Category: Planning

Pregnancy Nutrition 2nd Edition

I’ve shared how I am carefully managing my pregnancy weight gain which has lead many to ask “what do you eat?”  So here it is – I have very specific foods I try to eat every day to meet all my nutritional needs.

Every day I have a smoothie.  I usually use this smoothie to take all my supplements and frequently drink half of it at one time and the other half later.  This is a convenient  and consistent way to make sure I’m packing a lot of nutrition into one simple meal and taking my vitamins regularly :).

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup of frozen berries
  • 3 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 packed cup of kale (approximately 1.5oz)
  • 1 scoop of “Garden of Life Perfect Food” powder

The macronutrients this provides me with are….

  • 672 calories
  • 22g protein
  • 28g fat
  • 92g carbohydrates and 21g of fiber

But the micronutrients is where this smoothie shines 🙂

A screen shot from Cronometer of all the nutrition in this smoothie :)
A screen shot from Cronometer of all the nutrition in this smoothie 🙂

The rest of the day isn’t quite as set, but I try to include all of the following things in my daily meals.

  • 1 medium potato (primarily for potassium, but notably contains 4g of protein and 2g of iron, along with varying amounts of minerals & b-vitamins)
  • 1 cup of legumes (with a focus on white beans, lentils, and chickpeas).  When prepared properly they are an excellent source of various minerals, protein, and fiber along with a heaping helping of b-vitamins (particularly folate!)
  • 3oz of salad greens – green leafy veggies are a great source of minerals, including calcium & iron, along with vitamin A, vitamin K1, and folate.  I avoid eating too much spinach due to the very high oxalate content.
  • 2 eggs – an obvious source of protein, b vitamins (b-12 in particular) and vitamin E in addition to vitamin K2 if the eggs come from pasture raised chickens.
  • 3oz of meat – with a focus on naturally raised sources.  I lean more towards eating pork products as they are high in selenium, zinc, and various b-vitamins.
  • 1 oz of almonds (preferably soaked and dried to help improve bioavailability of nutrients)
  • 1 oz (or two squares) of 80% or darker chocolate.  A delicious way to get 2g of protein, 2mg of iron, and various amounts of other minerals.

Including my morning smoothie, below you can see the nutritional breakdown of eating all of those things in a day…

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 12.35.27 PM
A couple of notes: All the daily value percentages are adjusted for pregnancy needs ;-).  Also, most of the vitamin A I get in a day is the alpha and beta carotene kind and perfectly safe in large amounts.  This also does not include other “incidental” foods such as coconut milk in my coffee, other foods that are contained in lunch and dinner, as well as any oil used for cooking.  So all said and done, my calorie count ends up closer to 2200-2300 calories a day.

As you can see there are a few “gaps” and here is how I address them.

B-Vitamins: I take a half dose of Garden of Life’s Raw B-Complex.

Vitamin D – I take 2 cod liver oil capsules (which contain a total of 500 IUs vitamin D & 5000 IUs preformed vitamin A).  I also take additional vitamin D drops during the winter as I’m not getting nearly as much sun now.

Calcium – my Nutritive herbal tea contains a large amount of calcium along with other minerals, but since it’s not as measurable I take 2 capsules of calcium / magnesium  daily just to be sure. With my pregnancies so close together I need to be very mindful of my mineral intake – particularly with calcium and magnesium.

Iron – that one is close enough 😉 that I’m sure my other food plus my nutritive tea intake covers it.  I also get my blood tested for iron levels to be sure I’m doing well there.

Potassium & Zinc – that one is close enough as well.  See my above comments about iron.

Selenium – I take a capsule of selenium and sprinkle about 1/4 of it into my smoothie on most days.

Ok so that covers the basics, but how about “HOW TO FIT IN ALL THAT FOOD??” lol.  Some days it feels like so. much. food, but it’s worth it!  First of all I spread it out throughout the day so I’m more or less eating a little bit every 2-3 hours.  To get my salad in, if we’re not having salad for dinner I just throw whatever we’re having for lunch or dinner on top of greens.

Lunch is either leftovers or a big pot of soup with potatoes, legumes, onions, carrots, celery, chopped kale, and meat of some kind (we buy meat in bulk from Polyface Farm).

Dinner – we follow a really regular meal schedule which makes life a lot easier (budget and planning wise).  But this post is long enough so I’ll share that next time. 🙂

DISCLAIMER – This post was written with all my minions running around me asking to be fed and watch movies and to be fed again.  If it’s sounds discombobulated or has excessive typos, you may blame them.  No time to edit or add lovely photos today! 🙂

Staying Sane


Daily rituals… we all have them.  Some are helpful.  Others?  Not so much.  I have a few daily rituals, and they’ve always been a source of comfort and calm in the midst of the moment to moment unpredictability of raising 8 (soon to be 9 *grin*) sweet children.#1. Taking the time to really enjoy my coffee.
I love the smell.  I love the warmth.  I love the creamy goodness.  I love how I perk up about 30 minutes after drinking it.  It just always hits the spot.  I drink it in the morning, and in the mid-afternoon.  I usually try to sit by myself for a moment (hard to do around here) and don’t talk for a few minutes.

