Category: <span>Family Fitness/Health</span>

33″ tall and 25.2 pounds…both in the 25% so she is now porportional!

Dr. said with her numbers she should be 5’2″-5’4″ when she grows up.

Family Fitness/Health

I was talking with my sister and she mentioned how much she missed pizza. But guess what? There are still some healthier ways to eat them. Let me introduce you to Flatout Pizzas (you can also use tortillas or pitas). These are in my health/fitness program. When baked in the oven, they are like thin crust pizzas and make a perfect serving size. Cravings averted!

Family Fitness/Health Recipes/Cooking



This weeks meal plan includes some of the following:

  • BREAKFASTS: Green Apple Smoothie (NEW), Orange Smoothie, Mixed Berry Smoothie
  • MID-MORNING SNACK: Hard-boiled eggs
  • LUNCHES: Greek Salads, Garden Salads with leftover soups
  • SNACKS: Carrot sticks, fruit (mostly apples and cantaloupe), nuts, and wheat crackers with cheese
  • DINNERS: Okra Creole (still using up Okra) with field peas, Miso Soup, Green Beans and Tilapia with Dijon Dressing


Family Fitness/Health Recipes/Cooking

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I made two different soups this past week for the chilly, rainy days we’ve been having in the Carolinas. So far my breakfasts are still smoothies, but I may start making overnight oats again… need something warm in my belly!

This weeks meal plan includes some of the following:


Family Fitness/Health Recipes/Cooking

It’s Workout Wednesday, so who’s up for a challenge?

I have a few people who wanted a little motivation to get started, so let’s do an easy 7-day walking challenge. Walking is wonderful for your body and mind, and it is a low-impact activity to get you moving. Plus, you can get outside and enjoy the beginning of this beautiful fall weather.


Family Fitness/Health


So my mom was proud to tell me last night that she officially fits into a size 14 in pants! WHAT?! That’s incredible and I’m so proud of her! She really wants to start working at this for her health, but she wanted some help on how to prepare and plan healthy food. I choose to make Sunday my meal prep day so that I am ready for the whole week.


Here’s what my prepping looks like for the week:
Apples, cut up cantaloupe, mixed greens for salads (probably with the apples, pecans and Apple Cider Honey Vinegrette I made), hard-boiled eggs, 1 Vietnamese noodle bowl (that’s what the small head of lettuce and brown rice vermicelli are for, with cucumbers, carrots, green onions and dressing that I made), plain Greek yogurt and unsweetened coconut milk for smoothies with the peaches in the back, three large bowls of a creole-styled veg soup with okra, kale and pink-eye peas, and one dinner of sautéed Bok Choy and rice. I forgot to add my carrot sticks and Babybel Gouda cheese in there too. I’m short a few dinners, but they will depend on what I get from my CSA on Thursday. I have homemade pesto to use up so I will most likely include some whole wheat pasta with pesto and a side salad.

  1. Make a list for the grocery store of healthy meals you’d like to have (a list helps you stay on track).
  2. While in the store, stick to the outer perimeter of the store (veggie section, meats, dairy). Enter the center isles only for items like canned vegetable, rice or quinoa, whole wheat pasta, olive oil or baking items, paper goods, etc.
  3. Make sure you get items that are ready to go and make your life easier… I always get carrot sticks, salad greens or spinach, Babybel single-serve cheeses, 100-calorie nut packs (or package your own), and fruit that is easy to carry. They even make pre-made hard-boiled eggs if you don’t have time for that.
  4. Come home and make one big pot of soup or chili or something that will give you leftovers for a few days. Once it finished cooking, portion out your dinners into containers so they are ready to go later in the week (this would be my Creole soup in the pyrex bowls). This way you always have one item ready to go for dinner if you don’t have time to cook.
  5. Hard boil 1 dozen eggs (or more for a larger family). I eat 2 eggs every day since it is a good source of protein for me. These are great to have on hand for snacks since protein helps fill you up.
  6. Look at what fruit you need to prepare… for me, it was cutting my cantaloupe and portioning it into 1-cup servings. Some fruit you might wish to cut and freeze for morning smoothies.
  7. If you don’t buy pre-cut lettuces, you may want to prepare the lettuce in advance. You can portion it out and lay a paper towel on top to soak away moisture. Many salads can be made a week ahead as long as you don’t add wet items, like cut tomatoes or dressing. Keep those items separate.
  8. Make homemade salad dressings to use for the week. The store-bought ones are generally loaded with salt, sugar and chemicals and making your own is simple. I use a ratio of 1/4 vinegar (any kind) or citrus juice, 3/4 cup oil and then seasonings.

