Thursday, January 31, 2013


Did you know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?  I know that I have heard that many times, but I am realizing that it is actually true.  If I fuel up early, I have energy for the day, I dont dip early, I have a clear mind, and it really sets the pace for healthy eating all day.

Here are some easy, quick and healthy ideas for some breakfasts.


I always put in 2 big handfuls of spinach
one orange
one banana
handful of almonds
one slice of lemon with the rind cut off

then I either put in frozen berries, or
frozen mango-pineapple and strawberries, or
fresh fruit in season

sometimes a handful of baby carrots
sometimes a handful of chard or kale

then either plain greek yogurt or
1 scoop or whey protein and soy milk

sometimes chia seeds....


Another quick and easy idea is cracked wheat, whole wheat berries, brown rice or quinoa that I have pre-cooked and heat quickly...add a touch of coconut sugar and craisins, dried coconut and almonds, or fresh berries, or bananas, or a chopped apple.  Sprinkle with cinnamon...all amazing and SO filling.

Another fun and good idea is a whole wheat tortilla, spread with a touch of NATURAL peanut or almond butter, a spoonful of plain yogurt, 1/4 biscuit of shredded wheat ( the old big ones), some nuts, some golden raisins or craisins and 1/2 banana sliced...roll up and GO.

Another easy good breakfast is 3 egg whites with one yolk, handful of spinach, some chopped tomato and a sprinkling of pepper jack cheese.  red pepper adds a pretty color and some vitamin C. cook in a bit of olive oil with cracked black pepper and sea salt.  This is good to make more of and wrap in a tortilla for lunch too:)

Yogurt and fruit chopped with a bit of oats or natural granola

Frozen grapes or blueberries stirred in plain yogurt with a touch of coconut sugar.

Whole wheat bread with coconut oil spread and a cup of chilled, chopped honeydew melon with a lime squeeze

If you are in a hurry, grab a high-fiber, low fat energy bar.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A New Love

I am trying to steer clear of refined sugar, using only agave nectar, pure maple syrup (sparingly) and fruit.  I am on diabetes medicine, and would like to be able to get off this and avoid having to take insulin.
I found a new friend...this is a natural sugar taken from the blossom's on the coconut tree.  You only need a TINY pinch.  IT IS AMAZEBALLS!
I had a pinch in my green tea, I had some whole-grain toast with coconut oil spread on and a tiny pinch of this.  I broiled grapefruit with a sprinkling of this on the top.  I used some in my cashew cream to dip strawberries in.  I use it in my hot cereal...seriously a little tiny pinch goes along way...sigh....heaven!


Here is our quick and easy dinner for tonight...Kale, Spinach, Pepper and apple salad...
This is a salad that has Kale and Spinach as a base, red peppers, apple chunks, turkey, black beans, slivers of white onion, parmesan cheese, pine-nuts, a bit of olive oil, sea salt, fresh cracked pepper and a lemon to squeeze all over this goodness.  Clean, simple, quick, and delicious.

Here are some past dinners that I have already posted for my family, but thought I would share here.  It is easy to eat well.  all it takes is a bit of planning and the good ingredients...

Easy Chicken and Broccoli with red peppers

This is a quick dinner as well.  Brown chicken tenders with 


Wow, what a horrible snow storm we had to drive up to Primary Children's in!  It took us nearly two hours to get up to our appointment today.  We saw so many wrecks and slide off's on the way and the way back, that I am grateful we did not have any problems.

Riley's mouth is healing.  He is able to have strong rubber bands now instead of only wire. He still has to have his jaws fixated for at least another 4 weeks.

We got to see my sister Annette for a minute up there and she said she notices that I am getting skinnier..SCORE!

Time to make some more mashed potatoes for his syringe!

Speaking of mashed potatoes, I have some sneaky, but killer ideas for your next bowl full.

1.  I use CHICKEN or VEGIE broth instead of gives TONS of flavor without the calories of loads of butter and cream.  I also put 3 garlic cloves in with the potatoes to boil..yummo.  sea  salt, pepper and some greek yogurt for amazing creaminess.  Just try it.  I use yukon gold potatoes for this because they are already beautifully golden and have a buttery flavor/texture.

