18 month old updates


I’m cutting way back on the baby updates- but the 18 month mark felt like a good one to document, and I’m always curious about other toddler’s schedules, eats, and development.

We just hit 18 months last week and I feel like suddenly her behavior has switched from innocent to tiny tornado! Our whole family can laugh at it, but wow, can she create trouble and some huge messes these days.

I’ll run through a typical day.  She usually wakes up between 6:30am and 7:30 am and makes noise initially but will then wait and play happily in her crib until someone comes to get her.  I admit I take advantage of that on crazy busy mornings to get L’s lunch together or hop in the shower post- run before getting her out.  :-)

Breakfast is often either oatmeal or eggs, or a little of each.  My husband makes eggs every morning and her big sister always wants oatmeal, so we cook a hot breakfast every morning.  We’re all up early enough that it’s doable.

Baby J prefers eggs or yogurt over oatmeal.  We’ve recently started pulling out our pressure cooker for steel cut oats and using the timer so it starts before we wake up and cooked oatmeal is ready for us.  Baby J and I add a scoop of Stonyfield’s full fat yogurt to ours, along with some berries and cinnamon.  Mmmm.

18 months yogurt oats bowl

We walk to drop L off at school and then play at home or run errands until 10:30am (or 1-2x a week she hangs out with the babysitter while I work).

She finally dropped to one nap but is ready to go down by 10:30, so I’ve been giving her lunch part one around 10:30 and holding her off to 11am to nap.  She sleeps anywhere form 1.5 – 3.5 hours.  I’m hoping her body will continue to get used to the one nap and it will start to consistently hit 2 hours or more.  When it’s shorter, she is pretty exhausted by dinner time.

For lunch, she often does a version of whatever I’m having.  She loves roasted veggies (not raw), especially any kind of squash or sweet potato, lentils, beans, pasta, broccoli, peas, cheese, tuna mashed with avocado or egg.

18 months Stonyfield on a spoon

She adores the butternut squash curry and chili.  Yesterday she gobbled up Amy’s organic lentil soup for lunch, and insists on feeding herself.

Post nap, I often give her lunch part two around 2pm, or she waits and has snack with her sister around 3:30.

Yesterday, I made these granola bars and each girl ate at least two! I swapped in 1/2 c. Shaklee protein for the oats and they turned out really well.

We also got an awesome snack catcher cup from Oxo which she likes to carry around the house with some sort of granola or snack.  She can access her snack easily without a mess.  These cups are such a lifesaver, especially on car rides!

18 months snack container

Speaking of Oxo, they sent us a whole package of toddler friendly items: a fork and spoon set, water bottle, snack catcher, grape slicer (so cool!), plate with separate areas, an awesome bib, and mini containers for food storage or freezing.

18 months OXO goodies

Baby J adores the water bottle! It has a straw and I think she gets much more water out of it than her other sippy cups.  It follows her all over the house.

After picking up big sis, she works on homework and baby J often sits in her chair at the table too scribbling on papers.  We have an hour or so to play before I start dinner.

This is where we get into some trouble lately.  She’s now carrying a stool around and using it to reach whatever she wants- on kitchen counters, table tops or surfaces around the house.  She’s opening cupboards but now also opening bags, like the one full of sprouting seeds that she dumped all over the kitchen (after I swept and vacuumed today, of course.)

18 months sprouts

And in the basement, she got herself stuck in a wooden bowl- twice.  First on the floor, and then on top of her little car! I don’t even know how that one happened in the few seconds L and I turned our back.

18 months caught in a bowl

We aim to do family dinner around 5:30 most nights, and she happily gobbles up pretty much anything.  We plan dinners a bit more around her picky older sister to make sure there is something everyone will eat.

Snow is a favorite food as well.

18 months eating snow

Depending on nap wake up time, she’s off to bed between 6:30 and 7:30.

She still resists using her words most of the time, but points, grunts, nods or shakes her head and understands everything we ask.  She figured out how to put on her socks and shoes, and will do so when I tell her it’s time to pick up her big sister.  She’ll also grab her hat, coat and/or gloves although she can’t do those on her own.

