War on Average

encouraging each other not to be satisfied with mediocre

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Finding Health and Passion in a Busy Life

CropperBy Christine Cropper


In June of 2013, I found myself as a busy mom (of three small children, one a newborn) who had been on medication for my acid reflux disease for the past 12 years. I needed energy, needed to lose weight from my having my third baby, and I knew that I wanted better health for our family!

Another mom from preschool was so kind to help me in the drop-off line each morning. We became fast friends and in the process she shared with me how she had found energy, had lost weight and began creating a healthy life for her family. The company she partnered with was Shaklee, a company that I found to have history, integrity, and high quality products that I could trust.

I started with my own health, using what we call the Vitalizing Plan, one meal replacement per day and my Vitalizer strip of vitamins. I had so much healing by just using this kit that I was eager to learn more about natural solutions to our entire family’s health. After using the kit for almost three months, I had lost 15 lbs, my cholesterol had gone down almost 30 points, and my acid reflux disease was gone! I came off Prilosec and I wanted to learn how to help my kids. My then four-year-old daughter got stomach aches every time she would eat and she also had eczema all over her legs. I listened to a health stories conference call and listened to some Wellness Webinars. That education led me to start her on our Incredivites (children’s multi), Chewable C, and Optiflora probiotic. Within a couple of weeks, her eczema was disappearing and her stomach aches had become much less frequent. I was elated! About six months to a year later, my then one-year-old son was experiencing respiratory issues every time he would get a cold or virus. The doctors called it “reactive airway” and wanted to put him on a daily steroid. I absolutely did not want to do this, so I looked to Shaklee for a better, safer solution. I added our chewable omega 3, called Mighty Smarts, into his daily regimen along with Incredivites, Chewable C, and Optiflora. It worked!!! He has gone a year and a half now without any respiratory issues whenever he gets a cold or another virus! Also around this time, my husband started using Optiflora probiotic and noticed a large change in his digestive health. His family has a long history of colon cancer and he was excited to start approaching his health in a preventative way. He fell in love with the quality and integrity of Shaklee products and the company. We know that all of our children and ourselves now have a stronger immune system because of Shaklee. We love our non toxic cleaning products, we love our skin care products (vitamins for your skin), we love our Life Shake, supplements and basically everything that Shaklee produces is fantastic, safe, and works incredibly well.

Then in April of 2015, my husband and I were invited to a large Shaklee event. We felt compelled to learn more about how we could share the health that we had found with Shaklee with others. We definitely knew that we always wanted Shaklee to be a part of our family’s lives to keep us healthy. We are both teachers, so we thought, ‘why wouldn’t we want to educate others on how to have better health? What if we could build a business and help make other people’s lives better? After all, it is our passion to serve others.’ It made complete sense to us that we would build a business with the Shaklee opportunity. However, there was always a reason why it wasn’t the “right time”. We were just so busy and overwhelmed with daily life and taking care of our three little ones. Also at this point I was eight months pregnant with our fourth child and I could barely do the laundry, let alone think about starting a business, so I waited. Then our fourth baby came on June 12! We knew that we wanted to start our business some time soon, and we knew that it would probably never feel like the “right time” because life will always have a lot going on. So we took a leap and started our business on July 1, 2015. We are so glad that we did! We earned our initial investment back in the first month!

The best part is that we never felt like we had to do anything alone as we began our business. Our leaders helped us every step of the way, as well as many other people on our team. Even in the midst of the chaos of my postpartum life, I was always supported. Our leader allowed us to host our launch event at her home and she was always willing to get together to help us with skills and planning. The community that we have the opportunity to work with is truly phenomenal! There is so much support on our team! You are never alone and any answer is just a phone call or text message away. We have tons of resources and did I mention the free training that we receive? When I was teaching I had to pay for my training, now I receive free training every week. All in all, joining the business has been one of the best decisions for me and my family. We became business leaders within three months and we are now looking to build a team of our own! What a rewarding and exciting field to be a part of! Our country needs to move towards prevention and Shaklee is going to lead the way. When we take small steps that lead to big results, this is called the Shaklee Effect. We feel empowered to be a part of this revolutionary company!


