Enjoy the Journey There is No Final Destination

As the lyrics say, “Money can’t buy me love”.  It can’t buy health, love or happiness either and the main problem isn’t a lack of funds or trying.  The problem is in attainment.  Health, wealth, love and happiness are all nouns, things which can be sought to be possessed.  If you own one, then two could be better and of course three would be amazing – right?  We are constantly bombarded by messages to buy more, consume more, own more.  Even when we think it is in our own best interest.  Want to go off the grid and can your own foods? There’s a magazine for that, and a store that sells the supplies, and television shows to help you out.  Want to be more green? There’s a magazine for that, and high priced items you can purchase to make yourself feel better about consuming, and online quizzes to test your greenness. I’m not saying owning things is evil or the cause of humanity’s undoing, but the obsession that can come from trying to attain a thing, an absolute, can be frightening and downright dangerous.  It’s more about being aware that you are being marketed to, knowing when you are being manipulated, and learning how to be authentic and true to yourself.  Can you hear your own voice amid the tidal wave of marketing sirens calling to you?

It’s no longer a call to obsess about the ideal weight, perfect job or best house.  No, marketing has become far more nefarious and camouflaged.  It appeals to our sense of something better, something greater to attain – peace of mind, kindness, relaxation, purity.  Out there on every street corner, every corner of the internet, there is marketing for attainment bombarding us – just learn this new style of yoga, give this cleanse a try – from TV doctors to studio gurus they are all dangling the carrot out there.  What makes this worse than selling you a pair of high priced shoes, or a suburban home? Well, if you can’t reach it, if you aren’t satisfied at the end of the day the problem isn’t with any product, the problem is with you.  You don’t believe enough, you didn’t meditate enough, or cleanse enough, you haven’t expressed enough gratitude or forgiveness. We’ve gone from being dissatisfied with tangible objects we try to posses, to being unhappy about our own states, our own abilities to make ourselves feel better and be better individuals.

Life is about living, not attaining and the key to all of it is enjoying. Just enjoy, it’s as easy as that.  Find the moments – sure the present is great, but the past holds moments to enjoy as well, so does the future.  Take a few moments everyday to think about what you enjoy.  I do it when I feel as though folding the laundry, just one more moment of daily monotonyIMG_1093_thumb.jpg, will drive me over the edge.  I imagine a small little weekend trip my husband and I took, sitting poolside, reading a book and I enjoy that moment in time and the possibility that there may be others like it.

There is nothing to sell, the ability to enjoy what we already have and have had resides within each of us. Sometimes it is buried so far beneath the surface, under glossy images of that “perfect wedding dress” and commercials featuring the “perfect family” or the “shiniest new car” that it can be hard to unearth.

We have nothing to lose by trying to enjoy what we have, or even what we have had.  Life isn’t about limiting ourselves or our experiences, it is about expanding them and honoring them by truly enjoying them.  So practice yoga if you like, eat gluten-free foods if you feel better, sail away on a trip, take a bite of that gooey chocolate cake and enjoy! Enjoy the moments of every journey you are on because there is no final destination.

Emily Can B Fit: Deed Develops into Habit

Last night was a rough one: between my children being waking sick and myself being blue about the journey ahead of me to get back to where I once was, I couldn’t sleep. My partner arrived home early from his nightshift and immediately set about building me a fort-nest.
The fort-nest is my way to find peace and sanctuary when a hug isn’t enough. It takes the kitchen table, several blankets (with a chair atop the whole mess for support) and every available pillow to construct – which my husband did without being asked. Crawling inside fort-nest is like crawling back into the womb. There is something quiet and calming, even within my own noisy city apartment. Of course, it is not a complete fortress of solitude and soon my peaceful retreat was pierced by the meek noises of an ill three year old, but I find fort-nest is made better by nursing, the release of oxytocin helps magnify the calming effect.
After three hours of sleep I was awoken by my another child who preferred I walk him to camp, a regular feeling of his and actually a blessing in disguise. His personal desire for my presence on the morning walk forces me to get up for a morning walk (this could be made more manageable if the other ones let me sleep – this morning he shouted “wake up mom!” while we were crossing the street, I can’t be sure that I wasn’t dozing while walking).  Deeds become habits and the same thing kept me feeling healthy while I was completing my M.ed, I walked two and a half miles to and from campus daily in the sweltering Baltimore heat.