And remember:3ac40f176329545cc4d338919f82bb09

Family Fitness/Health


This weeks meal plan includes some of the following:


Family Fitness/Health Recipes/Cooking


I worked a lot at the orchard this past week, so many of my lunches were either in pizza or pretzel form. 🙁  Not the best choices but they are what’s there or what’s provided for us. We also get an apple-cider donut in the morning that is very hard to resist. These are not the best choices and I hope to do better in the future. But I still have lots of good healthy items in my list this week.

This weeks meal plan includes some of the following:

  • BREAKFASTS: Pumpkin Smoothies, Blueberry Smoothies, and Huevos Rancheros
  • MID-MORNING SNACK: Hard-boiled eggs or fruit (hooray apple season)
  • LUNCHES: Egg Spinach Salad with my non-bacon dressing
  • SNACKS: Carrot sticks, fruit, nuts
  • DINNERS: Ceviche, Green Bean Salad and Shrimp, Vitamix Tortilla Soup with black beans


Family Fitness/Health Recipes/Cooking


We all have our rough times, when we feel stuck, depressed or just discouraged. I am prone to this, particularly towards the end of winter, or when I have overextended myself socially. Sometimes, it’s a creative paralysis– I don’t feel like I can produce anything, and it’s frustrating. We all get in a funk sometimes. Here are some ways that I have learned to get out of a funk.

1. Check out your biological balance. Take an inventory:

Are you going to bed at a decent hour? How is your sleep?
Are you eating well and keeping your blood sugars stable?
Could you be Vitamin D deficient? If so, supplementing is cheap and easy.
Are you stressing your liver with too much alcohol and processed foods?
Are you dieting or not eating enough calories?
Our bodies work hard to keep a chemical equilibrium at all times– but sometimes we need to consciously work on helping with that process. A chemical imbalance can (and will) absolutely affect our moods. So good sleep, nutrition and self care are not a panacea– they are critical in helping us regain emotional balance.

If you are struggling with sleep, it’s really important to address it.  Be mindful of what works for you and which foods make you feel worse, then respect that knowledge by doing your best to nourish yourself well. Read The Nourished Metabolism by Elizabeth Walling and follow her simple recommendations to bring your body into balance.

2. Do time with the issues. As much as we would like to be able to simply transcend our worst mental and emotional struggles, we need to acknowledge them and take a look. Ignoring them is completely useless– our issues will continue to grow and upset us until they have our full attention. Acknowledging negative emotions is not the same as indulging them.

Our feelings are there to help us understand and explore the situation better. Don’t let them run you over; allow them to guide you. It is helpful to write them down. Start with a feeling: “I feel disappointed” and then go further– “I feel disappointed about….” Go deeper again. Whatever the feeling, it is completely worth the time and energy to spend a little longer defining it more specifically. Remember that specifics are more manageable than vague feelings. Do not be afraid to identify whatever it is that you are angry, sad, scared, or frustrated about. These feelings are valid and need to be acknowledged before they can then be released.

If you are struggling to identify your feelings, consider talking with a friend or a therapist to help bring some clarity to what you are experiencing.

3. Write about it. Journaling is not just for sentimental types! Writing down your thoughts can be extremely helpful in crystallizing your thoughts and feelings. One practice I especially recommend is writing “morning pages,” as described by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. The idea is that you write freehand first thing in the morning, filling three pages every day. It doesn’t matter at all what you write about– just put down whatever comes to your mind. This has an incredibly clarifying and freeing effect. At the beginning of the day, you get to notice and release all of the things that are clouding your mind as you begin. This process is very helpful for me whenever I feel stuck creatively or overwhelmed with my work or parenting, or any other kind of funk.

4. Create something. Using the artistic/ intuitive parts of your brain can help you bring understanding to the parts of your life that you cannot logically comprehend. Likewise, there are things that you cannot express through words– so use your creative side, engage your senses, or move your body through dance as a way of expressing yourself. This could also come in the form of learning a new skill– which helps get us out of our heads and more into our bodies.

5. Channel your energy in a positive way. When I am feeling upset about something, my house usually looks cleaner than usual. Anger really gets me cleaning, as does trying to problem-solve. If you are feeling stuck, consider your surroundings– are things piling up around you? What is your living space doing for your mood? Clearing out clutter and improving your environment can really help you shift your own energy, and focusing on a task like this can also give you space to think and work some things out.

I have a few resources to recommend for you, for when it’s time to do let go of some excess stuff. One is the ebook The Clutter Trap by Robin Konie– she has such a great approach to helping you minimize and streamline your life– this will also create a lot more mental space for you.