For more information on the products Christine mentioned or about the Shaklee opportunity, contact the Shaklee distributor that sent you this blog link.

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Change Your Health and Change Your Life: Janeen’s Story

Post 33.1

Health is more than health. When I share that, I share many stories. I share Amber & Lenna-Grace’s story, but I also often share Janeen & Dan’s story. I have the privilege here to document their story for you. Janeen and Dan didn’t just lose weight—they got their health back and in the process gave their daughter and son a whole new health as well.

Here is a short video to introduce you the Dan and Janeen.


Recently, I sat on my back porch with Janeen and she shared her story with me:

Our healthy journey started when my husband, Dan, came home from healthy visit and it was anything but healthy (this was almost three years ago). He was close to diabetes, high blood pressure and they wanted to put him on all these medications. But the doctor gave him three months to lose weight before he started the medications.

His dad has his first heart attack at 51 and then he had five more and lived unhealthy and unhappy. Dan was 43 at this point. I didn’t want him to have that story.

My friend, Pam, had been calling me, interested in my health. I said, “It’s time to call her.” I met her for coffee, we sat and talked. I signed up with the Shaklee180. In the first month, I lost 17 lbs and Dan lost a ton of weight too.

1044659_10200726385540335_24547869_nSix months after we started our Shaklee, we were at a Black Crows concert and Dan fainted because his blood pressure was so low! Six months earlier they had wanted to put him on medication for high blood pressure.

Dan and I continued our healthy journey of losing weight, eating healthy and enjoying our new lifestyle.

To date I (Janeen) have lost 70 lbs and Dan has also lost 70 lbs. He is now off all medications. His numbers are perfect. His diabetic numbers are all normal.

He is off his sleep apena machine. That has been great for our marriage. I couldn’t sleep with the snoring and the machine. He sounded like he was choking. I forgot about that!



It is a great feeling to feel GOOD and to feel more attractive to my husband. We both feel more confident.

But we as women are our own worst critics, so my health and feeling more secure has made me a better wife too. But I know that his weight loss has given him more confidence in himself and I sure think he’s sexier!

When you are healthy you feel more confident and secure in all areas. When you are insecure you are never good at anything.

I was afraid to walk into a place and maybe someone would make a comment and I would be ready to respond with a joke. When you are worrying about yourself, you can’t be as good of a mom. It is liberating to feel this way! I know this health change has made me a better mom.

11209357_10205382947071463_4816147408517183531_nI have so much more energy with my kids, I could run around with them all day. I couldn’t do that before. We have done three 5ks together as a family.

Then my daughter, Payton, at age 11, saw the success that Dan and I were having, and wanted to try it too. She lost 30 lbs, slower, in about eight months with a shake a day and a boost in the morning and a healthy lunch.

She had great success with the program. Her swimming improved and she was able to preform better as an athlete, which is what she wanted. She made it to regionals for the first time in six years with swimming.

In that first month I started the Shaklee 180 program, I also shared with friends and clients and ended up finding 17 other people who wanted to go through the same transformation and it turned into a successful business! I have been on all-expenses paid trips to California, Nashville and even Paris because I shared my own story!


12178260_10156150943535263_1901743968_n (1)Then I thought what else does Shaklee have? We had just been so focused on the 180 program that we had not looked at much else. But then I was just so into feeling good I had to see what else was out there!


We all decided to try the Vitalizer. After we were on the Vitalizer, I noticed how much better my son Chase was doing. He has ADHD and Autism. He also has a learning disability.

Before Shaklee, he stuttered, he was nervous. He’s a non-reader. He is in sixth grade and was reading at second grade level. He didn’t have a lot of energy. He was a couch potato. Very introverted. He didn’t have any friendships. Literally none.

Life at school—he couldn’t concentrate, he was teased, he wasn’t assertive. The teachers used to call us all the time—he wasn’t concentrating, couldn’t pack his bag, couldn’t listen. Simple tasks that every kid does, seemed like Chase had a struggle with.

We had made huge changes in our whole family’s diet. We had gradually removed all dyes (and you’d be surprised what all has dye in it). Removed almost all processed food. We used to go through seven 12-packs of pop in a week and now we have none. We have also removed a lot of dairy.

