Real Families | Real Nutrition 02: Keeping it Simple with the Bootsma’s

I think most people would describe Bethany and her husband (and their 3 gorgeous children) as sincere, beautiful, trustworthy, industrious and generous.

She is someone that you can go to for advice ranging from parenting, sustainable fashion, relationships, femininity and anything else you might think of, she has a good head on her shoulders as the saying goes. Bethany’s input is wise but also practical, I know I have incorporated many of her tips and tricks over the years, Bethany has answered a few questions regarding managing a family’s health and food routines, she shares some practical ways and achievable ways you can care for yourself and/or family. She also has a fab account to follow @bethany.soul.

So without further adieu, an interview with Bethany:

What would you say are the most important values you have around food and feeding your family/self)?

Values around food are to provide simple, whole ingredients. I don’t think much fuss needs to be made when ingredients are natural and straight from creation! Our family goal is 80/20 – 80% we eat whole foods and a vegetarian diet, and the other 20%  (weekends, special holidays, etc.) we allow desserts, candy, pop, meat and things that we do not usually have in the home. Though we don’t eat red meat much, we are sure to teach the kids that we always eat whatever is set before us politely if we are served elsewhere.

What are you best tips for preparing for and dealing with cold and flu season?

My tips are from my day – fresh air, sunshine, exercise and enough pure water and sleep every day are my TOP priorities for keeping us all healthy. We also do good probiotics and cut out all refined sugar when flu season arrives. Of course holidays come and we lift those rules, but go back to them once the festivities are over.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I start my own day with green tea and have for years. I’m not a big breakfast eater, and my husband likes hot breakfast so he makes it for the kids. Otherwise they can choose between granola and oatmeal 90 percent of the time. We personally find that cereal is such a waste of money! We usually have a snack like an apple/energy bar around 10am and then lunch around 12. I remind my children that “hunger is the best sauce” and feeling hungry is a good sign and their food will be more appreciated when they have let their stomachs rest. I don’t think snacking every few hours is really necessary for most children (especially pre packaged “kids” snacks that are mostly empty calories) , and I prefer them to eat well at meals. Having a boring food option is telling if they are really hungry or just bored. If you’re really hungry you’ll eat a carrot or an apple and not complain. 

I’m actually terrible at eating lunch and usually graze on something around 2 or 3.

We eat supper at 5:30pm and don’t do evening snacks unless its’ a movie night (popcorn) or a weekend and take them for frozen yogurt or something. 

Can you think of a particular story where your family was impacted by nutrition and you noticed it was making a difference?

My middle son had a strange gut reaction to food after having a virus last winter and we cut dairy (we only usually have cheese and sometimes yogurt) and wheat out of his diet until he was healed. Now he has it in smaller amounts and if I think they are coming down with something (very rare) we immediately limit wheat and dairy again and both seem to get them right back on track. It’s about finding balance. No one needs waffles for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and a big pasta dinner for supper. We try and use different grains or only have a wheat item once a day. Sometimes we are successful 😉 

Any tips or encouragement for other families or individuals with regards to nutrition?

I encourage every family to do what works for them. Some people DO need more (organic)  red meat in their diet, or more omegas. 

I think unless you are strongly allergic to something to never make a production out of being a vegan or vegetarian or paleo or whatever. Do what works for you in the home, do not be a snob outside the home and teach your kids to value food for nutrition and building their bodies and microbiome. 

“Imagine a night sky with only 6 stars. It’s pretty dark still! But now imagine it with a million or two! that’s what it’s like inside your body when you put healthy/whole/new/diverse foods in it”. They love this image of filling their “night sky” with a million or two sparkling stars!

I tell my kids we try new foods for building our gut flora and explain it like the night sky “Imagine a night sky with only 6 stars. It’s pretty dark still! But now imagine it with a million or two! that’s what it’s like inside your body when you put healthy/whole/new/diverse foods in it”. They love this image of filling their “night sky” with a million or two sparkling stars!

Also to keep trying things with kids. Every Monday in winter I would make soup. For two years I did this until my kids liked soup! I say, “you don’t have to like it, you do have to try it.’ And then don’t make any fuss if they don’t try more than a bite. Drama around food is often linked to force-feeding, rewarding with too much dessert they don’t really deserve and sticking to bland basics when kids need to be taught to try new things over and over. The example set by the parents. 

Who were your greatest influences in how to care for yourself and your family?