Blue Lotus Chai

Blue Lotus Chai

Arriving home I decided to make my Super Quick Vegan Dal for breakfast and eat half of a gluten-free ginger coconut muffin. I am trying to eat fitter by eating half of what I normally do, with the knowledge that if I want more I can have.  After years of battling eating disorders I have found that my sense of satiation as well as hunger is not reliable. Half a muffin was actually enough and I finished it all off with my new favorite local made, chai tea – it’s good plain (which is what is healthiest) but it is fantastic with rock sugar and vanilla flax milk.

Next were basic chores around the apartment and making salt dough for the little tyke.  This is the children’s favorite and keeps them creatively occupied for hours.  I even took a nap.  Awaking feeling…well, rested somewhat, I made a Super Quick Vegan Mock Ham Salad and scooped it atop two pieces of my favorite local gluten-free bread, open faced. Open-faced is my trick for eating slower and visually being more full – it looks like more sandwich.

The day started to wind down as we headed to pick E up from camp and drop the little one off for a gym class. Another great chance to walk with the family.  I love living in Portland, everything is easily accessible via walking or biking – it was one of the reasons I moved here and I am finally taking advantage of this.

My nightcap? A 7 pm yoga class only 700 feet from my front door at the local health club. Looks like my fitness is on the right track!


What Being Adopted Has Meant to Me

My life is an open book for the most part. Honestly isn’t blogging like keeping a diary that the world can see.  I have spilled the nitty gritty on everything from my eating disorder to my homebirth and tidbits in between.  What I really never talk about is being adopted.  I suppose it is for many reasons and not all of them relevant at any one time.

As a child I was always told that I was adopted.  I remember age 5 being on the brown velour couch in our sunroom in New Jersey and my mom asking me “Do you know what it means to be adopted? You and your brother are adopted.  Someone loved you enough to bring you into this world and give you to me.”

I remember traveling in Canada and a frantic mother racing up to my mother, shop keeper in tow, waving a finger at my then five year old brother because heDSC02836 was so proud of being adopted he had told her little girl, “I’m adopted.  You know I could have been an abortion, but I wasn’t. You could have been an abortion too!” Probably not the highlight of the adoption campaign but he was right.

What does REAL mean

Flashes of times when I shared my being adopted also weigh on my mind.  In the first grade, playing on the monkey bars I mentioned to a classmate how special I was because I was adopted.  Her reply, “Well where are your real parents?”  “At home.” “So you aren’t adopted, you lied.” “No, I’m adopted.” “Then where are your real parents?”  I just jumped off the monkey bars and went home to discuss this newly acquired distinction with my mother.  The next day I was armed with the reply, haughtily spoken “Oh, you mean my biological parents, I don’t know where they are but I live with my real parents, the people who love me and take care of me.  Don’t you live with your real parents?”

Being adopted has meant a myriad of experiences for me, from supporting a friend who found out on his 18th birthday he was adopted to sharing my story with clients who became parents through foreign adoption. It has also had some glaringly uncomfortable moments.  When I was pregnant with my first son I experienced a lot of pain and my mother was unsure of what it was so I rushed to the hospital to find out later it was only ligament pain.  After his birth when I wasn’t too keen on bringing him to see his paternal grandmother (she had some psychological health issues) I argued with my own mother who let slip “Well, she’s more his grandmother than I am.” The cat was out of the bag.  During prenatal visits I was always asked about family history, health and birth.  My only answer, “I am adopted.”