Chase was a carb freak, so we have significantly reduced his carbs, especially wheat.


11150350_10205041666059651_1815019911466889176_nFirst we just did Vitalizer strip. Then we had a meeting with our Shaklee Nutritionist. We were so amazed with how Chase was doing that we needed to ask more questions!

He was thinking clearer. He seemed less frustrated. He seemed to be able to concentrate better. That intrigued us to try other things to see what else was possible.

So after that meeting, we added GLA and extra OmegaGuard for his brain. We also added extra B-Complex. And we gave him Gentle Sleep Complex before bed to help him calm down before bed.

Then he continued to improve. His brain definitely seemed to think clearer with the increased Omegas. It just seemed like everything kept improving.

I learned that there are 20 neurotransmitters in the gut and they communicate with your brain and when they are clogged up it’s not transmitting. So the diet changes and the probiotics made a huge difference as well.

Besides cleaning out his gut, MindWorks was the biggest transformation.

Last summer MindWorks came out. Every summer he has tutoring and every summer he has the same tutor. Nothing else had changed.

Every kid in Special Ed needs to catch up when the school year begins. But instead of catching up, this year he jumped six reading levels (which is one grade level)—he had been on MindWorks for one month.

He made the flier at school:
IMG_1190 IMG_2759


IMG_6430In the beginning of school year there was a math test and he got a 31% after MindWorks for a month. Retested in December and got an 81%. His teacher wrote this note, “Have Chase tell you the big news!”

Today he came home with all A’s on his report card for the first time ever!

He is assertive now. Now he is not afraid to go engage people. His teachers say: “He has a lot of friends at school, he just doesn’t know how to take it home.” He is doing great in the classroom with the other kids. We are still fine-tuning his social skills but at least he will go up and talk to someone!

But his personality and family issues have improved too. We used to have to go to therapy as a family to help with Chase’s affection related to his autsim. He would want to give his sisters 20 hugs a day. My daughter would send him to grab her something from the basement and he would do it to get another hug. We had to work with him and teach him how to manage his affection. And now, without any more therapy, MindWorks has helped with those issues. He has begun to realize what affection is proper for him just with adding the MindWorks.

He is being more assertive and true to how he feels with his family and other people. He never would have been like that before. He has more confidence because he is reading better and fitting in.


IMG_8690This has changed my life as a mom in incredible ways. When a kid can sit there and do their own homework, you can spend more time on the other kids—there are three and I wasn’t able to spread myself among them. The other kids would feel like I was always with Chase because he needed to so much more help. And that’s a terrible feeling. I didn’t like giving one more attention to the other, but he needed it. I feel like now I am able to divide myself up more evenly and that feels so good.

Between all of those things, there is more peace in our home.

Even today, I got a text from a friend. She was at her wit’s end with her son being out of control and thinking he needed medication. He could not focus. So she tried MindWorks. Today she texted me “Hey that MindWorks is awesome. He forgot to take it today and that was all the proof I needed. It took him twice as long to do his homework and I had to stand next to him the whole time. It was a night and day difference.” That is a gift to her whole family.

Sometimes I wish I would have never started medication so I could see these kind of results. He just recently went off the rest of his medication!

10421642_10202873020924878_61004060619376664_nSo it’s not just my marriage or just me as a mom, I feel like my whole entire life is different.

I feel like I am a better mom because I have my health. I feel like I am a better mom because of finding health. I enjoy cooking more. I feel like I understand HOW to give my kids health too.

And honestly, there is much more to Shaklee than just great products. Those prodcuts and the edication I have received from Shaklee has been life-changing, but so has the opportunity to share that with other people. And not just cause I got to go to Paris!



11707376_10205772575091920_1241050275853214261_nMy full-time job is coloring hair and I love it. I don’t ever plan on quitting. My Shaklee business is not to replace it, it is to enhance it. Most of my business is at the salon. The rest is facebook because I am sharing these amazing results with our family’s health—because that it was is exciting in the life of my family!

I think feeling good goes with feeling healthy. I always loved making people feel pretty on the outside and now I get to help them also feel pretty on the inside by helping them with their health. This business makes me feel good because I want other people to feel the way my family feels—and help them know there are solutions out there.

