Small Progress That Makes My Momma Heart So Happy


I may have mentioned once or twice that I have the World’s Pickiest Eater.  The WORLD’S.

We have always struggled with getting her to eat veggies, and almost as often struggled to get her to eat fruits.

Since starting her on a daily whole food supplement in the form of gummies, she has started to slowly, slowly branch out and eat fruits and veggies.

So when this girl asked to eat an apple the other day, my heart just about wanted to burst.

{in the spirit of full disclosure, the rest of it went to the dog shortly after this photo was taken}

But hey, it’s a start.  And while we’re taking teeny tiny baby steps toward eating healthier foods, at least I know that she’s getting 30 different fruits, veggies, berries and grains into her body on a daily basis.

And that brings peace of mind to this momma heart, because I feel like I’m finally doing something right with her diet!

Do you have picky eaters?  What are some ways that you get them to eat different foods?  {and is it a texture thing for them?}

How #OneSimpleChange Can Have a Huge Impact On Your Health

Natural eating

Do you feel sluggish?  Fatigued?  Headache-y? Do you or a family member seem to get sick all of the time?


One thing that has been valuable to us is the realization that you don’t necessarily need to try to change everything about your diet or your lifestyle all at once.

We’ve been on our health journey for close to two years now,  and our impetus for change was our kids.  We were having major behavioral issues, and my son constantly was sick with what we thought were seasonal allergies.

Our “one simple change” was to start reading food labels and cut out anything that had food dyes,  monosodium glutamate (MSG) and high fructose corn syrup.  I also made sure to choose foods that had less tha  7 grams per serving of sugar (look at the back of a yogurt container or a box if granola bars!!).

This didn’t feel like a huge change for us, and aside from it taking us longer at the grocery store, it wasn’t a huge inconvenience,  either.

I think the two main ingredients for your One Simple Change is:

  1. It needs to be important to you.
  2. It needs to be sustainable.

Can some people do a complete lifestyle overhaul and sustain it? Sure. But most of us need to make one or two small-ish changes at a time to develop the habit and start noticing some changes.

Once we started reading food labels and being mindful of the ingredients we were putting into our bodies,  we noticed a dramatic decrease in the out-of-control behaviors of our kiddos!  (And if they do eat foods that are high in sugars or has other additives, we definitely notice it based on their reaction!).

Gradually, we have found the small changes that have made a huge impact on our overall health.

As a mom of VERY picky eaters,  I still suffered from a lot of mom guilt for not being able to get my kids to eat very many fruits or veggies. I was so thankful when a friend of mine introduced me to a high quality whole food product that gets a consistent amount of fruits and veggies into our bodies every day.  We have fewer sick days, and their taste buds are slowly changing!  ( you know it’s a parenting win when your picky eater starts requesting veggies!).

So what kind of simple change can you choose to make?

  • drink more water (ideally we want to drink half our body weight in ounces or enough that our urine is clear).
  •  start some kind of exercise a few times a week.
  • commit to going to bed an hour earlier.
  • cut out processed foods.

I just watched this great TEDx talk that validated all of the things that we have been doing:

{Photo Credit}

Hot Chocolate Without the Sugar Crash

My boy has always been extremely sensitive to sugar.  You can truly see the effects that it has on his body not long after consuming it, so we’ve always tried to limit the amount that he gets.

{except for when I was nursing the poor kid and gobbling down Hershey’s caramel kisses by the bagful – whoops!}

I’ve recently learned that if you have a high fiber-to-sugar ratio, then your body can better process the sugar and you don’t have a huge spike, then a crash.

I also found a sweet {pun intended!} hot chocolate recipe using this plant-based protein powder and almond milk that he loves and it doesn’t cause him to bounce off the walls!

{and knowing that he’s getting a TON of healthy ingredients at the same time certainly doesn’t hurt!}


You have to heat the almond milk on the stovetop first.  I’m sure you can whisk the powder in, but I found it just as easy to pour the heated almond milk and the powder into my blender and mix it that way.

So yummy, pretty darn healthy, and the kiddos don’t go crazy.  :)

Not-So-Green Green Smoothie Tricks


I love adding greens to my smoothies (it makes me feel so much “cleaner”!), but I have a few friends that just weren’t able to drink anything that was green!

Here are a few tricks that I’d like to share with you to help your green smoothie to not LOOK green!

I only had romaine lettuce on hand, so I ripped up some leaves and threw it in first.


