On Eliminating Stress as a Busy Mom

September 20, 2018

“I used to blame everyone else for my stress. Then I took responsibility. I now know, I can not only create stress in my life, I can also create balance.” – Mia

In this world where busy is a badge of honor and FOMO (fear of missing out) is so real, I wanted to dive into a topic that comes up for a lot of us in the transition from summer to fall — stress.

It is hard to avoid with pressures at work, home and school. It is easy to let stress take over our body and minds. But I have also found whether or not I “feel stressed”  is more of a choice than I once thought.

Here are 10 behaviors that have helped me eliminate stress in my very full life — most of the time!

Say No. I do not have to volunteer for everything at school even though I am constantly told I should. I don’t have to say yes to a moms night out even though I really want to go. I don’t have to say yes to a second (or third) soccer league. I don’t even have to say yes to the travel team. I don’t have to say yes to a work project that will keep me up late at night. The things that really need to get done, will get done—but there is a lot that doesn't have to get done at all (or at least not by me—or you).

Take care of yourself first. Right now, every morning when I wake up, I go on a walk, write 3 pages and meditate for 5 minutes. It takes a tiny fraction of my day. On days when I forget, (because I sometimes I do), I feel the difference. I have had other seasons when I am focused on my sleep, my food or my relationships. Here are some things I have played with:

  • Green smoothies
  • Water with lemon
  • Stretching
  • Reading a book
  • Making my lunch
  • Oil pulling
  • Dry brushing
  • Food supplements
  • A shower!
  • Brushing teeth
  • Blow drying hair
  • Salt scrub
  • Journaling
  • Hugging a child
  • Prepping food
  • Jumping rope
  • Hula hooping
  • Planning my day
  • Emailing a friend
  • Finding a new recipe
  • Shopping alone
  • Yoga
  • Organizing a drawer
  • Warm tea
  • Waking up early to be alone
  • Green juice.


I love Nina Manolson’s Teaching of 10-10-10 — which is simply to spend 10 minutes 3 times a day to take care of yourself.

Notice if certain foods make you feel more on edge. Hello, gluten and dairy! Literally these foods made me sick. I’ve been gluten- and dairy-free for years now, and it’s made a difference. Still, I definitely indulge from time to time in not so healthy gluten-free stuff. This summer it was potato chips—and they made me stressed. What foods put you on edge? Maybe gluten or dairy don’t make you feel great either. Or maybe it’s sugar or coffee … start noticing. A simple food diary might help you pair emotions with food. We are all different, so this is your exploration.

Say yes to help others. This is not meant to counter saying “no.” This is not signing up for room parent or raising your hand to work on Saturdays. This is meant to say yes to little things that make someone else feel really good. Say yes to extra snuggles with your kids. Help a neighbor clear the sidewalk of snow or rake leaves. Hold a door open for a mama with a stroller. Say thank you to a teacher. (Listen above to hear the story about the dog my daughter and I rescued at Trader Joes!)

Learn that it is not all about you, and you cannot control everything. Last week, I was supposed to record several podcasts … and my guests all had emergencies.  These were literally real life big things, and my initial reaction was to be stressed out that no one wanted to be on the show. It had nothing to do with me whatsoever. In my initial stress at a missed episode, I did not have compassion that I wanted to have for their situations, and I could not access one creative idea for a solo show. And then I remembered their emergencies literally had nothing to do with me. I took three deep breaths. I chose not to worry about a show. I sent heartfelt letters to each guest. I took an hour to myself and was flooded with podcast ideas (that will soon be tested).  

My daughter and I had so much fun rescuing the Trader Joe’s dog (mentioned above) that neither of us anticipated and exasperated and stressed owner grabbing the dog, knocking over the water we had found, and running to her car without a thank you. My daughter’s first response was stress — stress that the dog was going home to “a mean lady.” We talked it through and realized that the woman was so saddened by possibly losing her dog that her actions were from her own stress and had nothing to do with us. We can model how to show up even when things aren’t going the way we would like and empower our kids to do the same.