We used to always feel awful. We just didn’t know we felt awful.

I am passionate about this business because of how it’s changed my life and the way I feel. It’s contagious! I want everyone to feel like this. I want people to know I can help them and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I want people to know that health can change your life.


This is what I want to leave you with:
It’s never too late to start a healthy journey.

Never say you are going on a diet, change your habits then change your health. It’s not like I’ll never eat a canoli again, but I don’t eat them like I used to!

Don’t get frustrated, baby steps lead to big steps. It’s not always a quick fix, it’s a process. If you’re not seeing the results you want, tweak something to make it the right process for you.

–Janeen Nufer



“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

My dear friend Elisabeth and I were pregnant together with our first babies—my oldest and her daughter Alyce (a-leese) in this testimony. This story about how a new understanding of health and how God created our bodies brings so much joy to my heart. I was a pleasure to dialog with Elisabeth about the value of healthy food—in health but also how that relates to all of life. These stories are why I love what I do. These stories are the Shaklee Effect.



“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” –Hippocrates
Guest post by Elisabeth Enos








I’ll admit, in the area of health, I have lived a pretty blessed life. Up until my pregnancy, I had never been hospitalized. I have never broken a bone, had a food allergy, wasn’t stung by a bee until my early twenties, and have only had the flu a handful of times in my entire life.  So when I got the call from my doctor’s nurse regarding my 25 week ultrasound, (you know the one where they tell you whether you are having a boy or girl), I was stunned. Well, more like hysterical. Her voice still rings in my ear,

“Mrs. Enos, we have found something on your baby’s left kidney and we are going to ask that you make an appointment with a maternal fetal specialist.”

“What does that mean?!” I gulped between tears that came so fast, my throat hurt from lack of proper breathing.

“Honey, I’m sorry. I really don’t have any information other than that. But please know, sometimes these things can be false readings. That’s why you need to make the appointment.”

But her silver lining in my cloud of fear was nothing more than an illusion; something was wrong with my baby’s kidney and they couldn’t be sure what until she was born. So, every month, sometimes every two weeks, I trudged to the maternal fetal specialist’s office for another ultrasound just to monitor and make sure nothing else had gone awry. Thankfully, it didn’t. My precious daughter was born pretty quickly on a Tuesday morning at the end of April, and she came out with a beautiful Apgar score. All was right with the world.

She had a VCUG done the first day of life, which is where they catheterize you and place special ink in your body to monitor how the urine flows in and out of the kidneys and bladder. The diagnosis became clear: she had kidney reflux. This condition arises when the ureters, the tubes that attach from your kidney to your bladder, are curly versus straight. This causes urine to back up into the kidneys, which also can make some people more susceptible to urinary tract infections. And with reflux, a UTI is a big deal because now you have infected urine directly in a major organ, leading to a kidney infection.

Alyce had the worst possible case one can have. On a scale of one to five, with one being the least amount of reflux, Alyce was a five. Not even a day old, she was assigned a pediatric nephrologist that placed her on antibiotics for preventative measures, the thought being that if she did have bacteria in the urine, the antibiotic would kill it and lessen her chance of infection.

Until the age of three years and eight months, Alyce has taken a “preventative” antibiotic. Every. Single. Day. She has been assigned a pediatric nephrologist, urologist, gastroenterologist, and psychologist to monitor her condition. All this fuss over a birth defect that I was repeatedly told by the best of the best doctors care was “not life threatening.”

Could have fooled me.

So, I did what any mom would do. I took my daughter to her $500 doctor’s appointments that were always located in downtown Chicago at the heart of either rush hour or my daughter’s nap time, gave her medicine, and tried to feed her what I thought was a proper diet. I breast fed her for 15 months, gave her homemade baby food, and did my best to keep her away from germs.

It really wasn’t all that bad and I actually started to forget about the condition until she got her first UTI at 8 months. We had all contracted (accept for me, thank GOD!) a horrible stomach flu at Christmas that was quite debilitating. I just thought Alyce, being still an infant, was having a hard time getting over it. Really, the flu had turned into a UTI. She became lethargic and droopy, and when her urine output stopped, I finally rushed her to the ER and she was hospitalized for four days. We spent her first New Year’s in the hospital.

