness over the years. They are using ingredients like baking soda, hops and essential oils. You may have to try different kinds until you find one that works for you. Make sure to look for "paraben-free" and "aluminum-free".

But to be honest with you, your diet plays a major role in your body's smells whether it be from your breath, bowels or underarms. Eating a clean diet... a diet with minimally processed and sugary foods, lots of fruits and vegetables and less animal products ... over time will actually eliminate some of those odors that we try to mask.


7 of the Best Brainy Breakfasts

Putting a healthy breakfast together can be a challenge for anyone. Even thinking of the two words: healthy + breakfast can really make anyone anxious. I know it is much easier to grab a box of cereal than pull out the skillet and recipe card. But in regards to our productivity and health, a wholesome breakfast is a must, especially for kids.

If you have kids, there are countless reasons to offer them the best wholesome breakfast every day. Ignoring breakfast could possibly lead to headache, irritability, less problem-solving skills, fatigue and decreased immunity. It is proven that a healthy breakfast gives the body a fresh supply of glucose which in turn, fuels the brain. "Without glucose," explains Terrill Bravender, professor of pediatrics at Duke University, "our brain simply doesn't operate as well." As parents we do our best to prepare them every way possible in life, why not for each day?

So I have put together what I believe to be the 7 best breakfast plans for kids or anyone. I have designed these meals around the following: high levels of protein, calcium and fiber, and low in fat and cholesterol. (Remember that farm fresh eggs are the best option because they contain 1/3 less cholesterol and 1/4 less saturated fat than those found on the grocer's shelf.)

1. Scrambled Egg Roll-Up... In skillet using coconut oil, saute' 1/2 cup of finely chopped onion. Just before it becomes translucent add about 1/2 cup (or more) of fresh spinach. Cook and stir until spinach is wilted and set aside in a bowl. Add more coconut oil to the skillet and scramble 3 eggs at medium-high temperature. When the eggs are starting to set up and not as runny, add the veggies and stir lightly until eggs are done and add salt/pepper to taste. Sprinkle top with 1/2 cup of swiss cheese and set aside until cheese is melted. Add to a whole wheat tortilla and roll up. For fun, you can cut them into slices like sushi and serve with salsa. (Gluten-free method is to use corn tortillas and make into tacos.) ** (Serves 2)

2. Protein-Packed Oatmeal Pancakes... Recipe: 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 2 eggs whites & 1 whole egg, a splash of vanilla (or almond extract is great too) and 1/2 packet of stevia powder (you can also add 1/2 tsp of cinnamon). Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Spray skillet with cooking spray and pour mixture to make silver dollar size pancakes; flip. Top with fresh berries, maple syrup or natural peanut butter. (Serves 1) **

3. Fruit & Berry Parfait... Take 1/2 cup of your favorite multigrain (high fiber) cereal (like this one), 1/2 cup vanilla flavored Greek yogurt (I like this kind for kids) and 1/2 cup of fresh berries. Layer a 1/4 cup of each ingredient then repeat. Drizzle with honey. (Serves 1)

4. BLT with Avocado Spread... Avocado spread: 1 very ripe avocado (dark avocados seem less bitter than the smooth green ones), 1 T. lime juice, 1 T. olive oil mayo and salt to taste. Stir until smooth. For the sandwich: 100% whole wheat bread; toasted. 2-3 slices of cooked turkey bacon, romaine lettuce or spinach, and tomato. Spread avocado spread on toasted bread then top with turkey bacon, greens, tomato and cover with another piece of toast. **

5. Fresh Broccoli Frittata... In a medium bowl, add 6 large eggs and 2 T water and whisk. In a medium skillet, add 1 T. coconut oil and saute' 3/4 cup of finely chopped red onion. Cook until it begins to soften. Add 2 cups of (1 inch pieces) cooked broccoli and cook for another 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour eggs evenly over all the veggies. Cover tightly, and cook 13 minutes or just until set. Remove from heat and top with 3/4 cup of low-fat cheddar cheese. Let stand 7-10 minutes to melt cheese and absorb flavors. (Serves 4) **

6. Oatmeal and Cinnamon Apples... Prepare old-fashioned rolled oats as directed on package. To make cinnamon apples: In a small saucepan, add 3 T. of turbinado sugar or honey, 1/4 cup of butter (I prefer to use coconut oil) and 1 t. vanilla extract. Cook over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved. In a separate bowl, add 1 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. nutmeg, and 1/4 t. salt and mix well. When the mixture is bubbly add 2 cups of thinly sliced Granny Smith apples; cook gently for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 minute. Divide oatmeal into bowls and spoon apple mixture over each serving. (Serves 4)

7. Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread and Chocolate Smoothie... You will find the zucchini bread recipe here... it is amazing! As for the chocolate smoothie, it goes like this... 1 very ripe (preferrably frozen) banana, 1 cup of almond milk, 1 heaping tablespoon of carob powder (less if using cocoa powder), 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract and stevia to taste (if your banana is not frozen, add a few ice cubes). Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. You and your kids will love this smoothie!