Another, stronger medicine is the 30-Day Guide to a Clean and Clutter-Free Home. This is more of a program, with lots of detailed instructions, charts, etc., for when you are really ready to make it happen and could use some extra support.

The other resource is for letting go of clothes you no longer wear. One thing that keeps me from clearing clothes out is the knowledge that these garments are worth something, and it makes it hard for me to just get rid of them! I recently tried a service called ThredUp– sent them my well-made clothes for free, and they bought them from me! They have a nice online shop where you can also buy second hand clothes– the prices and quality are great, so you should check it out!  I should also mention that they accept kids clothes, too. It’s so easy to use, and I love that there are services like this that will hopefully help lessen the demand for excessive, cheap clothing production!

6. Get Bodywork.
Have you ever heard the saying, “We carry our issues in our tissues?” It’s true. I am a bodyworker myself, and it’s amazing how our emotions and life experiences find their way into our muscles and other tissues, and stay there, producing pain, limitation and even disease. Getting massage or energy work, or acupuncture from a talented practitioner can be extremely helpful as you navigate life changes and difficult situations. Releasing tensions in your body helps in also letting go of tensions and anxieties in your mind. I have witnessed powerful personal transformations as a result of effective bodywork treatments.  If you can’t find or afford a good massage therapist, then exchange back rubs with your partner– human touch is very therapeutic.

A hot bath with epsom salts is also a powerful way to relieve muscle tension and stress. This is my easiest self care go-to when I am feeling overwhelmed.

Meditation is an excellent mind-body exercise to help you release stress and restore internal balance. Here’s a my simple meditation technique for beginners.

7. Give in to it, for a time. Make an appointment with yourself to be in your funk, and to explore those feelings. In the past, making a mixed tape (or CD) of songs that I felt embodied my emotional state, helped me. I listened to that music, and felt those feelings until they eased. This is the opposite of the advice most of us get– “If you’re feeling sad, put on some peppy music! Dance it out!” Although that can work sometimes, but I feel this approach is more of a band-aid than a healing process.

My go-to is often to clear my schedule, ask for the space I need from my family, buy myself some flowers, and take a hot bath. There may be weeping, there may be a sad movie (or an episode of this poignant show), there may be some chocolate cake involved. Whatever feels right to you for nurturing yourself and allowing yourself to be where you’re at is what you need.

8. Give to others. Kindness can heal, and gratitude does, also. When you begin to feel sorry for yourself, make a point of doing something kind for someone else. Or reaching out and thanking someone for the joy or nourishment they have brought into your life. This will take your mind off of your own issues and open the world up to you just a bit. And guess what? Kindness and good deeds are proven mood-lifters! Even making a donation to a charity helps.

Expressing gratitude can actually rewire your brain for happiness. So it’s is totally worth making a point of doing it daily.

9. Go outside and move your body. Taking a walk in nature is helpful in many ways. Invite a friend to walk with you if you want, and then you get three-for-one therapy: community, exercise, and talk therapy. I like to walk alone and think– it can be very clarifying. For me, there is no bad mood that can’t be dispelled by a walk in nature. Sometimes when I get there I am very skeptical about whether or not it will work, because I’m feeling so bad. But it always does, every time!

Exercising increases the oxygen available to your brain, and helps you to solve problems. So when you feel stuck or overwhelmed, take some time to see something beautiful, breathe deeply and move your body outside.

10. Play! Playing or having fun may feel like the last thing you want to do. But it can be so helpful. Laughter is an incredible stress reliever, and going out and doing something frivolous or silly helps put life back into perspective. This is also a great way to bring your family into your life when you have been brooding. Watch funny movies, look for good stand-up comics, play silly games with your kids. Do cartwheels if you know how– being upside down once in a while is good for you, too! Whatever it is that makes you smile, laugh, or forget about all the things that are on your mind– do more of that, and make it a priority.

Family Fitness/Health


Family Fitness/Health


I’m a little late posting this one since I was on vacation, but here it is for anyone who wants it.


This weeks meal plan includes some of the following:

  • BREAKFASTS: Peach-Strawberry Smoothies, Blueberry Smoothies, and plain Greek yogurt with honey, blueberries and homemade granola
  • MID-MORNING SNACK: Hard-boiled eggs or a half of a whole-wheat bagel with cream cheese
  • LUNCHES: Simple Garden Salad, Peach Spinach Salads, leftovers
  • SNACKS: Carrot sticks, hard-boiled eggs or fruit
  • DINNERS: Ratatouille and Quinoa, Summer Squash Risotto



Family Fitness/Health


Family Fitness/Health


New move…


Keep your chest up.
Shift your weight through your midfoot and heel.
Lunge as low as your flexibility allows.
Let your knees travel forward past your toes.