Embrace the idea that there is no “way it is supposed to be.” I found it really hard that there was no parenting blueprint. In the early years I constantly added to the list of things that a “good parent” would do: sign their kids up for classes, feed them “kids food,” always have them dressed well, put them in the best schools, do art with them, go to museums regularly... Literally there was not enough time or money in a day. As they got older, they have more ideas about what they want to do or join, which may or may not agree with what I think is right (see saying no to 3 teams at once). And there is still no blueprint. There is no one way. You have to do what is right for YOU, your child and your family. Sometimes doing “nothing” after school is a blessing, and most likely will not impact your child’s future success. Sometimes saying no to social media, soda, or gluten is your family’s best choice — even though everyone else is “doing it.” (BTW, This is one I re-learn daily!)

Reframe things that stress you out. In have had moments when cooking stresses me out. I have had moments when all the driving has given me extra grays. Saying no and asking for help have helped in both cases, but there are still 21 meals a week (but who’s counting) and some driving. This is where the reframe comes in…. With meals, every time I am in the kitchen, I know that food is our medicine. It is one thing I can do to make us not get sick. With driving, I have made my time in the car time to learn or connect. When I am alone, I listen to my favorite podcasts or my current book. When I am with kids, I use it as time to connect with my kids. (When they are not chatty, I always have a book that we are all listening to… so we all learn!)

Plan in advance. I used to get stressed out by the idea of planning, but once I found my stride, I found it gave me the framework I needed to know that the things that matter most to me will get done. I now find extreme freedom in my plans. The three things I write down in advance of each day are: what is for dinner, 3 things that I need to get done for work or house that day, and 1 thing I will do for myself.

Clear your space. Clutter can cause stress – clutter in your home and clutter in your brain. That said, the idea that I have to clean out my whole house is stressful, so I have a few tricks. I have a corner that is always clear. I make a practice of spending 10 minutes each day decluttering something. And I let go of the rest (until I plan for it). I also regularly declutter my brain, which basically means I write down lots of lists and get stuff out of my head and onto paper.

Find people to connect with. There is a lot of stress in loneliness. If you are an introvert like me, you may constantly feel like you just want to have an hour for yourself by 6pm, but I have found that finding a group of women who holds me accountable for different goals has taken away a lot of the stress around big changes. Different ideas are masterminds, yoga or exercise classes, moms groups, 12 step programs, book clubs, your child’s school.

Stress is real. There is actually an American Institute for Stress. What!? They made an amazing graphic that I wanted to share on what stress can do. Hopefully, this will motivate you to change one behavior that leads you to stress this week. I cannot wait to here what you do! Head over to Instagram and tell me on the post, or DM me @plansimplemeals!





When you have food allergies with Orly

August 31, 2018

“Through Celiac and various food allergies, I have actually gotten to know and trust my body, and so has my daughter — for that I will always be grateful.” ­– Mia

Today, I am talking allergies, because the truth is, life is not always easy with food restrictions — specially at this time year that is filled with transitions and new situations.

In our house we have Celiac (no gluten), dairy allergies, a red dye allergy, a beef allergy, and a gelatin allergy. It was pretty overwhelming when we started out 8 years ago, but navigating food has gotten easier and easier, and many days feels like a blessing.

Today on the podcast, I share my best 7 tips for navigating a food allergy or sensitivity, and then I get my 12-year old daughter on to share her wisdom.

