Meal Plan Monday

I spent the last couple of days in Orlando at a natural nutrition conference. I thought it would be fun to share how I make healthy choices (and some indulgences, of course!) while traveling.  I did have an advantage my staying with my sister. I didn’t take pictures. I have to remember to do that!


  • Simple! I took my pure protein and simply mixed it with some non-dairy milk.


  • Ahhh airport food. I was able to find a hummus/veggie wrap.
  • I had the pleasure of having lunch with some awesome teammates on Thursday at the convention. I had a yummy quinoa/veggie wrap and a teeny tiny side salad (dry because of dairy in dressings)
  • shakleeconvention
  • My sister picked me up on Friday and we went to Whole Foods for lunch. I had greens topped with all sorts of different veggies and stuff from their fresh foods bar including a tahini dressing. I must find recipe for that!


  • My sister made this delicious roasted sweet potato, chickpea, broccoli salad. She also bought some SoDelicious coconut milk “ice cream” for us to enjoy. Yum.
  • Leftover roasted sweet potato, chickpea broccoli salad and an apple with nut butter
  • Ahhh airport food again. Again I found another vegetable wrap, grapes, and some BBQ chips. I had some dark chocolate on my 2 hour drive home… you know, to keep myself awake.😉

So, what’s for supper this week?

Sunday – Refried bean tacos

Monday – Veggie chili over nachos

Tuesday – Carmelized onion spaghetti squash casserole, veggies and hummus

Wednesday – Stuffed peppers

Thursday – Jumbo chickpea pancake topped with guac and served with veggies

Friday – leftovers

Saturday – Homemade pizzas

I’m linking up with Laura at for Menu Planning Monday! Hop on over there if you need some more inspiration!


What’s on your meal plan this week? Do you find it difficult to stick to healthy choices when traveling?

Choosing Faith

I just returned from an awesome natural nutrition convention in Orlando. I will share some of the exciting things I learned in another post, but I think one of the most wonderful things I gained from it was confidence. I am always doubting myself… fearing what others think of me… fearing what will happen next… fearing someone won’t like what I have to say… fearing that I don’t know enough…  fear, fear, fear.

  1. I know the Bible says that perfect love casts out fear. I need to practice this on a daily basis.
  2. One of the speakers, Brooke Thomas, shared something that really resonated with me. I know I won’t do her justice by quoting it exactly right, but I will try. She said that Fear and Faith have 1 thing in common. They both involve believing in something that hasn’t happened yet. So, when you have a choice… choose faith.


So, when I say that I gained confidence, I don’t mean that I gained confidence in myself and what I can do. I gained confidence in the way that God made me. God did not create me to live a life of fear. I just have to follow Him and do the very best I can at helping others whether that be spiritually, in health & wellness, or being a friend and listener. Does this mean I will have to do things that make me uncomfortable sometimes? Yes! It’s how we grow & learn.

The other big reason I want feel convicted to Choose Faith is because I want my daughters to do the same. One of my daughters is very much like me. She worries often and has an anxious spirit. I REALLY want to teach her to live a life where she can choose Faith instead of fear. So, I am committing to praying about my fears… giving those over to God and Choosing Faith.

What about you? Are you with me?

High Five Friday!

Hello! Is it really July 22 already? Ah! We’re starting school in less than a month. I asked the girls today if they were excited to start up again and they said “Yes!” They must love their teacher.🙂

I’m linking up with Happy Fit Mama today for High Five Friday!


  1. We had family pictures taken a few weekends ago to celebrate my Grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary. My brother-in-law did the pictures for us. He always does an awesome job!


These girls… Sisters – Best Friends For Life

2. Good friends to watch my girls while I went to an appointment. They had a blast!

3. Very helpful children! I had some atypical cells removed from my back on Tuesday which made me a lot more sore than I was anticipating. Both girls , but Little lady, especially, have been so sweet and helpful… offering to do chores, pick things up and carry heavy things for me. I am so thankful for their soft hearts.

4. Fresh basil from my garden! I have been keeping the plant pretty much stripped by making my pesto!

1/2 cup walnuts or sunflower seeds

2 cups fresh basil, packed tightly (or 1 cup basil and 1 cup kale)

3 T. nutritional yeast

1 t. fresh lemon juice

1 t. garlic powder

salt to taste

Process in food processor adding up to 1/2 cup of water as needed. YUM!

5. I also picked my first tomato on Wednesday! There’s nothing quite like a fresh tomato from the garden.

What would you like to high five this week? Are your kids helpful when you don’t feel well?



More than food…

Sometimes I am asked why my business is called The Joyful Nourished Life. So, today I want to share just a little snippet of why nourishment is about so much more than food.


There are many reasons why people have “lifestyle” diseases and why so many Americans are obese & unhealthy. Just one of those reasons is that we live in a culture where there is food on every corner. For people who are binge eaters or emotional eaters, food is their source of joy and comfort. So when the doctor says, you have Type 2 diabetes and you need to lose 50 pounds, it is devastating! Or when someone suggests that perhaps a certain drink (chemical) you are consuming, is causing your migraine headaches, you think… “I am NOT giving up my Diet Soda! I look forward to having that treat every afternoon.”