It’s really fun to see the differences between the girls.  And despite this new tiny tornado stage, I love this age! She’s so much fun and cracks us up multiple times a day.  It almost makes me want to add another one to the family… ha! But I’m 99% sure we’re done.  :-)

Moms, do you have a favorite age?


Runner’s Reset Results + a New Nutrition/Running Combo

It’s half marathon training kick off week! But I’ll get into that later this week.

For today, I wanted to share some of the stories from the runner’s reset.  We wrapped up yesterday and it’s always fun to hear what participants had to say:

I have learned a lot from you on this reset.  And I am so happy to tell you that I’ve lost 4 lbs total during the past few weeks!  One thing I’ve learned about is changing the ratios I’m eating.  You told me that it isn’t all about the calories, but rather where they are coming from.  For me, I want more protein and fats, and less carbs.  And when I do eat carbs, I need to combine them with protein and healthy fats.  ….  Also, a big change for me is to change up my workouts.  I am adding in resistance training and other workouts at least twice a week, and running the other days. – Sarah

Being a part of this reset has been a fantastic experience!  I think the biggest thing I learned in the challenge is how I depend on sweets when I’m stressed out.  Not having that temptation around me the past 21 days has made a huge difference, and I know that I will have stronger willpower moving forward.  I’ve also really enjoyed getting back to strength training.  It makes me feel good and I do think it has already started to benefit my running. -Janelle

Check out more from Janelle on her blog!

I didn’t plan to cut out sugar, but definitely noticed a huge decrease in my cravings. You know those cookies that end up in the office, I managed without any difficulty to say no to them. Most challenging was just realizing that making changes is hard and sometimes my body doesn’t react the way I would like and I just need to keep making adjustments to find what works for me. – Nikki

Every reset, women are amazed that sugar cravings can really disappear with balanced eating and cutting out the junk for a short period! We use some of the sugar detox tips I outlined here.

This is definitely the longest I’ve ever gone without “cheating” or using food to comfort myself.  I cooked A LOT and meal prep was HUGE for me because I’m always on the go.  I made sure I got protein in every meal, ate something green at least once every day.  I had a Shaklee shake almost every day as my 4th “meal.” These past 20 days have been really great for me, I just feel so much more in control of food rather than food controlling me, but I also recognize that it has taken me over a year since starting to work with Laura to get to this point.  My body feels so much better, digestion is better, I feel leaner, less bloated, less “heavy.” The first week I lost 3 lbs. I’m more concerned about my body fat % going down than I am about what the scale says. Thank you all for keeping me accountable and to Laura for the daily emails and information and recipes. – Tovah


I love her point that it’s taken a year of continued tweaks, trial and error and working at establishing that new routine to feel like it’s all coming together.  New habits do not happen in 21 days or even in a few months.  Lifestyle changes take time!!


The last 20 days really helped me remember how important meal prep is. I thought giving up sugar would be much harder, but after day 3 I really didn’t miss it. …. In the beginning balancing meals was a challenge and that’s what I really needed help with. I’ve done much better – I still have work to do, but it’s a start and I’m proud of how many processed foods I’ve cut out, how clean my eating has become and the balance I’ve begun to establish in all my meals. My goal is to continue working on that and to continue with the strength training focus. Thank you Laura for the meal ideas -yum!!, emails, support and everything!! – Melanie

Again, this is not a “quick fix” – it’s the start of lifestyle shifts and I’m so proud of Melanie for the changes she was able to make in such a short amount of time!

Plus I have to include some awesome posts from other bloggers:

From the overwhelming interest in this program, I’m really excited to offer a new one-on-one option for runner’s who want to get stronger, fitter and tone up or lose weight.  This will be a combo nutrition and running plan, with an emphasis on:

  • identifying and reversing insulin resistance
  • incorporating strength and intervals to get stronger and fitter
  • focused nutrition tailored to you as an individual to meet your goals
  • learning how to boost metabolic efficiency, so your body learns how to burn fat rather than storing it

More details are here, or we can set up a call to decide if it’s a good fit for you.  I have a few spots left and will probably open up a few more in March or April as well.