We talk about:

  • what to pack in school lunches
  • how to speak up for yourself
  • educating family members
  • getting kids to feel good about themselves and their food
  • the best parts of not being able to have gluten and dairy
  • what it is like to eat out
  • why family dinner rocks

Doable Changes from this episode:

  • Make an allergy cheat sheet. Make a one-page sheet that you can post on your fridge, give to family, and share with teachers. The top of the sheet explains what your child cannot have, and a brief explanation of what that means. The bottom of the page lists some things they can have and love. The bottom section might change a bit for the school version. Be as specific as possible.
  • Spend a week talking about how you feel. How do you feel after a great meal? How did you feel that time you got “glutened” or you saw a friend have an allergic reaction? Show your kids that it is important to talk about these things — both the food and the emotions. Invite them to talk too.
  • Make lunch enjoyable. It is tough when you cannot eat what your friends eat, or is it? This is sometimes a story we can tell ourselves and pass onto our kids, but we can change it. Make sure lunch is enjoyable. Do you have containers that make it easy to eat in 20 minutes? Does the food still taste good at lunch? Do you have the occasional treat to stick in? Does your child feel safe where he/she is eating? Lunch is hard for every child. How can you use it as a tool to make your child feel even better about their allergy? Add a love note — it does not always have to be about the food!

The Art of Money with Bari Tessler

August 23, 2018

Most of us were not taught how to have a relationship to money … We’re learning it as adults. It needs to be done in baby steps. There’s lots of learning curves. We need to be loving, gentle and compassionate around it.  – Bari Tessler

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m so excited on many levels to talk with Bari Tessler about money and mindset. Her approach to money is really similar to the way I approach food and health.

Bari trained as a psychotherapist and brings that framework to her money methodology. We talk about bringug attention and awareness and compassion to all the big areas of life that are challenging or that we have shame around—including our relationship to money. I love that she does so much work with healing to start our money work.

She recognizes that most of us are never taught to have a relationship with money or how to have conversations about money. As we learn these things as adults, we need to baby steps and accept the learning curve. And we need to be loving, gentle and compassionate to ourselves around money and this learning process.

We talk about:

  • The first step to change being awareness, getting curious, gathering data, whether it’s money or food or some other change we need to make, and how to use a body check in to gain awareness as an antidote to money shame.
  • Tapping into our personal money story—what we got from our parents, from religion, from other aspects of our lives
  • Staying with big emotions so that we can work through them (because they will keep coming up)
  • Focusing on your values as you do money work and even aligning your bookkeeping with your values + the dance couples do to align their values and spending patterns
  • Creating a money map that includes basic needs, comfortable lifestyle, ultimate or  needs, wants, desires
  • The concept of a money date and how to make them enjoyable


Bari Tessler Linden, M.A., is a Financial Therapist, Mentor Coach and Mama-preneur. She has guided thousands of people to new, empowered, and refreshingly honest relationships with money through her nurturing, body-centered approach. Her methodology weaves together personal, couple, and creative entrepreneurial money teachings into one complete tapestry. She is the founder of The Art of Money: a global, year-long money school, which integrates Money Healing, Money Practices and Money Maps. Her work has been featured on Oprah.com, Inc.com, the Huffington Post, US News & World Report, Reuters Money, The Fiscal Times, USA Today, The Cut, Girlboss, Nerd Wallet, The Simple Dollar, REDBOOK Magazine and Experience Life Magazine. Bari is also the author of The Art of Money: A Life-Changing Guide to Financial Happiness, published by Parallax Press.



Doable Changes from this episode:

  • DO A BODY CHECK IN. Check in on a few levels. On a physical level, what are you noticing? On a sensation level, what are you noticing? On an emotional level, what are the emotions that are present? On a breathing level, how deep, how shallow, where in your body? This only takes a minute. Try it anytime you are interacting with money this week, like when you have money conversations with your spouse, when you are looking at your  balances or paying your bills, when you’re at about to purchase something.

  • PLAN A MONEY DATE. Start with 20 minutes with your partner. You each get 10 minutes to talk and 10 minutes to listen deeply. Share your money stories. To do this, answer questions like: What is your mother’s relationship with money? How is yours the same, or different? What is your father’s relationship with money? How is yours the same, or different? How did your ethnicity, religion, or spirituality impact your relationship with money? What was your money role in the family, especially if you have siblings? (spender, saver, combo, etc.)