I try to share with others that nourishment is about SO much more than food. Joy can be found outside of food! Sure, God intended for us to enjoy food and be thankful for it (trust me… I definitely enjoy my cashew milk ice cream!), but He did not intend for us to be gluttons or for food to be the center of our universe.

So, the next time you are feeling down and want to reach for a pint of ice cream. Try these things instead.

  1. Ultimately, the joy of the Lord is My strength. Nehemiah 8:10  So, when in need of comfort, reach out to the Lord in His word and through prayer!
  2. Serve others! Sometimes, we get so self-focused and feeling badly about what is going on in OUR lives, that we turn a blind eye to the needs of others. Find a widow to visit, go to the nursing home and talk with the lonely residents, volunteer at a food bank, offer to babysit for a young mother…
  3. Go for a walk outside! Being outdoors automatically lifts my spirits. 20160317_065515.jpg
  4. Sing! I have always loved to sing. I remember singing very loudly with my sister and Dad in the car and at home. We do the same thing now that I have my own family. Anyone who sees us driving down the road probably thinks we’re CRAZY.🙂
  5. Examine your surroundings. At my house, we try not to watch TV shows and movies that bring unwholesome thoughts/ideas into our home. This does not mean we turn a blind eye to what is going on in the world. It means we pray for our leaders even more and realize that God is always in control. Phil. 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

What things do you do to nourish your spirit?


Menu planning

My oldest was at Bible camp 3.5 hours away all last week. She had a great time and I love that she can be encouraged even more to learn about God and His love for her. But, as you can imagine, we are SO happy to have her home! They were singing together in the backseat on the way home. I thought, “This is more like it.”🙂


Miss Spunky missed big Sis terribly! She even dusted and vacuumed her room for her while she was gone. And Miss Spunky does NOT like to clean.

Almost there – Can’t wait to see her sister!

I tried to do some special things with her while big Sis was at camp. I asked her if she would rather go see “The Secret Life of Pets” or go bowling.

I was surprised by her choice.

We have a busy week planned, so we will go with slow cooker and easy peasy meals. That seems to be a recurring theme this summer. Plus I’m getting more out of the garden… yay!

Sunday – Nachos topped with black beans and fixins.

Monday – Baked potato bar with fixins and salad

Tuesday – Stuffed peppers

Wednesday – Walnut cauliflower zucchini boats – I’m going to try these in the crock-pot.

Thursday – Omelets and fresh fruit

Friday – Out

Saturday – Leftovers

Are your kids doing any summer camps? Is your summer going SUPER fast too?


Skin Protection

Over 10 years ago, I had some dysplastic nevi (weird moles) taken off of my back which came back with atypical cells, so the dermatologist had to remove more cells in that area to make sure they got it all. After all of that, I started being VERY careful about sun protection. A couple of months ago, I noticed a strange spot on my back, so I went in and they actually removed 2 dysplastic nevi and they both came back with atypical cells. So, I have to have another procedure in a few weeks to remove more atypical cells. I am VERY thankful that it wasn’t melanoma, and I want to do all that I can to protect my skin. I never expose my back to the sun, so what else can I do?

The first thing I asked was why would this happen in the first place?  I have an Italian heritage which I thought would put me at a lower risk. However, I grew up spending most of my summers outside (often without sunscreen just because we didn’t know better) and I used the tanning bed often starting in Jr. High! Plus, it is hereditary!

I still love to be outside though, so I have to take appropriate steps to protect my skin. Did you know that some foods/nutrients have been shown to have protective effects?


The pigments that color fruits and vegetables help to prevent skin cellular damage from the sun.  Plants have to protect themselves from the sun’s UV rays as well and these pigments from carotenoids are powerful.  When we eat a variety of plants, especially those high in carotenoids, we help to protect our skin from the UV rays and also help to prevent disease and cancer.

Carotenoids are the orange, red and yellow pigments found in orange, red, and yellow fruits and vegetables!

Fruits and vegetables that are high in these carotenoids include:

  • tomatoes, pink grapefruit, and watermelon (lycopene)
  • spinach, kale, broccoli, corn and beans (lutein and zeananthin)
  • leafy greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, canteloupe, papaya (alpha and beta carotene)
  • a pure supplement can also help

Vitamin D

I recently discovered via a blood test that I am low in Vitamin D (very common in the Midwest!), so I will be adding that to my regimen. Vitamin D helps your organs to repair damaged cancer cells.  If you have a Vitamin D deficiency, you are more prone to skin cancer than those with sufficient levels.  If you are deficient (easy to measure with a simple blood test), you should supplement with at least 2,000 IU (Vitamin D is great for your mood and cravings, too!)

Sources of Vitamin D:

  • short periods of sunshine without sunscreen (10-15 minutes gives you 10,000 IU)
  • salmon, tuna or other fatty fish (wild)
  • egg yolks
  • beef liver
  • a high quality Vitamin D supplement that uses the most usable form, D3

Non-Toxic Sunscreen

Sunscreen is important! Look for natural options made with zinc oxide if possible.