Family Fitness/Health Nevit Dilmen

What is spirituality?

Spirituality is the way you find meaning, hope, comfort and inner peace in your life. Many people find spirituality through religion. Some find it through music, art or a connection with nature. Others find it in their values and principles.
How is spirituality related to health?
No one really knows for sure how spirituality is related to health. However, it seems the body, mind and spirit are connected. The health of any one of these elements seems to affect the health of the others.

Some research shows that things such as positive beliefs, comfort and strength gained from religion, meditation and prayer can contribute to healing and a sense of well being. Improving your spiritual health may not cure an illness, but it may help you feel better, prevent some health problems and help you cope with illness, stress or death.

How can I improve my spiritual health?
If you want to improve your spiritual health, you may want to try the following ideas. However, remember that everyone is different, so what works for others may not work for you. Do what is comfortable for you.
Identify the things in your life that give you a sense of inner peace, comfort, strength, love and connection.
Set aside time every day to do the things that help you spiritually. These may include doing community service or volunteer work, praying, meditating, singing devotional songs, reading inspirational books, taking nature walks, having quiet time for thinking, doing yoga, playing a sport or attending religious services.

Family Fitness/Health


Stress is an everyday part of life that is unavoidable in my opinion. However, it’s the way people deal with stress that can make or break individuals or families. There are so many things we can do naturally to decrease our stress levels and help lift our moods! We’ve listed some of our favorite ways to do that below! Comment and let us know your favorite ways to reduce stress in your own life! I also firmly believe this is why I have not had to take medications for stress/anxiety. Practicing these stress relieving tips have given a calming effect to my life I wouldn’t have had otherwise! Read how my anxiety, depression, and panic attacks were healed naturally!

1. Exercise. Need we say more? Get moving in any way possible. My dad lost his leg several years ago, and I remember feeling so much grief and loss for him because I knew he couldn’t get up and moving the way he did before. When I started getting VERY pregnant, I started to get those same suffocating feelings because I was so swollen I couldn’t walk very far, especially at 37 years old! So, I had my mom take me to the pool we are allowed to use where she works. This was such a mood lifter for me, and while it wasn’t serious cardiovascular exercise, I was at least able to move, which made me feel so much better!

2. Drink enough water. This has always been a statement of the obvious to me. Our bodies are over 75% water, so it’s very important to make sure you are drinking enough water to keep your body functioning properly. EVERY resource I could find during pregnancy and beyond said 64oz. of fluids is necessary to maintain healthy metabolic functions in the body. However, sodas, juices, and other sugary or any other unhealthy drink should not be more than 1-2 glasses per day. Otherwise, you’re actually negating the benefits of drinking fluids!

3. Get enough sleep. As a pregnant lady, I can only begin to emphasize the truth of this statement. I can’t believe how different I feel when I get enough sleep. Even on nights where I stay up past my normal sleep time, I can feel cruddy the next day. Get me down to less than 7 hours, and I start having heart palpitations! So, sleep is extremely important to me, and I’ve read everything I can get my hands on about how to get better sleep!

4. Pray. This should be my number one line of defense, but sometimes I find that I forget to pray or just don’t make time to do it. When I pray I love to do it somewhere calm and quiet, like outside in the sun on my deck, or in my bed with soft lighting, or in my recliner. This is so relaxing, and I talk to God just like I’m talking to my husband or mom… telling Him all my concerns, and asking Him to help me through each day. I also pray for protection for my family, and ask for help in overcoming daily obstacles. People of other faiths may refer to this as meditate as well.

5. Eat healthy. While I don’t have enough room in this post to include all the things that go in to eating healthy, I will say this…. do what you know is best for your body. I have IBS and several other gastrointestinal conditions which make it very difficult for me to eat fresh vegetables and fruit. Because of this condition, it has really hindered how “clean” I can go with my eating. So, talk to your doctor, and find out the best healthy eating plan for YOU!

6. Use essential oils. I LOVE Young Living Oils and have used them for many years. I use peppermint, lavender, and more for stress relief! Read all of our Essential Oil posts HERE!

7. Massage. While we’re not professional massage therapists, giving each other massages has eliminated hours upon hours of stress and saved us more money on spas than you can ever imagine! If you have the funds, maybe it’s time to go get a massage at a local spa!

8. Spend time with loved ones that are encouraging. This has always been a mood changer for me, but only if the people are encouraging. You know the friend I’m talking about…she’s a giver, not a taker. She (or he) is a good listener and doesn’t judge. I have about 3-4 of these friends, and they know they are cherished. They are the people I go to when I’m dealing with a really stressful situation.