My greatest influence has been my twin sister who has been about 10-15 years ahead of most people in her food choices. She never brags about it and leads her family in thankfulness for food instead of saying they dislike something. She also encourages her family and community to grow things themselves and learn to cook so they can take pride in meal preparation and know it doesn’t just come out of packages or a drive-through window. 

My husband comes from a Dutch background and I from a Mennonite, so meat-and-potatoes are what we both grew up on. We eat pretty differently from that, but it’s a practice – not something you change overnight. One small change at a time.

What is your go-to healthy meal you make when you need something healthy and fast?

Go-to-healthy meal is a green smoothie and some raspberry-bran muffins. Haha. We are not set on making dinner look like a “square” meal that was so popular in the 80’s. We also do “snack supper” which is a bunch of small items, similar to a charcuterie board. This is a great way to introduce new things to kids. Olives and buffalo cheese anyone? 

How does your faith play into how you care for yourself and your family?

I’d say honoring our bodies with not over-doing it on any one thing is a big one. My husband and I also make it a priority to fast (water or Daniel fast) to keep our bodies and systems in line as we get older. Beyond the health benefits it’s a great practice for self-control and realigning where our “needs” are. Again. something people need to look into for themselves and find out what works best for them and their lifestyle. 


Real Families | Real Nutrition 01: Getting My Boy Back

A mother’s story of her son’s struggle with PANDAS and how they came through it.
Rachele & Zadok just before everything began to change for them.

Today Rachele is sharing their family’s journey, Rachele & James have 4 sons and a daughter, her 2 bigs and 3 littles. Their story of adopting their eldest two children is a tear jerker and heart warmer for another post. Rachele and her crew currently live in the country with lots of space for her very, very active boys to run and play (if you knew them you’d understand how awesome this is).

In this post we are going to talk about her first born, Zadok and some of the journey they have had with him.  For anyone that has encountered ADHD or PANDAS (we will get into what that is), this story is for you and we hope you can be encouraged.

What happened a couple of years ago that changed your family drastically?

This all really started when Zadok was 5 years old in kindergarten and it was multiple fold, there was the head injury, that is where it all began because it went downhill from there, that was huge. Eventually we found out it was not just a head injury – it was autoimmune encephalitis – from strep throat that had gone to his brain, we just say concussion cause it’s easier and part of what triggered everything.

What were some of Zadok’s symptoms? What had changed?

Memory loss, would not even know who I was at times, talking different languages at school, weird things, screaming people were being too loud when no one was even talking, stuff that made you feel like your child was gone. He was dealing with Tourette’s and extreme aggression.

How did you start finding some answers?

The concussion is what started us going to all sorts of doctors and no one could figure out anything.  He got a little better with time, but was still struggling. Doctors did not have answers as to why he all of a sudden, after a head injury, began having all these extreme behaviours. We had pulled him from school because of it, but the next year of school was coming up and we really wanted to try again, we wanted to have some answers and see him heal. The head injury started to uncover some others behaviours that we hadn’t clued into previously, we realized Zadok struggled with some ADHD behaviors. Poor guy, he had a lot going on at this point – the head injury/encephalitis and ADHD.

We were then realizing that whoa, he has had ADHD since he was born but didn’t recognize it. We always just thought, oh well he’s just a boy, but then I’d watch other kids and be like, um nope, this is another level. When Zadok would watch a show he’d run circles around the living room, that kind of thing. Turns out not all kids do that!

We were very anti-medication for him because of some of the experiences my husband had in the past watching friends go through similar struggles, so I began to try and brainstorm what we could do as natural options to help him recover and transition back into school. Without doing anything, all I could picture was us sending him to school, him being labelled the ‘bad kid’ and it’d be too much for them and for him and for us! I knew we had to do something significant. 

I was searching online about ADHD (not knowing that the more intense behaviour since the concussion was much more than that), looking for success stories from people who have tried alternative treatments. I found a story of a mother who tried everything for her son, I could almost cry knowing what she went through. She felt like she was losing her son over and over through the whole process of trying different medications. In the end she found a BioMedic doctor that started treating him through diet. And that was the thing that changed their lives! I was a bit blown away learning this. I knew we had to go straight to diet, I would never have known to look at diet for ADHD without hearing this woman’s story.

