Gluten Free with Nadine Grzeskowiak

July 11, 2018

“Wheat is ubiquitous in our culture. It is in our national song of pride – amber waves of grain. It is in the bible as both wheat and bread... It is in our food, makeup, lotions, Play-Doh, envelopes and stamps, in our compostable eating utensils, plates and cups, our artwork, holiday wreaths, and even out toilet paper (eeek!)” – Nadine Grzeskowiak

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Nadine Grzeskowiak. She’s the Gluten Free RN and the author of Dough Nation. She was diagnosed, by accident, 11 years ago with celiac disease and has been researching and educating other since then. Celiac disease is a world-wide issue, and celiacs is grossly underdiagnosed. And many people who have diabetes also have the genes that predispose you for Celiac disease. It’s a big problem.

Should everyone be gluten free? People with Celiac disease should certainly, but what about everyone else? Given the number of people who do not realize they have Celiac disease and the fact that gluten causes inflammation in everyone, cutting out gluten can’t hurt. I always encourage people to try it and see how much better you feel.

A lot of people think that going gluten free is too hard. Nadine and I agree that it really isn’t hard.  You need to get back to whole, real foods. If that’s not how you’ve been eating, that can feel complicated, but in many ways it is simpler.

We talk about:

  • Getting over addictions to gluten, dairy, and sugar (and what gluten and dairy have in common)
  • Focusing on what you can have—tons of fruits and veggies and protein—instead of trying to swap out gluten free sweets or bread
  • How to help your kids, since many people start on this road to help their child, by going through diet changes yourself first or doing it as a family
  • How our tastebuds actually change as we shift how we eat
  • The importance of knowing where your food comes from
  • Why fast meals aren’t the goal, but cooking real food doesn’t really take as long as we think
  • Finding healthcare providers aligned with your health goals


Nadine Grzwskowiak had been an RN in Oregon for 18 years, working in emergency departments and trauma centers throughout the state. In November 2006, she was finally diagnosed with celiac disease. By that time she thought she would be dead in six months or less. She was 40 years old. Nadine saw and worked with multiple doctors, and still could not figure out what was killing her.

Within two weeks of being on a gluten-free diet, Nadine felt much better. By February 2007, she started RN On Call. In March 2007, Nadine became a gluten intolerance/celiac disease educator. Nadine can save more people with this information than she ever could have saved in the emergency department.


Doable Changes from this episode:

  • EXPERIMENT WITH GLUTEN-FREE. If the idea of giving up pizza and beer (or pasta and bread) forever puts you in a panic. Try going gluten free for one week. Focus on real foods—lots of fruits, vegetables, and protein. Just see how it feels. Notice when you are craving certain foods and how you feel without them.  
  • KNOW WHERE YOUR FOOD COMES FROM. Start with one thing. Go to a farmers market or farm stand and talk to the people who grew your food. Research and join a CSA. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about production practices.
  • TAKE 15 MINUTES TO PREP. Take 15 minutes to prep something or move something forward so that you can eat a real food meal. It doesn’t have to be hard to eat well, but sometimes part of the learning process is getting over that idea.  

The FLOW Planning Method—How a Clear Vision and Little Changes Add Up to the Life You Want

July 4, 2018

“When we declare, we do. When we think, we dabble.” -Mia Moran


If you are anything like me, you have a bookshelf of productivity books, a recycle bin of half used calendars and planners, an too many days where your bag is filled with ideas and reminders on sticky notes and envelopes.

I know I’m not alone, because over the years of helping families plan healthier meals, I realized that while some people needed recipes or to learn how to cook (just like I had), most people really needed more time. I kept hearing it again and again. We just can’t get together for family dinner. I’m too busy for selfcare. I don’t have time to cook the meals I really want to eat.

We are all busy. As entrepreneurs and loving parents, as passionate people who want to explore our interests and live healthy life, we struggle to find the time, make the time. I know because I keep searching for the ultimate planning method to make it all fit. Nothing is perfect, but I learned not to separate my healthy lifestyle goals, my family, and my spirituality and self-care from my work planning. Once I get it all on one page and look not for balance, but for FLOW between the different parts of my life, it starts to make sense.

This isn’t a quick fix solution, nothing that really works is. Instead you focus breaking down your goals and continually flowing forward. And when you get off track, you have your system to come back into FLOW.

I created the FLOW Planning method, because it was what I needed, and as I shared what I was doing, other moms got interested. I want you to keep moving toward the life you want toward a life where you reach your big business goals—and have time for family and health and spirituality too.

So grab a notebook and a pen and the calendar on your phone. I’ll walk you through my process (and share my daily planning pages). At the end I will share the easiest way to put this process into action.


What the FLOW Planning Method Is All About

The FLOW Planning Method is a mix between journaling and calendaring. It is a way to keep moving towards what you want, one season and one day at a time.