The trick is to put a little bit of water in the blender with just the greens and blend and blend and blend it.



I actually put a little bit more water in than I probably should have, but it still did the trick.

Now, here’s where some people have the problem – “how the heck can I drink that green stuff?” is what I hear a lot!

Step #3 is to add some fruit.  I used some frozen mixed fruit (I do this in place of ice cubes).  The special trick here is to add some frozen blueberries.  (Though when they’re in season, fresh blueberries work just as well).



Step #4 is to blend and blend and blend.  If you started out with just a little bit of water in the beginning, here is where you would add enough to get the consistency that you prefer.  (Plant-milk like almond, coconut or rice milk can also be used).


Isn’t that a pretty color?  No green in sight!  (We also use the blueberry trick for the kiddos and call it a “princess smoothie” for picky-girl.  Ha!)

Next I add a premium plant-based protein powder that you can learn more about/purchase here.  The choices are Dutch Chocolate, French Vanilla or both.  I threw in some Dutch Chocolate here. (links to my business website)


{Please note that Plant proteins are much healthier for you than whey, and that whey proteins have been known to cause inflammation in your body.}

The last step is to pour it into a glass, and enjoy!  I love that the plant-based protein powders are safe for kids and they get a filling shake, a bunch of extra fruits & veggies in a sneaky way (though they help me make the smoothies, so they know they’re getting them and are actually okay with it!), AND it has a low glycemic load, so they’re not bouncing off the walls!


Yum!  What do you like to put in your smoothies?


Are You Ready for Better Health?

Did you know that 83 percent of the people who have Celiac’s disease don’t know they have it? And millions of people have gluten sensitivity. In fact, experts believe that about 7 percent of the population has gluten sensitivity.

You might have it if you experience the following symptoms; “foggy thinking”, depression, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, bone or joint pain, unexplained weight gain, and chronic fatigue.

These symptoms can show up one to 48 hours after you’ve eaten gluten so the only real test to see if you have it, is to eliminate it from your life and see if your symptoms disappear. There is a test for Celiac’s disease. There is no test for gluten sensitivity.

Over the past ten blog posts we’ve covered a lot of material about wheat free and gluten free living. We’ve talked about what to expect, how to shop and plan your meals, and how to dine out. We’ve talked about nutrition and alternative sources of grains and gluten free treats. We’ve even discussed the drawbacks to a gluten free lifestyle (which in my opinion are far outweighed by the health benefits).

What we haven’t talked about yet is how you make the commitment to go gluten free. It’s not easy but it’s worth the effort for most people. So let’s talk about how to make sure you’re ready for this lifestyle change.

#1 Why Are You Going Gluten and Wheat Free?

Think about why you’ve decided that this is the right path for you. What are your reasons? This is important because these reasons will help you stick to your decision. If you’re feeling terrible and think that gluten is the cause, write down the symptoms you’re feeling. Maybe record a video where you talk to yourself and share your symptoms. You can then look at this video when you’re feeling tempted to have gluten.

#2 How Will You Support Yourself to Succeed?

Do you have support from your friends and family on this? It’s difficult to convince others to go gluten free with you but if you can, it makes it easier. If you can’t, then you’re on your own and that’s fine. Make sure you create support systems for yourself. Plan how you’re going to avoid gluten. What are you going to eat? How are you going to reward yourself for pushing through the tough times? How will you navigate the potential withdrawal symptoms?

#3 Your Mindset

A positive mindset is essential. You want to embrace the benefits, not dwell on the drawbacks. Sure there will be days where you’ll feel sorry for yourself. This usually happens when the people around you are enjoying a pizza or some other junk food that you used to be able to eat. Find substitutions that you enjoy and let go of the past. If you’re struggling to stay positive, consider the gratitude journal approach and write down things you’re grateful for with your new gluten free lifestyle.

Going gluten free may be the most rewarding and empowering step you’ve taken in a long time. Do it for your health. Do it so that in thirty or forty years you’re still strong mentally and physically. Do it so you feel better and look better right now. Today is the day to go gluten free.

The Downside To Going Wheat Free

Things are not all rosy in the land of the wheat and gluten free. There are some drawbacks and it is important to be aware of those before you make the decision to go wheat free. We are going to just dive right in and talk about the dark side of gluten free.