2.  Sometimes I sneak in some pureed cauliflower ..major cancer-fighter.  It adds a cool flavor, and the kids are still more apt to eat mashed potatoes than handing them limp,boiled cauliflower   I wont tell you why mine wont eat it, because they eat almost any other vegetable.  All I can say is thank you JORDAN (my number 2 daughter).

3.  Try this amazing dish.  roast 2 sweet potatoes and mash them in with 5 yukon gold potatoes.  Add the chicken broth, sea salt and pepper and a bit of plain greek yogurt....soooo good!

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I have had a lot of people ask my what I eat while I am on this program to health.  I have studied up on a lot of different ways of eating and I really like the raw diet for some things, but it comes down to this...
WHOLE, NATURAL FOODS ROCK...they just do.  The simpler, the less processed the better.  I DO eat meat, but not a ton.  I just make sure most of our meals are full of FRESH vegies and fruits, good quality protein and cheeses, good oils, whole grains when we can, and the less processed the best.  I know they always say shop around the outside of the grocery store.  Guess what?  That is SUCH a great idea and one you should think of when planning (yes, I said PLANNING) your menu's.
I make sure that I have a well stocked pantry, so if the kids need a snack, it is hopefully readily available.

Everyone is different, but here are my staples:

Olive oil
Sea Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Mesquite seasoning
I grow mint, basil, oregano, thyme, cilantro, dill, chives, rosemary, tarragon. When they are not fresh out of my garden, I use the extra I took the time to freeze or dry.
Green onions
Garlic bulbs
Red peppers
Romaine (for Jeff)
Sweet Potatoes
Yukon Gold potatoes
Canned diced tomatoes
Frozen Berries
Whey Protein
Parmesan and Feta cheese
Chicken tenders
Ground Turkey
Flank Steak
Whole Wheat Bread
Cracked Wheat
Brown Rick
Golden Raisins
Pine nuts
Dried Coconut
Pure Maple Syrup
Blue Agave syrup
Coconut Oil
Chicken Broth
Vegie Broth

These are things that are ALWAYS in the home.  I always add another green vegie for the week, which changes...Asparagus, Broccoli, snap peas..I let my kids help with the menu, so they can choose their favorites. I will also pick up a different fruit or two for the week, pineapple, watermelon, peaches, pears. Another hint is to take them to the store and tell them they can pick any cool fruit or vegie they want.  That way, they think it is a cool treat, and we have tried some things that are keepers... cumquats, brussel sprouts, jack fruit, star fruit, parsnips..have all been picked.

Another good and fun thing to do is to get a Bountiful Basket, or a Coop share.  It's fun to be surprised by the fresh fruits and vegies, and to look up fun ways to use them.

I will pick a fun meat, such as Hot Italian Turkey Sausage, or Filet's or shrimp once in a while, but if I always have the ingredients on my main list, we have hundreds of nutritious meals that can be made and the ingredients to season them!

Think of what your list for your family is...try to take the toll house cookies OFF the list and the snickers bars...and the SODA!  (Yes, my family has to buy their own of these things...) You should see Jeff's stash.

Another good hint is to know what fruit and vegies are in season and take advantage of that!  We cant get enough watermelon and corn on the cob in the late summer, Peaches and pears...Pineapple.  Look up a good chart if you dont know.

Another last suggestion is GROW YOUR OWN PRODUCE!  I have tomatillos, fresh tomatoes, herbs, kale, arugula, shallots, peppers, swiss chard, carrots, beets, cucumbers and zucchini, kohlrabi and nasturtiums at my disposal for wonderful fresh meals...cant beat that.  Now if someone can talk Jeff into letting me have fruit trees, I would be GOLDEN. ( He thinks they are too messy).

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Saturday Workout Madness...

I can't believe that I can type after the work out we had this morning!  We met at Amber and Steve's church gym and started with a run around to warm up.  We then split into 3 teams and did relay races with running, suicides, high skipping and alot of other crazy hard, but fun things.  We then did a boot-camp style work out with different stations to squat, run ladders, tension ropes, ab's with weights, free weights and step. WOW, Amber is about truly kicking my butt...thank-you!