She received intravenous drugs and oral medication after we left to kill the bacteria. After she recovered, our urologist explained to me that since Alyce had been on antibiotics since birth, she had grown a resistance to amoxicillin, so now she needed to go on a “stronger” preventative antibiotic.

And so round and round we went. And she kept getting infections. UTI’s that required hospitalizations because the types of bacteria Alyce kept contracting were “mysteriously” pathogens that had built antibiotic resistance and needed harsher drugs. So we would stay in the hospital. Get more IV drugs. Take another oral medication. And then start back up on a preventative antibiotic.

In the meantime, Alyce’s diet had gone down the tubes. Listen, I am not a picky eater. I have always loved brussel sprouts, begged for more beets, and outside of boiled liver and onions, there is not a meal I won’t eat. But my daughter….she is the pickiest eater on the planet. She is a much better eater now, but to this day, broccoli will make her gag.

And then on top of it all, seeing your kid suffer tons of catheterizations, endless doctor’s appointments, too many trips to the ER to count, you kind of just want to make them happy. So if it was a particularly trying day and she wanted fries and chicken nuggets, why not?  I mean the esteemed children’s hospital we paid tens of thousands of dollars to, had a fast food joint located in their facility. They obviously shared the same feelings as I did, right?

But this poor eating led to laziness and negligence in our nutrition. To top it off, over the years I had developed into a germaphobe and basically couldn’t leave my house without a Lysol can. I will self-admit, I got so bad, I sanitized the hand sanitizer. Making eggs was like suiting up for open heart surgery; one drip of egg white on the floor and I practically put on a hazmat suit because I was so afraid Alyce would touch it and get some sort of infection that would lead to a UTI. And then we would be back in the hospital.

I avoided family. I avoided friends. I lived my life in a bubble. No, honestly, not even as happy as a bubble. It was a cage. A prison. A tormented life of fear over the next infection. When is it coming? When?!

And they did keep coming. One after the other. We would have months of good health here and there, which would help me calm done some, just to be replaced by seasons of illness. When we moved into our new home this past August, that’s when it really got crazy. Alyce didn’t have UTIs, but she was sick all the time. From August to early December of last year, she had four ear infections, croup, the flu, some sort of crazy throat infection, and finally, the worst UTI of her life. This UTI was odd because all her other ones were contracted from E. coli, which is usually the culprit behind all UTIs. This time though,it was a drug-resistant, mutated form of the common bacteria called pseudomonas. Pseudomonas is everywhere. It’s on you right now, it’s on your walls, it’s in our soil, it’s not that big of a deal. But this particular strain was a real nightmare and the only way to fix it was by giving her a potent antibiotic, so strong in fact, that the nurses told me it is commonly used for kids with cancer. She received this intravenously for 15 days, three times a day. She went home with the IV in her arm and I got to play nurse for two weeks, giving her medicine that took 45 minutes to administer. Me, taught by a nurse, of how to open the PIC line, give her saline solution, then the drugs, followed by a round of blood clot medicine.

It was incredible. An experience that I would find to be one of the worst, and also best times of my life. While still in the “worst” stage, I cried out to doctors, pleading with them to please tell me if there was anything I could do to prevent these infections. All answers were, “No. Give her the daily antibiotic.” There was a corrective surgery, but interestingly enough, Alyce didn’t qualify because of some other medical issues that could have caused major complications. My astute, highly sought after urologist even finally looked at me and said, “Guys, your daughter is really a mystery to me. She falls into the small percentage of cases where I don’t know what course of action to take next.”

Why, God? That is all my mind, my being, my heart could utter. It was not out of anger though. I promised Him a year ago, after going through so many seasons of being mad at Him, that I would never, no matter what trial he wanted me to endure, get mad at Him again. Never. So I pleaded, like a mother in labor, “please show me the way. Please show me the way.”

That’s the amazing thing about God’s Promises: He does show the way! He told me I needed to change Alyce’s nutrition and quick. I didn’t know how. But I knew He would show me. I contacted my friend Harper for information on Shaklee supplements. I knew her family enjoyed great health and that would be the start. She and her nutritionist discussed the importance of changes in diet and the value of nutrition and pointed me in the direction of supplements for Alyce like Alfalfa, an immune system support supplement called Nutriferon, and a kid’s fish oil chew for brain, eye, and immune health development (Mighty Smarts). I ordered them right away.