It’s about knowing where to focus and making sure you aren’t spending too much time in any one part of your life. It’s about knowing what little things you can do in all areas of your life that will have a big impact.

Here’s how it works.


1. Commit to the 4 categories.

The FLOW Planning Method is based around four categories:

  • Food & wellness
  • Lifestyle & family
  • Om (aka spirituality and self-care)
  • Work.

We usually commit to our work or parenting for a phase of our life, and ditch the rest (at least in our planning), but when you get really intentional in all 4 areas, magic starts to happen.


2. Get everything out of your head and onto paper.

We hold so much in our heads and it holds us back. Just the act of getting everything down on paper can greatly affect your productivity, your creativity, and decrease your stress level.

In the FLOW Planning Method, we call this transfer from head to paper the master list. This process also shows you if you are out of flow and too focused on one part of your life so you can adjust.


3. Trust your gut and plan for the next 90 days.

Life changes, and while you may have big, long-term goals, it’s really productive to focus on just the next 90 days. So in this phase, you’ll design your top goal in each of the 4 FLOW categories for the next season.

Here’s where the trust comes in. Take time to get still. Let yourself get creative. Listen to what really feels right, what you want to lean into. Stillness and slowing down are essential parts of the process.

Once you identify your goals, know your why. What is going to motivate you to keep moving toward those goals when life starts moving fast again, when you aren’t still and quiet and focused. What will keep you going when things aren’t going well? Your why can do that. Once you know that, make a commitment to yourself that you will stick with it and reach this goal, because of that why.


4. Flow your goals forward each month.

Once you have your big 90-day plan, you break it down and keep flowing forward. You look at:

  • What you will do this month to move toward your 90-days goal
  • What could get in the way
  • What can you do to streamline shopping and the little things that get in the way of your big thing


5. Set yourself up once a week.

Once a week you look ahead for the week and make a plan to keep flowing things forward. You tap into mindset supports as you do this.

You make a meal plan (always). This decreases stress, helps you hit your food and wellness goals, and lets you move food forward all through the week. And when you eat better, fuel your body better, you have more energy for all the other things you plan to get done.

Each week you decide what habits to track. I am a big fan of veggies, water, and supplements. Other ideas are exercise, smoothie, Instagram, meditation, quality time with a child, hubby time, writing, journaling, planning (how meta!). Make a checklist for the habits you are building.


6. Create a daily practice.

A daily practice may sound like one more thing to do, but a well created practice supports and sustains you. And knowing what you will do — and why you are doing it throughout the day keeps you on track.

When we declare, we do. When we think, we dabble.

So declare and get doing.

  • Block all your time
  • Write down 3 things you are grateful for.
  • Identify 3 things you are doing towards your 4 big goals.
  • Block off 30 minutes for email and phone calls.
  • Note what you will eat
  • Track your daily habits
  • Find your magic moments.

Get your free FLOW daily tracking sheet, plus a free audio class to walk you through it.


7. Celebrate and critique your progress.

I have a practice of going back through each day and time tracking. I do this because I do not always follow my own plans and I am trying to get better about that. I just try to pay attention if I got lost in Facebook instead of writing a blog post or cleaning the playroom. You can do this without judging or berating yourself. Just use the information to make choices moving forward.

In my daily practice, I move anything that does not get done to a new time. I find that helps me be accountable to what I want to do and the time it takes. If that feels crazy,  you can use the monthly stock taking that is built into FLOW planner.

It’s easy to lose track of what got done and what didn’t. Pausing to take stock of what actually happened in a month, helps you understand the reason you could not finish a particular project. It lets you reset for the next month with a more realistic view. But it also lets you stop and celebrate what you did accomplish. Recognizing our own progress is super important to our momentum and mindset.


Put Your FLOW Plan Together

You can easily put this into practice in a notebook. The important thing is to get dreaming, get writing, and get practicing. But if you’d like different steps set up for you, I’ve created a planner that does just that.

The FLOW Planner gives you space to commit to all the parts of your life on one page. There is space for your big goals and the steps that move you toward them — and for the little stuff we need to do every day.

Get the FLOW Planner.


It comes with a free class to help you make the most of your planner so you can move closer to your dreams through the small actions you take each day.

Another way to get into FLOW

Doing things differently takes time, so have patience and kindness to yourself. That said, I have found that doing this work with a buddy is hugely helpful. It’s important to find somebody who wants to make change too, who won’t sabotage your goals.

If you want accountability from me and other women getting into FLOW, this is the last chance to sign up for round one of FLOW365. If you see a waitlist button, enrollment is closed and we will notify you when a second cohort starts in January.


Join FLOW365 here or get on the wait list.


Waitlisted? Get your FLOW Planner now to get started, then join FLOW365 later to get support!