Locked Away Secrets

My mother had always held that if we were interested in locating our birth parents when we were older we should never pay an investigator, she had files on us in her safe.  That information was locked away until I became pregnant.  I asked once for medical information and the next morning my mother concluded she had looked at my files and everything was normal. My mental state during my first and even second pregnancy though, was not normal.  Maybe it was, I don’t know but I think sharing my history may shed light on it and help other adopted women out there.

For as long as I could remember I was always told that I was adopted through a private agency that worked with the United Way.  That my parents were older, in their late 30s and professionals who just didn’t feel they could take care of me well.  Somewhere along the way scientists were added into my birth history too, as if they were scientists and very devoted to their work.

I went through the tail end of my first pregnancy (unmarried) and second pregnancy (married) wanting to give my baby up for adoption so that it could be raised well by another family who could take care of it better than I could.  In hindsight it all makes sense now, I was always told about how much scrutiny my parents had undergone to adopt me. Home visits, psychological tests, references were all required to adopt me from a couple of professionals, scientists, who thought they couldn’t provide a good enough home.  It makes sense now that in my mind I felt I wouldn’t be able to do enough if two successful scientists couldn’t be good parents how could a simple yoga teacher, and her starving artists husband making below minimum wage, be a good mother?

So what changed? My second son came back with a heal prick test positive for Galactosemia a rare metabolic condition.  He was a fussy baby and profuse vomitter so I was really scared. I went to my mother to air my concerns because I believed heredity put me at risk.  The response “Oh, you aren’t from there, I’m sure he’s fine”.  It was a rough blow to find out that my heritage was not what I thought it was but a second test revealed that the first was a false positive from the sample sitting out too long and my mind was at ease.  Later my son developed epilepsy and this time the medical questions took on new meaning. I was tired of having to ask for information so I opened the safe to take a look.  What I read changed my third pregnancy dramatically. 

The Truth Shall Set You Freebaby

My mother was a 32 year old secretary who had a long term relationship with her boss who was a married man with kids.  She did not tell him of her pregnancy and ended their relationship. She was of Irish descent, wore glasses, average height and weight.  He was tall, blonde wavy hair and I like to believe that he would have at least wanted to get to know I existed if given the chance.

This information lifted an invisible weight from my shoulders.  Never once during my third pregnancy did I think I couldn’t do a good enough job. I spent my whole pregnancy completely happy with the idea of my new baby becoming a part of my family. Through a series of events I became estranged from my parents during my pregnancy but a curiosity about my medical history and therefore my kids medical history prevailed.  I contacted the adoption agency for a copy of my medical records.  They sent photos of me from the foster home I was in for the first month of life.  Another shocker.  I cried for two weeks straight.  I had always been told that my parents picked me up directly from the hospital the day after I was born.  To find out that I was alone as a baby in some interim housing really effected me, the photos were at different angles, with me propped up, in different outfits – they made me feel like I was on sale, or display for prospective parents. I know that was not the case truly. I was also shocked to find out about my biological medical history, heart attacks back two generations both female and male, no information given on the biological paternal side, diabetes caused by pharmaceuticals and more questions floating in my head.

You don’t have to be perfect

My goal in sharing this story is to help ease the suffering, doubting or fearing of any would be parent out there, not just those effected by adoption.  You don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.  Truly. You just have to live with love in your heart.

Make Dining Out Easier With Kids LiveWell

“I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of the National Restaurant Association. I attended a live event and received a gift bag and promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

This past Monday marked a first for me.  For the first time in my blogging I went to an event as a blogger.  Sure, I get invited all the time to attend events; IMG_3134book signings, movie openers, fashion week in NYC, interviews with WWE stars but all were centered around my previous blog  Since I have shifted my focus from fitness studio owner to mom trying to attain a Masters degree in Montessori Education I have also shifted my blogging and so was born FamilyCanBFit. My family is very healthy, we rarely eat out these days (which is an achievement from our history of eating out at restaurants for dinners and 3 times a day on the weekends) and even when we do we do not patron the regular mainstream restaurants that most Americans clamor to.  We eat at small independent healthy geared joints, all have to be vegan or have vegan options on the menu.

