Saturday Bonus <> Why I’m Working Hard to Make Sure a Hot Shower Before Bed Is My Newest Habit

I’ve talked before about how I live cold. From October to May, I’m cold 90% of my waking hours.

And here’s the frustrating bit – I do all the right things. My husband bought me heated socks (and heated handwarmers). I own, and regularly use, four Magic Bags. I exercise regularly and eat healthfully. I’ve had iron infusions to help offset some issues with anemia. I turn up the heat. I wear layers inside the house and out. I use high-quality winter gear. I turn on the seat warmers in the car, wear driving gloves, and blast the heater. I drink hot beverages and have throw blankets everywhere. I’ve even tried, counter-intuitively enough, cold showers (which do become slightly more bearable over time, but since they did nothing for my battles with being cold, I have gladly abandoned them).

All this and I’m still freezing.

I’ve learned to live through the discomfort. But it does get tiresome having a core temperature that hovers at teeth chattering levels.

The best solution I’ve discovered – from the laundry list of things I’ve tried – is a hot shower. It can take a while to fully thaw but, once I do, it is such a relief. Lately, I’ve been aiming to make this a daily habit.

My parents always bathed/showered at night and I thought it was an evening activity relegated to older generations. For most of my teenage and early adult life, I latched on to morning showers. It was a nice way to clear the cobwebs before 8:30 am classes at university, but it hasn’t been that practical with busy work/parenting schedules in this season of life. Plus, if I shower in the morning, I’m wet while having to move through my day. And being wet and cold is a whole other level of misery.

So lately I’ve been making these evening thawing sessions non-negotiable. I crank up the hot water and linger for as long as it takes to feel warm. Sometimes it’s only a minute or two, other times it can take a lot longer. I wear almost no makeup but loathe washing my face anyway, so an evening shower is the perfect solution for that problem as well (I use specialty microfibre clothes that only require water, no makeup remover). I sourced a good shower cap and wash my hair a few times a week.

It’s such a relaxing way to finish off a busy day, and the only guaranteed solution to my hypothermic state. And, as a bonus, since I’m clean, warm, and relaxed, I end up sleeping better too.

What about you? Any great tips and tricks for staying warmer I should try out this winter?

Header photo by Diana Akhmetianova on Unsplash

No Chocolate This Halloween (For Me, Not the Kids)

Last fall I found myself on an elimination diet; no wheat, no dairy, no soy, no peanut butter. No Halloween candy.

This meant, unlike other years, there was no debating. No rationing. No binging. And no early-November surge on the scale.

Turns out, a Halloween without candy (as an adult at least) was fine.

In fact, when we took a family trip around the the Cabot Trail last year (also in the midst of the aforementioned elimination diet) – while others munched on granola bars and cookies – I ate dried figs. They’re delicious and, quite honestly, almost as satisfying as a cookie (with a lot less guilt).

My favourite family pumpkin to-date.

I’m not an abstainer by nature. I like food too much to cut any one food group out indefinitely (and the elimination diet revealed I don’t have any specific food allergies – but I do have sensitivities to wheat, coffee, dairy, soy, and garlic).

But when it comes to Halloween candy, saying “no” from the get-go can feel…liberating.

So this year I’m going to pass on the chocolate. All of it.

If you need me, you can find me eating some dried figs.

…though when Christmas rolls around, you’d better believe I’ll binge my bag of Twizzlers.

Productivity Hack: Take a Walk

In what is probably the most simplistic hack out there, I’m recommending we all go take a hike. Literally.

Tired? Take a walk.

Feeling sad, lonely, or anxious? Take a walk.

Mental block during your workday? Take a walk.

Want to connect with a loved one? Take a walk.

Trying to improve physical fitness? Take a walk.

This summer I re-read Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals: How Artist’s Work. What I found most interesting about this book were the commonalities between so many prolific creative/scientific minds. Aside from the copious amount of stimulants and depressants (drugs, alcohol, and coffee were in liberal supply), a large proportion of people discussed the importance of daily walks, often of lengthy duration. 