#2. Turn my mind off from thinking about the things I do every day.
I do this for a few minutes before bed, usually with the help of *sudoku* puzzles.  All day long my mind is usually focused on all the things I it takes to do daily life.  Sudoku has nothing to do with any of it and it challenges me to think differently that I have been all day long.  It also helps me to go to sleep.  If I don’t change my train of thought before laying my head down on my pillow, I usually lay awake for some time with my thoughts racing about the day.

#3. Listen to my Audio Bible (thank you “YouVersion” app on my iPhone!)
Normally this would happen while I make breakfast or take my shower.  It helps me get in my general daily bible reading.  A must if at all possible!

What daily rituals do you have that help you “stay sane”?  🙂

Resolved, Part 2

In Resolved, Part 1, I attempted to set the arguement in favor of setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound New Year Resolutions.
Now, here is the basic process I followed to create my resolutions and goals for 2012…

1) Create a framework to work in.
Relating goals to something that matters or something that already exists is a good place to begin.
I identified the 7 major roles in my life.
For me these were:
(1) Disciple, (2) Family Man, (3) Entrepreneur/Employee, (4)Steward, (5) Friend, (6) Student, (7) Alive

Next, I looked at the twelve topics from “Today Matters” by John Maxwell:
(1) Attitude, (2) Priorities, (3) Health, (4) Family, (5) Thinking, (6) Commitment, (7) Finances, (8) Faith, (9) Relationships, (10) Generosity, (11) Values, (12) Growth

I did my best to attribute each of these areas to one of the seven roles, and I ended with a structure in which I could design my goals and plans.

  1. Disciple = Faith & Values
  2. Family Man = Family
  3. Entrepreneur/Employee = Attitude & Priorities
  4. Steward = Finances & Generosity
  5. Friend = Community & Relationships
  6. Student = Thinking & Growth
  7. Alive = Health

2) Write out goals and plans
In some areas, I already had specific goals in mind when I began planning. In other areas, I let the planning and possibilities determine the goals.
I created a spreadsheet (in Google Docs for easy sharing with my wife). I’m a big fan of spreadsheets, especially for planning and tracking.
Here is the basic structure of the spreadsheet:

  • Column A states the life area/role
  • The next 12 columns (B – M) show the months of the year with the steps to achieve the goals
  • Column N states the year’s goals

Now, with this in place, I will refer back to this at least once a week as I try to navigate my way through the year.

Below is the final result (click for a larger image).

What’s your favorite planning & tracking method? Good ol’ paper & pen, spreadsheets, apps?

Did you find this post useful? Buy me a cup of coffee! rsscoffee64

Resolved, Part 1

New Year’s resolutions is not a topic devoid of attention. But I feel that New Year’s resolutions have gained a poor reputation among my peers over recent years. We all know from experience that resolutions are hard to keep. However, I think the problem lies with faulty planning rather than goal itself.

Resolution is a strong word, but we treat it lightly. Resolve means “to come to a definite or earnest decision about; determine (to do something)” which implies that the resolver will put maximum effort into accomplishing a resolution.

Why New Year’s Resolutions?
First, change is necessary and inevitable – whether we want to begin, stop, improve, or create something.

Second, don’t underestimate the power of the New Year. We all love new beginnings. Although I would never discourage someone from beginning a good habit at any random time throughout the year, I do believe the extra momentum gained from the excitement of a clean slate can be enough to create consistency – as long as the resolver is truly resolved.

Plan Your Resolutions
Don’t pick your resolutions on New Year’s Eve and then discover New Year’s day that you aren’t prepared – not the right equipment, not enough money, not enough knowledge, etc. Resolutions must be designed like any other goal you want to accomplish. And they must be written down. Each resolution should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. You might begin with a big idea that is general, unmeasurable, unachievable, and unrealistic – but you must give it shape by applying these five characteristics if you want any hope of accomplishing it.

Trial and Error
If at first you don’t succeed, try, and try again… with some tweaking. The great thing about specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound resolutions is that you can determine how you might need to make adjustments to accomplish them as situations change throughout the year. Life changes. Even change changes. So, take time to evaluate as you go. If you see that something is not going as planned, do not give up and assume failure. Look at your goal, methods, scenarios and determine what needs a little adjustment. Don’t cheat yourself out of the entire benefit of the resolution just because a couple things did not go as expected.

I will follow up soon with a post about my resolution planning process!

Is there anything you have already resolved to do in this next year?  Is there a method to your madness? 🙂 Tells us about it!

