Tag Archives: Plant Based


This has been quite a challenging week for me in many regards. It started off with the holiday weekend which was absolutely wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but it deletes a day out of your “normal” work day routine which is essential when you have a child in first grade who gets more homework than any child I have ever seen. Okay, maybe the homework is “average” compared to most but they must not have a child who drags her feet and complains endlessly for 20 minutes about a ONE page worksheet that she has to do. We’re instructed to do “20 minutes” of homework a night … if I followed that rule, the Peanut would still be doing first grade homework when she turns 45.

Another challenge this week for me has been trying to fit in running when I can. The holiday weekend brought us to Tahoe, our home/heart away from home. The Trailmomma family has been itching to get away to our “usual” Tahoe place and all the stars aligned at the last-minute to allow us this amazing get-away.

Tahoe Sunsets
Tahoe Sunsets

I am not complaining in the least. The girls had an amazing time just running wild and riding their bikes.


Vans and I had a chance to relax and unwind leaving work worries behind as well.


We just did what we normally do when we go to Tahoe and that is chill. I was given a day of running while Vans was given a day of biking. The girls just found whatever adventures they could find throughout the property.

My beautiful 8 mile run.
My beautiful 8 mile run.
Super tiny humans playing in the hammocks.
Super tiny humans playing in the hammocks.
Monkeying around at the park.
Monkeying around at the park.
Flexing at the lake.
Flexing at the lake.
Goofing around....
Goofing around….
And of course, shopping for hats.
And of course, shopping for hats.

After a few days spent in Tahoe, we then moved to Donner Lake where we joined our friends in our Annual Camping Trip. You can see the other annual camping trips here: Camping 2013, Camping 2012, Camping 2011 and Camping 2010.

Donner Lake swimming
Donner Lake swimming

The one downside of our trip was when we realized that we had forgotten to bring the ADULT sleeping bags. We had to steal some of the girls’ blankets which they clearly noticed, but if we didn’t, Vans and I would have either frozen to death or gotten divorced … neither one really appeals. 🙂

Good morning!
Good morning!

Overall, the camping and Tahoe trips were a success. While they took away from our usual routine of things, it was nice to get out of town.

When I had to return to work, I tried to run on my lunch hour to squeeze in an extra few miles wherein I think I almost left my lungs on the side of an old deserted street in Rancho Cordova. Why does a flat fast few miles kill me more than running uphill at 3,000 plus feet of elevation?! Ouch.

Combine that with some Rouxbe cooking assignments that I have been putting off. We are in the “Batch Cooking” segment of the course which I love the idea since I batch cook my grains all the time on weekends. Still, my first real graded assignment was a risotto, which I love, don’t get me wrong but a risotto requires time, patience and a little fineness.

This little assignment came about at about 9 pm on a Wednesday evening after I put the girls to bed since I really could not fathom finding time to do this assignment once Vans left for Canada. Yes, he has left for Canada to visit Be-Well-Run and her hubby Dokeg to participate in the Whistler Grand Fondo! I am super excited for him and I hope he has a fabulous time but cooking and cleaning dishes at 10 pm at night on a Wednesday was pretty grueling.

Voila Risotto
Voila Risotto

Now I am a solo parent trying to schedule a night at concert in the park, a birthday party, a soccer game, a girls morning and a swimming clinic this weekend. Easy peasy right?

Or….maybe we’ll just hang out in our monkey jammies all day and call it good. 🙂

Monkey Jammies Rock
Monkey Jammies Rock

Happy Trails!










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Before I announce the winner of the Plant-Based Rouxbe Online Cooking School give-away, I want to thank ALL of you who commented on my post, shared on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I also want to thank all of you who emailed me personally or stopped me while out and about to ask me more about Rouxbe and their plant-based program.


