Getting your kids involved with your Whole30

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Welcome to the Thunderdome. You’ve done it. You want to get your kids involved with your Whole30 because seriously who wants to cook all day long? Also – I’m pretty sure you’d love to get your kids to eat more protein and vegetables. Before you anticipate the moans and groans coming from the kids, I’m here to help you get on the offensive and you won’t have to hear the tantrums.

  1. Let’s start at the basics – have them help you plan.

Keep a stack of Whole30 cookbooks (we love Fast & Easy & Slow Cooker), your smart device at the ready, and really any cookbook that you know will have easily modified recipes. You will also want to keep a stack of sticky notes or flags at the ready. We like to keep yellow ones for Meal 1 (aka breakfast), blue for Meals 2 & 3 (aka lunch & dinner), and pink ones for their snacks or my pre- / post- workout meals. You can also very easily just make it simple – batch meal prep 3 – 4 types of proteins, roast 3 kinds of vegetables, and have some at the ready for fresh bowls.

Now, this may be difficult because you’ll likely want to take charge of the menu planning but let them have at it. If a recipe doesn’t have a photo, explain what it is to your kids. Your children will want to be part of the decision making process. We typically make Thursday nights our “Menu Planning” night. Each kid gets their set of sticky notes to prevent that infighting that can (does) happen. We also like to flip through recipes online (hey there # on instagram). If we find one there, I make a note on a sticky note where we found it and place it to the side.We typically eat leftovers for meal 2 in our house and the kids love taking their lunch boxes to school and showing their friends what they are eating.

2. Make the grocery list a game for them.

Go down the list of ingredients with your kids. If they’re learning how to read, perfect they can sound out what the ingredients are and practice their literacy skills. If they’re ready for a challenge, have them tell you what kind of item that is. We typically separate ours in vegetables, fruits, then proteins, fats, and canned items. 

3. Let’s go shopping (or not)

We no longer do this… thank you grocery delivery! However, when we were doing this, or if my kids really want to go I highly encourage this because it really helps them appreciate the food and be part of the process. Show them exactly how to find the ripe items. Show them why you prefer to purchase organic and lean cuts of meat.

4. Prep & cook

I recommend you don’t meal prep on the days you go grocery shopping but sometimes you just do what you have to do. No matter the age (unless they’re strapped to you in a carrier), the kids can still very much be part of the process. Have them wash the vegetables you’re about to prep up. For us carrots, celery, cucumbers, sweet peppers are all part of the fun and games. They can easily help you wash them off, once you’ve cut the produce get them into containers to pop in the fridge. We really enjoy batch meal prep and making a buffet for the week. If we know that we’re going to have ground beef a few times in the week – we just brown it up and have it ready for the meals. Hard boiled eggs take no more than 10 minutes to cook. All the while you could have a sheet pan of compliant sausage, red peppers, onions, mushrooms in the oven because you worked up an appetite meal prepping.

5. Let good enough be good enough

Some weeks you may just be like, “Nope – we’re going to Zoe’s (if you’re lucky to have one in your town),” and that’s ok. Some nights you may be coming home from your 4th baseball practice of the week and you forgot to get things in the slow cooker – but it’s ok because you batch prepped some hard boiled eggs, you have some compliant Caesar dressing (thanks Primal Kitchen), and some vegetables (don’t even stress yourself if you don’t have romaine).

Being a mom is hard, but I’ve honestly been able to find that “balance” with our family nutrition when it comes to integrating Whole30 with our lifestyle. You got this mama!

 

 

Guess Who’s Back… Back Again…

Whole30. And myself. Hey there friends. It’s been a wild 7-8 months. I really cannot remember the last time I updated this beautiful blog but mothers man, mothers we deal with it ALL.

Long story short – I’m no longer a vegan. I had been dealing with some really gnarly gut issues and that insane amount of gluten that was hitting my gut even though I was trying to get away from the mass amounts of gluten (via pasta, bread, etc.), I inadvertently became a carb-oholic. I just couldn’t break free from the hold and I was firm in my belief that I needed these things in my life because I was not eating anything but vegetables, fruits, and legumes. In essence, the things I was told were healthy. This post is by no means a diss on the vegan lifestyle. If you’re here thinking that I’m the anti-vegite, you’re mistaken. You have to find out what works for you. I’m a scientist by trade (definitely not profession) and wanted to work on the best experiment, myself. 

