Fitness * Family * Health * Gluten-Free

The Mediterranean Food Pyramid: Lifestyle, Not a Diet

Love this! Be active with your family and eat clean!!!

Mommy Workouts

The Mediterranean Food Pyramid: Lifestyle, Not a Diet

I was quite fascinated when I came across the image of the Mediterranean Food Pyramid this weekend. We all wonder what is the secret of the “Southern European” diet that keeps people slim, healthy, happy and living long lives. Notice that the base of the pyramid consists of “active lifestyle” elements: dancing, going for a walk, playing soccer, and enjoying good food together. It is a lifestyle, not a diet. While a lot of us here in the US workout religiously, sweat in the gym, run marathons, and consume the latest superfoods, we are missing out on the most important part of our potential: simple, active, happy lifestyle. No gym required. Enjoying life to its fullest. Savoring delicious foods with family and friends, and not worrying about how many calories our dinner had. Because when you eat home-cooked meals from good, fresh ingredients, none of this matters.

The Mediterranean food…

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A Few Tips For Eating Gluten Free!!


One of the topics I have not talked about yet is living gluten free. I live gluten free because I have celiac disease. Eating anything with gluten/wheat in it makes me really sick.

About 10 years ago I found out I had celiac disease after having some major stomach issues, losing 15 lbs in 3 months (not due to healthy eating and being fit) and having 3 miscarriages. It was awful and at that time not as known, so it took a couple years and alot of testing to figure it out.

Now I live COMPLETELY gluten free. Not only does celiac disease effect you with all of the symptoms above, etc.., who knows what it was doing to my insides that I don’t know about. Shortly before being diagnosed, I was diagnosed with having hypothyrodism and hashimoto’s disease. After being diagnosed I found out I was allergic to eggs. All related? Who knows???

I get a little upset when I hear about people eating gluten who have celiac disease. What better disease could you be diagnosed with? The solution is to not eat it. It is that simple. Cured!!!

I have to say I do not have it as bad as some. My family eats gluten/wheat products and I do not really take any CRAZY precautions to keep the items away from mine. I use separate utensils and pan, etc. when making pasta and sandwiches, but I don’t use a separate toaster or have a separate cutting board. Some individuals have to be very careful.

In a previous post I shared how I get around sandwiches, by using romaine lettuce leaves, but really there are so many options out there now. When I was first diagnosed everything tasted horrible. Now you can get just about anything gluten free.

My advice – tackle this disease with a positive attitude, not a “woe as me” attitude.

I personally do not go out to eat very often. I have 2 kids and staying home is just easier. However, I do know that alot of people really enjoy dining out and get very upset by the way they are treated at restaurants. You have to remember that there are alot of allergies out there and you can not expect every restaurant to accommodate you. We have a local gluten free support group that lists all the gluten free restaurants on their website. If you do not have this luxury, call ahead and ask alot of questions. Nobody wants to walk in a restaurant, be starving and find out the only thing that is safe is a garden salad. You have to look out for you. How could restaurants survive if they had to provide for peanut, soy, dairy, gluten, etc.. allergies?

If you are going to a summer party, bring a dish to pass you can eat. Forego the roll for your hotdog or hamburger. If you need your sweets (I usually just go without), bring something along – maybe another dish to pass or just something for yourself.

Being your own advocate is my best advice to you. I do not and have never expected anyone to cater to my allergy. Family and friends have been very nice to think of me over the years, but that is just a pleasant surprise to me. I do not expect it.

I hope I don’t seem harsh. I just know that I could have it ALOT worse, and that with a little thinking ahead, it really is not all that bad.

I have to give a little plug for a local bakery that has made it alot easier for us in Western New York. They ship nationwide and have anything you can imagine from pizza crusts, to breads, to doughnuts, to cakes, etc…….

I know I have only shared one recipe so far. More to come – I promise. I assure you that none of them will involve 20 different expensive ingredients. They will all be fairly simple.




Have a fight with your husband, brother, sister, mother? Have a bad day at work?


Whenever life slaps me in the face with some type of challenge, I don’t go sit on the couch with a box of tissues and a 1/ 2 gallon of ice cream. I WORK OUT!!!