My Weight for the week went DOWN 3.2 pounds!  I will take it:)

We had a great discussion on great things to eat and healthy cooking.  I will be posting some of my quick and easy recipes, but I do want to mention a great cereal that Lynsie told me about today.  It is Honeyville 9 grain cereal.  It has Red Wheat, White Wheat, Barley, Rye Oats, Corn, Buckwheat, Millet and Flax.  You can buy it at Good Earth for $22.99 for 50 pounds people!  She stirs it up into boiling water at night, covers it and it is the perfect them and nice and cooked by morning.  She chops a few almonds, half of an apple and puta a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of agave...guess what my family is eating for breakfast a few times this week:)

Sorry the pictures are  blurry and dark today...dang phone!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Popeye Soup

My sister Annette is one of my hero's when it come to being healthy.  She has always eaten well and exercised and taken good care of herself.  She made this incredible book up for me a few years ago that has charts and healthy ideas that I am using now that I am finally on my road to health.
One of her recipes is a "Popeye Soup".  This is a fresh, raw soup that has spinach, cucumber, avocado  red pepper, green onions and it is spiced so it almost tastes like a fresh guacamole.
I have to tell you a funny story about this soup...we had a sister week-end a few years back in Texas.  Annette, Val, Debi and I.  We took turns cooking for each other and Annette made this soup.  The rest of us had not had raw greens like that in our systems for a while, so we all got pretty sick to our stomachs...come to think of it, we were probably all detoxing and that is why we were sick.  Val had bad gas and they made me, the baby sister sleep in the one room with her!  Annette and Debi were crawling down the hall to come scare us, and they couldn't make it all the way into the room because of the thick air in there:).  Thanks guys!  The next day we were driving to the airport and I was in the back seat with Debi.  She got sick to her stomach and "lost" the green soup in her bag.  Instead of helping her I was screaming at Cheree, who was in the front with Val to trade places with me so I didn't have to sit by Deb when she was sorry Deb...I love ya!
I didn't dare eat the soup for a few years after that experience because I associated it with a sick tummy, but when I tried again, I was hooked!  I actually did a cleanse with the soup and had energy, stamina and felt great.  Thank you Netski

Family Workouts!

We have had two official family work-outs, and they have been a blast!  I was sooooo excited because I was able to go the Saturday a week and a day after Riley's surgery.  It was a welcome break, and I was SO excited because...I was down 5.9 pounds. OH YEAH BABY!

We did a killer circuit training both saturdays at the Junior High where my sister in law Sher teaches in Spanish Fork.
The first week we had a mini lesson from Amber that was great. She talked about childhood obesity and how important it is to have healthy children and the benefits.  ANIKA won the challenge, so she kicked our butts Biggest Loser style with push up's and these other crazy things I forgot the name of.  Then we pumped the music HIGH and rotated from upper to lower body weights then did a bit of aerobics in-between to keep our heart rates up.  We ended with a jog/walk around the halls of the school.
The second week we had an incredible mini-lesson by Sam on vision boards and our homework was to make one....SCORE!  Emily told a story about a guitar she put on hers before Christmas before she and will were dating.  She woke up on Christmas eve and decided to take HER guitar and play and sing at the mall.  In a few hours, she had made MORE than the 400.00 goal she had set...and got the guitar.  Put your vision board up!  Divide it into 9 squares, like a phone pad.  Dont worry about making it fancy.  Put it right where you can see it when you wake and when you go to bed.  Look at it straight on for a few minutes morning and night and visualize smells, sounds, tastes, feelings of obtaining what it on there for you.  I CANT WAIT TO ACHIEVE AND OBTAIN THE THINGS on my board.  I changed mine a bit after this lesson, because my 9 things were too general.  I put more specific goals and things.  I will post a pic soon:)  Steve won the challenge this time, and he kicked our trash with burbees.....UGH!  I felt them for days...that is a good thing, right?  Another killer curcuit work out:)  I am starting to feel muscles I didn't think I had.  WOOT WOOT!
I love this time with my family working out and getting strong!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hard Week

Riley is having his Lefort I procedure redone as the one he had last June, where they cut off his top jaw, splinted it, then screwed a halo in his head to hold the whole thing in place so we could screw his jaw out a bit at a time went awry.  He had an accident where he fell and the screws on the left side of his skull went thru, and he had to have emergency surgery to take the halo off. They put temporary plates in his jaw to temporarily hold it in place until we had this redo.