Like I have said numerous times, Rouxbe’s program is pretty unique with their online approach and use of technology and even though I have been plant-based for over 20 years now, I am learning even more. Not only am I discovering tips on how to cook certain vegetables or grains, I am learning proper cutting techniques as well as storage and handling for certain foods to prevent spoilage and prolong the length of my produce, legumes and grains.

Currently I am only a quarter of the way through the program myself and my oldest (age 6), now declares that she likes brussel sprouts because of the method I learned through Rouxbe.

Also, if your name is not listed below as a winner and you are really interested in this course, Rouxbe has decided to knock 20% off their tuition prices for their October session! How cool is that!? Just use the code BACKTOSCHOOL upon registration (offer good until Sunday, September 7, 2014).

So without further ado, let me announce the winner of the free tuition to Rouxbe’s Online October Plant-Based Cooking Certification Course! The free tuition goes to…(drumroll please)….. Sarah!

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Congratulations Sarah! Please email me at trailmomma@trailmomma.com and I will tell you what you need to do to register and claim your amazingly awesome plant-based prize! You are now on your way to improving your plant-based knowledge and I really hope this helps you educate those 8th graders and show them how eating a plant-based diet doesn’t have to be a big deal. Please stay in touch and keep me posted on your progress throughout the course!

Thank you again to all who entered. I truly feel honored to be able to offer such an amazing experience and I cannot thank Joe Girard and the whole Rouxbe team for allowing me to do this give-away.

If any of you have any questions regarding my progress or experience with the program, please do not hesitate to contact me or just follow me here as I will continue to share my experiences with Rouxbe on my blog – just as long as you don’t mind some trail running posts thrown in every so often. 🙂 OR better yet, … follow me on Facebook! I am finally going to launch my Trailmomma page on Facebook because I know there is a large group of people in my inner circle who could care less about the amazing plant-based meals I had for dinner or the 20 mile trail adventure that I had on some random weekend. I will be posting my meals, Rouxbe experiences and trail running adventures on my Trailmomma Facebook page and leave the family random personal stuff for my regular one. The Trailmomma Facebook page should be live within a day or so.

In the meantime, congrats to Sarah and I encourage all of you who entered to look into Rouxbe. If the time and money situation is not quite right at the moment, keep it in your back pocket for future reference. If you are truly stuck on how to succeed at a plant-based diet, this course could help you. Of course you are always welcome to email me with any questions you might have as well: trailmomma@trailmomma.com or use my Contact page above.

Thanks once again to Rouxbe!

Happy Trails!









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Okay, I kind of have to control myself here. When I started this little blog in 2009, it was mostly to chronicle my running adventures and to showcase my girls and how fast they are growing. Most of my readership in the early days (on my blogspot account) consisted of my ultra-training group as we trained together for our first 50K and 50 mile races. It quickly grew however as people from all over the nation followed our training and were commenting on my posts. That blog was a labor of love but sadly, when my running slowed down, so did the blog posts.

When I purchased the Trailmomma domain name, I wasn’t sure what to do with this blog. The name alone lends itself to being a “running” blog which it is and of course it still encompasses my family and our adventures, but I have always felt that something was “missing” from www.trailmomma.com. It wasn’t a true reflection of me. If a stranger were to ask my friends or family what three things define me as Trailmomma, I would think they would say 1. my girls & family, 2. running and 3. living a plant-based lifestyle.

Deep down, I have always wanted to HELP people with my blog and I guess in the early days I did by way of motivation to train for ultra races. Once that stopped though, my following dissipated.

My current readership is primarily my awesome family and some really close friends which is expected when all I write about are my running adventures with a dash of Peanut and Squeaker on the side. Sadly, I don’t garner the comments I used to when I was posting about a 20 mile trail run through a massive rain storm while battling some injury. I miss all the comments that I used to get. I like comments (hint hint). 🙂


Fast forward to a week or so ago, I wrote this post about my new adventure with Rouxbe’s Online Cooking School and their Professional Plant Based Cooking Certification. After I posted that, I received a comment (yea for comments) from Rouxbe’s CEO and co-founder Joe Girard. Shortly after that comment, I received an email from him. His emails always seem to have these unbelievable offers that he makes really difficult to ignore.