Here’s I guess how it all started. Summer 2017 I was fed up with being diagnosed with my 7th sinus infection in 6 months. I suffered through three half marathons with them and I knew enough was enough. Around this time I was also told that I had low thyroid and vitamin D by my OB/GYN during my annual. Rather than be put on thyroid medication I opted for a second opinion – where I was roped in to take a food sensitivity test (rather than the elimination diet that was also offered).

The Day The Results Came In

With bright red under severe sensitivities (4+ on a scale of 1-4) – gluten, yeast. Is this for real? I thought gluten sensitivities were made up in the world of CrossFit and a giant marketing game from the Beef industry. But there, in red and white, was proof. Could this have been my smoking gun in my gut why I was sick for nearly a year? I was explained that my thyroid was functioning normally but my adrenals were shot. I was training for my first marathon which would have been ample reason why I was so drained. 

I left the office with the paperwork and the orders to stop consuming gluten. Yeah right. I want another opinion. What would a naturopath (and O.D.) know? Off I went to my allergist who again confirmed my tests only with a bit more severity and that I should really consult a gastroenterologist to get me a better diagnosis if I had celiac. Those tests came back inconclusive. It may be too early to diagnose celiac but if I do notice that it is giving me problems, I should probably stay away from it. I had my ticket to eat cornbread! Except it completely backfired and I ended up incredibly sick during Thanksgiving.

Okay, I’ll give you up

I knew it was time. I knew it was time to say goodbye and I had completed a few rounds of Whole30 before. I knew what I was getting myself into. I’d like to say I went slow and steady when I incorporated animal protein but I didn’t I went head on. I found the hardest thing for me to let go of was the sugar dragon. Yes, the stevia. 

Well, that was back in May 2018 and we are now here in August 2018 and I’m on my 5th Whole30 Round right now – about 16 days in. I am on my way to Food Freedom and I’d love to say this is my final Round but I don’t believe it is. I’ll probably do a post on the lingo soon but for now, I’ll enjoy my chamomile tea as it’s almost 10:30 pm and I have an early morning.

The Final Count Down… (guitar solo)

In two weeks, all the work will be done, the four months of training will be over, and I will (hopefully) have a few new pieces of hardware to add to my hook of races I’ve completed. I get told a lot, “I don’t know how you run,” “You’re crazy to be training for a marathon,” and other pleasantries. The thing is, it hasn’t been so easy. These last few weeks have been the most trying professionally, personally, and mentally.

I sat on my Facebook page looking at photos of me thanks to the “On This Day” feature and I have to do a double take. The girl staring back at me is emotionally completely different and, yes, physically I have morphed. This has never been about weight loss though. In fact, I’ve gained a few pounds since the journey began but that’s a complete different thing. It’s always been about completing something that I set out to do.

A year ago, I jokingly sent a text to my husband’s best friend Justin saying, “Hey look! Marathon sign up!” He was quick to respond back with a screen shot of a receipt that he in fact signed up. We are both those people who don’t need a lot of convincing to agree to an event. We also are the last people you would have expected to be runners. In December 2016, I walked in to the San Antonio Rock ‘n Roll Expo and felt the tinge of nerves around the registration for 2017 kiosk. My future was set. December 3, 2017 I had a playdate set with Justin and we were going to do this.

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We’ve had little milestones along the way, we ran Dallas Rock ‘n Roll together. We have become plant based together, saying Justin is a vegan is definitely something his wife and I never believed would happen (he used to joke that he never ate anything green). We bought Garmins simultaneously. We have exchanged race times and have been hyper competitive in long runs (dude is at 10 minute miles while I’m trucking along at 13).

December 3rd, we will run/walk/crawl across a finish line both of us have worked so hard for and are so thankful for the friends who have cheered us on this last year. I am full of gratitude to have Justin and his amazing wife be part of this journey.

This is all to say, don’t ever doubt yourself. Embrace the failures, there are always failures. Celebrate them. Winning all the time would get boring and failure is where growth happens. Failure is where you learn the true test of self. Failure is where the heart is. I’ll get a bit Jesusy on you – He knows we fail every day. He loves us more and more. This is why The Beatitudes embrace those who struggle – there’s room for growth. And to quote Missy Elliot, “Just make sure you’re ahead of the game.”

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For now, I have a 15 mile race tomorrow! Last long run before the Marathon.