I’m so proud of everyone on the reset! It’s not easy to push yourself to try new things, take better care of yourself, fuel your body with high quality nutrition and deal with the foods that can control us.  Congrats!!

Have you ever cut out sugar and seen your cravings disappear?

What are your goals for healthy, balanced eating this month?

Workout Recap and Meal Planning

The runner’s reset ends this weekend!  This last week was about balance… thinking about what is most sustainable for the long term, what healthy habits are keepers, what treats will be incorporated into our lifestyle and how, what balanced workout plan is the best fit.  I’ll share some of the stories and blog posts with lessons learned tomorrow.

This week I started adding consistent running back in, and will start more focused half training this week.  Both of my girls had a stomach bug for a few days this week and my body felt weak the last day or two, I assume fighting off the germs.  Thankfully I think I missed the worst of it.

Workout recap:

Sunday: 2 hours of shoveling was enough!

Monday: 6 run with 9 minute tempo (3 minutes each at 7:15, 7:00, 6:50) x 3

Tuesday: arms and core (am) + 3 mile walk (pm)

Wednesday: 5 run (8:10 ave) + legs (squats, step ups, walking lunges)

Thursday: off

Friday: 5 run with 10 x 45 seconds at 6:30-6:50 range

Saturday:  unplanned rest day – fighting off the stomach bug!

I’m hoping to take some time this afternoon to do meal prep for the week.  There are several dishes I want to make, plus the pumpkin baked oatmeal that my girls have been devouring.
Meal Plan

Sunday: Sweet Potato Tofu Curry over brown rice

Monday: Sun dried Tomato Kale Quinoa and Chicken Sausage Bake

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Baked ziti with quinoa pasta

Thursday: Kale, Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew

Kale, Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew

Friday: Out

Saturday: Chicken Fajitas

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Do you do meal prep? Are there foods you prep every week?

A day in life on the runner’s reset

The reset ends Sunday, how is that possible? It went so quickly for me.  I’ve loved hearing the stories from everyone about what you’re learning about your body, seeing cravings diminish, trying new workouts and learning not to let “off” days get you down.

One of the main differences in this reset was the emphasis on getting stronger in the off season and focusing on strength.

Ideally, we should have phases of training where we are only focusing on one thing at a time.  We all want to get faster, get stronger, build endurance, etc but we are only somewhat successful if we’re trying to do it all at the same time.

My focus in this challenge was to increase my strength training, use mostly low intensity cardio with a few HIIT workouts, and build a bit of muscle before switching into half marathon training mode.

Nutrition is a really important piece of the puzzle but exact needs can vary from person to person.  I’ve found that cutting out the excess sugars the last month allowed my body to adjust to using more fat for fuel and lean out a little bit.  As the miles increase, I’m hoping to continue to use more fat than sugar as fuel. I’m focusing on a good balance of fat, protein and carbs rather than relying too heavily on carbohydrates as I had been doing.

So let’s look at a day…  my husband had to leave early yesterday to work in the city so when my daughter came in 5:45 to use our bathroom, I actually got up and squeezed in 5 miles before he left.  That’s pretty unusual for me… I’m not a morning person and prefer getting a workout in around in the morning, but closer to 7 or 8am.

Reset workout

Loving my Christmas pants!

I tacked my leg strength workout on afterwards and joined the girls for breakfast.

Reset breakfast

Greek yogurt mixed with 1 scoop Shaklee Life, raspberries and pecans.

School was finally open today, but with a 90 minute delay so we enjoyed the extra time to get ready and pack lunch.  Our babysitter came at 10am and I walked L to school and then headed to Whole Foods for some focused work time.

Reset coffee snack

I grabbed a decaf latte and pb protein bar as a mid morning snack and was super productive in those 3 hours!

Reset lunch

Amy’s lentil soup with spinach and string cheese

After getting home, I had a call at 1pm while prepping my lunch and then a few more minutes to myself before the little munchkin was up.  While she ate, I cleaned up the kitchen and started working on pumpkin baked oatmeal, the girl’s favorite breakfast these days.

