Lean Green Mommy Machine

Thoughts on health, wellness, living green and motherhood

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Homemade Protein Shake

Don't act like you don't drink out of mason jars!

Don’t act like you don’t drink out of mason jars!

Protein shakes are pretty popular these days. Everyone seems to be going low carb and high protein based on various diets out there. I’ve enjoyed them as a quick breakfast with a big dose of protein to start my day and keep me full. I’m not following any particular diet. Mine is to control certain health issues.
But those protein powders are pretty processed, which is something I try to avoid. And when one of your health issues has you cutting back on sugar, those powders just won’t do.
So now I make my own protein shake and I really love it. I drink this almost every morning.

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Coconut, and Banana Protein Shake

1/2 cup Milk (whatever you’ve got, I use whole raw)
1 Tbsp Cottage cheese (one with a highrer fat content, mine is 4%)
1 Tbsp Greek Yogurt, plain (again, full fat, please)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
2 Tbsp Peanut butter
1 Tbsp Coconut oil (I like the unrefined in this recipe, it adds coconut flavor)
1 Tbsp (heaping) Cocoa powder
1/4 Cup Walnuts (shelled, of course)
1/8 cup Shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 Banana (do I need to say peeled?)
A handful of ice (if using a frozen banana, skip ice)

Toss it all in the blender and blend until smooth.

If you are just getting used to less sugar you may want to add a bit of honey to this as you wean off of sugary foods.


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Discouraged By Perfection?

I wrote a few months ago about how I think Real Food Bloggers need to get real already. It really is something that frustrates me and I feel turns a lot of people off of making better choices. If you’re constantly being told that the little changes you make aren’t good enough, then why bother?
I’m prone to griping about what bothers me and what I see wrong. But I have seen it said, I don’t know exactly…something about promoting what you love instead of bashing what you hate. I probably need to do more of that. Maybe we all do.
A post on Instagram made me feel the need to promote something I truly do love.
Organic Eater.
I don’t know Organic Eater (a.k.a. Dana) personally which makes this more valuable, I think. While so many bloggers out there are saying unless you meet their standard of food perfection you’re not doing enough. When they are saying if you can’t afford Organic you probably can give something up or work more hours. When they are saying if preparing so much food on your own is overwhelming, work more so you can pay someone else to do it.
Organic Eater is saying none of this.

She is saying to do what you can. To be willing to take any steps you can. To learn more. Do more. Do the best you can in your moment, in your situation. To simply work towards living a low crap lifestyle. That little steps matter and count and are worth while. Because they are.
She doesn’t demean, put down, act holier than thou. No insults. Quite the opposite.
She encourages, supports, and genuinely loves people towards a healthier lifestyle.
No matter where you are in this journey of eating well Dana will be there for you. Check out her blog and follow her on Instagram (she’s more active there).
She’s a mom and a wife living in the real world and encouraging people every day. Thank you for all you do, Dana!

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One Size Fits All Nutrition


I have a passion for nutrition. I love food and I love finding fun ways to eat healthy. I also truly enjoy helping others learn to make their health and nutrition a priority. I have many friends and family members who ask me for advice from simple substitutions to full meal plans. Someday I hope to do more with this aspect of my passion but right now I am focusing on raising my kids.
So knowing that healthy eating is my passion the next question is which idea do I believe in and teach? Paleo? Primal? Low carb? High fat? High protein? Vegetarian? Vegan? Raw?
The answer…. none.
I do not for one minute believe in one size fits all nutrition. I do believe there are certain things that fit across the board, such as avoid high fructose corn syrup and food dyes and artificial ingredients.
But I don’t think there is one way of eating that is 100% right for every single person. We all have such variety to our bodies and how they function best and what deficiencies they may have. It isn’t at all reasonable to say that any one way of eating can meet the needs of every single individual.
I am about 95% wheat free. I don’t go all out gluten free. I am NOT celiac but I have discovered it affects my blood sugar levels immensely (insulin resistance and PCOS). I do not believe everyone should therefore be wheat free (I know MANY people who get this way).
Our family drinks raw milk (and has been happily for over a year now) but I recently read a blog post by a mom whose family didn’t do well on raw milk. By golly, if it ain’t working don’t do it. I don’t care how healthy someone says it is.
It is so easy to find information that tells you whatever you want. I could present you with article after article on why wheat is good and why it is bad. Same with dairy, meat, anything.
I refuse as a mom, a health enthusiasts, as a nutrition passionist (yeah, I made that up) to jump on any eating bandwagon. When people ask me for help I try to meet them where they are and address them individually as much as I can with the knowledge I have and the research I do.
One day I do hope to obtain some sort of certification or degree in nutrition but I refuse to get a traditional degree (think Registered Dietician). They teach a complete one sized fits all approach to nutrition and don’t even get me started on their love of “diet” foods, low-fat and artificial sweeteners. We need far more nutritionists who study integrative nutrition and who understand that people are individual and there is no one way that can work for every single person.