I then began searching diet/ADHD, I came up with a local BioMedic doctor that had written all these sophisticated articles that combined science and a willingness to try new things, and all her articles were about how ADHD can be healed with food! She explains that a lot of the time it is actually a reaction to food.  The hyperactivity comes from the body trying to function through the reactions to things it should not be having. I contacted her office seeing if it was possible to get an appointment and we miraculously got in. School was 7 months away at this point, and it’s not that school is the goal, healing in the goal, but school is a way of us measuring how much he was improving.

We ended up at the appointment and  start talking to her about the ADHD, after explaining the whole journey to her, the strep, the concussion and all that happened, she looks at me says, “He has been mislabeled, it is not ADHD, it’s PANDAS.”

I couldn’t believe it, I had come across PANDAS on my own and felt like this was part of what Zadok was dealing with, but I gave up on it because everyone said that IF you found a PANDAS doctor you’d probably have a 5 year waiting list! 

I had gone to her because she was an ADHD specialist but she proceeded from there treating him for PANDAS. She explained to us how the brain can rewire itself when given the proper nutrition that your body need. She went into detail scientifically to explain it to us, showing us brain scans of what the brain is capable of. I appreciated the science behind this, that it wasn’t just an ‘eat healthy and you might improve’, it was clear there was research behind this and proving it to be true.

What is PANDAS?

PANDAS is short for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections. It’s a mouthful! A child can be diagnosed with PANDAS when: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), tic disorder, or both suddenly appear following a strep infection, such as strep throat or scarlet fever. He had had strep throat just prior to the concussion, but we had no idea. It is also characterized by sudden aggressive behaviours, and this happened with Zadok.

So what was the diet and how did you make the switch?

We were told to cut all refined sugars, dairy, grains, corn and soy, basically a caveman diet.  I had a mini freak-out, I had no idea what to feed him! At this point he was 6 years old. It’s not easy telling a 6 year old that ‘you have to go on a special diet and no one else has to’.

And it was HARD, I struggled with what to make him and it wasn’t until I met with you and you told me that it was a modified Paleo diet and to just search ‘paleo pancakes’ or ‘paleo pasta’ that things really started to get easier.  It just clicked  at that moment.  It was then simple. And we were able to continue it for a solid year.  We had almost quit after two months because we weren’t seeing much change in him, but decided to give it a bit more time. Then at the 3month mark, all of a sudden, everything changed. I realized he wasn’t running around our house anymore, just like the PANDAS doctor said would happen – the hyperactivity stopped, no more fidgeting all the time, no more spinning for an hour, no more outbursts of aggression and no more night-time issues (which he’d had for years).

So we stayed on it! He loved the diet and he would refuse food he knew he could not have, you could tell that he was beginning to feel better. We continued the diet for a year and that led us to this past March where he had even greater breakthrough and we were able to come off the diet entirely. Long story short, he had a high fever (which when you learn about PANDAS, children with it don’t get fevers), so we knew that his body was really healing, and a high fever can actually be what releases the final inflammation from the brain and brings the breakthrough. And that is what happened with our Zadok. Being on the diet enabled his body to regain balance and start responding the way it is suppose to. As weird as it is to say, the fever was a good sign!

Family life changed huge for us, we were able to go places together again, have dinner together – we  had gotten rid of his chair at the table because he would never sit in it previously! He was able to start school and it didn’t come without it’s bumps and a learning curve for all of us, but his school was incredible, the staff were understanding and helpful.  It’s important to know that it wasn’t an instant ‘everything is magical and perfect and no issues’, he still had to adapt to a new environment and was still healing in a lot of ways. But it was night and day from where we came from. We felt like we got our boy back. We know we need to get back on the diet, now that I’m talking about it, but that’s part of the journey too.

If you could encourage anyone in a similar situation, what would you say to them?

My encouragement would be that you really do know your children best.  You are their best advocate.  Even when you feel pushy and you feel like you are not getting anywhere, keep praying, keep digging and keep fighting for them in every way you know how.  Surround yourself with people who are ahead of you in the journey, it will help give you wisdom and be a huge support in those times where you feel like you’ve hit the wall for the hundredth time.  There is strength in a parent’s heart and there is strength in community, use both!

The End of Your Rope

I can be a very goal-oriented, scratch that, I am a very goal-oriented person. Something I am becoming more and more aware of as the years go by.