Not being a naive mom I know this is not the case for everyone.  I also know that the average parent doesn’t have the decades of training and certifications in health, nutrition and exercise that I do – so eating out can really be a double minefield.  There is the stress of taking children out to eat (will they jump off the back of the booth) and the stress of finding a place they will enjoy eating. There is nothing I dislike more than wasting money on a child who refuses to eat a meal out so we have narrowed our restaurant choices and what our 3 kids are allowed to order (based on prior eating performances and I don’t use that word lightly, my kids provide dinner theatre when they don’t like a meal).

Spotlight stage left, enter Kids LiveWell!

Healthful kids’ meals are the No. 3 restaurant food trend in 2013 for both full-service and limited-service restaurants. Children’s nutrition and whole grain items for kids’ meals ranked in the top 10 of the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot in 2013” chef survey for fullservice.

The first restaurants in the Kids LiveWell program offer a total of 342 healthful children’s menu items, including 390 servings of fruit and vegetables, 144 servings of lean protein, 70 servings of low-fat dairy and 48 servings of whole grain. To date, more than 120 restaurant brands representing nearly 40,000 locations nationwide participate in the program, and participants include independent operators and national chains from quick-service to casual and family dining concepts, and even a Children’s Museum and group of theme parks.

I’m not a fan of dairy, even before I was a vegan, and there is growing evidence in support of cutting this bovine beverage out of our primate diet:

Experts at the Harvard School of Public Health have labeled the milk recommendations a “step in the wrong direction.”  One the most prominent critics is Walter Willett, MD, PhD, professor of epidemiology and head of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health. “One of the main arguments for USDA recommendations is that drinking milk or equivalent dairy products will reduce the risk of fractures. But in fact there’s very little evidence that milk consumption is associated with reduced fractures,” Willett tells WebMD.

There is also a hypothesized link between cow’s milk and type I Juvenille Diabetes. A study, published in the journal Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, has shed light on a possible new mechanism behind this connection. This study highlights the problem associated with drinking the milk of another species. The protein composition within cow’s milk — particularly the beta-casein A1 molecule — is radically different than that found within human breast milk.

Why mention these facts? I believe it is each parent’s duty to raise their children to the best of their ability and to investigate what is healthiest.  While the KidsLiveWell App can make eating out healthier, and does force restaurants to take a look at what they are feeding our children, it doesn’t necessarily equate to the healthiest meal for your kids. Granted the program limits unhealthy fats and sugars but it doesn’t necessarily ban them.  High fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils never pass my kids lips for instance.  We also stay away from food dyes and any ingredient we can not pronounce, most of the restaurants we eat at serve organic produce as well.

Does that mean that a family like mine can not get use out of the Kids LiveWell App? We absolutely can. For starters Qdoba is a Kids LiveWell participant. I spoke with one of their people at the blogger event and was impressed to find that everything is made fresh in house. “Our beans come dried in a large sack, we don’t buy canned, we soak them in house.  Our pork is roasted in house, we don’t buy it from some guy down the road. This is one reason we have a lot of flavor. You can go on our website and see all of the ingredients.  I mean all of them, we don’t leave anything out, it’s all listed there.”IMG_3131

Qdoba is actually one restaurant chain that we have eaten at while traveling.  It is nice to know that a portion of their menu is vegan including their soup and made items are made with fresh ingredients. In the very short time I had to walk around the NRA floor I was able to spot a few signs for Kids LiveWell at other vendors’ booths.