** Add a variety of fruit to each of these meals such as melon balls, fresh berries or kiwi.


Clean Freak No More... Part 2

You can read Part 1 here.

I believe we have been duped as a society when it comes to products that are being sold to us on the shelves of any store especially when it pertains to our health. We seem to believe every slogan, commercial or ad plastered in front of us. And if companies state that something is good for us and our families, they must be telling the truth... right?

What if I told you there is a toxic chemical that is probably in most of our homes... something we use on or in our bodies every day? It is a substance that can be found in deodorants, soaps, clothing, toothpastes and even on children's toys and yet is a known carcinogen and disruptor of our body's hormone system. In fact, Japan and Canada have banned it's use and Europe, Denmark, Finland and Germany's government warn that it is a dangerous irritant and toxic chemical. Feeling a little duped yet?

This chemical is called Triclosan. Invented in the 1960's for use only in surgical settings in hospitals. It is a chemical that kills germs and is labeled as an antimicrobial or pesticide.... PESTICIDE.

It is most popularly used in anti-bacterial hand soaps. (Yep, the fun, cute store in the mall that sells tons of anti-bacterial stuff comes to mind!) Triclosan is also found in Colgate Total toothpaste, Right Guard Sports deodorant and other products that claim it is "antibacterial". It is also used in fabrics, some toys and school supplies under the name Microban.

Along with the risk of antibacterial resistance, the other potential dangers of using Triclosan include the following taken from an article from the Care2 website,
The increased use of antibacterials in general has been linked to increased allergies in children. Further studies specific to triclosan have shown that it affects reproduction in lab animals, produces toxic chemicals such as dioxin and chloroform when it reacts with other chemicals like the chlorine in water, irritates skin in humans and might even cause cancer. New laboratory studies on rats and frogs show that triclosan can disrupt thyroid hormone, alter development and impair important functions at the cellular level. And a study by British researchers found that triclosan has estrogenic and androgenic hormone properties and exposure could potentially contribute to the development of breast cancer.
Interestingly, in 2005 the FDA voted 11 to 1 that products containing Triclosan were no more effective in killing germs than using regular soap and water. In my opinion, it just makes sense to use things that are closest to nature or natural without the use of chemicals. So the bottom line is choose hand and dish soaps and other products that are without Triclosan.

Being healthy means being vigilant to what we come in contact to whether it be our food, hygiene and cleaning products, clothing and toys. I know change is not always easy or fun, but baby steps are good and definitely make a difference.

Below is a list of products that contain Triclosan, all of which you should avoid:


* Dial® Liquid Soap
* Softsoap® Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap
* Tea Tree Therapy™ Liquid Soap
* Provon® Soap
* Clearasil® Daily Face Wash
* Dermatologica® Skin Purifying Wipes
* Clean & Clear Foaming Facial Cleanser
* DermaKleen™ Antibacterial Lotion Soap
* Naturade Aloe Vera 80® Antibacterial Soap
* CVS Antibacterial Soap
* pHisoderm Antibacterial Skin Cleanser

Dental Care:

* Colgate Total®; Breeze™ Triclosan Mouthwash
* Reach® Antibacterial Toothbrush
* Janina Diamond Whitening Toothpaste


* Supre® CafĂ© Bronzer™
* TotalSkinCare Makeup Kit
* Garden Botanika® Powder Foundation
* Mavala Lip Base
* Jason Natural Cosmetics
* Blemish Cover Stick
* Movate® Skin Litening Cream HQ
* Paul Mitchell Detangler Comb
* Revlon ColorStay LipSHINE Lipcolor Plus Gloss
* Dazzle


* Old Spice High Endurance Stick Deodorant
* Right Guard Sport Deodorant
* Queen Helene® Tea Trea Oil Deodorant and Aloe Deodorant
* Nature De France Le Stick Natural Stick Deodorant
* DeCleor Deodorant Stick
* Epoch® Deodorant with Citrisomes
* X Air Maximum Strength Deodorant