These are usually my best workouts! I am all alone and turning all the negative energy into a positive!!! I tend to workout without music, but when I am stressed I like to crank it up and work my butt off!

When I am done I tend to feel better about whatever situation I was stressing about and I definitely feel great about myself.

Don’t even sit down! Get on your workout clothes, throw your hair up in a ponytail and let the stress relief begin!!!

Back to The Basics of Getting and Staying Fit and Healthy

I have posted alot about my kiddos lately, but lets get back to the basics of getting fit and healthy and staying that way!  Here our some of my tips, that have worked for me!

1.  You have to be ready for a challenge.  If you even have the word “diet” in your head right now, you do NOT want to hear what I have to say. A quick fix is just that a QUICK fix.

2.  You can not get there by using one or the other.  Healthy eating and working out need each other.

3.  Go to the grocery store and buy lots of veggies, fruits, lean meats (chicken, lean beef, turkey (ground, sausage, an entire turkey – whatever your pleasure), etc..  Oh and oatmeal (the good stuff in the nature section).

4.  Eat 5-6 times a day.  This will help you I swear – not make you fatter.  I eat breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and after dinner snack. If all these meals consist of clean, healthy foods, your body will love you.

5.  I know this is a repeat, but stay away from anything diet, fat-free, sugar-free, etc…. They are not good for you.  Plain and simple!

6.  Get rid of sweets COMPLETELY, including DIET POP, for AT LEAST 6 months to let your body adjust to your new way of eating. This is the HARDEST part.  You will thank me if you stick to this plan.  My body is so use to eating good stuff, I rarely crave the sweet stuff.  I now crave veggies.  I swear this is not a lie!!

7.  You have to workout with WEIGHTS.  I do not expect you to go out and get 8 lb weights and start up like a crazy freak.  Soup cans or 3 lbs weights will do.  If you have read my previous posts, I do not go to a gym.  My workouts are strictly youtube videos in the comfort of my house (sometimes whiles my kids are screaming at each other.  LOL).  My go to workouts – just search anything HASFIT.  They have videos for every part of your body and cardio.  There are 10 minutes, 30 minutes, whatever your pleasure.

8.  When you start working out go into it slowly. Don’t try to do 45 minutes to an hour right off the bat.  Starting a workout routine is a huge adjustment for someone who has a busy schedule and/or a family.  Start doing 10 minutes a day and work your way up.  After a few months it will become part of your routine and easier to fit in more time.  If you try to start big, I think it tends to be overwhelming, you then begin to loathe it and give up quickly.

9. Find a buddy if you can.  They don’t have to do the same thing as you, they just have to have the same goal in mind.  They don’t even have to be in the same state as you.  Thats what text messaging is for!!  Having a buddy to check in with helps to make you accountable for your decisions.

10.  Stay motivated!!  Getting healthy and fit the right way takes time.  Don’t get discouraged if you do not see HUGE results after a week.  Every pound is an accomplishment.  Don’t let the scale rule you either. Sometimes the scale does not show weight loss, especially if you are using weights and building muscle.  The way your clothes fit and feel is where you will see the difference.

Good Luck Out There!!! You Deserve This!!!!

Okay moms out there!  I am all about getting active with and for my kids!  Today we were at a family party at a park and I said to my son Aiden, I will race you around that baseball diamond!!  Of course he beat me, but that was only because my pants were falling down and I had to keep pulling them up, because they don’t fit me anymore.  LOL!!  Get out there!!  Take hold of any opportunity you have to be fit and teach your kids an awesome way of life!!


20 Playgrounds Challenge Update

If you have seen my previous post, my kids and I have begun a 20 playgrounds challenge.  We are trying to go to 20 DIFFERENT playgrounds before the end of the summer. 

This post is an update of our progress.  We have managed to tackle 3 playgrounds.  The first playground was  the Cayuga Heights Playground in Cheektowaga, NY, about 20 minutes away from where we  live and the playground that actually inspired our challenge.  1.21.3

We got a little busy after this one with 3rd grade moving up day and pre-K graduation, but we were heading to six wheeler races in Ashtabula, OH this past weekend, straight down the 90 from our house near Buffalo, NY .  I decided before we left that we had to find  a playground in each state. 