Enter some health issues in my life and the whole goal oriented personality of mine is taken for a loop. With everything else in life, I see something I want to do, I lay out a plan to do it and I begin working my way to the finish line. Health stuff is not like that. You can lay out your best plans but sometimes an answer or solution simply uncovers a sleuth of more questions and you feel like you’re starting over.

I picture it like a long rope that you are trying to find the other end of, some people’s health journey is a short rope, they pick up one end, follow the rope a little way and find it around a corner. For others, we pick up that rope and end up climbing trees, mountains, digging into mines, through rivers, lakes, back around to where we started and then still find more rope.

I am sure you’ve heard the phrase “healing is not linear”, and it really isn’t. Oh man it is NOT. Yet in all of it, there is a journey, the longer your rope, the more knowledge you have to help the next person and maybe they won’t have to search around quite as long to get the answers you hunted for. Whether you are walking through emotional, mental or physical healing, the journey holds value. And you do start to heal and start to find answers.

Sure, I would have loved in 2012 if I was told do this, and then this and voila! The nodules will go away and you are all healed up and can move on in life. But that didn’t happen, it has taken time and many trials and of late I have seen greater healing and progress. Throughout the process I had to over and over choose to embrace the journey (and sometimes just curl up and cry too), do what I can to find answers, heal and keep moving forward….and then just rest. It is tempting to think “I wish i would have known/done/not done”, but the reality is life is still happening and you do the best you can and still live and enjoy life. This is where my faith has kept me. When I am all out of ideas, energy and the drive to keep trying to heal, God is there to give me the next step, encourage me and assure me (for the millionth time) that He is working ALL things together for good as I love him.

The Passion Translation says it like this:

28 So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.

My soul sighs with relief every time I am reminded of this promise. Yes, my goal is still to continue healing and finding answers, but the greater goal is that my faith would deepen, that I would know-really know that my God is good and only has good for me, regardless of what I face. There is peace there, there is hope there.

Regardless of where you are at, be encouraged to keep moving forward, take that small step, pick up that little more rope. Good will come of it. So, cheers to finding the End of Our Ropes, that somehow each of our journeys will quicken the healing process for another.

“I need to eat healthier”, said everyone at some point.

Ugh…I need to eat healthier

How many of us have said this multiple times, over multiple days…or even years? There is just this gut feeling that we should probably be taking better care of ourselves. I hear this from my husband semi-regularly, especially after guys nights. The remorse is real. You should see the nachos they came up with. Insane. Maybe I should do a blog post on what NOT to eat and feature these, ha!

Over the years I’ve seen a few road blocks that can get in our way when trying to ‘eat healthier’, it may take addressing the roadblock before moving forward, a few of them are below:

  • Not sure how or where to start, (we’ll talk about this one below).
  • Seem to be too busy to ‘learn how to eat healthy’ and don’t feel like you have the time.
  • Feel so far from healthy that all the ‘little’ things to change don’t feel like they will make a difference. So you don’t bother or go on an extreme crash diet and then once done, quickly go back to where you started. It wasn’t sustainable and no habits were changed.
  • Lack of motivation or desperation (when desperate enough it becomes your motivation).
  • Feeling restricted, like there is no freedom anymore. Instead of thinking about what you can have you are obsessing over what you can’t have.

One of my favorite quotes is from Larry Burkett, from his book Business by the Book:

“The point is to start where you are, not where you like to be in a year or two. But if you never start, you’ll be in exactly the same position a  year from now.”

Time passes whether we do anything with it or not, and if we continuously build good habits in our lives we will find ourselves in a very different place a year from now. And chances are you’ll look back and wonder why you didn’t make those changes sooner.

The key is make the change: keep the change, clearly this can apply to ANY area of our lives, not just nutrition. I am thinking of a few other areas for myself…but for the sake of Eating Well, there are a few ways we can start.

So where do I start?

What are 5 things can you do now to fulfill that goal of eating healthier? No matter what food preferences you have, these 5 things benefit everyBODY.