But there was more to the puzzle, more pieces to find. As I was sitting there feeding her another not so nutritious lunch, my husband “randomly” started reading to me an article on coconuts. It said that coconuts are antifungal, anti-parasitic, and basically go into the body and remove bacteria and viruses when consumed. I did a double take. ‘Are you serious? I never knew that!’ My mind started to churn; ‘what if Alyce ate coconut? Would that possible naturally kill the germs causing her UTIs and other illnesses? Is it as simple as feeding her the right foods?’

So I went on the hunt, devouring books, articles, documentaries, pod casts, anything I could find on boosting the immune system through food. And I learned about how the immune system actually works. Seriously, my faith in God never grew so large until I learned about what this complex personal army can do! It is an amazing function of our body that unfortunately has been untapped and beaten up by years of eating processed food, refined sugars, and bad meat.

Immediately, Alyce went off all refined sugars and eventually processed foods. She won’t eat greens or carrots, so I bought a juicer and juice heads of kale, carrots, green apples, and pomegranate seeds for a special super drink she consumes twice a day. We avoid foods that contain vegetable oils in their ingredients list as best we can, and do avoid ALL packaged food that contains soybean oils. We eat a lot of coconut in any shape or form: oil, shreds, flakes, water, milk, manna, etc. We replaced all white sugar with coconut sugar. We eat sprouted bread that contains no flour. We only eat organic produce and meats, and this summer, we are praying to be able to afford a service that delivers our produce, meat, and eggs straight from a local, organic farm in Illinois.

My philosophy with health is this—get as many nutrients as we can from our food, then “supplement” with supplements. Ideally, we should be eating a diet where we receive all our nutrients from food, but unfortunately, that is usually not the case. As much as we try, it is almost impossible to eat a perfect diet and our food supply is not what it used to be and our foods don’t contain the nutrients they used to. As much as I might try, getting Alyce to eat fish is impossible, so she gets fish oil. I give her the alfalfa supplements in her green juice that I make because it is just another boost of those phytonutrients that keep her immune system up and going.

And as for my daughter? She is a completely new child. She used to have fevers at least once a week. She was timid and anxious around children and usually cried at the few play dates I kept. She had tantrums every day, multiple times a day, and was addicted to sugar, fat, and oils. Today? Not a single fever, sniffle, bad night’s sleep since we changed her nutrition. Her attitude has changed, her speech improved, and she interacts well with other children. We are not in a cage; she can explore the world freely and will actually be starting preschool in a few weeks. You know, that germ filled place where kids sneeze in each other’s faces? Yeah.

But I am not afraid. God has shown me the grace and calling He has for us to live healthy, eating a whole foods, non-processed diet that He created! He did not create Bagel Dogs. Sorry rabbit, no more Trix at my house. But he did create dates, and delicious grains that allow me to make her a breakfast that not only keeps her healthy, but tastes better than Red 41 and high fructose corn syrup. I have lost weight, so has my husband, and I don’t count one single calorie. My husband’s sister who is 16 years old and lives with us, has had asthma her whole life. She doesn’t anymore. My allergies are almost completely gone and my brain is so alive, I actually have more time that I used to. Seriously. I don’t have to lament on the couch because I am worn out, anxious, and tired. I use that time to read, write, and help others change their eating habits. My marriage is happier. And honestly, I feel more connected to God because I am putting in my body the very things He created for us so we could be healthy and live out His Purpose.

I mean, after all, isn’t that what makes life worth living?  If you don’t eat right today, don’t fret. Just make changes NOW and not tomorrow. Seek out people who are living the healthy life. Ask questions and don’t stop until God brings you the answers. My family and I are not magical people. Anyone can enjoy this health, I truly believe that with all my heart.

Most importantly, God gave us this life to enjoy. What’s stopping you?

Thank you for reading my story.