Create Empty Spaces with Christine Koh

June 27, 2018

We have to be really intentional about creating empty spaces to let our minds wander, breathe and be creative.  – Christine Koh

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Christine Koh, a multimedia creative who has done so many things. She’s a co-founder of Boston Mamas, co-host of the podcast Edit Your Life, co-author of Minimalist Parenting, and co-creator of Brave New Worlds Designs, an advocacy focused t-shirt design company.

We talk about all these amazing ideas and how she has time for them. I love her belief that we need empty space—either in time, or uncluttered scene, or a vast landscape—to kind of restore ourselves and let ourselves be creative. She talks about looking ahead and finding your “Goldilocks” level or the just right level of activities in given week and how she decides what to say no to.

One of the tools she uses is getting of the hamster wheel of parenting shoulds. Christine encourages parents to remember that they are in charge of the situation and can carve out a life that works for their family. Sometimes that means learning to say no graciously, no excuse needed.

We talk about:

  • The benefits of not always being there for our kids events
  • Back ups and having other people in charge of scheduling
  • Old school poster boards and tech tools for planning and scheduling
  • Using an out of office responder to gain focused time
  • Creating your personal and professional village
  • Committing to 10 minutes a day for yourself


Christine Koh is a music and brain scientist turned multimedia creative. She spent a decade in academia. Christine was about to become a professor when she decided to hang up her academic spurs in favor of more flexible and independent ventures. Since leaving academia in 2006, Christine has forged a new career focused on creating content to help people live better, happier, and with elevated purpose and intention. She is the founder/editor of Boston Mamas, a pioneer in the hyperlocal lifestyle niche; co-host of the Edit Your Life Show, a podcast devoted to helping people edit their lives to make room for awesome; co-author of Minimalist Parenting, a book to help parents enjoy family life more by doing less; designer/co-owner of Brave New World Designs, a stylish, advocacy-oriented design collection; and creative Director at Women Online, a communications firm that specializes in using social media for good. Christine lives in the Boston area with her husband Jonathan and daughters Laurel and Violet.



Doable Changes from this episode:

  • SAY NO TO SOMETHING. Remember that you are in control of your life and don’t have to say yes to all the “shoulds.” You also don’t need an excuse to say No. Practice responding, “I’m not able to make it. Thank you so much for thinking of me.”
  • COMMIT TO 10 MINUTES A DAY FOR YOURSELF. I believe we deserve more than 10 minutes a day of self-care, but sometimes thinking about an hour at the gym or getting a massage feels overwhelming. Commit to 10 minutes of self-care every day—even it’s just locking the door while you take your shower. 
  • DO A TO-DO LIST SCAN. Take a minute to scan your to do list every morning. See what you can knock off quickly and get those done right away. Flag anything that is essential to do so you know how to focus your time. If the day looks too overwhelming, see what you can shift to another day.

Redesign with Jackie Woodside

June 20, 2018

If you’re not feeling good in some way with the life that you designed, it’s time to step back to look and redesigning it.
– Jackie Woodside

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Jackie Woodside, an author, speaker, professional development trainer and coach with years of experience as a therapist.

We start out talking about to-do lists. Jackie teaches to-do lists are a setup for failure. If you’re addicted to your to do list like a lot of people I know, that may sound crazy. But here’s the problem: the to-dos are never tied to a time when they will get done and so often we underestimate how long things will take.

Jackie suggests taking 10–15 minutes to debrief and write down all the things you have to do that day. Then put it on your planner—when will you do it? This is where you realize you can’t actually do all of these things. The overwhelm and stress we feel comes from not being able to do all of the things we think we can/need to do.

We talk about:

  • Getting real about what you can actually do and saying no to things you can’t do
  • Not making automatic default choices because it’s what everybody else is doing
  • Getting super clear on your core values and scheduling your life based on all your core values (Jackie even color codes her schedule)
  • Full life integration vs. work-life balance
  • Doing a “daily debrief” where you go back through your schedule and move anything that you didn’t complete to another time slot in the week
  • How our belief that we don’t have enough time or money keep us stuck in not having time money—and how starting with possibility or yes opens things up
  • Creating a transformational, strategic life design.


Jackie Woodside, CPC, LICSW is a best-selling author, TEDx speaker, radio and television personality and seminar leader who is passionate about the expanding the edge of human potential. Jackie provides custom training programs, workshops and keynote speeches for businesses, government and non-profit organizations, spiritual centers and national organizations around the country.



Doable Changes from this episode:

  • PLAN WHEN YOU WILL DO THINGS. Instead of a to do list that is really a brain dump of all the things you think you need to do, make an intentional list. Take 10 minutes to jot down all the things you can think of. But then get really realistic about how long things take and what fits into your schedule. You will have to say no to some things.