Reset snow play

We played for an hour and then walked to school for big sis.

Our after school routine is always snack and homework at the table, then a short show while I cook.  Baby J makes cooking extremely challenging but I do my best.

Reset snack

I sprinkled cinnamon over my apple too.  Mmmm.

Around this time, my neighbor needed someone to watch her son for a few hours, so he joined our house and gave L a buddy.  They played restaurant, hide and seek and dressed up as Jake and Izzy.

Reset day jake

I threw together ground turkey, frozen green beans, spinach and peas into a pot, topped it with sea salt, herbs and spices and called it dinner.   Reset one pot dinner

It was a delicious experiment!  I ate mine over spaghetti squash and the kids opted for refried bean wraps.

We played some more until our friend went home, then rushed through the bedtime routine.  I had a call with one reset participant about tailoring metabolic efficiency specifically for her and then sat down to blog until my husband got home.

I finished the night with a handful of trail mix and was in bed by 10:30.

Next up, half marathon training kicks off on Monday! I’ve loved the focus on strength but am ready to pick up the running intensity again and focus specifically on the half.  I’m finally getting better at periodization (can I use that as a verb?) of my training plans!

What’s your current training focus?

Have you ever paid close attention to nutrition and it’s connection to your training?


My Food Sensitivity Test Results

It’s day two of no school, due to snow covered side roads and unshoveled sidewalks/corners for bus stops.  I’m running out of tricks.  One snow day is awesome.  By day four, it’s a little tough but we’ll have to get creative.  Wish me luck!

We’re in the final week of the runner’s reset already! Each reset has the option of being used as an elimination diet and this is the week to reintroduce foods to see if your body reacts to anything.  It’s always eye-opening to begin to understand what your body tolerates well, and what foods might lead to bloating or stomach pain or inflammation in some way.

I’ve discovered a few things through the past resets and feel like I have a good understanding of what works and doesn’t work for me.  But I recently became an ALCAT test provider (test for food sensitivities for my clients) and decided I should do one myself first.

I was pretty sure there were no major offenders, but I was really curious what the test would find.  I gave blood about ten days ago and got the results yesterday.

Alcat test results

The only big surprise for me was egg yolk.  I’ve been eating eggs almost daily lately for breakfast so I have to rethink my breakfast.  Otherwise, the mild intolerance list is pretty lengthy but those are ones I can alternate, just not eat every day.  It includes things like bell peppers, ginger, kidney beans, honey, rice sunflower and walnuts.

Although I love having this information, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend a food intolerance test unless you have a lot of unexplained food issues.  It’s expensive, and you can learn a lot from a simple elimination diet.


Have you ever done an elimination diet or food intolerance test?


Blizzard, workouts and meal planning

Hello from the 24+ inches of snow covering the NJ/NY area!

Everything about this blizzard was kind of fun except that it was supposed to be L’s birthday party yesterday and no one is even attempting to dig out until the snow stops this morning.  Poor girl was pretty bummed, but we’re hoping people can make it over this afternoon instead. Fingers crossed.

In the meantime, we’ll be shoveling!

In workouts, this was a solid week.  I decided to add running back in on Wednesday and am increasing slowly before half marathon training kicks off in a week.  I just wrote out my plan and am excited to jump in.  I’m experimenting with a little less running but maintaining the strength days so we’ll see how it all comes together.

Workout recap:

Sunday: 30 minute HIIT and legs circuit

Monday: easy 30 minute spin

Tuesday: 1 hour elliptical + arms and core

Wednesday: 4.5 easy jog to ease back into running

Thursday: am- short strength circuit, pm- spin

Friday: 5 mile run with a few intervals

Saturday:  Ignite Burn and Sweat (snow day!)

This DVD was awesome! I really like Nikki’s personality.  She’s high energy and motivating, but in a gentle, encouraging way.  It includes 3 workouts: Sweat, Build and Burn with a mix of strength conditioning and HIIT cardio.  Each is only 20 minutes, so I stuck it out through both Sweat and Burn but I can see how one would be sufficient!  It was also a perfect fit for the runner’s reset challenge.