  • IDENTIFY YOUR VALUES. Bari talks a lot about identifying your values and mapping your money around that. Start by noticing what’s important to you and the spending you do related to that. Ask your partner to share their values and how they want to spend. You will likely be very different, but understanding the other person’s values can start to smooth out tension around spending.



GLOW with Tanya Wheeless

August 9, 2018

Good enough can really be the enemy of happiness. – Tanya Wheeless

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Tanya Wheeless, the founder and CEO of HappyGrace about happiness.

Tanya tells about excelling in law school and in her law career, applying for a CEO position at age 27 and getting it, and pushing herself to new heights and loving it … until it didn’t feel good. She shares how she found herself crying every day and realizing something needed to change. So she made that change and now helps other women find their way to happiness.

Her top piece of advice when you realize that things could be better: give yourself a break. If you are used to pushing yourself to the next place you want to be, switch gears—don’t get aggressive about getting happy. To be different you have to do different.

We talk about:

  • Letting go of things you can’t control
  • The magic of 90 days
  • Tanya’s GLOW Method (Gratitude, Letting go, Owning it, With love)
  • Fresh prompts for gratitude, like what went wrong today that turned out okay?
  • Creating a gratitude practice at dinner
  • Finding quiet time every day
  • How dreaming more opens things up


Tanya Wheeless is the Founder and CEO of Happy Grace, a company whose products give women a simple daily system to keep their souls healthy, happy and refreshed. A passionate speaker, writer and entrepreneur, Tanya’s mission is simple: help every woman become the woman of her dreams by applying the ancient wisdom and cutting-edge research that changed her own life.


Doable Changes from this episode:

  • PRACTICE GRATITUDE DAILY. There are lots of ways to do this, and none of them have to take a lot of time. You can say a prayer, write in a journal, add things you are grateful for to an app. You can even integrate your gratitude practice into something else you already do—like sharing gratitude part of family dinner.

  • FIND QUIET TIME EVERY DAY. Every day take 10–15 minutes for yourself where you can just be in silence and breathe. You can meditate or just be quiet. That might mean getting up 15 minutes before your family to have your quiet time or sitting alone in your car for 10 minutes when you get home before you go in. Just give yourself that time.

  • MAKE SPACE TO DREAM. Let yourself dream about what life could be like. Own what you want, even if you can’t imagine how you could get there. Simply owning your dreams starts to create space.

REALLY getting healthy as a family can be a big lifestyle change. But no matter how insurmountable it may feel, focusing on one doable change at a time can help you take small steps toward your big goal.

A healthy lifestyle is really made of lots of little things that when repeated regularly and added together over time make a huge impact on your life.

Choose one Doable Change every Sunday night — one thing that you are willing to play with for the week. The key is to keep it doable and fun! Write that thing on a sticky note or your phone so you remember it. Then put 3 things on your calendar that support it.

Choose from the changes above or download a list of 101 Doable Changes we made for you.



Enjoy Your Child with Michael Thompson

August 1, 2018

Enjoy your child. All of your worry does not help that much.  
– Michael Thompson

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Michael Thompson, a psychologist specializing in children and families. He’s the author of Best Friends/Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children, Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys, and Speaking of Boys: Answers to the Most-Asked Questions about Raising Sons among others.

We start out talking about the importance of family dinner and about how we talk at dinner matters. Family dinner is a safe space for kids to talk about what is happening during their day. As parents we hear about things and want to fix them, but that’s not necessarily what our kids want or need. One point that Michael made that struck me was, “The parental point of view is not the kid point of view.”

Our conversation moved into the differences between boys and girls. Michael started by saying, “We’re all human beings and we all have feelings and our feelings can get hurt and we have yearnings and longings to be cared for and respected.” The difference is often how boys and girls play and display their feelings.