We might not set up a private walking track like Charles Darwin or be able to escape to the woods of Massachusetts like Thoreau, but chances are we could all fit just a bit more walking into our daily lives.

The sights, sounds, and smells of nature might, sometimes, be able to cure what ails us.

A Quick Exercise Update

Not that anyone likely cares that much about my personal exercise routine, but for what it’s worth, here’s a little update!

I heaved a big sigh of relief last Thursday – it marked the final day of September and my final day in a month-long running challenge.

I’m not quite sure what’s happened, but exercise just feels like more of a chore lately and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit running daily for 30 days didn’t feel like a continuation on that theme. But it wasn’t all that bad. Without a prescribed minimum or maximum, I ended up running an average of 1.2 km/day. Considering I was running 8-10 km – multiple times a week – a few years ago, it’s extremely low mileage. But it’s something. And with my walking workouts, I clocked in at about 130 km for the month of September. Well off my 200 km pace back in June, but quite respectable.

I’m not sure what’s next, but I’ll definitely be taking a month off from any set challenge. I’d like to run just for fun, without needing to check any box, and see if I can start getting my mileage up a bit. I really do miss those longer runs, but it feels like too much work to get back into that shape right now. (That said, this is perfect running weather. I love fall, and I love exercising in the fall. I loathe sweating and I hate being cold; the late morning/early evening cool air in October is my happy place. I don’t need a coat or gloves, but it’s temperate enough I don’t get overheated. Oh if only this would last all the way through to spring).

Honestly, at this point, it feels like my inertia is less about the work and more about the time. And, as Laura Vanderkam says, when we say we don’t have the time, it likely means it’s not a priority. So yeah, running and exercise goals, in general, are just not a priority right now.

And that’s okay.

I’ve been shunning Microsoft Teams and Google Meets in exchange for walk-and-talks. It’s a nice way to pass the time and I really don’t even notice I’m exercising (until I start walking up a hill and notice I’m running out of breath while talking, and then I feel a bit self-conscious). We’ll continue on with our morning walks to school. I’m trying to make more trips up and down the stairs. Little ways to squeeze exercise into a busy schedule.

And, who knows – I may even fit in some more solo walks with my pre-teen to start dreaming up the next elaborate birthday cake plans.

How I Structure Meal Planning, Cooking, and Leftovers

I love food. Like really, really love food. I read recipe blogs (for fun), discuss favourite foods at greath length with friends and family, reminisce about best meals, and, above all, love eating.

That said, food is a lot of work: from keeping a running list of what needs replacement in the cupboard, to shopping at the store (or sitting in the curbside pickup line), to putting things away, to prepping and serving food – and don’t forget cleaning up after it’s all over. In many parts of the world, for women at least, acquiring water and preparing food are the predominant activities in their lives.

We have a lot of time-saving advantages in the West – many of which are arguably very detrimental to our health (I just finished Hooked, a book all about food, free will, and how food giants exploit modern consumers).

For the most part, I prepare the food we eat from scratch. This takes considerable time, but it doesn’t have to be prohibitive (I spend a lot less time in the kitchen than I used to). I buy most bread products, though we’re pretty low consumers in that department. But I make all our soups and casseroles; I chop the veggies and hardboil the eggs and cube the cheese. I’m getting a bit better at letting myself spend money on conveniences – I did buy pre-sliced cheese for the kids lunchboxes this year – revolutionary – and have bought some Zoodles (getting bits of zucchini out of a spiralizer is about as fun as ironing in my opinion…and ironing ranks right up there with getting a root canal).

Meal planning

I don’t have a specific meal-planning schedule. I tend to plan things out for the week ahead on Saturday or Sunday afternoon, but this is usually just a rough sketch. I shop sales – and try to use seasonal veggies – so often base our menu off what is available/economical.

I think one of my biggest tricks has to do with a predetermined culinary bent – I love to eat the same thing. Don’t get me wrong, I prepare a broad range of dishes and enjoy experimenting with new recipes, but I rarely get tired of rotating standard favourites.