How do you protect your skin? 

4th of July weekend and meal planning

I’m just popping in to write up my meal plan for the week. It has turned cooler the past several days. My body doesn’t adjust well to the cooler temps.  I may be in the minority, but I LOVE the 90 degree temps!

We kicked our long weekend off by attending the BFG premier at a theater where they “rolled out the red carpet” and everything. The absolute best thing about this theater? NO PREVIEWS! That’s right… we didn’t have to sit through 20-30 minutes of previews. Loved it!


The plan is for the 4 of us to run a 5K in the morning. We’ll see if the rain stops! Then, we’re having our usual 4th of July get-together at our house tomorrow evening. We live in the country, but JUST outside of city limits, so we can actually see the fireworks from our front yard. It’s always fun to have a cookout, play outdoor games, and then encourage everyone to stay for fireworks!

Sunday – Veggie chili (It’s cool and rainy – soup is a must)

Monday – Cookout – I’m doing bean burgers, coleslaw, and kale chips

Tuesday – Walnut cauliflower zucchini boats – new recipe – these look amazing!

Wednesday – Vegetable frittata, salad, fruit

Thursday – Bean tacos

Friday – Baked potato bar, salad

Saturday – Just me and the hubs – stuffed portabellas, roasted potatoes, veggies

Do you love or hate previews at the movie theater? Are you having a fun 4th of July weekend?

Encouraging fitness in our kiddos

I had the blessing of being able to run a 10K with my 9-year old daughter on Saturday. It was so fun! She has ran at least ten 5Ks in the past few years and wanted to do a 10K. It was so fun! When I asked her how she felt about it afterwards, she said,

“It was hard, but it was awesome!”


SO MANY life lessons in running. That is one of the reasons we have encouraged running in our kids. I mean, sure, my husband and I are both runners, so it is only natural that our kids would have a desire to do the same. However, now when we are tackling a tough subject in school… I can remind her of how awesome it felt to accomplish something that was difficult. And it’s not that you have to come in first or get the best grade in the class (Yes, we homeschool, but you get the idea)… it’s that you try your hardest and KNOW that you gave it your all. My hope is that she will remember all of this when she encounters a rough patch in a relationship, job, parenting, etc..

So, how can you encourage fitness in your kiddos?

  1. Lead by example. If you never go for a walk.. neither will they. If you talk about exercise like it’s drudgery or something you only do for weight loss, then that’s how they will think of it.
  2. Make it fun. On our runs, we talk about whatever she wants. This leads to some really awesome conversations. And some really silly ones! We live in the country and she likes to “high five” the tall grass on the side of the road. Sometimes we race the last little bit to our house. You get the idea.
  3. Don’t push too hard. It’s not fun and you don’t want them to think of physical fitness as a chore. If she wants/needs to walk, then we walk.
  4. Find something they enjoy. Everyone is not a runner and that’s OK. Maybe they would enjoy basketball or soccer or just going for a bike ride! Go shoot hoops with them. I am not good at basketball, but I can still try and shoot baskets with my girls.

Meal Planning 6-26-16

Or a form of meal planning…

I love summer! My sister is visiting, it’s WARM, break from school…

Cousins playing mini-golf!

Summer is very busy – in a good way, which means planning is even more important, but we don’t always have X on a certain night. As a general rule, I do not spend as much time in the kitchen during the summer, so meals need to be even more simple.  Also, some days are very hot, so we eat what sounds good instead of what’s on the plan. So, how do I plan for that?

I just keep a bunch of staples on hand so I can throw quick meals together. I So, this week – I have (or will make)…

Cut up a bunch of veggies, washed fruit for easy access, put nuts into single serving bags, made protein bites, bread, cashew sauce, homemade honey mustard, and muffins

Veggie chili for nachos

Bean burgers for sandwiches or to serve on top of greens


Crock pot refried beans for tacos or taco salads

Roast potatoes

Zucchini noodles with avocado sauce

Egg salad for sandwiches or to serve on top of greens

Need some menu-inspiration or a kick-start? I’m excited to be working with a few other health coaches for a 21-day challenge to clean up our diets! It will feature simple meals for the whole family. It starts on July 5, just after your holiday celebrations! Comment or find me on Facebook so we can set up a time to chat!


Do you stick to a firm meal plan in the summer or just stick to a few staples?


Heat & Meal Plan – 6-12-16

The summer heat is here! It has been in the 90’s here for the past few days. I love the summer heat. And my kids are loving the pool, of course!

Drying off after an afternoon in the pool

I’m really craving cool, refreshing meals. However, I do love soup. I have never tried gazpacho before, but I think I’m going to give it a whirl this week!

On the meal plan this week –

Sunday – Egg & veggie wraps

Monday – Gazpacho  (add beans?) veggies, hummus

Tuesday – Baked potato bar with Southern Skillet Black eyed peas, salad

Wednesday – Thai Peanut Chickpea salad tacos

Thursday – Bean burgers, grilled potatoes, coleslaw

Friday – Out for event

Saturday – Wing it – I’m feeling rather uninspired in the kitchen – maybe because I would rather be outside!🙂