Who do you show up for?

The most humbling experience, until the next one happens. This is how I’ve approached the marathon training and pretty much life. Ready for the cliché moments? Training for a marathon has helped me more than the physical aspects; I’ve seen the growth more in my professional and personal lives than anywhere else.

You see, when you are out for a long run at 12-20 miles and you know that you need to get it done, no matter how fast or slow (speed is relative), you need to get the mileage down because that’s what will help you prepare for the race that you have coming up. You have to get everything ready and guess what? Caca happens, straight up s*h*i*t just like l-i-f-e. It just does. Just like when your five year old doesn’t want to put shoes on for the 3rd time you’ve begged yelled, you’re going to find that frustration in your runs. It’s inevitable. Sorry, sunshine.

This all came about because I had a crappy half marathon on Saturday. I was warned how difficult it was, I knew that it was going to hurt. I knew that I could do it. I set a goal of 2:30, which was going to be a great time for me. And then the race started and the first hill came and I thought, “Well… NOPE.” When I came up to 2:30 and I saw that I still had two more miles to grind through. So I finished it, at 2:56 I completed by 10th half marathon. And guess what, I did this for me. That’s who I’m ultimately running for in this journey. I’m running for all of the doubts. I’m running for all of the times I fought running. I’m running for all of the times that I loved this sport. And that’s how I want to wake up every morning. I am doing this for me.

When you show up for yourself, you are giving the world such a wonderful gift of uniquely you. That’s why it doesn’t matter what the next person is doing, you run your race of life, get those blinders on, and show up for yourself. When I run/walk/crawl across the finish line on December 3rd, I’m not going to end up with a contract with a professional organization. I’m not going to have sponsors from athletic wear (although I’m here to be your muse/model at 5’1” and 154 lbs.!). I will finish it dammit, I will finish it for all of the times I said I couldn’t do something.

– Melanie (and I didn’t get any tacos after the half, I had to rush to my daughter’s soccer game)

Training for the next week:

16 miles today

Friday – Joyride  – come ride with me some time.

Saturday – 4 miles

Sunday – 7 miles

Tuesday – 5 miles

Thursday – 5 miles

Saturday… 120 min warm up  – 3 x 5 min at 11:09 pace with 5 min recovery between, 30 min cool down

The Best Run is a Taco Run

 

So I’ve been quiet but today is National Taco Day so here I am! Training has been, well…not done outside because I’m a bit terrified. My runs have been sequestered to a *gasp* treadmill.

(I took out a segment on some health issues and will update y’all on Friday with some results)

A few weeks ago I hit a roadblock about 1/3 of the way into a 10 mile race. I overheated, I wanted to tap out. I was done, more than done. It wasn’t the prettiest ten miles and I truly hope that I don’t have another race like that again. I had thoughts of giving up go through my head. I just didn’t think I could go a step further when I felt something come inside of me around mile 8, I. just kept at it. I cried, physical tears coming out of my body as I pushed through. It was a slow 10 miles but I finished. After I saw my family at the finish line, hugged it out with them and continued on to my car and we celebrated with pizza, I texted my coach and friends of my running community along the way. There were words of doubt, words of despair against myself but through it I had friends tell me that I will do this thing that I put my mind towards.

Five years ago, you would never have caught me running a marathon, maybe a 5K but not a marathon. I’ve had a couple of health issues come up recently that I will update you all on in a few days and being a badass in the tech world along with launching a new company is taking its obvious toll on my schedule but I’m here, posting the miles/time. Yoga is now becoming a fixture in my life and I miss the heck out of weight lifting but December 3rd will be here faster than we know.

 

Up for the rest of the week:

Thursday – 45 minute run & yoga at night

Friday – yoga

Saturday – 30 min warm up (13 min/mi); 2 x 30 min at 11:56 pace with 5:00 min recovery between followed by 45 min cool down; yoga at night

Sunday – easy 4 mi; yoga

 

Enjoy your National Taco Day because I know I am!IMG_0581

Hurricane Harvey Update and How You Can Help

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We’re here in the throws of a hurricane and we’ve been very fortunate in NW San Antonio to not see much of Mother Nature. We sit here peeled to various screens where we can’t take our eyes away from devastation occurring to our neighbors to the south and east of us – places many of us go to for vacation throughout the year and make memories with our loved ones. This morning I was in constant contact with my family and friends in Houston, I just couldn’t believe the scenes flashing by the screen.