Back when I was completing my undergrad I ate the same thing 90% of the time for breakfast: an English muffin with peanut butter and banana. I never once got tired of it. Last year I went almost a month eating the exact same salad for lunch every day. While I prioritize making healthy meals, I don’t necessarily aim for novelty. I rotate about 15(ish) primary meals and have another dozen or so that I cook less frequently. For me holidays and special occasions have their own pre-set menu, and most of those dishes are unique to specific times of the year.

For day-to-day inspiration, I enjoy the Pinch of Yum and Ambitious Kitchen websites; Oh She Glows cookbooks are wonderful, even if you aren’t pursuing a plant-centric diet.


My part-time work schedule can be quite flexible and since COVID, I work exclusively from home. What I’ve found works best (and something I instituted last year for the first time): setting aside 2 hours twice a week (I did this from 9 – 11 AM on Tuesday/Thursday mornings) for cooking. I haven’t stuck with this over the summer – when our schedules and menus change dramatically anyway – but plan to go back to the same system this fall.

In those two hours I’ll prep veggies for lunches, make a soup that’s destined straight for the freezer, prepare a different soup (but one that shares some of the same ingredients) for supper that night and prepare some protein (a chicken, for example) that will get used a few different ways during the week.

I’d say this new system has halved the time I’m in the kitchen. It is a MESS by the end of the two hours, but I usually get 4-5 items (several mains, several sides/a baked good, and some lunchbox prep) completed in those two hours.

While I might not always have a specific menu in place at the start of the week, it does follow a predictable pattern:

Monday (a day I don’t cook): I pull something from the freezer. Sometimes this is frozen leftovers, and sometimes this might be a dish I’ve prepared to go directly in the freezer. If it’s something like meatballs, I would cook rice and warm up a veggie, but nothing that involves chopping or pureeing. Minimal effort is key.

Tuesday (a day I cook): this will be a more involved meal. Sometimes I’ll cook the whole meal up in the morning (like I might actually prepare a stir-fry and then refrigerate it). Sometimes, though, I’ll just get the components ready in the morning and cook them fresh at supper time. These meals tend to be heartier and more involved. I always make sure to cook extra – either for the freezer or for Wednesday…

Wednesday (a day I don’t cook): leftovers. This will be a mish-mash of what’s in the fridge, typically a combination of leftovers from Monday/Tuesday evening.

Thursday (a day I cook): again, this is a fresh meal. Ditto Tuesday’s directive.

Friday (a day I don’t cook): Waffle day! I know this is traditionally pizza night in many households, but last year I started making a new waffle recipe. The kids and I usually go sweet – peanut butter, fruit, and bit of maple syrup – while John prefers savory (topped with bacon and eggs, for example). I almost always prep the waffles in advance (in that 2-hour cooking spree on Tuesday or Thursday morning; they refrigerate and freeze well).

Saturday and Sunday: These are date nights at home; John usually cooks or orders takeout, so I’m off the hook. One of these nights the kids will eat leftovers from Thursday/Friday, and the other night they usually have some fun and fast item (boxed Mac n’ Cheese, scrambled eggs, homemade pizza, toast and fruit).

I happen to enjoy cooking and while I can find it all overwhelming at times, I don’t really want to eliminate the responsibility from my life. I get pleasure from experimenting with new recipes and like knowing what’s gone in to the items we’re consuming.

That said, cooking is definitely something that can be outsourced with zero guilt! Delivery/take-out, meal-delivery baskets or skipping some steps (pre-cut veggies, pre-sliced cheese for the win) to expedite the process are all great workarounds!

Don’t Quote Me: Food, And the Choices I Make Around It, Do Not Indicate My Worth As a Human

There is no cheating, there are decisions. There is no failure, just consequences.

Food, for many of us, is a very weighty subject (in every sense of the word). How much we eat, what we eat and where (take-out in front of the TV; sitting around a table with family), how we eat (quickly, emotionally; slowly, mindfully) – these can occupy significant mental headspace.