This time they cut off the top jaw again, put a splint in and grafted cadaver bone into either side of the jaw, then wired him shut.  This surgery took place on January fourth and lasted about 6 hours.  I got pretty anxious because we were told they took him to ICU, but had not called us into the recovery room like they normally do, and it was taking a long time to call us up to see him in the ICU.  When we got up there around 8:00 pm, the anesthesiologist came out and told me that he was not sure if they wanted me to see him yet as they were still working on getting him stable.  That is such a hard thing for a momma to hear, even if your child is officially an adult now.  He just turned 18 on August 29, but he is still my boy.

When I first walked in there my stomach dropped a bit.  The ICU is an overwhelming place. There were lines and breathing tubes and machines everywhere.  Riley's poor face was bloody and they were trying to get his blood pressure down.  They had a nurse that had a desk at the bottom of his bed that had a big trauma chart that was marked constantly.  They took very good care of him. It was a hard night, because he was in pain, but asleep, and blood kept coming out of his mouth and nose.  I would softly wipe it with a washcloth and lightly rub his arms and his head.  I finally fell asleep on the little couch in his room about 4 am...

At about 6:30 am I heard a bunch of alarms and a code blue called.  I sat up and nine people were around Riley's bed.  They were yelling at each other and it was calm and hurried chaos.  It registered in my foggy mind that Riley was throwing up blood.  The problem was that his mouth was wired shut, so the blood was being aspirated into his lungs.  The nasal-gastric tube they had in his stomach...hooked to a vacuum to suction out all the blood in his stomach had clogged in the night, so all the blood had pooled in his stomach:(  It was horrible.  The respiratory team came running down the hall. I grabbed Riley's hand and he held it hard while his other hand was pounding on his chest to let them know that he could not breathe. His eyes and the look of fear freaked me out and I felt dizzy, like I was going to pass out.  They made me leave the room at that time, and the respiratory therapists suctioned his lungs out and took about 45 minutes getting him settled and breathing and stable again.

Riley had some very sore days.  This is such a painful surgery.  He usually likes to go on lots of walks in the wheelchair and even go down and play the piano, but he did not feel up to it.  It is hard to get your sleep in a children's hospital, but I did well, considering.  I also pre made a bunch of fresh fruit, vegie and whey protein shakes and took them up with me along with apples and oranges, a big bag of carrots, snow peas and red peppers.  In the ICU they did not have a big freezer like the regular floors, so I actually took my shakes outside and buried them in some snow in the children's garden and put a note on them stating "Please dont throw these away, my son is in the hospital...if you need me to cone and get them, call (cell )".  They were safe until I got to a regular room with him:)

I also took advantage of the 4 floors of stairs and long halls and did my walking when Riley's dad came to see him, or when he was asleep...for the first time, I didn't make any excuses.  I didn't say "I'm too stressed" or "It's too hard to eat well here".  Score 50 points for Kath!

A few days after we brought Riley home, he got sick and threw up, so the wired had to be cut at home. (They sent us home with special wire cutters).  It was VERY stormy that night, but we had to take him back up to the hospital to the Emergency room to do a temporary fix on the mouth until that tuesday when the Dr. could wire him back up.

Poor Riley is so sore, but this is the last of his major surgeries...we hope.  The whole family has chipped in and haven taken days to stay with him.  I am lucky to have kids so willing to help each other.  I am also lucky to have a husband that was willing to drive me and Riley up in the storm because he knows of my anxiety of driving in the snow and with Riley in such pain.

I have not let this slow me down.  I am making healthy choices because I want to be healthy to be here for my family.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


On New Year's day, we met at Nathan and Kristen's house ( my nephew and his wife) to start our new 12 WEEK CHALLENGE!  This one is a family challenge and Steve and Amber ( other nephew and his wife) started a great new plan for us!

I am SO excited to be doing this with family...that is what it is all about, right?  This is a bonding thing as well as a great support system and healthy way of living.

That first meeting was fun.  We had computers set up and skyped in another nephew Will and his wife Anika, my sister Debi, and my daughter Jacey...They gave us the awesome guidelines and this is one I am a little bit more serious about...