  • THINK POSITIVE. Next time you find yourself saying, “I don’t have time” or “I can’t afford to do that,” pause and rethink. Tell yourself, “I do have time” or “Yes, I’m going to do that class I’m super excited about” or “Yes, we’re going to get out dream house” — even if you don’t know how yet. Start by believing in the possibility.

  • DEBRIEF AT THE END OF THE DAY. Even if you get really good about being realistic with your time, things will come up that derail your plan. Debrief at the end of the day to see what didn’t happen and move those things foward to another day that week.



Everything is Connected with Jacqui Bryan

June 13, 2018

The microbiome is something that not only affects your immunity but it changes over time. It’s kind of like your fingerprint. – Jacqui Bryan

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Jacqui Bryan, a functional nutritionist, health coach, and whole health educator. Jacqui had worked in healthcare for years as a nurse and consultant, but after going through treatment for breast cancer, she decided she needed to educate herself and found others wanted to learn what she was learning.

We dive into the microbiome, the trillions of bacteria on and in your body. If you’ve been hearing about gut health, that’s part of your microbiome. And these tiny living things affect how our body works. They affect our weight. They affect our immune systems. We’re still learning more about the microbiome all the time, and Jacqui has a lot to say about this topic.

One of the best things we can do to nurture our microbiome is eat clean. That means lots of real, whole food, like nine to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables daily—one apple, a cup of leafy vegetables ... Getting all these servings in and variety does so much to keep you healthy

We talk about:

  • The effect stress has on the gut and why it is so important to reduce stress
  • How everything is connected in our bodies and health
  • The problem of not unplugging and the stress that puts on us
  • Eating clean as a stress reducer, especially when it comes to sugar
  • Building a health care team and recognizing that you are the expert on your own health
  • Treating root causes instead of using a Bandaid approach to health issues


Jacqui Bryan has been a Registered Nurse for over 20 years. She earned a Master’s of Science in Health Communication from Tufts University School of Medicine. Jacqui's personal experience with a devastating breast cancer diagnosis in 2003 spurred her to create educational programs on the connection between disease and unhealthy lifestyle choices. Jacqui is also a professional speaker and regular consultant on healthy lifestyle modification. As a health coach and educator, Jacqui combines years of medical experience with behavioral strategies to help her clients replace risky behaviors with ones that support a healthier life.


Doable Changes from this episode:

  • EAT A VARIETY OF FRUITS AND VEGGIES. If 9–13 servings of fruits and vegetables daily sounds daunting, start where you are and just upgrade that. Add one fruit or vegetable to every meal. Pick one you don’t usually eat or round out your rainbow. Make a game of getting a variety of colors each day.

  • UNPLUG. Jacqui talks about the stress we have because we are never unplugged. Create an unplugged zone in your life. Maybe it’s the dinner table and all electronics are off. Silence them too, because even if you don’t check your phone, the little ping that a message came in keeps you from the unplugged space.

  • BE AWARE OF SUGAR. Sugar is huge when it comes to microbiome health, and part of the problem is that people aren’t even aware how much sugar they consume. This week, notice where sugar is in your diet and how much. Think about drinks (including coffee drinks, soda, alcohol …), salad dressing and other condiments, and breads and cereals in addition to foods you think of as having a lot of sugar.



My School of Mom

June 7, 2018


I could have the health that I was desiring. It was up to me. If I believed it, I could have it. And I didn’t have to do it alone.

On this episode of the Plan Simple Podcast, I’m doing something a little different. I celebrated my birthday recently, which is a time of reflection for me, and I decided I wanted to share my story in a different way. Nine years ago, I was an exhausted, uninspired, fat, workaholic mom of three kids under five. I hit a wall and knew something had to change.

I had no idea how profound the changes in my health, happiness, family, spirituality, and work would be.

Today I’m focusing on three key lessons I’ve learned in the past nine years, and talking with two of the people that I’ve learned from and with too!

These are the core lessons I’ve learned:

  1. Change starts with me, but I can’t do it alone.
  2. I have a lot to learn – and there are so many people who can help me.
  3. Accountability by friends can make a huge difference.

I’m going to talk about all of these today because I think we all need these lessons, and even if we’ve learned them, we need reminders. (Myself very much included!)


Believe in the Change You Want

When you’re ready, you know it. And all you have to do is take the first step. I had no idea how I was going to change, all I knew was that I was ready to do whatever it was going to take to not be tired, not feel yucky, not feel like a bad mom, not have so much extra weight on my body …

I met one of my mentors, Taylor Wells, the next day, and she gave me my “last diet.” She had me eat real food. Lots of fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds. But besides the food, Taylor taught me a bigger lesson: That I could believe that I could have the health that I was desiring. That was up to me. If I believed it, I could have it.

Taylor shares these bits of wisdom:

  • I believe that when you feel something in your heart and it resonates ... go with that.
  • What you focus on, grows. Choose to focus on things that make you feel good.
  • Stop arguing with your limitations. Tell me what you can do, what you love, what you want.
  • Whether it’s creating a vision for yourself or starting a morning routine, start where you are, any way that you can. Just start.