Other Personal Care Products:

* Gillette® Complete Skin Care MultiGel Aerosol Shave Gel
* Murad Acne Complex® Kit®
* Diabet-x™ Cream
* T.Taio™ sponges and wipes
* Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel

First Aid:

* SyDERMA® Skin Protectant plus First Aid Antiseptic
* Solarcaine®
* First Aid Medicated Spray; Nexcare™ First Aid
* Skin Crack Care
* First Aid/Burn Cream
* HealWell® Night Splint
* 11-1X1: Universal Cervical Collar with Microban


* Farberware® Microban Steakknife Set and Cutting Boards
* Franklin Machine Products FMP Ice Cream Scoop SZ 20 Microban
* Hobart Semi-Automatic Slicer
* Chix® Food Service Wipes with Microban
* Compact Web Foot® Wet Mop Heads

Computer Equipment:

* Fellowes Cordless Microban Keyboard and Microban Mouse Pad


* Merrell Shoes
* Sabatier Chef's Apron
* Dickies Socks
* Fruit of the Loom Socks
* Biofresh® Socks

Children's Toys:

* Playskool® :
o Stack 'n Scoop Whale
o Rockin' Radio
o Hourglass
o Sounds Around Driver
o Roll 'n' Rattle Ball
o Animal Sounds Phone
o Busy Beads Pal
o Pop 'n' Spin Top
o Lights 'n' Surprise Laptop

Source: BeyondPesticides.org


30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge

I have put this off long enough. I have watched my portions and still incorporated lots of fruits and veggies in my diet, but the white stuff has crept in...

white stuff: processed flours and sugary foods... cakes, pies, crackers, pasta.

So thus begins a 30-day Green Smoothie Detox.

So are YOU up for this challenge too? If you think you don't need to, then answer some of these questions.

1. Are you sluggish after waking up from at least 7-8 hours of sleep?
2. Do you have dark circles around your eyes?
3. Do you have blemishes on your face, neck, back or chest?
4. Do you have achy joints?
5. Are you constipated or having loose (ribbon-like), foul-smelling BM's?
6. Do you have dandruff or itchy scalp?
7. Do you suffer from mid-afternoon slump?

If you answer yes to two or more of these questions, I believe you need to join me on this challenge. It's easier when you are accountable to someone and know others are in on it with you!
If you're still hesitant in joining me, let me just give you some quick benefits of doing a 30-Day Green Smoothie Detox

1. You will regain energy in a few days.
2. You will feel rested when you wake up in the morning.
3. You will quickly lose those cravings for sweet, carby foods.
4. You will begin to see regular BM's that are soft and not as "foul smelling".
5. You will not be as moody. (Trust me on this one!)
6. Your nails and skin will be more radiant.
and more than likely you will lose some pounds and inches.

Who wouldn't want all that??

So here's whatya do!

You can use any combinations of fruits (berries, banana, pineapple, oranges, mangoes, kiwi), but the added greens should come from a vegetable... spinach, kale or romaine, preferably. (If you are new to green smoothies, you might want to start with baby spinach. It has a mild taste and then work your way up to kale). Here is a sample of what my green smoothies look like...

2 cups of green vegetable (usually kale or spinach)
1/2 very ripe banana
1 cup of frozen berries (or other frozen fruits of your choice)
1 cup of cucumber
1 whole kiwi
a spoonful of coconut oil
1 cup of water
6 ice cubes

Blend thoroughly for 2-3 minutes... drink immediately, but slowly over 15-20 minutes. (In other words, don't save it in the fridge for later. You want those active enzymes in your body and if you wait too long the enzymes begin to oxidize.)

So who's in? I need some buddies to encourage me! Leave a comment saying you're in :) Starting tomorrow... October 5 and ending on November 3rd ~ just in time to look great for the holidays.

30 days... you can do it!

Side Note... It is entirely up to you when you want to do your smoothie... breakfast, lunch, etc... it's up to you and your schedule. I will do mine in place of breakfast. In my opinion, breakfast is best. Also, I am avoiding "as much as" the white stuff as I can. I am the type of person that is all or nothing, but sometimes that can backfire on me. I end up getting too frustrated and give up. So I know there are birthday parties and Halloween coming up... so moderation is gonna be key! But the more you avoid the white stuff, the better your results are going to be.