Women’s Health sent me this DVD, as Nikki was chosen as the next fitness star.  Find more about her and this DVD here.

Meal Plan

We took some time yesterday to prep for the week- making a whole chicken in the crock pot, roasting vegetables, chopping raw veggies, making a batch of quinoa and mixing a salmon/avocado salad for lunches.

Sunday: L’s party! (Pizza, finger foods)

Monday: Leftover chicken in fajita bowls

Tuesday: Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: One pot turkey zucchini tomato hash

Friday: Out

Saturday: Split pea soup

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Did you get snow this weekend? How much?
Do you have a training plan starting soon?


Happy Friday!

It’s a big one in our house… my big girl turns 6!! We’re having a special breakfast and family dinner, and a party with school friends tomorrow.  She’s been counting down for over a week now (and waking up at the crack of dawn because she’s so excited)!


6 years ago!


I’ve been really enjoying the Runner’s Reset group.  It’s been good for me to pay attention to my habits again and what foods make me feel good vs those that don’t energize me or hold me over for long.  I’ve been getting back into the habit of meal prep, something I had dropped for the most part since baby J was born!



I decided to end my two week break from running.  I feel good but both my body and mind appreciated the break.  I’m planning to start with aerobic base training (easy runs) to build my aerobic capacity for a few weeks, something I tend to skip.


I’ve been busy partnering with local health providers and businesses lately.  I started on-site health coach for a local gym (where I teach spin), and am collaborating with a chiropractor’s office as well.  I also partner with Fleet Feet every winter for their healthy challenge and did a workshop for them this week.  I really enjoy getting out to do talks, workshops and events.  It’s energizing!



I’ve been missing date nights out with the craziness of the holidays and other events.  My parents came for a day this week to help watch the girls and to let us get out for a movie sans kids.  It was so nice!



What’s been going on with you?


Can running cause low progesterone?

This is part two of a series on running and hormonal health.  In part one, I looked at insulin resistance and the connection to endurance running.

Today I want to look at the balance of estrogen and progesterone.  This is another hormone that was out of balance for me when I was trying to get pregnant.  At the time, doctors said my running was fine and that is (of course) what I wanted to hear, but in retrospect I think there was a link.

What are the signs of estrogen dominance or low progesterone?

  • carb or sugar cravings
  • fagiute
  • anxiety or depression
  • irregular cycles (or skipped)
  • insulin resistance
  • weight gain especially in the belly
  • bloating
  • brain fog

These are linked to conditions such as infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), PMS, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, etc.

(For those of you who don’t know my story, I had signs of PCOS and struggled with infertility).

What causes estrogen dominance?

One of the largest factors is all the xenoestrogens in our environment- plastics, chemicals in our food and home, toxins in our cleaning supplies, furniture, new cars, paint, etc.

More specifically, avoid PCBs (found in farmed fish), BPA, phthalates (and all plastics to be safe), Dioxins (found in factory meat), Chlorine (in Bleach), volatile organic compounds (found in paint, vinyls, cleaning products, air fresheners, dryer sheets, carpeting, deodorant and cosmetics).

Stress, a poor gut, lack of sleep, and processed food are also culprits.

However, I avoided all of these things as much as possible.  We only have natural cleaners, cosmetics and skin care products in our home.  I buy organic as much as possible.  I use glass containers instead of plastic and carry around my stainless steel bottle.  So I was looking for more connections.

How is running connected to estrogen/progesterone imbalances?

I am not blaming running.  Many women can run 40+ miles per week and have no trouble getting pregnant, but I do think it played a role for me.  Here’s why:

When we work out at a low to moderate intensity and build slowly, our bodies adjust and progesterone remains unchanged.  As our running intensity increases (volume, speed or both) the body can react by reducing progesterone levels which leads to menstrual irregularities.  The key is that the point at which your body considers your workout load to be high intensity is different for every woman.

Low progesterone is also linked to lower bone density and higher rates of stress fractures.  Not something to play around with, right?