We talk about:

  • The need for friends, but not needing a BFF at all times
  • An important question to ask when you intervene in a child’s friendship: “Would I have wanted my father or mother to do this to me?”
  • When parents become bully groups isolating a particular kid
  • The school environment not working for boys and the importance of schools and parents holding boys accountable
  • Raising feminist sons vs. raising boys who aren’t jerks
  • Why not to go to all your kid’s games or events

Michael G. Thompson, Ph.D. is a consultant, author and psychologist specializing in children and families. He is the supervising psychologist for the Belmont Hill School and has worked in more than seven hundred schools across the United States, as well as in international schools in Central America, Europe, Africa and Asia.


Doable Changes from this episode:

  • JUST LISTEN. Try just listening to your kids at family dinner or in the car or wherever you tend to talk. Notice your own desire to “fix” things, but don’t. Instead of asking what went wrong or focusing in on a situation you find troubling, ask What went well today? Or a more open question.

  • LET KIDS BE KIDS. When behavior is bothering you, stop and ask if the behavior is appropriate for your child’s age. This can be especially important for boys. Remember that your perception of a situation may not be your child’s perception. Before you intervene, ask yourself, “Would I have wanted my parent to do this?”

  • SKIP A GAME. You don’t have to go to every game your child plays in or event your child is participating in. Pick a game to skip and schedule something you’ll enjoy for that time. Let your child know you won’t be there, but be neutral about it. Listen later when they tell you about the game.



A Meaningful Plan with Melissa Lanz

July 25, 2018

I wanted to get back to something that meant something to me. And cooking and feeding and nurturing always meant a lot to me.  – Melissa Lanz

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Melissa Lanz, the founder CEO of The Fresh 20 meal planning service and a business coach.

Her business started as a one-off favor to a friend, another busy corporate working mom, who felt like she needed a meal plan to eat right. And the catalyst for change was when her husband said, “We need to talk.” She realized she realized she didn’t do the things she loved anymore, she wasn’t present for her two little kids, and she wasn’t spending time with her family. Things needed to change. She talks about how she decided on her business and got it started.

It was a big risk, going from making 6 figures to 0, but Melissa was in so much pain she says it didn’t really feel like a risk. Do you need to hear this today? “People live in a lot of pain and don’t want to change their situation because they feel that it’s too risky. They don’t realize that the other side of that risk is a rescue for their happiness, for their health.”

We talk about:

  • $50 weekends as a tool for saving money and helping with transitions when finance change
  • How getting creative about family time and going out on the cheap can lead to things that fuel and enhance your life
  • Having a plan that lets you buy healthy foods even on a budget, save time, cuts waste—and lets you get your kids involved with grocery shopping without ending up with lots of junk in your cart
  • Finding the spot where you can slow down in the week
  • Creating a food rhythm can relationships with your kids, your spouse, your friends
  • Making soup to cope with fear


Melissa Lanz is a former internet marketing executive who quit her day job to promote good eating habits in the midst of a national health crisis. As founder of The Fresh 20, Melissa strives to bring fresh food back to the household table and reduce the amount of processed ingredients being used. During the fall of 2009, Melissa dedicated her efforts to creating this tool for busy families and singles stuck in a takeout rut. To further her goal to be a part of The Food Revolution, she wrote The Fresh 20 Cookbook (Harper Collins 2013) and also promotes education in nutrition and healthy cooking through speaking, locally in Southern California and throughout the country.


Doable Changes from this episode:

  • PLAN A $50 WEEKEND. Put your credit card away and take $50 cash with you. That’s it for the weekend. Get creative—have a potluck instead of going out to dinner. Go to the park with your kids. Find free entertainment in your area. Notice what feels hard about this change—and then try again. What happens as you get more used to living this way?

  • USE A MEAL PLAN. Make a meal plan for the week. Use The Fresh 20 or come up with your own. Focus on real foods, but don’t be afraid to have overlap—the chicken you make on Sunday can go into your salad on Tuesday, the big pot of beans you cook can go into burritos one night and offered in rice bowls another. Having a meal plan makes this kind of overlap and batching.