It’s tempting (and can, in some cases, be helpful) to carefully examine our own behaviours around food; it can be easy to start labeling patterns as good vs. bad, healthy vs. unhealthy. While choices do matter very much, what, how, where, and when we eat does not have to be a statement about our worth or significance. It doesn’t have to be some damning aspect of our personality that defines us.

I love this quote from Melissa Hartwig Urban’s (the co-founder of Whole30) book Food Freedom.

You do not cheat; you make a choice. You do not fail; you make a choice. Your choices do not define you as a person. There is no guilt, shame, or punishment, only consequences.

Imagine, for a moment, that your food is just food, and that your choices are just choices. What you eat is not a statement about your self-worth, your value, or your significance in this world.

Melissa Hartwig

Imagine – food being just food, choices being just choices.

Food for thought indeed…

What Do Your Kids Eat: Q&A

How could I do a week of food-related posts and not wade into the murky waters that is feeding children. I feel like I have relatively little drama to report, but it’s always interesting to see how different families navigate the potential minefields associated with nourishing finicky eaters.

What do your kids eat?

Peeling some garlic for a cilantro + avocado dressing.

Mostly they eat what we eat. This was our plan as soon as they started eating solids. But, there are definitely some caveats to that.

While we rarely cook a separate meal for our kids (except on Saturday and Sunday evenings when John and I have an in-home date), their relative serving sizes of various items can vary. Saturday or Sunday they’ll tend to have something easy and “kid” friendly like boxed Mac n’ Cheese or Naan-bread pizzas or cheese omelets, and the other supper is typically leftovers.

Occasionally I’ll make a meal that’s, how shall I put this, not their “favourite” (trust me, they use much stronger language in describing it). If there are leftovers and I can’t bear the thought of fielding endless complaints and a 50-minute timeline for eating 6 bites, I’ll let them have something different in place of the leftovers (it’s typically something delicious, like a Thai stir-fry, they’re balking at, so larger servings of the leftovers for the adults is a good thing).

What if they refuse to eat something?

We’re largely past this stage. At 6.5 and 10.5, while they might voice a strong opinion about something, the worst they do is complain. Occasionally someone (ahem, the 6-year-old) will refuse to eat a particular meal – this usually requires some perfect storm of a less-preferred food item + some emotional response (tired, fighting with his older sister). We tend to not make a huge deal of this but will give a timeline that the food will be available. After that point, the kids are expected to wait until the next meal. When they were little we used to say: “Well, hopefully, you like the next meal more.” Between the two of them, a handful of meals have been skipped over the years – no one starved and they have pretty solid eating habits.

Mains are enforced, sides are not

One child adores olives, the other hates them. One tolerates raw bell peppers, they make another child gag – literally. I try to have options. I like to incorporate things they don’t like in ways that are more palatable (I make a chicken curry with cooked, diced bell peppers and no one complains; I’ll dice up mushrooms in chili and no one notices). If we’re having a roasted chicken and there are two vegetables, I’ll let the kids chose only one if they like.

they eat a lot more gluten, dairy and sugar than I do

It is a PB&J summer for them, after all. After completing a Whole30 (see below), I don’t think anyone is dramatically impacted by any specific food group.

They eat toast once a week or so; their cereal is “healthier” but still comes with sugar added. While they may naturally eat less gluten/dairy/soy/sugar than some of their peers simply because I avoid most of those things in my cooking – I don’t stop them from consuming those foods, especially when out and about.

I do try to at least temper their access to sugary treats, but it seems every event (camps, potlucks, meals with friends, the never-ending stream of birthday parties) comes with some dessert option and for now I let them go with it. I have a hard time resisting homemade sweets so my solution has been to dramatically reduce the number of homemade sweets I make. But they still have lots, and lots, and lots of treats.

2021’s birthday cookie cake.

what about elimination diets? did they do the whole-30 with you?