2011 Habits

There is a lot going on this year, but there is always opportunity to develop good habits. Aristotle is quoted saying “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” I’m using an iPhone app called “Streaks” (ht: Chad Wright)to help keep track of some daily habits I’m trying to form.

The first months’s results are in. And although there are big holes, I know that setting the goal has helped me accomplish more than I would have without setting the goal. And since family life is solid, my job is going well, and I’m still maintaining a 4.0 GPA in school, I won’t beat myself up about missed days.

The goals I have set are: (1) Waking up at 5 AM. Ambitious, but that extra time allows me to do so much more. (2) Read my Bible daily. I’m using the YouVersion app on my iPhone. (3) Pray. As simple as it sounds, a concerted effort and focused time to pray about all the things on my heart is a big deal. (4) Exercise. No, not P90X this time. I’m just doing whatever I can fit in for the day.


Priority: (1) the right to precede others in order, rank, privilege, etc.; precedence. (2) something given special attention.

I’m by no means an expert on the topic. I had some thoughts floating around that I wanted to write down, so this is just as much for me as it is anyone else. These are some thoughts/ideas I had partly from studying economics and partly from conversations with my wife.

A principle of economics states that you must give up something to get something. Everything has a price, an opportunity cost. We can’t have or do everything. So how do we figure out our priorities? How do we know what is most important, what we need to delegate, and what we need to give up altogether?

Establish roles:

Chances are you have at least 5 roles you can come up with immediately. I identified my 7 top roles. Most of what I do fits in these roles, and if it doesn’t, I have to question if I should take it on. Some roles choose you, and others you get to pick. My 7 roles are:

  1. Alive – making sure I’m doing what I need to stay alive and healthy to fulfill my other roles
  2. Disciple – sitting at the feet of Jesus, learning, following
  3. Husband – before Father, as in my wife comes before my children. A major part of my ministry role at the moment.
  4. Father – does it need any explanation? The other major part of my ministry.
  5. Household Manager -pay the bills, fix stuff, adjust the budget
  6. Employee – I’m a full time employee with responsibilities to my boss and company
  7. Student – I’m currently a full time college student

Identify Tasks:

Chances are you can break down these roles into more roles. Like at my work, because it is a small company, I have about 7 roles I play under Employee. To help with this, I try to identify all the major (usually recurring) tasks that I need to do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

Worship or Idolatry:

This one may need some explaining. I’m of the conviction that everything we do in life is an act of worship. When the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:31 to do all for the glory of God, I don’t think it means do everything and do it all for the glory of God. I think it is more along the lines of first define what glorifies God, define what you need to do, and do that to his glory. What’s the opposite of glory of God? I think it is glory of self. Even the small things of eating and drinking can be done to the glory of God. If I did it to the glory of self, I’d be eating out for dinner every night and overeating. It has now become a worship problem, or idolatry. I’ve made myself, or food, or whatever else, the god or the recipient of glory. I either need to cut it out altogether, or figure out how to bring it back into an appropriate (typically moderation as long as it not specifically against God’s commandments) role. It is usually easiest to see this after the fact. Our lives get out of balance, our job takes top priority and our marriage or something else suffers. Then we realign and readjust. It takes constant consideration.

Does it add value:

Now we’re getting down to how we do things, the little tasks, and the extras. This is where I start to look at things as if I was running a business. I don’t like to look at roles like Husband and Father as running a business, but to have the most resources to give those roles, you may have to look at the bottom line for the rest of life. Take a look at how you are accomplishing things. Is it how you’ve always done it? Is there any easier or more efficient way? Can you consolidate or delegate tasks? An example of something I recently evaluated is paying bills. I pay them online, which means sitting down at the computer. Do I do them as they come in, or do I let them pile up and take care of them all at once? Taking care of them all at once is a reasonable choice because it saves time. However, always approach the computer with caution. I would recommend having a specific list and maybe a timer. Otherwise, paying bills could easily turn into an hour of Facebook. Oops. Where does Facebook fit in those roles? For some people it actually does fit in – especially if you are running a business. For most of us, it is an extra. That’s not to say it’s completely out of the question, but it’s not a priority. So, is Facebook adding value? Is taking the trash out when the kids could do it adding value? Is exercise adding value? Is watching TV adding value? I’d love to tell you the answer, but I think you should do it for yourself.

Am I adding value:

Am I doing everything I can for each of the roles to make it what it could be? Am I texting when I should be listening to my child? Am I surfing the web when I should be doing my job? Am I adding to the value of the life and time of others, showing them respect, helping them fulfill their own roles.

Preview of 2010

Really, I have no idea of what this new year holds. Surprises. Definitely, surprises. I did like this little activity, though, of thinking through some major areas of life and what I would like to accomplish (Lord willing). It makes the year seem a little less intimidating and gives me  sense of direction.

P.S. You’ll notice that “Blogging” is not a category on the list, so I make no promises that this won’t be my only blog of 2010.