You see, Joe wants to help ME… help YOU! I think he can tell how passionate I am about living a plant-based lifestyle while battling the realities of 2 kids, work and life. For those that follow me on Instagram, Twitter (@trailmomma) and Facebook (no official Trailmomma page, yet), you know that I sometimes post photos of meals that I have prepared with some comment about how “easy” it really is to enjoy wholesome plant-based food even with a hectic day-to-day lifestyle.

Getting the girls involved
The girls helping me with one of my Rouxbe assignments.

Let’s get one thing straight, I do not want to be a food blogger. Don’t get me wrong, I love food bloggers (a lot) but that isn’t who I am. I am just your average Jane trying to help people realize that eating healthy is not that hard. I want people to think about what they are putting into their bodies and how they feel or perform after they eat it. One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., “Genetics loads the gun lifestyle pulls the trigger.” You have the ability to change your health, you just have to know where to start.

And thanks to Joe Girard and Rouxbe, you can start right here!

As I mentioned in my last post, Rouxbe is an online cooking school. While they offer many different courses, I am currently taking their Professional Plant-Based Certification course. It is 100% online and you have six months to complete the course working at your own pace (a mother’s dream). The next session will start in October and I won’t lie, the tuition is not cheap but I am here to help you with that.

For the very first time on trailmomma.com, I am offering a give-away!!! Joe and the people at Rouxbe have offered me the chance to give-away ONE free enrollment to one of my readers. FREE! Let me say it again, FREE!! Excuse me?! That is a $1,500 GIFT …. FOR FREE!!!!!!!!!

People, this is no joke and truly the chance of a life-time. Please do not pass up this opportunity to improve your health and the health of your family!

I am going to give you FIVE opportunities to enter. The winner will be chosen via www.random.org but of course the more times you enter, the greater your chances of winning and jumping on the train to better health.

Here is what you need to do. Each of these will constitute one entry into the contest so be sure to comment for each one:

1. Facebook a link about this contest and leave me a comment on this post that you did (provide the FB link);

2. Instagram about this contest and leave me a comment on this post that you did and use the hashtag #plantbasedtrailmomma;

3. Tweet a link about this contest and leave me a comment on this post that you did (tag me in the post);

4. Comment on this post and tell me WHY you want to win this and what it will mean for you (*a bonus entry will be awarded to more thorough responses – so put some thought into it!);

5. Instagram (yes, another) a photo of your favorite plant-based meal and use the hashtag #plantbasedtrailmomma

That’s it! All you need to do is comment here five separate times with a with the above requests and you will be entered in the chance to win FREE tuition into Rouxbe’s next Professional Plant-Based Certification Course that is starting in October (valued at $1,500).

The contest will close Sunday, August 31st at mid-night (PST) and I will announce the winner on Tuesday, September 2nd.

So what are you waiting for?! Do you want to feel better, live better and have a healthy family? Have you always been curious about a plant-based diet but did not know where to start? Do you want to be better and more efficient in the kitchen? Then let the comments begin!

Happy Trails!


*The tuition entry prize is given by Rouxbe. I did not pay for any of it nor am I employed by Rouxbe in anyway.

*Open to anyone regardless of residence (that is the awesome part about it being online!).

*Contest ends mid-night (PST) on Sunday, August 31st The winner will be picked via www.random.org and announced on Tuesday, September 2nd.

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So for the last few posts, I have alluded to the fact that life has been extra busy and that I had a “big announcement.” Maybe I exaggerated a little bit or put too much emphasis on the “announcement” part. The simple fact of the matter is, I am enrolled in a cooking school. An ONLINE cooking school.

Let’s go back in time shall we? It may make a little more sense if I do.