Last year I cut out caffeine, dairy, soy, peanut butter, garlic and gluten for almost 3 months. The only major culprit I could isolate was garlic – how ironic, as I LOVE garlic. I did not have the kids adhere to any of these changes (aside from the fact that I wasn’t making shared dishes with soy sauce, peanut butter, garlic, etc). But their school lunchboxes stayed the same, they still had dessert, peanut butter on toast, and milk on their morning oatmeal.

When we did Whole30 last June, the kids came along for the ride. It went remarkably well (though I didn’t feel great, likely in large part due to the excessive and daily consumption of garlic, which I’ve now isolated is a real trigger for me?!). The ONLY struggle was cow’s milk. Oats are considered off-limits for Whole30, and almond/cashew/coconut milk just did not meet muster for one child. We all survived it, but there were a few tears over the one month off cow’s milk for said child (who, also ironically, had a dairy allergy as a baby).

How do you get them to eat things they don’t like?

My goal as a mother is not to inflict culinary misery on my kids. I don’t want them to grow up feeling like they have to like everything and I think there are some challenges from my own childhood that are rearing their head now in my eating habits (not being able to detect hunger cues, feeling the urge to clear my plate at EVERY meal, despite fullness, to access dessert).

That said, I try hard to make meals that are healthy, engage their palate, but don’t directly interfere with their likes/dislikes. Left to their own devices, neither of my kids would take veggies with their meatballs and rice. But it’s non-negotiable for me. My kids eat salad and curry and, yes, even stir-fries every once in a while. They don’t ask for a different meal because that has never been the expectation (they do, however, sometimes complain about what’s on offer).

The preschool program both kids attended as youngsters would ask each child at meal times: “Would you like a lot or a little.” A little could mean one green bean from the backyard garden, but it was all about trying new things. I think giving kids a sense of control, while concurrently nudging them to try new flavours and gain experience in curating a broad palate, is an important part of growing up.

I also don’t think that having a picky eater is necessarily an indication of future preferences. I didn’t have a broad palate as a child (though I did have to eat what was put in front of me) and now love a huge range of foods that would be foreign to my parents. My father cannot wrap his head around why anyone would eat sushi, for instance. Also, I once went to a delicious Indian restaurant with my brother and parents. My Dad took one bite of the basmati rice and said “This tastes like cardboard.” For some context, I grew up on Minute Rice…

What COULD use some tweaking?

My eating habits are always evolving and, at this point at least, this has very definite impacts on the kids. They eat nutritional yeast and nori and banana ice cream and drink sparkling water because the adults in the house – who have the buying power – do.

There are always improvements that can be made both in the food itself and consumption patterns. I definitely eat too fast. The kids are a bit slower, but I think we’d all do well to pace ourselves and enjoy the process of eating a bit more, allowing our food to digest and our conversations to grow (the sad reality is a delicious meal that took 2 hours to prepare, can take 5 minutes to eat).

I’m curious to see what food preferences crop up as they get older and develop more mature palates. I’m aiming to give them a good foundation – and the rest will be up to them.

My Food Habits Through the Years: What’s Changed & What I Eat Now

Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

Food sustains us physically and mentally. It provides the energy we need to lead productive, healthy lives, but also offers a sense of community, security, and cultural identity (at a national level and within core family units).

But, sadly, food has also come to represent struggle and guilt and corporate greed. The fact that access to food and clean water can be prohibitive for so many on our planet is appalling. Waste, power struggles, and the ravages of famine and war create a complicated web of motivations and consequences that lead to these shortcomings. And, of course, individuals that are already marginalized bear the brunt of this cascade.

I wish I could fix all the woes of society. I can’t (He can!), but recognizing the issue is an important first step both individually and collectively.

I love that my neighbours put out baskets of free (no-spray!) home-grown veggies from the surplus of their garden. I appreciate that I live in a part of the country where farm markets and vegetable stalls show up in happy clusters everywhere – a dozen within 5 minutes of my home – with relatively affordable prices on fresh produce, with some of the excess donated to local food banks. I’m glad my local grocery store reduces produce that is past its prime so that bag of wilted spinach can get a new life in my pot of chili instead of ending up in a dumpster.