Nutrition Deficiencies

Going gluten free means that you’ll have to pay careful attention to your diet in more ways than one. In addition to avoiding anything with wheat or gluten you’ll also need to make sure you’re getting the fat, fiber, and protein your body needs. You’ll want to make sure that you get enough vegetables and fruits along with nuts and other whole grains into your diet.

However, the biggest nutritional challenge may be getting enough vitamin B. Fortified breads and cereals are a primary source of B vitamins. B9 is also known as folic acid and is essential to prevent birth defects. To compensate for this potential deficiency, you’ll want to look into taking a gluten-free multivitamin-multimineral supplement.

A Lifetime Commitment

Once you eliminate gluten and wheat from your body, you want to keep it that way. Many people who start eating gluten after an elimination find that they’re even more sensitive to it. This happened to me. After several months gluten free, I had a sandwich at a deli. They didn’t have gluten free bread and I didn’t think it would be a big deal. Boy was I wrong. I was sick for days. I felt like I had the flu. It was enough to convince me that gluten wasn’t for me and that sandwich certainly wasn’t worth feeling so sick.

Social Stigma

The gluten free diet is nothing new. It’s been around for a long time as many people have an allergy to gluten. The difference is that it is mainstream now. When celebrities start talking about how great they feel without gluten, people start listening and they start talking. Be prepared for questions, judgments and many sighs. Strangers aren’t much of a problem, it’s when your friends and family roll their eyes that it becomes frustrating. Here’s the key to managing this, remember how good you feel. Think about the weight you’ve lost, the energy you’ve gained, and the health improvements you’re enjoying. Their opinion about what you eat or don’t eat really doesn’t matter.

Gluten Free is Pricey

Finally, if you start going down the store bought gluten free bread and treats path, be prepared to spend some big bucks. A loaf of bread can cost you six dollars and the add on at a pizza restaurant for a gluten free crust can be almost as much. You’re much better off not adding these items to your diet, at least not on a regular basis. In addition to breaking the bank, they’re just not good for you. Make your own gluten free treats with the flours and meals mentioned in the post titled “The First Step To Eliminating Wheat from Your Diet.” They won’t spike your blood pressure or cause inflammation and the price is much cheaper than store bought goods.

There you have it, the major drawbacks to going gluten free. If you’re dealing with digestive challenges, weight gain, constant cravings, low energy, poor sleep and aches and pains that you just can’t seem to get rid of, then gluten is a likely culprit. All of these “drawbacks” will feel minor in comparison to your improved health and vitality.

In the last post in this series we’ll wrap it up by talking about making the decision to commit to a gluten free and wheat free life.

Common Questions about Wheat Free Living

As you transition into a gluten free and wheat free lifestyle you’re going to get questions. Some of the questions are genuine. People really want to learn more about your choices and support you. They might also be considering making the change themselves. You may get some seemingly rude questions but they’re not as common as you might think. I’ll share some of the questions I receive from friends and family as well as other nutrition and weight loss enthusiasts.

Can You Eat Organic Wheat?

No. Organic wheat, as lovely as organic foods are, still contains gluten. And while it isn’t GMO wheat, it has been bred for decades to be higher in gluten. The cross breeding has resulted in a grain that is much higher in gluten than it used to be. Additionally, if you’re sensitive to gluten it doesn’t really matter much if the gluten was treated with pesticides and chemical fertilizers. It’s still gluten.

I Thought Whole Grains Were Good For You.

Some of the components of whole grains are good for you. Fortunately, you can get fiber, healthy fats, and protein from other sources. There are also many whole grains that don’t contain gluten. They include amaranth, millet, buckwheat and quinoa. If you like whole grains but you can’t have gluten try some of the alternatives. And make sure you’re getting your fiber and healthy fats from other sources. Pistachios are an exceptional source of fiber and you can get your healthy fats from nuts, fish, or supplements.

Can’t You Ever Eat Gluten? Come On, A Bagel Isn’t Going To Kill You.

The truth is that there are some compelling reasons why you never want to eat gluten again. In the most serious cases if you have Celiac disease then a bagel can wreak havoc on your system. It’s definitely not worth it. Also, if you have other autoimmune diseases then a taste of gluten or wheat can cause a flare up.

If you’re sensitive to gluten or you were a gluten addict before going wheat free, then trying a bagel can send you on a downward spiral. Some people are more sensitive to wheat or gluten addiction. One bagel might turn into an entire day of gluten indulgence which can turn into a week and before you know it you’re right back where you started.