Quite a few months ago, I was surfing the internet reading about Holistic Nutritionists, Life Coaches, Personal Trainers … all the things that interest me. Unfortunately, I have thought long and hard about my goals and dreams as well as the more realistic side of life (kids, house, mortgage, retirement etc).

Vans has been fairly patient with me. I would go up and down contemplating “what SHOULD I be doing in life?” The job that pays the bills, while not a horrible job, isn’t my “dream” job and definitely not one that fulfills my inner happiness.

But what DID make me happy? That was a question I repeatedly asked myself over and over. I had people ask me that question and follow it up with “What are you good at doing?” Honestly, nothing. There is not one thing that I excel at whole heartedly that would earn me a living. Not without some kind of degree or professional education behind me. Although I guess one could say that I excel at multi-tasking and having a lot of things on my plate all at once. 🙂

Sure if you ask me about plant-based eating or fueling for races using a plant-based diet, I will (and have) talk your ear off with a million suggestions, ideas or plans.

When someone questions my dietary choices and asks me “where do you get your protein?” or “how can you run ultras on a  plant-based diet and still feel okay?” I go into hyper explanation mode. I do not get defensive about it, I want to explain it, share it and hope they are inspired.

When I see those around me suffering from ailments that could easily be cleared up by improving their diet, I secretly pray they ask me for help. But why would they? I am not a Nutritionist. I am not a Dietician.  I have looked into going back to school to get those types of degrees but the cost and time alone is more than I can imagine right now, not to mention the experience that goes with having a job like that. I would be 80 years old before I had a few years under my belt not to mention the fact that I have two kids to put through college and two weddings to finance some day.

Quite a while ago, I took the eCornell Plant Based Nutrition course online. Most of what I learned in that three-month course was nothing entirely new to me. Sure it showed me the “science” behind what a plant-based diet can do and has done for many civilizations. It was interesting and I am glad that I took it as now I can say that I have a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from (e)Cornell. 🙂 Sounds so fancy.

Still, I wasn’t satisfied. I kept searching. Vans kept sighing and praying that I wouldn’t just up and quit my job all Jerry McQuire like … “Help me … Help you…” No, instead, I surfed the internet.

Randomly one day, I received an email in my inbox from an online cooking school that was offering a new course, a Plant Based Professional Cooking Certification Course. Wait, what?! So I did what most people do not do, I clicked on the email link.

It brought me to the Rouxbe Plant Based Professional Cooking Certification homepage. I surfed around on the page a bit and then did what most paralegals by day would do … I researched the living crap out of this company. Who are they? Who has taken their courses? What are they doing now? How long have they been around?


Some what happy with what I discovered, I signed up for a free trial. The free trial allowed me a day or two of access to some of the recipe videos and other teaching videos to give me a feel for how the course would be structured. I mean, come on, who can take a COOKING course…ONLINE?

Rouxbe 2

After my free trial ended, I received an email from the school asking me what I thought about my free trial. Totally thinking that this was purely an automated email, I responded and basically asked them what is up with this course? It is crazy expensive and the syllabus seems very daunting. I basically said that I was a full-time working mother of two kids, with three jobs, a husband and lots of extra curricular activities … oh yea, and I have been plant-based for 20 years so IS this course worth my time and money?

I received a reply … from the co-founder and CEO of the company! He not only answered all my questions he also said, “I don’t have kids, but I do know that many of our students DO have kids. So that all depends on how busy you are with Peanut and Squeaker (yep, stalked you :-). I would say this is a very good question and I really want Rouxbe to be able to empower busy moms and families on how to cook better. So I have a deal for you…”

Um, what? He stalked me? Sure enough, he read my blog and his “deal” was very Godfather like “an offer too good to refuse.”

Ultimately, he cut a significant amount off the tuition price for me on the agreement that I would track the time it takes to finish the course as well as document any challenges that I may face along the way. This would give them the feedback they need to modify the course in any way for more people like me.