Mentors Matter

After Taylor got me on my path, I got really excited about learning. I found so many teachers and mentors (you’ll find a lot of them in the links). Nina Manoloson taught me to cook. And she taught me the 10.10.10 Method. The idea that scheduling 10 minutes for something for you makes a huge difference.

From there it was like a web of meeting people. One person led to another, and I found that what I needed kept showing up in my life when I needed it. I learned so much about food and family (and bringing the two together). As I explored the idea of bringing kids along for the ride, I found Kim John Payne and integrated a lot of his simplicity parenting ideas.

I learned about blogging and organization and abundance. And just when I realized I was creating an expensive hobby, I found Marie Forleo and B-school and learned how to love marketing. She also taught me that everything is figureoutable. Through B-school, my circle continued to widen.


Get an Accountability Buddy

I eventually ended up doing a year-long program with Fabienne Fredrickson. My big takeaway lesson: I need to be personally responsible for everything that happens in my life. This is the cornerstone of having a great life.

What’s interesting was that this lesson wasn’t very different from what I had learned from Taylor but I had, at this point, spiraled up. I was at a new place. I could hear new things.

Fabienne gave me this great tool to actually take personal responsibility —  an accountability buddy. Somebody who we check in with regularly. Somebody else going through similar work, similar stages in their business or life. Someone who encourages us to stretch, while we do the same for them.

One of mine was Kelly Grimes. Kelley and I agree that the structure of an accountability buddy is important. Accountability isn’t about judgement or striving. Accountability is a place to  show up honestly and authentically and have a commitment to yourself to grow. Accountability can be so motivating, and it’s a give and take.

Right now, I have an accountability friend for exercise. We have committed to walking every morning at 6:00. I can tell you that I did not want to walk this morning, but I went because I said I would.


Find Your Mentors

For the past three years, I really searched for mentors wherever I need to upgrade an aspect of my life. It started with food and wellness and parenting as those topics got folded into my work, I needed to learn various aspects of having a business. I learned about crowdfunding and then public speaking. I kept finding the next little step, the next person. It’s Hansel and Gretel following those crumbs.

I keep putting myself out there and finding the people I needed. I’ve made amazing friends and found new teachers and mentors and coaches.

I learned:

  • How to crowdfund from Patty Lennon
  • The need for practice with public speaking from Alexia Vernon
  • To change my money mindset from Kisstina Wise
  • The difference between a coach and a consultant, and how to show up as a coach from Jenny Fenig

And so much more… instagram, photography, pinterest, facebook live, how to bake a chicken… Have you all seen what you can learn online?

And to be clear, I invested in myself on this journey because I really needed to be all in that way. But it does not always have to cost money. I have worked in 12 step fellowships. I have done free challenges. I have read books from the library.


Flow 365

In the same way that I had to learn that changing my food wasn’t just about weight, or really about weight at all, I’ve learned that as I talk about food, it’s really about time.

Making the time to show up on dinner, making the time to move throughout the day, figuring out how you’re going to get groceries into the house in the most efficient way, figuring out whether it’s relaxing to go to the grocery store, whether you need to have a different philosophy for that or different system for that …

Mentorship and accountability buddies have made such a huge difference in my life, and I’ve brought them together in FLOW365.

Go to to get the details.

If you know this is a great move for you, you can email me at and we’ll figure out how we can hop on the phone and talk about whether this is a good fit for you.


Doable Changes from this episode:

  • CHOOSE YOUR FOCUS. What you focus on grows, so choose to focus on things that make you feel good. Write inspiring quotes or your own mantras and goals on notecards to look at throughout the day. Or write them on a sticky note and put in on your mirror. Make it a wallpaper on your phone.
  • TAKE 10 MINUTES FOR YOU. In the morning, plan three 10-minute slots, to do something super nurturing. You might make a green smoothie, you might stretch, you might go on a walk, you might take a nap, you might talk with a friend, you might read a book, you could jump rope, you could hula hoop, whatever feels really great on that day. Plan the 10 minutes into your day … and then do it!

  • REACH OUT. What do you want in your life? Find one person who is doing something related to that and reach out to them. Post on their social page. Join their free (or paid) class. Email them and tell them why a particular podcast or post meant something to you.


Self Love with Nitika Chopra

May 31, 2018

My definition of self love is being more committed to your happiness than to your suffering in every moment. – Nitika Chopra

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Nitika Chopra, a chronic illness advocate and self-love guru. She has battled psoriosis since she was 10 and psoriatic arthritis since she was 19. While that may sound grim, Nitika is a beacon of light with amazing energy and we talk about her journey from getting diagnosed to bringing this lightness.

