Healthy Living & Clean Eating

With 2017 being the year of healthy living and clean eating for myself and my family. I’ve found consistency to be my biggest challenge – especially when we travel or are just out for the day. I know that the majority of this comes back to me being super organised and prepared…but in reality it just doesn’t happen. At home everything is great, but as soon as we are out and about the wheels often fall off.

This is why I’ve decided to set myself a personal challenge to 30 days of healthy living, with no if’s, but’s or exceptions! WISH ME LUCK!!  My aim is to support my body to naturally do it’s job…detoxify over 30 days (minimum). I will do this by:

  1. Promoting a healthy gut flora
  2. Eat organic produce, grass fed meat.
  3. Increase the quality of my nutrient intake
  4. Balance blood sugar and internal pH
  5. Exercise everyday to help my body to eliminate toxins and to clear my mind.

I’m going to remove coffee and alcohol from my diet.

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The alcohol part will be easy, but I’m dreading the thought of not having my morning coffee.

Also wheat/gluten/yeast, dairy, sugar, corn & soy will be avoided. These ingredients a minimal in my diet at home now anyway, but it’s learning to avoid them when I’m busy and out for the day or travelling.

To make the avoidance of these foods easier, I’m going to be prepared and set myself up for success rather than caving when hungry strikes and I’ve got nothing organised to eat. I am going to use Arbonne’s Plant-Powered nutrition to support me during those times and also when I need the convenience of something quick and easy. The protein shakes contain 20g of easy-to-digest vegan protein and over 20 vitamins and minerals. They taste delicious and will save me when I’m time poor and unprepared.

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The 30 days to Healthy Living & Beyond has been inspired by the Arbonne nutritional range and complements my families clean eating so perfectly. I’m super excited to get started (October 2nd is Day 1) and really push myself to be consistent.

Wish Me Luck,

Juggling with Jacqui x

New Home, New Term, New Routines

IMG_3640For my family term 3 represents NEW, NEW, NEW! All this newness is exciting but can cause our kids to feel anxious. The sense of predictability and stability to the day has changed, and it’s the big scary unknown NEW.

We’ve tried to minimise our kids anxiety by moving during the school holidays, this gave them 3 weeks to adjust to their new bedrooms, new home and new surrounds. They enjoy the time and freedom to set up their own space, explore the property and create the sense of their new home.

Getting back into the school routine not only brings anxiety to our kids, but also my husband and I. I had to coordinate drop offs and picks ups at new locations, without knowing timings. The Maps app on my phone was used to calculate length of trips, but until you are doing them it’s a massive uncertainty and no child wants to be left to feel stranded somewhere with no parents around to pick them up!

The coordination of 7 peoples lives, social and sporting actives plus running businesses from home is definitely a full time career! Hence why when I’m asked, will you go back to working as a Veterinarian – I think…where would that fit into my week?

I aim to stay organised, and to be honest at times wish I was more organised. There is always room for improvement, right? Here are some of the tools I use:

  1. Weekly planning on paper – each Sunday I make time to plan the week ahead, this is called my ‘Winning Week’ & I write it all down on paper. I use calendars in my phone as my diary and way of keep track of everyone and everything that’s going on. But each week I plan the week ahead on 1 piece of paper so that I can see it quickly at a glance and now what needs to be done and when.
  2. Meal planning – during my weekly plan I also meal plan. I find that it has to be done together because depending on the flow of my week, will depend on what I can cook. Some nights I have to cook dinner earlier in the day as the evening is busy with driving kids around, sporting events or work commitments.
  3. Chore rosters – this is a weekly roster I’ve created for the kids chores. I was so sick and tired of them arguing over who’s turn it was to unpack the dishwasher, that I created and roster and now they just check it and do it. It works a charm, and there is no fighting and I’m not nagging them to do it.
  4. Routines – we have 3 basic routines that I find are needed and work well for us. A Morning, Home from School & Bedtime routine. These give the younger kids a visual sequence to what they need to do. I find that they really enjoy following their ‘job’ list and feel a sense of accomplishment and empowerment when they do everything for themselves.
  5. Lists – I keep lists for everything else, my daily to do’s, jobs I need to do in town, grocery list in the pantry. You get the idea, basically if it’s not written down it doesn’t happen!

I hope these tips help you and your family to create your own winning week each and every week too!

Juggling with Jacqui x

 

The cost of eating organic

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I have been buying organic food for my family of 7 where possible all year, so for the past 6 months now. Before I started the GAPS diet I’d committed at the start of the year to buy organic preferably wherever possible. I must admit, in rural Victoria this isn’t the easiest but I’ve found an incredible business that delivers a box of seasonal organic fruit and vegetables to my door each week. Check them our here.

It’s interesting how much more we now pay for things, but how much different they taste and how much more we enjoy the food we are consuming.