Tuition reduction alone, this said to me that they truly care about educating mothers/fathers about how valuable a plant-based diet is and how important it is for our families to eat this way.

I agreed and the rest is history. I started my “schooling” on July 23rd and I have approximately 6 months to finish (sometime in January). Some people think I am completely nuts and I won’t lie, there are days when I am ready to pull my hair out thinking about all that I have to accomplish in a day, week, month. I may need to reconfigure some of my priorities, but for now, I am thoroughly enjoying the course.

Rouxbe 3

The format is nothing short of amazing. The video quality for some of the lessons is outstanding and the manner and detail in which some things are taught, is very impressive. I am not that far into the program obviously, but so far it involves performing certain activities and taking specific photos of your work and uploading them for grading. There are tests and quizzes and practical diagrams. Very hands on.

Overall, I am quite impressed and eager to keep moving forward in the program. I do find myself stressing some days about whether or not I will be able to complete it. Some days I find myself studying while at work (you can view the program on your iPhone) during the lunch hour etc. Some days I can’t fit a single lesson in which means that on another day I will have to double up on lessons.

Ironically though, within the last few weeks I have had quite a few friends ask me about plant-based diets. Either they are just curious or they have had some sort of health scare and are looking for a change, I am happy to share my experiences with them. Hopefully, down the road, after this course, I will be able to share even more.

After all of this internal searching for what I am “supposed” to be doing in life, I realize that what does make me happy is sharing and showing people how living a plant-based diet doesn’t have to be hard. It truly doesn’t once you learn some basics and I would love to be able to take someone to a grocery store and show them the products they need to buy (or more importantly NOT buy) and then take them home and show them how to prepare an easy plant-based meal that will heal them from the inside out.

For now, I am content to continue on with my course while maintaining my every day job(s). I answer questions at work almost daily about following a plant-based diet or how to cure something holistically. Maybe I am supposed to be where I am in order to help those around me?

Either way, I am excited about this journey and I am sure Vans is excited to have a few more recipes thrown into our repertoire.

Happy Trails Cooking!





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I am taking a brief interruption from your regularly scheduled Trailmomma posts to allow myself the opportunity to vent, complain or perhaps I am just seeking out some kind of personal connection to anyone who can relate to what we are going through right now in the Trailmomma household.

I know toddlers are picky. I know kids change their minds almost as much as women. I know that for most, dinner time can be a struggle when you have a 2 year old and a 5 year old sitting at the table. Still, my heart hangs a little lower these days and my mind is moving a mile a minute trying to find healthy meals and snacks that my two princesses will eat.


If history repeats itself or if healthy eating is hereditary then my girls won’t start eating healthy until they are in college. When I was their age, and well into my teenage years I was probably one of the pickiest kids on the planet. My foods could not touch. I did not like turkey at all and I think I consumed more microwave french fries than is humanly possible. Fruit? Never had it. We didn’t have apples in the house. We had Hostess. Vegetables? Canned corn. I drank soda like water (actually never even drank water unless you count Kool-Aid) and I lived across the street from two authentic Italian pizza places, a candy store and an ice cream shop.

The fact that I was never obese is purely due to the fact that my friends and I played outside from dawn until dusk as much as we possibly could. Something that the kids today do not do.

Still, when I reached college and the food choices were left up to me, I realized, after gaining the freshman 20, how certain foods made me feel. I had stopped eating meat in high school but the junk food was abundant in college. I finally understood how exercise (when not forced through a soccer/softball/basketball coach) was actually fun. I started running for my own enjoyment and I never stopped.

Now, with a passion for living a life consuming whole unprocessed plant-based foods, it makes me sad when I see the things my kids eat. This isn’t something entirely new, they’ve eaten poorly from the start mostly because as new parents, we were consumed with making sure our little ones had full bellies despite what we filled them with. I knew the processed foods the Peanut was eating were not good and yet, no matter what we offered, she refused. As an infant/toddler, she also never slept, ever and so we tried all we could to fill her belly at times hoping that would help her sleep. No dice.