I suggest you focus on incorporating more real food and less processed foods. Get in tune with your body and how it feels. You would be amazed at how much you can discover about what you need by listening to your body.

Sorry I haven’t been around much lately. Summer with the kids has kept me busy and I am now doing weekly freelance writing over at Buy Me A Pie. But I’ve missed being here and need to make more time for it. Always searching for balance!

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Are We Taking Gentle Parenting Too Far?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m not a fan of spanking. It’s not part of how I choose to or want to parent. I don’t take issue with friends who choose to spank. Everyone has to make the right choice for their own family.

There are many aspects of gentle or peaceful parenting that resonate with me. I like to (try to) slow down and discuss things with my kids, understand their point of view, talk things out, etc.
As I am around more parents and families I see a gentle aspect to parenting gaining ground. I feel, for the most part, this can be very positive. I think we need less yelling, less anger and more understanding and patience. But I have begun to wonder…
are we taking this too far?

I’ve heard of many parents who won’t say the word “no” to their child. They find it to be too negative (um…duh?) and is somehow damaging to the child. But life is full of NOs and how are we preparing our kids for that reality if they never hear that word. And honestly, I have a kid who feels everything is merely in the negotiation stage if you haven’t said “no”. Sometimes we need to hear “no”.

Another recent discovery is not telling a child they are doing something wrong but rather trying to guide them to do it the right way but by their own choice. I’ll wait a minute to let you get your head around that…. Now, I’m all for freedom of expression with coloring and pretending blocks are cars, that sort of thing. But if a child is putting their sunglasses on upside down and keeps fidgeting with them because they feel funny, it is ok to say, “You have them on wrong. They go like this.” But what I was recently told was “I try not to tell him he is doing something wrong but rather explain that perhaps he would be more comfortable if he changed something.”

I really have a hard time believing that telling my kid that she did something wrong, something that has a definitive right and wrong way, is going to permanently scar her and make her never share feelings, trust others or be creative. And when my kid is an adult and her boss tells her she has done something wrong, if we have shielded her from this concept her whole life, will she then be confused, hurt and upset? Will she understand how to handle the situation?

One last aspect of gentle parenting I have read about is this idea that we shouldn’t impose our desire and need for cleanliness and order onto kids. That that is our choice on how we want to live and our kids may not be that type of person and it isn’t fair to impose our feelings and beliefs on them (and make them clean or give them consequences for not keep rooms tidy). This seems insane to me. I wish someone had imposed some cleanliness on me as a child. I have struggled as an adult to get myself in a routine of cleaning and organization. We can’t simply allow our children to live in filth because we don’t want to impose our beliefs and will on them.

We need to remember in all of this parenting business that we are ultimately raising adults who need to be a functioning part of society. I fail to see the logic in the idea that guiding them, teaching them and giving them boundaries and rules (and even “no”) based on our life experience and personal beliefs is ruining them for life and that leaving them to rule the house and their lives based on their whims will lead to far greater success and joy in life.

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Just Because You’re Turning 30….

Today one of my favorite people of all time turns 30. My dear friend is just a wee babe, I know.
But don’t fret. Just because you are turning 30, and you’re a mom, and a teacher, does NOT mean you have to be all …mature and stuff.
It’s not a requirement at all.

For the record, we were talking about daycare jobs!

For the record, we were talking about daycare jobs!

Love you girl! Have an awesome birthday!


Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That!

ScaleDo you ever read some of the articles and blog posts on how to get in shape and think, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”? (thank you Sweet Brown!)
I know I do.
This morning I was reading a blog post from one of those real food bloggers I mentioned before. She was talking about how she lost weight with the help of her Fitbit. Now I read her posts so I know a bit about her life situation. I suggested that I¬†would love to see a post about how to realistically get fit when you have 3+ kids, no nanny, no housekeeper and can’t afford a treadmill desk or fitbit and also don’t live somewhere with perpetually perfect weather.
Well her only reply was to say that the treadmill desk was a necessary investment for her personally because of her long hours at her computer for work (I get that). But she did feel the Fitbit was fully worth the $100 investment and costs less than a personal trainer and most gym memberships (who said I can afford those either! lol).
She never addressed the nanny, housekeeper, number of kids or where you live. Her emphasis on the device made me return to the post. I then noticed two things: her asking who wants to do a Fitbit challenge along with her AND links to purchase a Fitbit. Well clearly everyone is going to see that she lost 10 lbs in 6 weeks and that she is emphasizing this specific device in being key. And THEN they get a chance to do a challenge with a well-known blogger. Well, I imagine these Fitbits are flying off the shelves. And this blogger is making a pretty penny on it. See, those links all go to a specified Amazon page where she will earn money when people buy through that link.
No wonder that was the only part of my query she addressed (and emphasized how she couldn’t have lost the weight without it).
Now it may be a great device. Maybe you own one and love it. Good. Go get ’em, tiger.
I could probably muster up the money for it (though I can think of so much more to spend it on. I have FOUR kids!). But then you have to log all of your food and weigh yourself and enter your weight into it (or by a special scale that does it for you, and the blogger makes money off of that too).
I just feel like…ain’t nobody got time for that! (seriously, have you seen the autotune?¬†Awesome.)
I told my husband about my dilemma. There aren’t realistic weight loss or getting fit posts. Nobody seems to take into account having 4 kids, rushing them to sports, running your own daycare (more kids!), being a freelance writer, cooking and cleaning (no nanny or housekeeper here!) and the unpredictable weather of the midwest. I don’t have time to hit the gym nor do I have the money for the membership.
My husband says, “It sounds like YOU need to write this post.”
I think he is right. So now I plan to think of ways to fit in fitness when it seems impossible. And how to do it with little to no money spent.
I’ll let you know what I come up with in a future post (where I promise to not try to sell you things).
In the meantime, how have you managed to fit in fitness?

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The Moment That Changed My Heart

We women and girls can tend to be very hard on ourselves. We expect to be perfect, like the women and girls portrayed in the media. We constantly criticize ourselves for being too fat, too thin, too pale, too curly, too straight.
Too much.
Not enough.
Not good enough.

And somehow, when even unprompted compliments wash over us, we simply can not believe we are enough. That we are beautiful.
All of us.
Being an adult and a mom doesn’t make that go away. In fact the changes my body has seen after 4 kids have made it worse.
When will we stop? When will we see God’s love in ourselves and realize who we really are?
When you have a moment.
Mine happened this past week…

I was laying on the floor playing with my youngest daughter, Poppy, who is 4. It was just she and I. Tickling. Laughing. Playing.
We lay there at one point, holding hands. I looked down at her hand in mine and here is what happened in my brain, “My hand looks so old. I see some spots there. Age spots. I just look old. Worn.”
And then in the very next moment, God spoke to my heart.
I am holding hands with my amazing, wonderful daughter. She tells me I am beautiful. She tells me I sing beautifully (which I do not but this shows how she sees me in her heart). She curls up with me multiple times per day, getting as close as she can, stroking my arm, leg face. She can not get enough of being near me. Loving me. It is pure joy to her heart.
And the only thing I found in that moment, that beautiful moment, was that I did not look good enough.
I truly felt God touch my heart right then. I felt something change.
I AM good enough. God placed me here for these girls. To be their mother, love them, guide them.
They show me everyday that their love for me is endless and not based on how I match up with an airbrushed supermodel.
I’ve told myself a million times to change how I think but it isn’t that simple. I needed God to speak into my heart in that moment.
And he did.