Finding the Green Within: A Plant Based Vibe Added To Our Homeschool Routine

We have finally reached the end of our first year of homeschooling, and I am thrilled about the new activities that we are incorporating into our summer learning and what we will continue next school year. When Taniya was in public school, she was fortunate to have a program that came to visit once a month that taught them healthy eating and cooking. I genuinely want to incorporate her in cooking many of our meals, but I find myself getting anxious because of the time it takes. Most of the time I am in a frenzy trying to get the meal complete by any means necessary. I’ve spent all day teaching, chasing after Jayla, getting them outdoors to play, preparing breakfast, lunch and all snacks, and washing dishes each time. By the time I’m ready to cook dinner, I need it finished in enough time for my husband to be in bed early for his work day, and my children in bed early so that I can have my free time (wine). I began to feel bad, until an old friend came into the picture.

Liz and I went to middle school together and reconnected about 8 years ago when we both first became mothers (her; a year before me). Motherhood joined us, but I became more likened to her motherhood journey when I saw her brand develop over the years. She is the owner of Greenwithin, where the goal is to create opportunities for her community to explore and adopt a plant-based lifestyle. She recently expanded her footprint to include connecting as many individuals living the Washington, D.C. area to plant-based meals using locally grown produce from a local garden. Her goal is to be able to host events where she is able to educate the youth and their families with a hands-on experience.

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Once she has her entire program in place, we will be first in line to take part in the experience, but for now I absolutely love the one-on-one experience. Taniya’s first lesson was a simple fruit bowl. While she may not have liked each fruit that was included, she was taught how she could use any fruit to create a colorful and healthy meal. The fruits that were used on this occasion were champagne mangoes, blueberries, banana, watermelon and kiwi. She cut them with a reusable wooden knife like a pro.

Taniya and I love watching Food Network. One of our favorite shows is Chopped Junior and Chopped (the original). Because of the amount of hours she and I have spent watching that show lol, she is well aware of what a good presentation is when it comes to cooking. I was very pleased with how much effort she put into the placement of the fruits with the assistance of her great teacher, Liz. The outcome was both beautiful and tasty! Jayla and I waited patiently and then enjoyed every single bite.

I was also very happy to let go of the teacher role for a bit, and to watch Taniya be able to take her time to learn and cook without being rushed (by me). It was enjoyable for her also because it gave her a moment to say “this is just for me.” I always teach my children to share, but I think it’s great to give them moments where they can say “this is just for me and not my sibling.”

My husband and I were already very enthusiastic about living a more plant-based lifestyle, so now the goal is to get Taniya on board. We don’t plan on having a completely meatless diet, just a more fresh and natural colorful diet. Jayla would adapt well as I have only recently introduced meat to her, but Taniya has had years of an on-and-off again poor diet. When I had Taniya home with me for the first year and a half of her life, her diet was consistent and healthy. Once I began working and she was in school, we were always on the go. It was only her and I, being as though my husband was over-the-road and I always went for quick meals. That usually meant eating out. Once I became a stay-at-home wife and mother at the end of 2016, it felt good to hear her say, “Mommy, can we eat something outside of the house? We never eat out anymore!” Now I’m ready to hear her say, “Mommy, can we try adding a little more kale to our salad? We always have spinach!”

I believe with the continued guidance and motivation from Liz and Greenwithin, Taniya will be thrilled to live a more plant-based lifestyle. I plan to choose a day and time where Taniya can have more of these moments together in the kitchen where she and I aren’t in a rush. I don’t want her growing up thinking that her experience in the kitchen has to always be rushed and stressed!

If you’re interested in learning more about Liz’s efforts and seeing some of her amazing recipes, follow her on Instagram @greenwithin and twitter @plantbasedvibes.


Just One More Bite… Or Not :(

Am I the only one who dreads the gym because they’re always starting over? I know I can’t be the only one that has set a goal of no fast food, but ended up breaking down for some excellent customer service from Chick-Fil-A after a long day of grocery shopping with the kids.

Now days I find myself sounding like a 70-year-old woman who talks about the “old days” often. It usually goes something like…

“Back when I was in high school, I was in great shape! I could go to Chipotle right after school and then head to cheerleading practice like it was nothing. I even tried running track just for fun.”

More often you’ll hear me say…

“I was doing so well with my fitness and health before I had Jayla. I lost 30 pounds and actually remained active while pregnant. Once I gave birth, it went all down hill. “

It’s been over a year now, and I am so ready to have a successful health and fitness lifestyle. I’ve started over several times, but I’m not giving up. If only I could be as passionate about the gym as I am with getting a burrito bowl from Chipotle. *SIGH* However, I am passionate about being healthy. I struggle everyday, but I ultimately want to be HEALTHY. If my appearance falls in line with that I will be ecstatic, but my goal is to just be a healthier woman. As I’ve stated in previous posts (Breaking Generational Curses Through Affirmations for example), I struggled with low self-esteem for several years. It grew to a genuine lack of love for myself. I didn’t love the way I looked or who I was. Today, I believe it was body dysmorphia because when I look back at pictures from those times, I looked amazing and was in great shape. We’ll dig deeper into that another day. Since I’ve had my breakthrough, I’ve vowed to never fall back into that negative space. I now understand that everyone’s bodies aren’t created the same, and the scale can show a high number while you are in the best shape of your life.

I vowed to love myself at every stage and to stop comparing myself to others. So with that being said, my goal of losing weight, being fit and healthy is not to be a part of the new wave of veganism or the keto diet (no shade to those who truly follow those lifestyles), but for myself and my family. I want my husband to have a healthy, happy wife. I want my children to have an energetic, healthy mother. If I can help it, I refuse to be on loads of medication or being taken care of daily by family because of poor health. I also intend on continuing with my goal of breaking generational curses by breaking the cycle of obesity and poor health in my family.

So no matter how many times I backslide and miss the gym, I will persevere. My life… my family’s lives…. are all on the line. The point is to never quit regardless of all the times I have an unsuccessful day. For me, it’s really a mental thing. In the beginning of my journey, I have to break my goals up and work on them 30 days at at time. For example, I will eliminate bread, rice and junk foods for 30 days in order to create a habit. In the meantime, I find healthier alternatives to replace those items to help my cravings. I repeat this process for however long I need to in order to have discipline and a stronger will to suppress my cravings. It’s a process and is really taxing on me mentally, physically and emotionally so I use it as a time to grow stronger in my faith. I use God as my biggest accountability partner. Why? Because I believe God can reveal to you the reasons why you lack discipline, why you eat the way you do, and why you are so willing to give up on yourself. Through that process, you are able to get a revelation and receive guidance on how to move forward successfully. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it sure does work for me.

I’m far from an expert, but sometimes having a successful fitness journey relies on where you are spiritually, mentally and emotionally. A lot of us have underlying issues that make putting ourselves in healthier positions a difficult process. Seeking a therapist would be vital.

In addition, a support team is MAJOR. My team is small, but mighty. I like to have loved ones who will hold me accountable, but also won’t judge me when I miss the mark and have setbacks. Most are on their own fitness journeys also, so it’s great to get some encouragement or a push when I’m feeling lazy. Like right now… *rolls eyes*

I write this after missing a full week at the gym and eating poorly. Both of my children took turns getting sick, I attended a conference for moms, and well… laziness. Uggh I wish you could burn several calories when walking back and forth to the fridge and while eating.

If you’re a prayer, pray for your girl!