None of these solve the world’s problems, but they’re all steps in the right direction. Food, and our relationship with it, can be messy – at both geopolitical and personal levels. I’ll deal with the latter from here on out.

WHAT Did I eat Growing Up (0-17)

My mom was a very traditional cook: meat, potatoes, and vegetables formed the basis for most meals. Food was largely cooked from scratch, though things like condensed soups were in regular rotation for casseroles. Mom was a good cook, and I still love and crave many of the dishes from my childhood.

But, portions were large and dessert was served at both lunch AND supper. There were stints of cutting back on fat or using things like Splenda to artificially sweeten things. Weight was a perpetual struggle for several family members. I don’t remember any discussions about healthy eating, other than things like butter and eggs were seen to be Critical Enemy #1.

I ate heaping bowls of Fruit Loops for breakfast with impunity, there was always ice cream in the freezer, and we drank Kool-Aid and Tang and Pepsi (Diet, of course).

But the bread was always homemade, we almost never ate fast food, and we rarely snacked between meals – all behaviours that stick with me today.

middle years (17-25)

When I left home at 17 for university (goodness I was young), I hit the jackpot – though at first I thought I’d been punk’d.

Because I was so young my parents wanted to make sure I maintained the security of a home environment. A few phone calls later and I was living in a small, lime green bedroom in an old home with creaky floors alongside a widowed 82-year-old fidgety (and sometimes cranky) woman named Dorthy.

Turns out, Dorthy (or Dot, as I called her) was amazing. A feminist who enjoyed her daily libations, she could run circles around me. Between bridge clubs and birthday clubs and church clubs and movie clubs, she practically needed a private secretary to organize her schedule. She had a sharp wit, always wore bright red lipstick when she was leaving the house, and happened to do my laundry for me. Also, she was a fabulous cook.

I gained an appreciation for butter (I grew up on margarine only) and steamed vegetables (always, always boiled at home). I learned to control portion sizes (smaller plates, slower eating). I ate quiche (yech) and brussels sprouts (surprisingly delicious) and curried chicken (yes, please) for the first time. Dessert was served occasionally, without any guilt or artificial sweeteners.

Next up was 1-year sharing a house (and kitchen) with two middle-aged ladies. I ate a lot of eggs. I can’t remember much else in terms of food from that year aside from eggs – usually microwaved – on a toasted bagel with ketchup.

Then marriage! The bliss of our own tiny apartment kitchen. We were both finishing Master’s degrees and money wasn’t exactly growing on trees. We bought concentrated juice that was basically sugar water, ate Kraft Dinner, and had dessert frequently. Where was Dot when we needed her?

what i eat now (25-)

Breakfast in bed Mother’s Day 2021; I rarely eat breakfast, but it was worth it for a banana with PB + raisins + walnuts. A slightly refined ants-on-a-log. And coffee; Daddy helped with that.

My eating habits have changed dramatically in the last 10 years. Micro-adjustments have added up to fundamental shifts in my ideology around food. I’ve had some testing for food sensitivities which has coloured my experience. But mostly I’ve (though this is also a collective family journey) listened to my body (and the scale) to isolate what foods serve my health.

I’ve tried Whole-30 (twice), gone on trial elimination diets (cutting out coffee, gluten, soy, tomato, garlic, peanut butter, dairy). I’ve tried keto (which doesn’t work for me) and intermittent fasting (which definitely works for me). After years of tweaking and trying different things here, in general terms, is what I embrace and avoid:

  • I eat relatively little dairy. I developed a lactose intolerance after the birth of my first child and never drink cows milk (oat and coconut milk for the win!). I’ve gone months abstaining from all dairy, but am at the point where occassional dairy is fine. I consume butter regularly, but have also made ghee (butter with the milk solids removed) which is delcious but seems like an unnecessary step for me at this point. I have ice cream a few times a month, and a few cubes of cheese once a week or so if it’s in the house.
  • I eat relatively little wheat. I’ve been tested for gluten intolerances and have gone off gluten (and all grains) for stretches of time, but don’t have any major reaction to wheat. I just don’t feel great after eating baked goods and bread, so I avoid them most of the time but definitely not all the time. This ebbs and flows (I consume more of these items in the summer and around Christmas for sure!).
  • I drink relatively little caffeine. My primary drink is water. I have coffee (with oat milk or a soy creamer) a few times a week, unless I’m on vacation when I drink it daily. I’ll drink a decaf chai tea a few times a week. Over time it really starts to upset my stomach and I can get a “crash” from the caffeine that is counter-productive to the stimulant effect.
  • I eat a relatively high-fat diet. I eat nuts almost every day. I eat eggs and butter and fatty fish and avocados and, occassionally, bulletproof coffee. I eat homemade salad dressings with olive oil. This is counter to everything I knew growing up, but my cholesterol levels and overall health has definitely improved.
  • I watch carbs, but not in any formal keto-style. I try to eat fruit daily and consume lots of starchy vegetables (roasted sweet potatoes with soft fried eggs is one of my favourite meals, day or night). I don’t eat many crackers or bread products, but if I do it’s typically corn tortillas for wraps or I’ll eat tuna salad scooped out onto sweet potato or rice crackers. I eat some rice, but relatively little of white potatoes or pasta.
  • I eat a lot of soups, stews and chowders. I find this to be a great way to get lots of vegetables in to my family. It’s also easy to prepare soups ahead of time; they freeze well and heat up quickly for leftovers.
  • I eat a lot of eggs. Eggs are so versatile (scrambled, fried, hard-boiled, omlette-style), my whole family loves them, and they’re quick to prepare, yet are very filling. I eat eggs almost every day.
  • I eat a moderate amount of modified baked goods (that rely heavily on oats and coconut flour). Most weeks I make a modified version of this muffin, using less than 1/4 cup brown sugar (or dates); I make a banana bread that has no sugar added and uses coconut flour (which I enjoy just as much, and find almost as naturally sweet as my old recipe that called for 2 cups of white sugar!!). “Dessert” can be as simple a handful of dates with a gob of almond butter on each one. Around birthdays and special celebrations I do revert to family-favourite recipes: carrot cake with cream cheese (lactose free helps my tummy) frosting, cherry cheesecake, ginger cookies. But, for the most part, I don’t bake that much.

Generally, I don’t eat anything until around lunchtime. I’ve struggled with chronic fatigue for years, in part due to anemia, and skipping breakfast (high treason in my house growing up) seems to really help with metabolic regulation/energy crashes. But for lunch/supper, here are the sort of things I would consume in a typical week.

  • Tuna salad, kippers (smoked herring); occassionally some shaved turkey or ham
  • Spinach + veggie salad (usually with this as a dressing, using no soy sauce and about 1/2 the maple syrup – this dressing would be good on an old shoe. Love it!)
  • Roasted veggies (zucchini, sweet potato, bell peppers, cauliflower/broccoli)
  • Eggs (in any style!)
  • Nuts (walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds)
  • Fruit – fresh apples, berries, bananas; dried figs, dates, or mango
  • Homemade sushi (a dollap of rice, a few slivers of veggie, a bit of filling – crab or smoked salmon – all hand-rolled up in little sheets of nori).
  • Chicken mango curry or stirfry over rice
  • A soup of some sort
  • Oatmeal – bowls of oatmeal topped with peanut butter and fruit, or these waffles.

While I don’t adhere to any specific diet (I don’t see any one food, or food group, as inherently “bad”, but know there are some things that just don’t serve me well physically or mentally), I’m so happy with how my journey with food has progressed.

There are some detours – I ate s’mores and homemade rolls and Mac n’Cheese and lemon pie on vacation – but that’s okay. Detours are a lot easier to navigate when you know how to get back on the main road.