  • Eat more veggies, make it a goal to do one massive salad every day and include a variety of vegetables in every meal (deep fried doesn’t count.. and neither do white potatoes).
  • Hydrate! Drink lemon water, all day every day. And the recommended 8 glasses? Do that and add a couple more.
  • Move your body, walking uses more muscles than a number of other physical activities, walk a brisk pace to get your heart rate up. Take the long way to the mailbox…whatever it takes. Move!
  • Break up with sugar (this includes sugary drinks!), just do it. I have a pretty standard rule that we don’t have refined sugar in our house…if it’s not here, we won’t use it. Make that the standard for whatever your weakness is. Soda? Chocolate? Sugary baking? Just don’t have it in the house and find a healthier alternative to curb those cravings.  That way when you do have it, it’s a treat and not the norm.
  • REST, find ways to rest not only your body but your mind also. When was the last time you sat in quiet? Even for a few moments. Being alone with your thoughts can be a foreign thing. Try this: find  a quiet moment to yourself and for 10 minutes do not read, listen to something, watch something, nothing. Just sit and be quiet and take a moment to pray a little and be quiet more. You might be surprised what you learn.

These 5  areas are also important for children… they just don’t need quite that much water.

It takes 63 days to change a habit, yes 63! Not 21. The first 21 days are just what it takes to let your brain know a change is coming and it begins to prepare. So keep at it. Over a number of years I reduced my average body weight by 30lbs, every year I was learning more and improving my health and my weight began to show it. Weight is not always the goal, but it can reflect where you are at nutritionally. For me the weight was not the goal, it was learning what my body needed and giving it that nutrition. These good habits over time make a BIG difference. And for me, it was 30lbs difference…and now…. I am working on eliminating all auto-immune symptoms little by little, day by day, new GOOD habit by new GOOD habit.

Everyone loves a good before and after right? The picture on the left is when I was close to my heaviest and not feeling amazing, the one on the right is the current weight I maintain. The weight loss accelerated over a period of 5 years as my lifestyle continued to improve, the last year seeing the most significant change.

Where are you going to start? Comment below which of the 5 you’d like to improve in.

Charred Garlic & Haddock Salad

I had this for lunch today…I think it was today. It’s been a whirlwind this last week with my husband away and then getting back and trying to figure out our rhythm again. Any one else find that?

I was STARVING and needed something quick and with a good amount of protein. We keep individually frozen packets of wild caught haddock and trout in our freezer for when I need a quick, healthy and filling meal. These have saved me many times from eating something I shouldn’t out of desperation. This is key to any diet – especially a strict healing diet – have those ‘save your butt’ quick meals always handy.

I am a firm believer that if your salad is not satisfying…it’s probably not a great salad. And no matter what diet you adhere to, learning to eat great salads is foundational.

You can easily modify for whatever salad ingredients you have on hand and for a warmer meal (if its a comfort food day), do slightly warmed kale, just saute with a touch of oil and salt until it softens just a little. This will give you that cozy meal vibe you sometimes need.

Charred Garlic & Haddock Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

The salad is perfect for a quick dinner, fresh, healthy, full of protein and good fats.


    For the Haddock:
  • 2 fillets of boneless, skinless haddock, thawed and dried
  • 3tbsp of avocado or coconut oil
  • 4 cloves crushed garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper (omit for AIP)
  • Juice of one small lemon
  • For the Salad:

  • 4 large handfuls of mixed greens (or warmed kale for a winter dish)
  • 1 medium Carrot sliced thin
  • 1 large avocado
  • Mini bella or cremini mushrooms
  • Chives
  • For the Dressing

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp basil
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Bring your favorite skillet (cast iron is best) to medium heat and add the oil. Once heated add the haddock and crushed garlic. Fish will cook quickly, normally it only need 3-4 minutes a side, but we are going to let the crushed garlic and fish get nice and brown. Having your skillet hot enough is key.
  2. Once fish is down pour the juice of one lemon over the entire fish, it is going to create a good amount of steam and quickly sauté as much of the lemon juice around the pan.
  3. The water from the lemon will mostly evaporate leaving the wonderful tangy, sweet lemon flavor on your fish.
  4. While fish is frying put together the dressing and chop your salad ingredients, arrange in a large salad bowl and toss with your preferred amount of dressing.
  5. Once fish is done remove from heat, divide dressed salad onto two large plates and place a piece of haddock over each serving. And Voila! A quick dish full of good fats, proteins, minerals & vitamins.

Tried it? Share on instagram with #eatprayhealrecipes.

Celery Juice…wait what?

Um no, juice is sweet and delicious and NEVER green, I am thinking of a particular brother-in-law who is probably gagging right now (you know who you are). I’ve been around the juicing vibe for a number of years now and so when I heard of straight up celery juice, I wasn’t entirely phased. But just celery? And 16oz? Yowzas.