We have only gone to 3 playgrounds, but this one was our favorite so far.  It was AMAZING. It was huge! This was a recommendation from someone who lived in the area and was located at  North Kingsville Elementary School (which is actually a closed school).

My son loved to be able to hide from his sister in this cool secret hiding place.  She had no interest in him though .  She was playing with a baby and then a little girl she met.


The next playground was not such an amazing playground, but if you were having any kind of party in the Erie, PA area (off the Peach St. exit), what a great place complete with 4 kitchen areas, clean bathrooms. a creek behind it, basketball courts, etc…  This one I just googled so I had no idea what we were going to find at the end of this playground search.  Picnina Park sounded fun .  2.73.2

My daughter fell asleep after the first playground in Ohio .  She was exhausted after a weekend of camping and running around so I told my son we would skip the Pennsylvania playground.  He said no we can’t.  She told us to wake her when we got there.

We have only been to 3 so far, but it has proven to be soooo fun already.  They make friends at every playground which is soo cool to me.  Even in a playground in Ohio, my 5 year old daughter thinks she has made a life long friend just from spending a short amount of time playing with him/her.

I hope others are inspired by our challenge.  Even if you just go to local playgrounds in your area.  Kids are not young forever.  My 9 year old is already starting to get to cool for his mom, but I am happy to report he is not too cool to join in the challenge.

I do take a couple pictures at each playground, but then the phone is put away and I explore with the kids and talk to other parents.

Keep Playing with your kiddos!!  They enjoy every minute of time you spend with them. 



Can Understanding Help Us Deal With Our Children’s Moods?

As my blog is about being fit and healthy while having fun with my family, I thought this fit in nicely. Sometimes you have great expectations for a family outing and your kid’s moods tend to put a damper on things. Make the most of every minute – good or bad! They are not young forever!!


“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change”

—  Thich Nhat Hanh

When I read this quote the first thing that came to mind was, “how can I view my children and my husband as lettuce?” I loved the idea of not…

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It is very important for me to stay in shape and be fit, but it is just as important that my kids grow up with a healthy lifestyle that hopefully carries with them forever.

As I passed a fabulous playground on my way home from a dentist appointment, I knew my kids would love it and that we would have to come back over the summer.  A brilliant idea hit me that minute – The 20 Playground Summer Challenge.  I came home and told my kids the plan.  We would challenge ourselves to go to 20 DIFFERENT playgrounds this summer.  With so many schools and parks around, I knew we could find them, but would we have time with everything else going on.

Luckily, my kids are young enough that video games have not become a big part of their lives.  We do not have a gaming system such as Xbox, Playstation, etc. I know it is my future, because of my son’s age, but I am hoping the more he enjoys being outside now, the less those games will consume him when he is older.

Who is with me for this fun, fun, fun challenge?????  I will keep you posted on our progress.  My idea is to take pictures of them on every playground and then make a little photo album out of it.

What better way to stay active and get your kids moving. Challenge yourself too!  Either get up there on that playground with them (I can still fit on the swirly slide. yahoo.) or jog/run around the playground while they are on it.  That way you can see them while still being active yourself.  If you think people will think you are cuckoo crazy.  They might, but who cares.

On a side note, I am sad to report that our herbs did not make it.  If you saw one of my previous posts, both my kids planted an herb (parsley and basil).  Lesson learned.  I did not put enough potting soil in the containers so I guess it didn’t give the roots any room to grow.  Plus, I think we put WAY too many seeds in.  We will try again!!  I will keep you posted!!  Also, I was hoping to plant a garden this year, but time has gotten away from me AGAIN this year.  We all know the feeling am I right?  The school activities involved in my daughter entering Kindergarten and my son moving out of the primary school into the intermediate school were crazy.  My May and June have been flying by!!!  We will start the herbs again soon. The garden will have to wait until next year.  I guess it is back to the farmers market for me.

First stop tomorrow after volunteering at my son’s field day – a playground!!!!