Then Squeaker was born, and we raised her differently. I read (and shared with every expectant parent I knew) the book Baby Led Weaning and was inspired. We fed Squeaker whole foods. Nothing was jarred or puree ever. If she could pick it up, she could eat it and she did! She ate food that the Peanut never gave the time of day when she was Squeaker’s age. Vans and I were in heaven. Then, something changed. Before she turned two, Squeaker started refusing pretty much everything.


Now they probably eat all of five things. Total. The Peanut at least likes steamed broccoli and will consume a pile of it if we give it to her. She will eat carrots (raw) and steamed green beans and peas. However, she does not consume fruit. Not anything nor anything fruit related. No applesauce, no bananas, no berries and no apples. Forget melons or those little citrus cuties. It is maddening. She likes sweet things (namely chocolate) but she won’t touch fruit nor will she consume any smoothies either. Getting her to eat anything new is a struggle. I am pleased she will eat brown rice I am not thrilled that she won’t eat anything else. I can’t even feed her traditional kid favorites! She won’t eat pizza, peanut-butter and jelly or even spaghetti!

Squeaker is worse. She won’t consume any vegetables OR fruit. No smoothies. She won’t eat noodles. She will eat refried black beans and brown rice and grilled cheese like it is going out of style. Lara bars are a favorite snack but unfortunately so is gold fish or Cheeze-its. It is maddening to me.

My only hope is that Squeaker will evolve like the Peanut and start eating more of a variety of veggies but the Peanut has always eaten broccoli.


So here I sit, wracking my brain trying to come up with different snack ideas and meals for them. I am trying to go the healthier route but it is basically a waste of money according to Vans. My philosophy is: if you don’t try you’ll never know if they like it. Unfortunately, the Peanut doesn’t try anything new at school and just tosses her lunch most times if I sneak in “new” healthier foods.

With the start of the new year, I am drawing an invisible line in the sand. I want to be done with the days where I made three separate meals (one for the Peanut, one for Squeaker and one for Vans and myself). My time is limited already, adding personal chef to the mix is just insane.

So tonight I made Mama Pea’s Pizza Casserole. This is one dish that I can often get them to eat with a little cajoling. Squeaker will eat it only if she is 1) really hungry and 2) it is fresh (not reheated). The Peanut often resists for a while but will consume a small bowl.

Tomorrow I have another Mama Pea dish ready to throw into crock pot called Spicy African Peanut Stew. Tomorrow will be a struggle. Tomorrow there will be a fight but I am ready. People always tell me that “if kids are hungry, they will eat” and ya know what? That is a load of B.S! Those people have not met my kids who will not eat for a week if they put their minds to it.

I admire Ange over at Hol-Fit .  She has provided me with countless tips and tricks to get my girls to eat healthier foods or make wiser choices. I like her approach to food as it relates to her two girls, in that she likes to ask them how certain foods make them feel. Does that piece of junk food make their tummy hurt? She makes them piece together the connection. I do that to a degree, but sadly most of the food they eat cause tummy distress and frankly, my kids could really care less about that stuff.

But I would be lying to say that reading, seeing photos of friends or other people’s kids consuming super healthy foods makes me feel like a failure. I make healthy choices for myself, why can’t I do that for my kids? Actually, I do, but I can’t force it down their throats.

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.

So while this post has no real purpose other than to broadcast my recent frustrations, I hope that I am not alone. Although, part of me hopes that I am, because I would like to think all kids are eating healthy but I know the reality of that is slim. The Hostess, Kellogg and General Mills companies are not giant money makers because people are shunning their food for broccoli. Monsanto isn’t the largest (most corrupt) company because people refuse their products.

I’ll keep trying to teach my girls the importance of wise choices when it comes to food as this is one battle I won’t give up. I am ready for the long haul. One stalk of broccoli at a time.



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