She talks about the really hard years when she was in school, so hard she just wanted it to end. And she talks about getting the message, “This isn’t about you” when she wasn’t 15. She’s still holding onto and living this message.

On social media, life might look pretty good for Nitika, but she’ll be the first to tell you that she probably spent the first half of her day crying or journaling or meditating or talking to God f just to get in the right space to be able to thrive.

We talk about:

  • The challenge of getting a diagnosis so that you can learn how to feel better and move forward
  • The power of acknowledging how you feel (even when your feelings are really dark)
  • Knowing what you need so that you can get your needs met
  • The importance of making food, sleep, and emotions a priority
  • Elimination diets, gut health, and knowing what doesn’t work for our bodies
  • Finding a doctor who really means your needs


Nitika Chopra is a talk show host, beauty & lifestyle expert, self love guru, and chronic illness advocate.  She was diagnosed with chronic disease over 26 years ago, and she’s come a long way. She was overwhelmed with pain, insecurity, confusion and battling depression and found self-care as a saving grace. She learned that she was more than her condition, developed compassion for her condition and herself, and her perspective shifted from extreme despair to a deep faith that there was a better way. She is more committed to her happiness than her suffering, and she shares her experience and joy with others.


Doable Changes from this episode:

  • GET THE SLEEP YOU NEED. Instead of checking your email at 10 PM, go to bed. The extra sleep will serve you well. Understand what your body needs for sleep and commit to getting it.

  • NOURISH YOURSELF. Nourish yourself. It doesn’t have to be a candlelit, hour long exploration of your soul. It isn’t about what dinner looks like. Take 15 minutes to put together a simple, nourishing meal and eat it. No matter how busy you are, this will serve you.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR FEELINGS. Even though Nitika believes in being more committed to your happiness than your suffering, she also believes that acknowledging what you feel just makes everything better. If you are having a hard time, instead of trying to push past it or deny it, acknowledge it. Say, “I’m so sad right now” or “I’m really disappointed” or angry or frustrated … or whatever it is. Just acknowledging it can help your body relax and help you move past it.



Get Past the Myths that Keep You Stuck

May 23, 2018

To really lead the lives that we desire and be the role models our kids deserve, we need to move past the myths that keep us stuck. I made the Flow Planner and developed the FLOW Planning Method, to help free ourselves of these myths.

MYTH #1 – I have to get work done first to create space and time for family.
OR I have to be mom now and put my career on hold.

What if work is never feeling done because you feel incomplete? What if that incompleteness has nothing to do with work, but with your energy, your connection to one of your kids, your relationship with your spouse, your desire to go clothes shopping, or longing go to a yoga class.

If you are pulled towards mom, what if your incomplete feeling means you have something more you need to do on this planet?

We think we have to choose between work and family, but if we know that we can fit in both helps us be in FLOW.


MYTH #2 – If being busy at work leads to success, then busy at home will lead to success.

I fell into this myth. When Felix was little, we did things at every moment. By the time Perla came a long we couldn’t, but I got the advice that maybe that was a good thing. Being at home — cooking, digging, resting, and playing without entertaining is amazing for you and your kids.

When did busy become a status symbol? Not being busy at home is a really good thing.

Suggested resource: Simplicity Parenting and Kim John Payne on Plan Simple Meals


MYTH #3 – Being domestic means I’m not a good at my work, not a good CEO, not a real ladyboss.

This is something that is really embedded in our belief system, but I am not convinced it is true. We are always trying to prove ourselves as women. We get back to work as soon as we can after kids. We feel shame around working from home. But we should be proud of being able to raise our kids and run our busineses. Listen in to the podcast from Jenny Fenig who runs and amazing business and homeschools two of her 3 kids.  

MYTH #4 – It is just a phase. It will all get better when ...

Yes, stuff changes in your life, but you need to give yourself permission to create the life you want now.

If you wait until your kids turn (fill in any age) or when you make more money, when you move, when the school year ends … you’ll find that when you get to that point, what you want will change. So that doesn’t really work.

You can start creating the life you want right now, wherever you are.


MYTH #5 – I just don’t have the time.

It takes time and practice to learn that this one isn’t true. There are people who have achieved amazing things who have the same amount of time as you and I do in our days. We choose how we want to spend our time. So let’s start choosing the things we want instead of putting them aside.

I love this quote from Alexia Vernon: “I’m not carrying around a story in my head that I’m busy, I don’t have enough time, that I’m unhappy. I’m choosing to bring the energy to everything of “I have time, I have space, this is what I have chosen, and thank you more please.”


Are you ready to let go of the story that you are too busy? Can you get past the other four myths?

How do we change things? How do we fit in the things that make a difference all the time, instead of some day.

I think it takes two parts: vision and a plan. We have to consistently recall both.

And remember that this is an ongoing process. This isn’t something that we are ever done with.

How can we spend our days loving the process?