9. Go outside. Remember your mother telling you this all the time as a kid? I think that mother’s intuitively know that we need sunlight, vitamin D, and exercise to feel better! Getting outdoors in the sunlight helps with Vitamin D, and also allows you to breathe fresh air and get a change of scenery! Whether it’s sitting on your back deck or taking a hike in the mountains, these activities always make me feel better!

10. Clean and/or organize. Cleaning and organizing can actually help people feel more in control, and also create a peaceful environment. It’s much easier to relax when you’re looking at clean, organized surroundings than when you’re staring at clutter and dirt. Take the time to take care of your surroundings, and you should feel your stress levels go down fairly quickly. Have you read our 35 Day Series on 30 Minutes to an Organized Home?

11. Start a new hobby. Hobbies can be very calming, and they don’t have to be expensive. My hubby started solving cryptograms as a way to reduce stress, and that is sort of his “escape” when he’s stressed out. This doesn’t bother me one bit, and I’m glad that he has something to do when he’s feeling stressed out. While this isn’t a mindless activity, it helps calm him and he feels like he can regain focus after solving several puzzles. This is his version of my Candy Crush! Reading, helping others, volunteering, and artistic hobbies are all ways of doing something fun that reduces stress!

12. Change Your Lighting. If you aren’t old enough yet to have floaters, consider yourself blessed. About a year ago I had a sudden burst of floaters in my left eye, so I paid a visit to a local ophthalmologist. I found out I had floaters, which haven’t gone away in over a year, but can be very stressful for me, because they are constantly in my field of vision. I find that fluorescent or bright lights make them much worse. I also think softer lighting has a calming affect on our emotions as well.

13. Try yoga. While I’m not an avid yoga enthusiast, I do feel that stretching is extremely good for the body, so it seems like common sense that Yoga would be very good for stretching muscles and having a calming affect on the body. I don’t know about the different yogas like the yoga where they crank up the temperatures (that would cause me more stress), however, even just sitting on the ground and stretching should help alleviate stress in your life!

14. Get a checkup. Could it be that your stress is rooted in a medical problem? Maybe its time to visit your family physician and have a physical. If you’re out of shape or overweight, this could be causing you more stress as well. Just from gaining fluid in my pregnancy, I was so irritable and stressed out that I couldn’t bend over and do the things that I needed to do eve This can be extremely stress inducing, and I even had my mom take me to Target in my grandmother’s wheelchair at one point when I couldn’t walk on my swollen legs. Needless to say, she accidentaly dumped me out of the wheelchair onto my knees! Thank heavens we were in the back of the store and no one saw or I would have been mortified! It gave me a new respect for people with disabilities and obesity!

15. Chiropractic care. While I’m not a physician, and can’t give medical advice, I do see a chiropractor on a regular basis. I find that this reduces my stress and also helps me to feel better physically. Hubby and I were in a head-on collision many years ago and have many lasting effects from it, so seeing the chiropractor helps keep those aches and pains away!

16. Prioritize. We often experience stress because our priorities are out of whack. If this is the case for you, it may benefit you to make a list of what you’re giving the most time or attention in your life. Are these the things that you will cherish at the end of your life? If not, it may be time for them to go, and this may mean saying no to others, even if they feel you are letting them down. It’s time to make yourself a priority as well, and that is a definite stress buster!

17. Hug someone. The research on how hugging affects stress levels is truly amazing. We really need to hug more, and good physical touch provides a release of endorphins and truly helps us get into a good mood! If you need someone to hug, visit a local retirement home, and create a new relationship with someone else that needs a hug!

18. Be a friend. Nothing feels better than helping someone else. One time my BFF tore several ligaments in her knee and had to be in a hospital bed for weeks. They had to set up a makeshift shower for her outside, because she lived in a split level home and couldn’t make it up the steps! Luckily it was summer and she came from an avid camping family! So, I went over a few times and helped with things around the house, and I helped her get a shower. I can’t tell you how good it made me feel, and she may not even remember that I was there during that time, but I remember! 🙂

19. Have sex. Need I say more?  It brings relationships closer together and helps couples feel more connected. The endorphins that are released are similar to the ones when someone takes drugs, so you can see why it is a “high.”

20. Turn on your favorite music and sing. Sing loud, by the way! (Ok, if you live in apartment building, you might need to be careful on this one, but you get the idea!). Music is a huge mood lifter for me, especially when I pick good music. I love the song Happy by Pharrel Williams). I can’t help but smile when that song comes on the radio!

Family Fitness/Health