Welcome to another week of Mama Monday where I introduce you to mamas from all over the world that are passionate about feeding their families healthy, nutritious food. They’ll be talking all about their top tips for healthy family food on a budget.
This week I’d like to introduce you to Emily Ehlers. Emily is a holistic lifestyle coach and mama of one. Her blog is a beautiful haven filled with all things from food, to self-love, to spirituality, motherhood and lifestyle advice. She’s a mama I’ve followed online for quite a while now and I really dig her honesty and zest for life.
EXPERIMENTATION. I have tried every diet under that sun looking for the perfect fit (vegan, paleo, candida, cabbage soup anyone?!) and there was always something that didn’t work for me which I would end up beating myself up for.
Now I am all about learning what works for me: a lifelong fine-tuning process that gets easier as you go. What makes me feel full of vitality? What makes me feel heavy and lethargic? What foods do I simply turn to for emotional support and which foods genuinely enliven me? Wow I bloat every time I eat corn…. that sort of thing.
I definitely get inspired and clued up on the latest information but I remind myself (on the daily) that I am not going to find ‘my perfect diet’ on any website.
And of course that we should eat organic, ethical, local and seasonal produce in it’s whole food form as much as we possibly can. Yep, that ol’ chestnut.
What do you love most about raising a healthy family and why is it important to you?
I love going to bed at night knowing in my heart of hearts that I am doing everything I can to help my family feel their best, so they can do their best!
One of my biggest inspirations Dr John Douillard once said “once we get rid of the density of our bodies we can concentrate all of our energy into our mind and soul”. Amen. I just want her to grow up being in tune with her body and having a clear mind to do whatever her heart freakin’ desires!
What’s your best tip for getting kids to eat healthy?
Make it fun and get them involved! I make zucchini noodles which we then eat Lady & The Tramp style. I make faces out of food and let her use her hands to explore it (yes, mess). She helps me with juicing in the morning and picks herbs from the garden for me to cook with. I don’t force Lucy to eat vegetables she doesn’t like (she has hated sweet potato since she was 6 months old) but I always put it on her plate to try. Basically I respect her personal tastes and moods. But I keep offering. She didn’t want a bar of broccoli when she was younger, now it’s her fave thing. She wants it for breakfast!
Also, even though I was against it at first (as an overly-idealistic “my kids gonna just looove leafy greens” new mama) I have found that hiding vegetables can be a great tool, as long as they still eat vegetables in their natural form. I use hidden veggies as a bonus to supercharge her diet. For example, I will throw some spinach leaves in her banana-berry smoothie or I grate a heap of zucchini into her omelette.
And as a sneaky aside – I let her have “the bad stuff” occasionally but I never reward with it.
What’s your advice to other mamas on the best way to feed your family healthy food on a budget?
Hit your farmers markets for the local and seasonal food. I used to make my weekly food plan first and then head to a dedicated organic store (which wasn’t all local/seasonal mind you), buy my whole ingredients list and walk out spending well over $200 – for 2 people and a toddler!
Nowadays I flow a bit more; I head to the farmers market and walk away with all organic produce – more than enough for the week – and spend around $70 on average. I then make a meal plan at home and go get the meat from my fishmonger or butcher to compliment that.
I do also use less meat nowadays and bulk with things like cabbage, cauliflower and leafy greens (which are super cheap to grow yourself, organically). If you have grains they can add a good bit of body to your meals.
What’s your favourite thing to do to relax?
My mornings are my sacred time that get me all zen-like for the rest of the day. I get up really early and I head straight to the beach with my dogs. I play my fave tunes while I walk, exercise or do a light bit of yoga. I journal and chat to the other early-rising regulars (Rudey The Bull-Dog if you are reading this – Hola!). Then at the end of my session I meditate between 5 and 20 minutes.
This sets me up for the day and I am a noticeably different human being (and in particular mother) when I get that time to just be. Us mothers do so much for everyone else, that time of aloneness is so damn vital.
This being said – curling up on a Saturday night with a movie and a glass of wine doesn’t go astray either!
I’d love for you to share one of your favourite family-friendly recipes
You can’t go past some good ol’ pancakes for a family bonding session can you? Here are my Banana Berry Paleo Pancakes…
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp coconut flower
- 3 tbsp coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp chia
- 1 1/2 tbsp shredded coconut
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp coconut cream
- Mixed Berries
- Sweetener to taste (rice malt syrup, honey, maple syrup…)
- Whisk the eggs, coconut milk, apple cider vinegar and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl mix the cinnamon, coconut flour, chia seeds, baking powder and salt.
- Mix the wet and dry ingredients together well.
- In a hot pan over medium heat, with coconut oil, ladle small pancakes.
- When they bubble on top flip them.
- Top with berries, sweetener and a big dollop of coconut cream.
A little bit more about Emily and where you can find her.
Cheerleader for happiness. Lover of sparkly-eyed health. Hugger of trees. Reformed stresshead. Seeker of balance in this crazy world of motherhood and biz. Goofball.
Emily is a certified health coach that studied with The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York whose mission is to help busy women find their own unique brand of balance by learning to put themselves first. She has an unwavering belief that women who care for themselves as much as they care for others will rock the world.
Emily is also a freelance writer that has appeared in national magazines, on various popular websites as well as local radio. She also hosts various workshops on natural family health, busting stress, clean cooking and heart-driven personal development. She lives for natural therapies and therapeutic oils after healing herself naturally of digestive issues, a debilitating anxiety disorder and (currently) adrenal fatigue.
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