For any of you that are familiar with Anthony William, the Medical Medium, you will be familiar with celery juice…. he even started the ‘Global Celery Juice Movement’, it’s a ‘thing’ right now. You can find him on Instagram @medicalmedium.

So this slightly bitter, very green juice…. what does it claim to do?

  • cleanses toxins from the liver
  • increases liver production of good bile
  • attacks strep bacteria, eptein-barr and shingles virus’
  • reduces chronic acid reflux
  • boosts your stomach digestive juices, improving digestion and empowering your body to fight off infections
  • cleans out your digestive system of old rotted proteins and undigested debris…yep nasty stuff
  • loaded with trace minerals and vitamin C
  • reduces inflammation
  • increases hydration…. forces 16oz of electrolytes into your system first thing. How many of us drink 16oz of anything upon rising? Except for die hard coffee drinkers. Not kidding here. I know a few.

With all foods that have benefits, chances are the benefit of that particular food, like celery juice, is just a piece of the puzzle to your health. There are the odd cases where someone starts adding something into their diet that changes everything for the good…. but more times than not it’s just a part of the change that you need to make to improve your health. So celery juice won’t necessarily cure what ails you, but it may help!

Um…it’s gross

Yep, haha, at first it can be. Start with fresh, organic celery and cut off any of the bad bits, juice 8oz a day and work your way up to the recommended 16oz. You can also juice ½ an apple with it and slowly cut back the apple amount as you get a taste for it.

When, how and why?

Celery juice is meant to be taken on an empty stomach, first thing, before any food. It is best to wait at least 15minutes before eating. This allows the medicinal effects of the juice to work on your stomach and move into your system without any hindrances to absorption.

Goal is to get to 16oz of pure, fresh juice with no additives.

I find a full bunch of celery, washed, cleaned and trimmed gives 16 oz (sometimes more) , you can keep the leaves on, but feel free to remove them if you find it’s too bitter.

Did you notice any changes?

I do notice a few changes while being on celery juice, my skin looks clearer (to me anyway), and I do notice an improvement in symptoms I have to lichen schlerosis, an autoimmune skin condition I deal with. I am not always consistent taking it as I find it harder to handle in the cold winter months, so I will either warm it a touch or skip it altogether.  

I’d say give it a try, take 30 days, make a list of any symptoms you have, and then check back at that list after a full 30 days. Chances are you’ll notice some changes…and if anything it’ll trigger you to make more decisions to step towards better health and add more pieces to that vibrant, healthy puzzle.


In case you’re interested…nutritional information on celery juice for 16oz:

  • Calories: 85
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Carbs: 19 grams
  • Sugar: 10 grams
  • Calcium: 16% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Magnesium: 14% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 10% of the DV
  • Potassium: 28% of the DV
  • Sodium: 18% of the DV
  • Vitamin A: 14% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 32% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 148% of the DV

Celery also contains other minerals: biotin, copper, folate, zinc and other B vitamins, and numerous antioxidants.


Bears for Breakfast

Not sure how the children in your life are, but mine wake up like hibernating bears that have not ate in months. My youngest especially is predictably irrational until we get food in him. *insert eye roll*

Many adults can wake up with a similar disposition, but it is usually more to do with their coffee than their food needs…. Or maybe it’s the food but we think it’s the coffee??

 A typical breakfast in our home for the kids is a big bowl of oatmeal dressed to the nines. This is 90% of their mornings, when I do a shake or juice they usually end up having a bit of that too, but it is a stark contrast to what I eat every morning.

But give kids straight up carbs (especially if those carbs are from sugars) and boom crash, they bottom out within an hour. High performing digestive systems need to have their carbs AND their proteins together. In another post I can get into the nerdy details of it all, but here’s the short version: eating carbs and proteins together for high metabolisms will slow the digestion down just enough that their bodies can absorb the nutrients in the food, and last a bit longer (this has to do with the types of digestive juices needed to breakdown carbs vs proteins. I know – I know. I warned you it might get a little nerdy here). If you are a high metabolism person that can’t seem to keep weight on…. this could be a piece to the puzzle, make sure you’re eating your carbs and proteins together.

For myself on the AIP diet (auto-immune paleo) and currently breastfeeding, I make sure that I have a starchy vegetable at every meal, otherwise I’m hungry 30min after eating and I lose weight too quickly.  This applies to every meal of the day, but especially for those little ones first thing in the morning.