  • TAKE YOUR KIDS GROCERY SHOPPING. I know a lot of women who don’t want to take kids grocery shopping because it takes too long or they buy too much junk. Try it this way: Go in with a list. Have your list focus on the perimeter of the store (fresh produce, meat, eggs/dairy). Tell your kids you are only buying things on the list. Have them help you find things—make it a treasure hunt.

REALLY getting healthy as a family can be a big lifestyle change. But no matter how insurmountable it may feel, focusing on one doable change at a time can help you take small steps toward your big goal.

A healthy lifestyle is really made of lots of little things that when repeated regularly and added together over time make a huge impact on your life.

Choose one Doable Change every Sunday night — one thing that you are willing to play with for the week. The key is to keep it doable and fun! Write that thing on a sticky note or your phone so you remember it. Then put 3 things on your calendar that support it.

Choose from the changes above or download a list of 101 Doable Changes we made for you.




Don’t Give Your Power away with Dr. Mindy Pelz

July 19, 2018

Remember when you stand up and declare that you’re making health a priority, you allow those around you to do the same. It really is an opportunity for us to ignite health into the world. - Dr. Mindy Pelz

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Dr. Mindy Pelz, a chiropractor and founder of one of the largest natural wellness clinics in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s the author of The Reset Factor and founder of the Resetter Tribe. Her interest in the power of food stems from getting diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in college and healing herself with diet changes.

We talked about the ketogenic diet, which you may have been hearing about. I had some misconceptions about that Dr. Mindy cleared up. She describes it like this: Keep your carbohydrates low, down, under 50 grams and keep your protein under 50 grams. Really what you rely on is more fat. When you cut back on carbs and bring in more fats like avocados, nut butters, and butter, it forces the liver to secrete more ketones. Your brain thrives on this, you are less hungry, and your mind gets really clear.

The other part of the ketogenic diet is fasting. When you go 13–15 hours without eating, you cells start to detox and repair themselves. For Dr. Mindy, that looks like stopping eating at 8 PM, having coffee with a little butter in the morning and then not eating until about noon or 1. Coffee, water, and tea work here because they doesn’t raise your blood sugar.

We talk about:

  • Net carbs and how to figure out how much you are eating (including the hand tool Carb Manager)
  • What fasting looks like for her and how she recommends you should start
  • What her ketogenic meals actually look like
  • Training your body to be a fat burner, not a sugar burner
  • Teaching your kids what nutrition looks like
  • Rushing Woman’s Syndrome and learning to calm ourselves down

Really believe in yourself. When it comes to health, don’t give your power away.  – Dr. Mindy Pelz


Dr. Mindy Pelz D.C, Founder of Reset Factor, is crazy passionate about helping families stay healthy. For the past 20 years, she has been in the health trenches with busy Silicon Valley families. Her focus is on giving families the tools to reset their body’s microbiome, detoxifying heavy metals, improving brain function, strengthening immunity, balancing hormones, and creating health plans that have all members of the family thriving.


Doable Changes from this episode:

  • KNOW YOUR CARB INTAKE. Start by simply measuring your food and plugging it into Carb Manager. This doable change is about awareness. Just get used to measuring and tracking. Making adjustments can be your next step. 

  • TRY A 13-HOUR FAST. See what happens if you stop eating at in the late evening and don’t eat again for 13 hours. You can have water, tea, or coffee in the morning, but don’t eat breakfast until later. For breakfast get some fat—egg, avocado, nuts. Experiment and see how it feels. Love this vegan keto list too.
  • SLOW DOWN. When we are always rushing, our cortisol levels go up, which leads to hormonal issues. Focus on slowing down. Schedule yoga or mediation into your day. Block off an afternoon to check out—don’t work, say no to social invitations. Hang out with your family or take complete down time. 





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.