An amazing life lives in loving the process. Here are 11 ideas to help you love the process:

Have a vision.
Make sure your vision includes 4 categories: food and wellness, lifestyle and family, om (aka spirituality and downtime), and work. Take 15 minutes to write about what your life will look like in 10 years. It will be very different from where you are now, so it gives you a big picture view.

Based on where you want to be 10 years from now, create a 90 day plan. If you said that is 10 years you will be active and healthy., maybe over the next 90 days you implement a new food system or exercise routine. If you said that you will live in glass house on a lake, but you are currently living in an apartment in the city, then maybe you take a course on wealth building, or press go on a revenue stream you are sitting on, or spend the summer camping at different lakes to see what they are like. There is never one path!

I’m doing a workshop on creating your 90 day plan on May 30.

Get it out of your head.

Write it all down. I call this the Master List. These are ALL the things you have in your head that you are trying to remember. Just do a 10-minute brain dump. If your dump is all work, or all household tasks, try to add from the other FLOW categories for 4 extra minutes.


Batch and time block.

Time blocking means setting chunks of time aside to do certain categories of tasks — work time, family time, meal prep time, downtime, exercise time, marketing time, money time, etc. Sometimes I do this weekly, but I try to stay consistent for a month or season with only small tweaks.

Batching means doing like tasks in in a row. On the work front, I spend a week once a month creating content. I check and respond to email all at once twice a day (when I am behaving myself!). I batch meal prep on Sundays to make my weekdays easier!

Focus on gratitude.
Write down 3 things you are grateful for. They can be simple. They don’t have to be huge things: the sun shining, knowing your fridge is filled with good food, being in bed, kids’ chatter …

Choose 3 things to do today.
You know your vision. You have done a brain dump. Choose only 3 things you will do today that will move you toward your vision. Choose things you really can do, and make sure they are not all from the same category in your life.

Know what you will eat.
Decide what you are having for your meals for the day. You will save so much time wasted thinking. Decide and write it down.

Stay in action.
Know how you will move food and house forward today. What simple, doable thing can you do today? What if you cleaned one bin instead of the whole garage? What if you chopped some veggies for dinner in the morning to help you stick to your plan? Keep it doable.

Plan how you will take care of yourself today.
Again, keep it simple and doable. It could mean making sure you drink enough water. It could be eating the healthy food you planned to eat. I could be getting up from your desk to take a walk twice a day, going to bed on time, turning your phone off before bed …

Track habits.
Eat 10 veggies a day. Drink enough water. Move your body. What habit do you want to build? Do you want more family dinner? Do you want to develop a meditation habit. Keeping track of what you are doing helps you remember the things you want to do as you get used to doing them. You won’t be perfect, but tracking helps the process.

Schedule and learn.
Schedule all the things that aren’t work: sleep, food prep, enjoying meals, downtime, exercise … Start by putting them on your calendar. Learn from what you actually did. Don’t think of it as failure. Get curious about why you didn’t go with your plan. Learn so you can make better choices tomorrow.

Magic Moments
When you start envisioning what you want and moving towards it, magic happens. Nine years ago, I said that I was ready for a change. I got an email from my yoga studio and decided to show up. When I was there, I felt compelled to talk to the teacher, who taught me about food. All I did was decide one thing and take one little step.

You can decide what you want. You can take little steps. You will see magic too. Learn to notice it. Write it down. Look back at that when it feels hard. Keep going.

Download your Today Planner to help you plan how you will follow steps 4–8 each day.

Then sign up to join me for a 90-Day Plan workshop on May 30!



A Healthy Gut with Jade Venables

May 16, 2018

We can get our gut so healthy, and we can reverse a lot of health issues doing so.  – Jade Venables

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Jade Venables of the Healthy Mommy Movement summit about gut health. Not quite sure what gut health is all about (even if you’ve been hearing about it more and more)? We’ll get you up to speed.

Jade shares her own health journey away from osteopenia, borderline diabetes, carpal tunnel and chronic fatigue and healing her son who was rushed to the hospital at 18 months due to an autoimmune disease.

In the process, she learned a lot about gut health, how the gut is related to the brain, how the gut really affects every system. We can get our guts healthy, but our brain wants to take over, so we can undo a lot of good work with stress. That’s where things like meditation and exercise come in—health as a complete package. Jade owns up to not being very fit, which I love, because we’re all imperfect making small changes in the right direction.

We talk about:

  • How understanding the why of giving up gluten and dairy can blow your mind and help you make the change
  • The problem with our healthcare system and schools when it comes to healthy eating
  • Ways to feed kids without making them feel left out (and how sometimes worrying about feeling different is our story, not their)
  • Using smoothies as snacks and treats at home or when you are out
  • Products—(those for our bodies like shampoo or toothpaste and otherwise, like cleaners or air fresheners) that we use at home can affect the gut
  • Creating a non-toxic medicine chest tool box


Jade Venables is a health advocate and creator of “The Healthy Mommy Movement,” a free, online summit. For the Healthy Mommy Movement summit, Jade interviewed doctors and experts about health issues to prove that our bodies are waiting for us to heal them and to help moms make healthier choices for themselves and their families.