There are quite a few of us in the family doing niece Lynsie and her kids, the above mentioned family, my brother Craig and his wife Sher, my niece Amy and her kids will come for some of the challenges.  I am not sure who in my family will actually do it with me, but Riley and Jocelyn came to the first meeting too.  Nate and Kris have their kids joining in as well...I LOVE THIS!

We have a point system, where you get a point for eating 3 fruits,  points for eating 5 vegies, points for water, NO SUGAR,points for no fried foods, eating breakfast,1/2 of grains eaten are "whole grains",no soda, no eating ater 7 pm,   exercise (you can get up to 3 points) and sleep...what is that?  I am not very good at the sleep thing.  Part of that is Jeffrey's fault:)  He likes to have the TV on until 3:00 am and it is hard to sleep through that, so I take Ambien.  I know, bad!

Quite a few of us use the "My Fitness Tracker" to log our food and exercise.  It is a great and easy app you can download onto your smart phone.

We are going to divide into teams for challenges.  The winner of the biggest percentage of body fat lost gets to lead the rest of us in any workout they would like...aaahhhh. You have to do extra things if you dont lose and you are put on probation if it is a few weeks in a row.  The winning team gets to make the losers do something crazy like clean their house while they watch, do a play for their neighbors, go to the movie theater dressed as trolls.  Man I love this crazy family!

I am more committed to the NO SUGAR this time.

I hope my cooking well and eating well is a good example and motivation for my whole family.

Before and after pictures from the Flab to Fab...



This is my before and after picture for the first 12 weeks, talk about black-mail material!  It is good to know that I will never look like that first picture again!  Look at my poor little ankles.  No wonder they ache at night.  They are trying to hold up that big ole body on a little 5'2 frame.  I have a long way to go, but already I walk faster, I hold my head up more and I am proud of myself for taking better care of this body I was blessed with.

Hello!  Welcome to my journey.  My name is Kathleen McDonald.  I am 46 years old and I started a road to health on September 12 of 2012.  My cute niece Amber started a biggest loser contest called "Fab to Flab in 12".  I was at my highest weight of 253.9.  I was on blood pressure meds, diabetes meds, cholesterol meds and downright unhealthy.  I think having to weigh every week switched a light on in my head that made me think a bit when I ate.

Another thing that really helped was trying out for the first play I had been in for 25 years.  I was in the "Nightmare on Broadway" for Payson Community Theater.  At try-outs, Sam (another cute niece) and I talked for a few hours about mental and physical health and so many cool things.  She had me take this test about how I felt about my body and where I store things...VERY INTERESTING...

The first 12 weeks I think the play practice and dancing and being on stage really helped me realize that exercise and moving my body felt good.  I also really love to dance and sing and it was so much fun to share that time with Nathan and Steve my nephews, my brother Craig and his wife Sher, Sam and Malaina my little great niece...Hmmmm...I felt like I had some self esteem, something that I have not had much of in the last few years.

I got married in 2007 to a wonderful man named Jeff McDonald after dating for a few years.  It is hard to get married when you are older.  I love Jeff and he is a great guy, but we have been through a few VERY HARD YEARS.  Stress got to me and I would hide things in my desk drawers to eat.  It didn't help that I sit next to a big candy store in my office.  I would get stressed and there was a peanut-butter snickers right there 4 feet away to make me "feel better."

I have 5 amazing children that I love dearly.  They have had some battles of their own thru my divorce, melding families, some addiction problems, health problems and major surgeries and illnesses.  Every time one of my children was having a hard time, I would stress, take it personally in a bad way with the way I treated my body, and it was all adding up.

I lost 23.7 pounds in that 12 weeks.  I still ate sugar during that time, but I was a bit more conscious of what I put in my body, and I really stepped up the exercise.

I didn't do well over the holidays:(  I am a great cook, and the treats we made for our neighbors were pretty darn good.  I had my fill of sugar cookies, magic bars, buck-eyes, chocolate covered pretzels, I just didn't feel well after I ate like that.

I am not perfect, but I am on a journey that is taking me to where I want to be.  My goal weight is 135, and I would like to be there by next Christmas!  

I am going to log my journey here for a help for myself, a journal, and to hopefully give some hope and advice to anyone who needs it!