During the transition from our previous western diet to our now organic whole foods diet the weekly food bill was variable and probably was costing us a little more, because I was trying to keep everyone happy and by organic versions of our current diet. Now, 6 months in the weekly food costs are less than before.

The reasons for this include:

  1. buying in bulk
  2. no packaged/highly processed foods
  3. less take away/eating out
  4. changing the way we eat (for example I used to buy at least 12 x 3L milks each week
  5. now we consume very little and only organic milk).
  6. meal planning each week (the more organised I am the less it costs…pays to be organised 🙂 I used to always think I don’t have the time to meal plan, but the time I spend meal planning each week saves me money and so much time throughout the week & I we all really notice when my planning slackens off!)
  7. less waste – eat everything and any leftovers are tomorrow’s breakfast or lunch.
    eating seasonally available foods, foods with produce (can’t wait to the chooks to be back at their full laying capacity)

I’ve recently found the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list, if you don’t know what it is here it is below:

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Source: David Suzuki

This is a list of the top 12 foods that contain the MOST contamination and you should AIM to buy organic and the least contamination 15 foods. I love this list!! If you are looking to nourish your family with organic food but are concerned about the increase expense then use this list as your guide to prioritise what you buy.

For me, nourishing my family with good quality, organic whole foods is my number one priority.

Juggling with Jacqui x

The link between the gut and the brain

What is GAPS and why are we doing it?

Late last year my oldest son was given a diagnosis of dyslexia & questionable Asperger’s syndrome (however we don’t see this at home). 

His anxiety and behavioural issues have only been a problem in the school environment, at home he is just our quirky George. A way of coping & disguising his dyslexia he had started to develop behaviors in the classroom that made it difficult for him to engage & learn. Yes, he is unique but so are all 5 of our children!

It was at this point I put my scientific mind to work and researched as much as I could about ASD, Asperger’s, dyslexia and anything else that I thought may have related to my son. Somehow, over the many hours of reading and research I found Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride and her work resonated with me. She believes that the link between physical and mental health, the food and drink that we take, and the condition of our digestive system is absolute, and the results of her work have supported her position on this subject. If you’d like to read more about Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride click here.

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Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride
She has a diet specifically designed to heal the gut of those suffering from conditions that I was being told my son has. I was excited, but was it too good to be true? I still needed to do more research and understand the GAPS diet in more detail. My scientific and analytical mind needed to do it’s due diligence. I’ve studied at the tertiary level the anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and pathology of all gastrointestinal systems on the planet, but I’d never been aware of how the health of the GIT affects the mental state. And if I really healed my sons gut (whatever that means) could I really help his symptoms? To read more about the GAPS diet, click here.

This lead me to find Jo Whitton’s Quirky Cooking for Gut Health program. Jo has created an online program for people like me that are new the GAPS, explaining all of the tips, tricks and recipes for a successful transition to GAPS food. It is amazing, I tried a few of the recipes but still felt overwhelmed and scared of really how to start. I had so many questions, and didn’t know how I could completely change the way my family eats! That’s a big task for a family of 7, with the kids age range from 18 to 4.

I had seen the Life Changing Food Gut Health Retreat advertised and thought if we are going to embark on this journey to heal and nourish our guts, I need to be equipped with the tools, knowledge and confidence to make it all happen. If it’s going to be, it’s up to me!  This was the BEST thing I could have done. I came home for the retreat with a crystal clear vision of how I was going to implement these changes to help not only my son but our whole family of 7.

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Jo Whitton & I in Far North Queensland
And so, this is where we are at the start of our GAPS journey! I’m excited to share it with you here, I don’t know how it’s going to go, how long it’ll take, how many roadblocks will get in our way; but what I do know is that I’m focused to nourish my family with wonderful whole foods and eventually have our own organic fruit and vegetable garden and subsistence meat in the paddocks.

Juggling with Jacqui x

Mother’s Day with GAPS

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With a crystal clear vision for improving the gut health of my 5 babies, I broke our families Mother’s Day tradition this year!

I decided to stay home and cook a nourishing meal for my whole family; parents, brother & his girlfriend, husband and our 5 children.

Mum and I choose meals for the Life-Changing Food cookbook inspired by our recent visit to the gut health retreat in Far North Queensland. For more info click here.

As only my family is transitioning to Full GAPS, this was a perfect way to introduce the rest of the family to the whole foods diet. Together we feasted on Sunflower Seed Paella with Prawn & Chorizo, Lebanese-style Herb & Nut Crusted Fish (my brother caught on his recent fishing trip to Darwin, Northern Territory), Roast Vegetable Salad and finished with Apple Pie!

I’m delighted that it was all delicious and all 11 of us were very satisfied.

Tonight as I reflect on the day, I’m so grateful that I choose to break from our normal tradition of visiting a winery for lunch and instead nourish my family with a beautiful home cooked meal that I enjoyed preparing alongside my wonderful Mum. I’m excited to see where else our GAPS journey takes us and how it will improve our lives.

Juggling with Jacqui x