So what makes it onto a Kids LiveWell menu? Items must meat these criteria:

Full Kids’ Meals (entrée, side option and beverage):

  • 600 calories or less
  • ≤35% of calories from total fat
  • ≤10% of calories from saturated fat
  • <0.5 grams trans fat (artificial trans fat only)
  • ≤35% of calories from total sugars (added and naturally occurring)
  • ≤770 mg of sodium
  • 2 or more food groups (see below)

Side Items:

  • 200 calories or less
  • ≤35% of calories from total fat
  • ≤10% of calories from saturated fat
  • <0.5 grams artificial trans fat
  • ≤35% of calories from total sugars (added and naturally occurring)
  • ≤250 mg of sodium
  • 100% fruit, vegetables or juice; and low fat (1%) and skim milks are permitted
  • 1 food group (see below)

Fruit, Vegetables, Whole Grains, Lean Protein and Low-Fat Dairy:
Full meals must include two sources, and a la carte sides must include one source of the following:
Fruit (includes 100% juice):
½ cup or more = 1 star
½ cup or more = 1 star
Whole Grains:
Contains whole grains = 1 star
Lean protein (skinless white meat poultry, fish, seafood, beef, pork, tofu, beans, eggs):
At least 2 ounces meat, 1 egg equivalent, 1 oz nuts/seeds/dry bean/peas = 1 star (lean as defined by FDA)
Lower-fat dairy (1% or skim milk and dairy): ½ cup or more = 1 star (while not considered low-fat, 2% milk is allowed if included in the meal and the meal still fits the full meal criteria)
                                     Deep fried items not permitted

Did this post whet your appetite for finding healthy kids meals? Well, here is where to find Kids LiveWell:

Where Are You Gok Wan Nothing Looks Good On Larger Than Size 2


You don’t know Gok Wan??? I love the BBC and recently Gok was on “Would I Lie To You” one of my favorite comedy shows, he is normally the celebrity in charge of “How to Look Good Naked” a genius in non-surgical body transformation through fashion. Put it plainly I am in desperate need of new clothing and even more I am in need of help shopping for clothing.  For the last 10 years my vocation has allowed me to live in standard Old Navy black yoga pants.  At $14.99 they are a deal, comfortable and moderately flattering to my fuller frame figure.  We are moving in little over a month to a state with no tax on clothing and I hope to replace some of my black yoga pants.  I really need to.  I mean I have worn some of these through two pregnancies along with my tank tops and to say that my 100 lbs per babe weight gain stretches the boundaries of elastic is an understatement. These pieces have been with me longer than some of my kids and the clothing needs to go.

So I have been paying closer attention to Facebook sidebar ads and Google ads aimed at garnering my non existent clothing budget.  I have no idea what to wear or where to start shopping.  Other than the once in a blue moon trip to ON to pick up a sale pair of black yoga pants I haven’t been shopping for a new wardrobe since my school days – let’s call it twenty years. The last time I tried I wound up crying in the corner of the dressing room – and I’m not exaggerating. Clothes shopping is torturous for me because I love the outfits on the tiny waisted mannequins but they never look right on me and I really have no idea how to combine clothing – same reason I never wear makeup. Yes, not ever. Never. I put it on and I look like a clown – the scary type.

Here are some interesting pieces I ran across but I feel I could never purchase them online because the models all look to be a size 2 and while I love the patterns and really want to be the type of gal who wears upbeat clothing I can’t see spending this much to look flubby and frumpy. I can’t possibly be the only one alone with this plight. What are some of your go to pieces? Where do you shop?

1. Teeki: Clouds Bell Bottoms $66. image Teeki: Northern Lights Hot Pant $64









2. Ever/After: High Low Women’s Slub Skirt $58


3. Lur Apparel: Sweetpea Dress $56 Lur Apparel: Wisteria One Shoulder $40



4. Spool 72: Glazed Lace Dress $64 Sweet Thicket Ruffle Top $42

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5. The J Peterman Company Brazilian Sun Dress $158 Stendhal Dress $199 Jaisalmer $199 She Does Dress $299

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6.Sundance: Vanessa Sleeveless Tank $58 Stinson Striped Pants $88 Stretch Canvas BootCut Pants $128

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I have no relationship with any of these companies, I just virtually windowed shopped their online stores. I would gladly review them if given the chance 🙂