Health and Human Performance Coach

Change can be challenging

Change can be challenging

I am not sure about you, but I am having a difficult time believing that it is almost September! So many of my friends have been taking their oldest kids to college over the past week or so, most schools have started back, my work schedule has picked back up, and yet, it definitely still feels like summer outside!

This morning I ran the San Francisco Giant Race with my two younger kids and two dogs. We have done it as a family for the past 4 years, but today, my oldest had to work at her regular volunteer job and my 16 year old had baseball tryouts with my husband. I am becoming more aware of how my time is limited with my children. My oldest is a senior, so seeing so many of my friends’ kids that I have known since they were born or very little head off to college hits a little too close to home. There is always a large part of me that is just beyond thrilled for these young adults to spread their wings and head off to new adventures, but knowing that mine is heading there soon makes me want to put the brakes on for just a little bit, just long enough so I can tell her everything I need to tell her to prepare her for what is ahead, so I can make sure she knows just how much she is loved, to make sure she fully knows just how much I believe in her, to make sure she knows how to protect herself from harm, to make sure she knows that she is always welcome to come home, anytime and so much more. One thing is for certain, there is never enough time, so making the most of the present is all we really have. I hope you will join me this fall in the commitment to health, in the commitment to taking care of yourself so you can be your best self in the present moment, so you can put your best self forward everyday and make the most of all of the precious moments that lie ahead this fall.

My second interview is with my dear friend, Sandie. Sandie has a busy household with 3 active boys and husband. She regularly does the Whole30 Challenge with me (back to school and Jan) and has made many significant changes to her family’s nutrition plan over the past 10 years. Here is the interview:

Stella: Tell me a little bit about your family and their eating habits (i.e., do you eat together as a family, on the go, take out, make lunches, buy lunches, etc).

Sandie: I make a family dinner most days.  I try to get dinner on the table between 6:00 – 6:30.  If it gets much later than that, we all start snacking and making bad choices.  We probably do takeout once a week, usually either Chinese or pizza.

I detest packing lunches. Yet I do it every day.  I get a lot of flack about this from my friends.  I know my kids are old enough to pack their own, but I’m not willing to give up that control.  If they packed their own, it would be carrots and a cheese stick.  Not unhealthy but not enough to fuel them for the day.

My kids are generally on their own for breakfast.  I will offer to make them eggs once or twice a week but honestly it’s hard for me to get them and me out the door on time when I make them breakfast on top of lunches.

Stella; Change can be challenging, especially with children, what prompted you to make changes in your family’s nutrition?

Sandie: I don’t think we’ve made any big changes, just smaller changes over time.  I was never really one to buy processed or “big food” so I think that right there helps.

Stella:  What are the most significant changes you have made over the last 3-5 years?

Sandie: I used to buy organic only when it was comparable in price to conventional.  Now I buy it the great majority of the time.  My food budget has expanded considerably but I feel like it’s the right thing for our family and the environment.  I know I’m ridiculously lucky to be able to make that purchasing choice.  I’ve also switched to grass fed/pasture-raised meats, chicken, dairy, etc.  This is not food related, but I have also switched to all green cleaning and personal care products which I think makes a big difference in overall health.

Stella:  What were/are your biggest hurdles?

I have one kid who will spend every last dollar he has on candy.  And one who is obsessed with Safeway bakery cookies.  I get it.  I was the same way as a kid.  And I still have a major weakness for baked goods.  Which is why I always try to have really healthy, ready to go snacks available at all times.  I know for myself, when I get to the point of being hungry, I make unhealthy choices.  So I try to keep them from getting to that point.  It’s particularly hard with three growing boys who come home from school or sports starving.  I do my best to be sure what they eat in the house is healthy and try not to worry about the rest.

Stella:  How have the changes made a positive impact on your children and your family?

Sandie: My kids almost always reach for fruits and veggies for snacking since they are always available.  And not usually having processed snacks in the house makes a big difference.  When stuff isn’t available, it’s a lot easier to avoid it.

 Stella:  What advice would you give others who are looking to make some changes in their own families?

Sandie: I’d say start small, make changes over time, and try to find yummy, healthy replacements for whatever you’re trying to get rid of.  I also believe food can be a total source of joy, so other than my 2 hard and fast rules (below), I enjoy the splurges I have with my family.  Going out for ice cream or making cookies or eating a delicious pulled pork sandwich is not something to feel guilty about if you are doing it consciously.

Stella:  What are your “three truths” when it comes to your family’s nutrition?

Sandie: Hmmmm, I don’t know if I have three truths, but I do have 2 non-negotiable rules inside my house and on my dollar:

1)   No soda

2)   No artificial sweeteners

Stella: What changes would you like to make in the future?

Sandie: I am slowly building up to the idea that being vegan is the right choice for me – for animal cruelty and environmental reasons.  I am taking tiny steps in that direction.  I really think I could do it except for burgers and steak.  Is there a name for a vegan who eats red meat?

Stella: Yes, that would be a “Peagan” (Paleo/Vegan).


There are some fun things happening at StellaFit this week! I will be on a podcast tomorrow with my friends at Hatch Baby to talk about postpartum wellness. I am super excited! If you get the chance, check out my website,, we have made some exciting changes! Also, Hillview x-country signups are happening now! If your child is interested, you can sign up here:

Group classes start back after Labor Day. The MWF class will resume at Stanford Hills Park at 9am and the T/TH 6am Ladera class has been moved to Wednesday mornings at 6am. There will be NO STANFORD TRACK CLASS THIS FALL.

If you have been making changes to your family’s nutrition plan and would like to be interviewed for my blog, I would love to interview you! Please email me at and let me know.

Have a wonderful week!