Finally, if you haven’t had gluten for some time and you indulge in that bagel or muffin, you might experience a serious flare up of symptoms. You can even experience some symptoms that you’ve never had before. One associate of mine went gluten free for a month. She had that bagel and experienced the worst case of cystic acne I’d ever seen. She didn’t have acne beforehand but boy oh boy was that a sign that gluten wasn’t for her. Needless to say, it didn’t take any more convincing.

Others, believe it or not, experience symptoms that are worse than my friend’s acne. I’ve known some who just had to test the gluten ‘just to see’ and spent the next couple of days in the bathroom. Not fun.

Can you have gluten once in a while? You can do anything you want. Should you? Definitely not. Once you eliminate gluten and wheat from your diet, you’re better off to stay free of it.

Some might consider this a downside to going wheat free and in the next post we’ll take a look at other potential downsides. You’ll have the information you need to make the best decision for you, your health, and your goals.

Eating Out Gluten Free

Don’t be surprised if you don’t get complete support from your friends or community. The gluten free diet comes attached to many biases and misconceptions. I’ve been called something I’d rather not repeat by a college professor because I don’t eat gluten. So there are definitely many people who just don’t get it.

That’s okay. It’s not your job to pacify them or to educate them, unless you want to. The only real job you have is to feed your body the best foods you can and that doesn’t include gluten. That job gets a little more difficult when you’re out of your kitchen and in the “real world”.

So let’s break it down into the two most challenging situations you’re likely to face, dining out at a restaurant, and eating at other people’s homes.

Dining Out Gluten Free

Eating out requires a level of diligence that you’re probably not used to. Depending on where you go, you may find that the wait staff are friendly and knowledgeable. Finer restaurants tend to tell their staff what they put in the food and the food is actually prepared in the kitchen so they can leave specific items out if you request it.

At most chain restaurants they get a lot of their food prepared. This means that there’s really not much more for them to do than drop it in the fryer or throw it on the grill. It’s pre-seasoned, pre-breaded and pre-made.

If you have a choice, look for restaurants with gluten free items on the menu. As more people realize the benefits of a gluten free lifestyle, restaurants are responding and offering menu items that fit your needs. If you’re unsure, give the restaurant a call beforehand. Ask if they have gluten free menu items or items that can be made gluten free.

It’s important to know where there may be hidden sources of gluten. For example, salad dressings and sauces often contain gluten. Many foods are dusted with flour before they’re sautéed or fried. In fact, baked potatoes are often coated with flour to make the skins crispier. Ask questions and be prepared to eat the simplest dish on the menu.

Eating at Someone’s Home

When eating at someone’s home, you’re their guest. You can let them know that you are gluten free but don’t expect them to create a menu just for you. Consider making sure you don’t arrive hungry and come prepared. Bring a dish or two that you are sure you can eat. If you aren’t sure if there will be something you can drink, bring that too. It’s also okay to ask the host or hostess a few questions about what’s in the food. If they’ve had it catered, they may not know. Again, the simplest dish is often the safest.

Once you’re comfortable with your new wheat free lifestyle you’ll be more relaxed when you’re eating out or with friends. You’ll feel better and you’ll have confidence in your choices even when other people don’t understand them. And you might be surprised how many people follow your lead and start living gluten free too.

Next time I’d like to talk a little bit about some common questions you might get from people who aren’t familiar with gluten free and wheat free lifestyles. You might have some of the same questions so it’s a good time to explore the answers.

Planning Your New Wheat Free Life

Ready to live a wheat free life? Enthusiasm and excitement are a great start. You will also need to get organized. I can tell you from experience that the first time you slip up and eat wheat will be because you did not plan ahead.

One mistake doesn’t mean all your prior efforts are wiped out but it’s not fun. You’ll likely experience a few side effects and well, there’s the pride factor to consider. After a few weeks of being wheat free you’re going to be quite proud of your new found health and your accomplishment. Slipping up because of poor planning is a huge bummer.

Let’s talk about good planning.

#1 Meal Planning

The first step, and this may sound too type A or too organized for some folks but bear with me, make a meal plan. Identify what you’re going to eat for every meal this week. Actually, I only plan three or four days out because my veggies go bad. But if you don’t have time to hit the supermarket twice a week, plan for the whole week.

Decide what you’re going to have for breakfast, lunch, dinner and please oh please don’t forget to plan for snacks. That’s where you’re most likely to make a mistake.