 

Going to Mass today reminded me of one thing – no matter what small moves we make, we can move mountains and make waves together (no pun intended). When Jesus gave Saint Peter (Simon at the time of anointment) the keys to His Church and said on this rock he will build his church, he meant it and what a church St. Peter built. No matter if you are a believer, you are still a human and a brother & sister to me. There is no ID check in safety, we are just met with love and at the end of everything we will only have love to survive on.

Riding Out The Storm

Literally while I was writing this post

We, as humans, are now given an opportunity – do we continue to watch reruns of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or do we roll up our sleeves with the keys He has given each of us and help our fellow neighbors. I choose the sleeves. I choose showing my children, the next generation of humans/Catholics/Texans that this is what we do – we help. We build a kingdom together.

 

These are a few of the organizations organizing donations for relief services:

 

Junior League of San Antonio

San Antonio Food Bank

American Red Cross serving Greater San Antonio

“Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Then he strictly ordered his disciples
to tell no one that he was the Christ.”

Baby baby baby, ohhhh (Baby Registry Loves)

This is for the mamas (and the papas… and anyone raising little humans). I am oddly around newborns or friends that are preparing for baby showers as they see their bodies growing. Before you start with that fun barcode scanning gun and having a field day with your registry at a fine retailer – hold on! There are things that you just will not need (I see you wipe warmer) and some that you may cringe at but trust me, you will be so grateful for. After having two kids, I’m obviously an expert, right? Yes. Because I had a lot of c-r-a-p and I truly could not get rid of some stuff because it was given by family members or I thought I needed it and registered for it. I’m an “expert” because I’ve gone through two newborns within 24-months of one another and things that I could reuse and save you headaches.

Top 5 Baby Things That I Loved

  1. Just a Fitted Sheet – Seriously, simple fitted cotton sheet. Do not, I repeat, do not drive yourself crazy with sheets and bedding. You will have other things to deal with. Remember, bumpers are not ok (SIDS is a real f’in thing). You will be changing sheets out often, kids spit up, leak out of their diapers, bodily functions you never thought possible out of your precious cherub. We liked this one from Burt’s Bees (the lipchap people).
  2. A simple backpack aka your lifesaver aka your new purse/diaper bag. I’m not going to put a link here because you know what a backpack is. I will post which one I used because of the compartments. But I can recall receiving a beautiful diaper bag from a wonderful family member. It was great, designer brand, pockets (moms love pockets) but it was heavy. My shoulder was already dying from holding a child but the diaper bag was insane. A simple JanSport will do and it’s so simple to just throw everything you need in one bag.
  3. Baby Kangaroo Maker – This is the only expensive item that I will post. Find a good baby carrier you LOVE. We had the stroller but after baby #2 came along and my daughter was 2, she was occupying said stroller. We loved loved loved our Ergobaby. Living in Texas, the Moby just wouldn’t work where it’s like a sauna every step you make. If you’re a nursing mom, you will love your baby carrier because your babes is literally at your chest and has no where else to go to eat, fast food.
  4. Bottles – Surprise… we didn’t nurse. Maybe for a week we did but neither kid wanted anything to do with my boobs. Sad, yes. Guilt trip, some. But guess what? This is real life and your kid needs to eat. So if you choose not to nurse or if it doesn’t work for you, that’s where the beauty of technology and science come in with bottles. Invest in some good ones. You may hear a lot about glass bottles for babies, do what you want. We loved Tommee Tippee Get a few sized nipples, maybe just 3 each but be prepared for the hand washing.
  5. Snot Sucker (featured image) – My favorite one to talk about and why I left it last. The NoseFriday from Fridababy. Straight up the grossest thing (opinion) but it is beyond the best thing on the market and you cannot live life without the NoseFrida. Yes, there are the aspirators with the bulb, but I’m that mom who enjoys seeing just how much comes out of my prodigies. I enjoy being able to suck out giant globs of things and get a sense of satisfaction when my kids can breathe again. You will too, because a breathing baby is a happy baby – a happy baby is a relieved mommy.

So, there you have it. My Top 5, take it for what it’s worth. If you are that mom that wants to coordinate your daily outfits with your child, you may think I’m crazy. But when you’re on 2 hours of sleep and need to take kid to mommy and me, last thing you’ll want to do is lug a baby diaper around with your coordinating look.