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Phoebe’s Turkey Burger with Avocado Slaw and Sweet Potato Hash

My sister Phoebe is a very creative and healthy cook. I love to get recipes from her! Here is one she just posted recently that I am excited to try. Check it out:


phoebe recipie 

For the hash:
Use your food processor to shred two large sweet potatoes.
Chop 1/2 of a large onion finely.
Place a tab of grass-fed butter (I use Kerrygold) in a pan on medium/high heat and sautee the onions.
When the onions become clear add the potatoes and salt to taste.  You can mix them to cook, or, if you like them crispier, you can make potato pancakes and cook each separately.  Cook until crispy on the outsides.

For the slaw:
Place two avocados into a food processor with 1 tbsp olive oil a little cumin (or a lot if you like spicy) a little salt and a squeeze of lemon juice and lime juice.  Pulse until smooth.  Fold into half a bag of cole slaw or shredded cabbage (I can’t find shredded cabbage on its own).

For the burger:
Mix ground turkey with a pinch of cumin, a small amount of paprika, a little shredded cheddar cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.  Then form burgers with it and cook in a pan on mediumhigh heat until each side is browned.  I like each side to be a little crispy.

To finish:
Put some potatoes on your plate, top them with the slaw, and finally place the burger on top.  Yum!


Thanks, Phoebe!


Five Frugal and Nutritious Meal Planning Tips

I am so excited to have my second guest blogger sharing some great ideas with us! I hope you find this as helpful as I did. Alysa Seeland is a long-time , dear friend and an amazing writer, mom, and wife. Enjoy!



Meal planning on a tight budget is hard, but doing so with nutrition in mind can seem like a lost cause – NOT SO! I want to share with you five ways my family saves money every week allowing us to eat well AND stay within our means.

1. Save The Veggies!
So you’re chopping carrots and what’s the first thing you do? Slice off the tip and the end and toss them in the garbage. Instead of throwing them away, toss them into a freezer bag to make stock at your convenience. We do this with onions, celery, carrots, asparagus, even the occasional green and red pepper so that we can use them to make stock – chicken, veggie and sometimes beef stock. Every time I fill a gallon freezer bag with these veggie discards I yield a 10C batch of stock. Your average store bought broth clocks in at $3.50 that comes to $0.10 and oz that you’re saving, or $8.75 for a 10C batch. I freeze whatever stock I’m not using that day in 1qt portions to use later.

2. Mind Your Meat
I LOVE me a red juicy steak, ESPECIALLY in the morning with an over easy egg, homefries and watermelon (and, this girl’s supposed to be healthy?!) but that doesn’t mean I need a full 8oz strip at every meal. We shave at least $12 a week off of our budget by cooking meatless 2-3 out of the seven nights and by “peppering” our other meals with meat leaving the veggies to be the main dish. I’ll give you an example:

For our chicken kabob salad I only prepare 1 lg chicken breast (3 tenders, 2 thighs) for every 2 people. To ensure the hubs doesn’t go hungry, we make a large batch of hummus (good source of protein) and pile the veggies high. Its much cheaper to buy three bags of carrots than 2 lbs of meat!

If you find you are CRAVING meat on a meatless night, fry up some turkey bacon and crumble it on top of your entree (it’s surprisingly versatile). We’ve done this quite often and it definitely works.

3. Portion Police
A big way that I save time is by making one to two larger meals a week BUT I have found that if I do not siphon off portions for the other meals I need this stew to last for – we end up eating whatever I leave in the pot. Although it might seem too good to be true, putting out ONLY what we need to eat on the table keeps us from overeating and helps our meals to last longer. Sometimes, especially at first, family members might still be hungry when they reach the bottom of the bowl, make sure you have fresh seasonal fruit and veggies on the table can help finish off their appetite.

4. Scrumptiously Seasonal
I cannot stress this point enough, especially in the fall – buy seasonal! Even if you don’t love the item, it’s seasonal flavor might surprise you. I can only stand cantaloupe and peaches in season and there’s good reason for that – it’s naturally their time to shine!

Loading up on the seasonal fruit is also great way to stretch your nutritional dollar by replacing dessert. A bowl of fresh berries, a fresh-fruit smoothie, an unsweetened sorbet (mango is absolutely delicious) is not only better for you but is surprisingly competitive if not cheaper price-wise when bought in season. Great options for fall are pumpkin, squashes and “stuffed” soups and stews with hearty greens like kale.