RW 10k race pic

How can you boost progesterone?

It’s really important to reduce cortisol and reduce stress.  Foods high in B6 are important, such as poultry, seafood, lean red meats, walnuts, spinach, beans and potatoes.

Increase foods with Vitamin C (red peppers, watermelon, oranges), Zinc (pumpkin, crabs, lean red meat, chickpeas), and Magnesium (black beans, spinach, fish, squash, nuts).  Incorporate a pharmaceutical grade multivitamin to fill in the gaps.

Herbs such as chasteberry (Vitex) can help to boost progesterone.  It’s important to avoid flax, processed soy (as in soy cheese, milk or meat- raw non-GMO soy is okay), and other foods or herbs that mimic estrogen in the body, such as licorice and lavender.

If you’re trying to get pregnant, a natural progesterone cream can also help.  With both of my girls, I did all of the above including Vitex and a natural progesterone cream to help balance my hormones and get pregnant.  Using Shaklee’s Vitalizer also made a huge difference in regulating my irregular cycles and boosting my nutrient absorption.

Whew, that’s a lot! If you have questions or want additional one-on-one support, email me.  I’m always happy to help!

Runner’s Reset week 1 + Meal Planning

Week one of the reset is done! I had a great week- meal prep saved me many times.  We had friends over last night and I veered off course a bit but am back to normal today.  It’s not about perfection, but about making healthier habits a little more normal.

It’s been about ten days since I ran and although I’m feeling good, I’m going to give my shin another week to make sure it’s 100% before I jump into half marathon training.  I’m sticking to weights, walking and spin and trying to add in more flexibility and stretching.  I really miss running but the cold, dark mornings are making the break a little bit easier.

Workout recap:

Sunday: 45 minute spin

Monday: Reset strength workout + 4 mile walk

Tuesday: spin with intervals

Wednesday: strength circuit + 1 hr walk

Thursday: 45 easy spin

Friday: 30 minute weight circuit + 45 minute walk

Saturday:  spin class
Protein PB BallsThese nut butter protein balls were a favorite snack this week, and a hit with my girls too!

I don’t have a solid meal plan for the week yet.  One of my best friends is coming today and tomorrow to hang out, and my mom is visiting on Wednesday.  So I’ll be winging it a little bit, but I’m also making a batch of quinoa, hard boiling eggs, roasting a chicken and chopping veggies.  That should help a bit!

Meal Plan

Sunday: Dinner out in NYC?

Monday: Dinner with my friend

Tuesday: Roast chicken, roasted butternut squash and parsnips and sauteed kale

Wednesday: Dinner with my mom

Thursday: Tempeh stir fry

Friday: Family pizza night (one with cauliflower crust) and L’s birthday!

Saturday: Party for L!

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Do the dark, cold mornings affect your motivation to workout?

Kale, Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew

I can’t believe it’s day four of the runner’s reset already! Days two and three are the toughest for those of us who eliminated sugar so we’re over the first hurdle.  From personal experience and from coaching other women through past resets, it gets easier.

Our bodies are really smart! When the most addicting and inflammatory foods are removed, our bodies stop craving them. I’m not even missing my dark chocolate. :)

I’m enjoying the challenge and especially the renewed motivation to cook and mix up my typical foods.

Yesterday, I had a pot of soaked beans that I wanted to do something with and threw this soup together for lunch.

You can sub a can of beans to make it faster and skip the sausage to make it vegetarian, but it’s a simple, delicious soup for a cold day.

Kale, Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew


Ingredients (4-6 servings)

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken sausage, sliced
  • 2 c. fresh kale
  • 3 c. chicken broth
  • 2-3 c. soaked and cooked mixed beans, or 2 cans of white beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • sea salt and pepper to taste


In a large pot, saute onion in olive oil 5 minutes. Add sausage and saute another 5 minutes.

Add chicken broth, kale, beans and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil and then simmer 15-20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Powered by RecipageKale, Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew

Have you ever given up chocolate or sugar?

Do you like to throw ingredients together for soup, or follow a recipe?