My husband is the morning parent with our boys and will get their breakfast prepared, this is the deal we have going while I am still getting up in the night with our 9 month old baby girl. I’d say it’s fair. Most times. Except when she’s up 4x. Then nothing is fair. Ha. I kid.

This is generally the Children’s Breakfast Routine that we follow:

(Every day? ha. no. we are human).

  • FRUIT: Serve fruit of some kind, helps take the edge off (and it can be an EDGE some mornings), this also provides a cleansing affect for their little bodies as well.
  • MAIN DISH: BIG bowl of oatmeal, they easily eat twice what I could when I used to eat oatmeal
  • DRINKS: Glass of juice with barley greens and beet powder, whatever I’ve juiced OR a bit of smoothie if that’s what I’m having
  • SUPPLEMENTS: Vitamins, ‘vitamin juice’, and probiotics, I’ll do a separate post on supplements for children…like where to start cause there are SO many.

Why certain ingredients?

  • Fresh ground flax: For fiber and loads of healthy omega 3’s for their busy, developing brains
  • Dash of milk: Adds protein and if fortified, extra nutrients. And really, what’s oatmeal without milk? We usually prefer almond.
  • Drizzle of maple syrup or honey: Cause yummy and honey is especially good for its antimicrobial agents
  • Fruit: Raisins, berries, bananas or any fruits your kids like, good for boosting fiber, vitamins and antioxidants (especially when you go with berries)
  • Scoop of nut butter: This is where you can get your protein in

A full recipe is outlined below if you’d like specifics, but really anything goes. Comment your go-to-oatmeal combo in the notes below!

Hearty Classic Oatmeal

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy

A simple favorite with a few key ingredients to boost the nutrition value of this classic breakfast.

Gluten free, Dairy free optional


  • 1.5 cups GF rolled oats
  • 2.5 cups water
  • pinch of salt
  • almond milk
  • berries (frozen helps to cool down the oatmeal for kids)
  • 2 tsp of fresh ground flax for each bowl
  • Maple syrup or honey to taste
  • 2tbsp of your favorite nut butter for each bowl


  1. Add oatmeal, water and salt to pot
  2. Bring to boil and turn down to simmer for 10 min.
  3. Dish into bowls, add toppings and enjoy!

Break (the) fast


If you’re my husband you know every diner in a 100 mile radius and can rate them based on how good their home fries are. This has been the area of my greatest ‘awakening’ over the last few years. When you enthusiastically jump into something like the AIP (auto-immune paleo) diet and bound to the kitchen for your first breakfast – you quickly realize that you have.no.options.  That is you have no options until you change your mentality that breakfast is not carbs and greasy diner food and cinnamon buns and pancakes and waffles. *Sigh*

Breakfast…literally means Break the fast…. you have been fasting through the night, so it’s not so much when you break your fast that counts…. it’s how and with what you break your fast with that does.

So yes. That bowl pictured is my breakfast, those fresh crunchy greens were picked from my very humble garden (and by humble I mean humble, I have two planters that I am trying my darndest to keep alive) and dressed with a drizzle of olive oil, touch of lime and herbed salts.

Your body has grand plans to eliminate toxins and unwanted debris after cleansing through the night, and giving your body the foods to help it do just that will set you up for an energized day, without any of the previous days ‘baggage’ (and by baggage I do mean poop).


Recipe for a good Break—fast:

  • Before you do anything…drink that lemon water…it’s a level 3 liver cleanse, one of the only of its kind. (1/2 lemon in 16 oz of water). Do this while getting your breakfast ready, or before you shower. It’s the first thing that should go in your body and give it 20-30 minutes to work it’s magic.
  • Celery juice. If you can down 8-16 oz of this before any food…. well it’s amazing. Click here for a whole blog post on it.

(There is a good chance you will have dropped your baggage by this point).

  • Eat (or drink) your veggies. Get some delicious fresh greens or nicely roasted veggies. Go with fresh on a hot day, cooked on a cool day. Also add in a protein here, it will keep your blood sugar from dropping. If you’re doing a shake, add good protein powder and if eating a salad like in my photo, add in some of your preferred protein. I added some grilled trout to the one pictured above.

****NOTE: In the cooler months (if you live where there are cooler months) drinking fresh pressed cold vegetable juices can sometimes cause indigestion. Add a warming ingredient such as ginger and after juicing warm just a touch on the stove just to take the chill out and add a little warmth.