5. One Big Batch
Although I can’t quite devote a whole day to food-prep, I do find ways to minimize my daily time-spend on food by making one big dish that lasts 3 meals for the week. This is also a great meal to stuff full of veggies especially ones that are harder to stand like radish leaves, kale, chard and beets. Kale stew, summer squash stew, white bean stew (seeing a pattern here?) chili, and chicken soup are some of my favorites. If we get tired of the meal or I have more than I planned on, I freeze 1 meals worth to use in a pinch.

By: Alysa Seeland

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My Nutritional Journey

My first guest post is from Phoebe B., of Sycamore CrossFit. I find her story is encouraging and inspiring and it has been so much fun to watch her go through this journey. 


421420_10100697951516669_1239380598_nNutrition is a vital part of health. It effects how we feel both physically and mentally. We can be aware of how important healthy eating is and still have a difficult time changing our life and our habits, but our excuses will never outweigh the benefits healthy eating can provide us. I had an incredible struggle making a change in my nutrition.

It took a long time for me to decide I needed to change my eating habits. When I was in college, I didn’t notice the effects junk food and fast food were having on me. I wasn’t really gaining weight. I was accumulating fat, but not a lot. I just assumed that if I wasn’t gaining weight then what I was doing couldn’t be bad for me. Boy was I wrong! I was drinking 3-4 cans of coke a day and going out to eat very often. I didn’t feel good. I had all sorts of stomach issues, and instead of looking at what I was eating as the culprit I just assumed I was “sick” or had some sort of health issue. I did, but it was because I was filling my body with junk!

I eventually realized I had to change my eating habits. The first big difficulty I had with this was that food had become very social for me. When I wanted to hang out with a friend, we would go out to eat. It became an expensive habit, but it was a way to connect with friends. I just couldn’t find the will power to say no. I eventually had to realize that there are other ways to spend time with friends. I have often offered to cook healthy food for friends at my home and it is usually greatly appreciated.

A second major struggle for me was figuring out what to eat. I was under the impression that as long as I made my own food at home it must be good for me. I would eat a giant plate of pasta with garlic bread and a little sauce and think I was doing great. I didn’t think about making sure I was eating protein and getting carbohydrates through vegetables that are filled with vitamins and minerals. It took me a long time to realize I needed to eat real food that lived and breathed or grew out of the earth.

Food had become a drug for me. The thing that really made a difference for me was having a support group. My husband is the owner of Sycamore CrossFit and the big change occurred for me when we did a healthy eating challenge. The competition aspect made a big difference for me as well as having the support of all my fellow members. I needed the accountability! I began to realize that food had become just like a drug addiction for me. I would eat something I knew was bad for my body and health. Afterward I would feel terrible both physically and emotionally. But the next time I had to make a choice I thought about how amazing it would taste. It really is an addition.

Finally changing my eating habits has made an amazing impact on my life. I feel better! My stomach issues have all but disappeared. The only time they really show up is when I indulge myself in a cheat meal. I have also noticed physical changes. What you eat is your fuel. My dad always says, “Eat to live; don’t live to eat.” I have seen amazing changes in the tasks I can accomplish physically and how I perform at the gym from changes in my eating. I still encounter a lot of difficulties. I still have friends that want to get together by going out to eat. I have learned to make the best choices I can and I always feel better afterward.

I am lucky that I have never struggled with an eating disorder, but I have definitely struggled with food addiction. I recently celebrated my first anniversary of quitting coke completely. No, not the drug, but I consider soda just as much of a drug. It’s no wonder we struggle with food addiction when the things they put in their products as well as their advertisements are designed to keep us coming back for more. I do not judge anyone for unhealthy eating. It is a very difficult choice and an uphill battle to eat healthier and change your life, but I promise you will never regret the times you ate something healthy.

Nutrition is a journey. There will be forks in the road, a LOT of forks in the road. When we reach that fork, we need to think about the consequences. Food is a drug. Food is an addiction. The unhealthy food might taste good right away, but when it wears off it was almost never worth it. When we reach the fork in the road, we must remind ourselves of the benefits of making the right decision.
Phoebe B.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

            -Robert Frost