If you’re terrible at planning for snacks like I am, consider buying or making raw bars. They’re made from nuts and dried fruit and are quite satisfying. Lara Bars, are one type of snack bar that you can buy in the store. You can also make your own.

Choose recipes and make a list. When you go to the store, shop from your list. Steer clear of the processed food aisles and stick to the perimeter of the store – that’s where the produce is found. You’ll still have to read labels but there will be fewer to read.

#2 Enjoy Food

It’s important to think of food as something that’s enjoyable, particularly when you’re eliminating something as prevalent as gluten. Some days you might feel like there’s nothing you can eat. Make eating a luxurious and delightful endeavor.

Add fresh herbs to your meals. Eat foods you haven’t eaten before and enjoy produce that’s bright and colorful. There’s something fun about eating a purple potato. Don’t hesitate to try new foods and explore. And remember to treat yourself to foods that you might miss. For example, I really like having a piece of bread in the morning with my breakfast. I found an apple and almond flour waffle recipe that helped satisfy that craving.

#3 Make it Easier On Yourself

I found that there were a handful of tips and tools that I just couldn’t live without. For example, a crock-pot is a wonderful thing. You can put dinner in the pot in the morning and come home to fully cooked meal. And Sundays are for breakfast.

Every Sunday I make a freezable batch of gluten free waffles and baked egg cups. Breakfast is done for the week and I can rest easy knowing that everyone in the family has a good start to their day. Some weekends I make a batch of gluten free tortillas with almond and coconut flour so lunchtime sandwiches are simple too. Find system and tools that work for you.

In the next post we’re going to take a look at the one thing that trips most everyone up, going out to eat.

How to Make Wheat Free a Relatively Painless Transition

Going wheat free is easy, right? You just stop eating gluten and you start losing weight and it is wonderful. Not exactly. Unfortunately, there will be a few days where you may very well experience withdrawal symptoms. In fact, it is estimated that about 40 percent of people who go wheat free experience what they generally describe as “flu-like” symptoms.

Assume You’re Going To Get It

You don’t know if you’re going to be one of these people or not, so it’s best to assume you are and to prepare for it. If it catches you unprepared, you may give in before you begin reaping the benefits and the rewards are definitely worth the short struggle, as awful as it might be.

Okay so the first step is to brace for the likelihood that you’re going to feel pretty cruddy for a few days. The second step is to understand why you feel so awful. For me, it helps to understand. Maybe you don’t care why you feel terrible. However, knowing why your body is behaving the way it is, may give you some strength to endure. Bear with me and if you really don’t care then skip to the next section.

Why Does Wheat Withdrawal Happen?

There are a few theories about why wheat withdrawal happens. The answer probably rests somewhere in the middle with a combination of reasons. Many people believe that wheat withdrawal happens as your body changes it’s primary fuel source. This is likely the case if you’re someone who eats a lot of wheat based products.

For example, if you have a bagel or cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and maybe pizza or a burger for dinner then you’re eating wheat at every meal. Stop eating wheat and your body all of a sudden doesn’t have those fast burning fuels to give it energy. So you might feel sluggish.

The other contributing factor to wheat withdrawal may have a lot to do with the fact that there are elements in wheat and gluten that are addictive. The gliadin component of gluten actually has an opiate like quality to it. Stop putting it into your body and your body is going to have a reaction.

Withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Sluggishness
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability and moodiness
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Digestive problems like constipation and diarrhea
  • Cravings

Sounds like a real party, right? The good news is that it only lasts a few days. Additionally, there are several things you can do to reduce symptoms and get through this withdrawal process more quickly.

1. Drink A Lot – Stay hydrated. It helps flush toxins from your body and it prevents the side effects of dehydration which can make withdrawal worse.

2. Eat Healthy Fats – Eat avocados, nuts and seeds. Whole coconut milk (the kind in a can) is also a satisfying treat. You’ll feel full and it’s said to help curb sugar cravings.

3. Enjoy Something Sweet – Have a piece of fruit with your breakfast. The fiber will help your digestive system stay on track and it calms a sweet tooth. A smoothie with coconut milk, pineapple, and a bit of orange juice and protein powder makes a delicious breakfast or snack.

4. Exercise – It gets your mind off of the symptoms and helps you get through the process more quickly.

5. Sleep – Your body is adapting and dealing with something new. Treat it kindly and make sure to get enough sleep.

Okay, now that you’re ready for cravings, let’s take a look at how to make sure you stay on track and effectively navigate your wheat free lifestyle.