Doable Changes from this episode:

  • HAVE A QUICK, GO-TO STRESS BUSTER. Stress can do a number on our gut. Next time you start to feel extra stressed, take some deep breaths, take 5 minutes to meditate, or take a short walk. First start noticing your stress and using a tool like this to reduce it. You can also try adding one of these tools proactively into your day before you feel stressed.

  • MAKE A FRUIT SMOOTHIE. Next time your kids want an afterschool snack or any of you need a sweet treat, try blending some bananas and strawberries with a little water. Or mango and pineapple. There are so many combinations. You can bump up the goodness with some spinach, but if you aren’t sold on green smoothies yet, try just fruit and water. See that it can be sweet and simple, real food that feels like a treat.

  • CHANGE ONE HOUSEHOLD PRODUCT. You can use baking soda on your teeth. You can use vinegar as a glass cleaner. You can use essential oils instead of perfume. There are lots of non-toxic products for home and body. You do need to read the labels, but you can use a tool like Environmental Working Group (EWG) to help you find one a replacement product for an unhealthy product you currently use. Good starting points: shampoo, deodorant, detergent, any household cleaner.



Pleasure is productive with Janna Denton-Howes

May 10, 2018

Pleasure is productive... It’s not a side thing that you’re doing, it’s the main event. It helps you do what you want to do in your life. – Janna Denton Howes

On this episode of the Plan Simple Podcast, we’re talking about something of a taboo topic—sex. I’m so excited to have Janna Denton-Howes, a marriage coach and expert on sex and the male brain here today. We really dive into it, so put in some earbuds if you’re listening in with kids around.

It’s funny, we DO talk about sex, and Janna has 4 pillars to share for couples wanting more and better sex, but the first three are outside of the bedroom. We start off talking about why we need more pleasure, and not the sexual kind. Janna gives lots of examples of prioritizing pleasure in our lives, and amazingly, it’s not necessarily about making more room in our calendars.  

We do talk about scheduling though. Janna recommends scheduling sex, but not like she did at first. She shares the experience of scheduling sex for Friday night and feeling sick thinking about it every Thursday. Instead she suggests scheduling exploration dates. For two hours or more, you prioritize pleasure, trust what feels good and what does not, and you stay connected with your body in a sexual experience rather than thinking about what he wants, what lights him up.

We talk about:

  • Sex being good for your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellness, drawing a line of having sex anymore unless you want it—and also about how you can learn to want it more
  • Prioritizing your pleasure in daily life—Janna explains how this isn’t the same as self-care
  • Letting go of “shoulds” and trusting what feels good and what doesn’t
  • Connecting with your body on an emotional and physical level and how you can be compassionate and start a conversation with yourself, even when it feels awkward and triggers childhood or religious shame
  • Taking charge of the sexual experience and how more pleasure does NOT involve “spicing things up”
  • Scheduling sex in a way that doesn’t feel like more pressure to perform—and how only having scheduled sex can be freeing
  • Why to separate sex from date night and how to actually have sex when you have kids in the house
  • Tips for talking with kids about sex

Janna Denton-Howes is a professionally trained Marriage Coach who is known for her popular program, 30 Days To Wanting It More". Affectionately called, "Chief Libido Officer" and "Husband Whisperer" by her participants and coaching clients, Janna not only helps married women take sex off their to-do lists but brings couples back to each other.


Doable Changes from this episode:

  • PRIORITIZE YOUR PLEASURE. This doesn’t have to cost anything and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Janna gives examples of just enjoying the feel of water on your skin in the shower or taking a walk because you enjoy it (not for exercise) or having a dish soap you enjoy the scent of while you are washing dishes, or enjoy the sunshine streaming through your window. Prioritizing pleasure isn’t something you have to make more time for, it’s something you can do while doing anything else in your day.

  • GET TO KNOW YOUR BODY. I talk a lot about food and how it affects our bodies, but I admit, I didn’t really know parts of my body until my first baby was born. I’m not the only one. Get a mirror and get to know your vulva, labia, and clitoris. Maybe your doable change is just saying those words right now. Do that, and then have a look. Explore

  • SCHEDULE SEX. Go ahead, block off a couple of hours in your planner. Label it SEX or exploration date. Set up the ground rules around this: prioritize your pleasure, trust what feels good and what does not, and stay connected with your body in a sexual instead of thinking about what your partner wants. This takes some communication. It may feel uncomfortable. But try it. See how it changes the dynamic. See what you like and don’t. See what you might want to explore next.