Healthy Relationship with Food–5 Concepts

Over the last 5-7 years I have accumulated many concepts, theories, ideas, and tips about having a healthy relationship with food. I have tried different techniques and my weight has fluctuated throughout these years. I spent about 6 months of this time practicing veganism, have loosely followed Weight Watchers, have made countless trips to many different health food stores all over the tri-state area, and have read hundreds of articles and books on this topic. Food is a big part of my life so I am thrilled to say that I think I have finally developed a healthy relationship with my diet.

I started to write a very detailed post about this and realized that I would need to publish my own book in order to fully explain everything in detail, so… I revamped my plan for the post and decided to share with you my 5 top concepts (along with brief details about each) and my favorite book about food! Many of this author’s beliefs run parallel to my beliefs on this topic, so I wanted to share this excellent source of reference with all my readers!

I am not claiming that these concepts are going to help you lose weight; they are merely theories that help me maintain my healthy relationship with food. They work for me so I wanted to share them with you…

Concept #1: Do the best you can with what you have

In my euphoria, I would have a Whole Foods Market down the street from my home and all the prices would be within my budget. I would walk through the store putting all the healthiest of foods into my cart from all the food groups! This is not reality for me…

My reality is that the closest Whole Foods Market is 1.25 hours away and I have a budget of $100-$125 per week to spend on groceries. Should I exceed that budget, other parts of balanced life are disturbed in ways I can’t afford so I have to do the best I can with what I have. I visit Shop Rite once per week with a planned schedule of meals. I look at all of the products on the shelves, in each section of the market, and choose the most “whole” product I can afford. (whole: least processed, least unnecessary ingredients, most organic) I use the dirty dozen rule for produce and to buy the products we consume most in their organic variety.

Everyone’s budget is different and some people will say “health is worth the extra money.” I have considered this when creating my budget and I agree that health is very important but balance has to rule over all in my world. Doing the best you can has to be enough.

Concept #2: Be real and honest with yourself

Eating highly processed, sugary candy is not a healthy choice but let’s be real…every time, for the rest of your life, when someone offers you a handful of M & M’s, you are not going to say “no.” If someone in the morning offers you a handful of M & M’s and you say “yes”, then later in the evening, when your neighbor brings over a huge slice of leftover birthday cake, you should at least consider putting it in a pyrex and sharing it with your husband the next day.

If you eat the M & M’s (or even the M & M’s AND the cake, because let’s be real, this stuff happens), don’t lie to yourself that this was healthy or that you didn’t eat them. Take responsibility for your decision and make your next decision based on what you have learned. Say to yourself, “tomorrow I will try to practice a little more discipline.”

Your relationship with food is just like any other relationship in your life, it is not perfect and honesty is a MUST. Apologize for small mistakes, try REALLY hard not to repeat the big mistakes (eating an entire bag of chips in one sitting), and continue in your relationship with no regrets.

Concept #3: Do not monitor what you eat on a holiday

On the day of the holiday, I think you should shove your face with whatever it is you want to shove it with. This is when the “life’s too short” philosophy comes into play. You can’t say “life’s too short” every day or you would be unhealthy but there are few enough holidays in the year that you should be able to fully indulge on those few days. I think that these are the happiest days of the whole year and on these days I don’t want to be in a fight with food; I want to be on great terms within my relationship with food on the holidays.

The hard part comes on the days surrounding the holiday… Examples: The day after Halloween, you can’t eat your kid’s candy all day and the day after Thanksgiving, the leftovers need to be portioned like you would portion on any normal day.


Concept #4: Cook and prepare food in your home as much as possible

Cooking is like playtime with food. It is your time to bond and be intimate. Not everyone likes cooking/prepping but it is crucial for a healthy food relationship. (see my subtle metaphor?) Cooking your own meals and packing your own lunches are the only ways to know exactly what you are eating. Cooking, to me, means preparing anything from a salad to a full course meal like Thanksgiving dinner. I consider rinsing the grapes in a colander and putting them into containers for the week a part of my food prep/cooking on Sunday’s when I get home from the market.

Baking is nice too, once in a while; if you make a batch of 24 cupcakes, you better eat at least one but share many. Bring some to your neighbors or to work.

Cooking dinner and eating in your home, as a family, is a good thing to do. Packing balanced lunches for your kids, your husband or wife, yourself, and other household members, is a good thing to do too. It will make you all healthy, happy, and proud thus enhancing all of your relationships with food.

Concept #5: Record your meals/servings

I like to use Weight Watcher’s PointsPlus system to keep from overeating or eating too much of the wrong type of foods.

*More info on WW: Basically, each food has a PointsPlus value that is calculated depending on the amount of protein, fat, carb, and fiber that is in the item. The higher the protein and fiber content, the lower the points but the higher the carb and fat content, the higher the points. You are not to avoid fat or carbs all together but your choices should reflect the concept of consuming each type of food in moderation. Depending on your size, you are designated a correlated points allowance. If you are specifically interested in this program I suggest you register for the minimum amount of time (online) and learn about the program/how you specifically fit into the program. You can always cancel your membership once you feel like you have obtained some knowledge and can move forward on your own. If staying in the program works for you, thats great too! You can utilize the techniques whether or not you are enrolled. WW TIP: You can Google “WW Points Plus calculator” right on your smartphone if you don’t have your WW calculator on hand.

I try to plan my day’s worth of points in the morning, leaving a few points in case of an unanticipated food offering or opportunity (like the M & M incident detailed above). I like to write down my meals, the approximate points, and the number of servings of each food group in the meal to keep a balance. I try to keep up with this, especially after I have a few days of getting “carried away” (a few days in a row of not using great discipline). *Exception: I don’t record on holidays.

If you are uninterested in using Weight Watchers that is okay too; WW is just my preference. Whatever you come up with to help you with self control and portion control will do the same for you as this concept does for me.

And now, onto my favorite food book…drum roll please…

Food Rules by Michael Pollan


The link above is to Michael Pollan’s website. If you are interested in his point of view, you should read some of the articles on this site too. This book is an incredible reference for when you are feeling frustrated with all the food buzz on the news and in the media. It helps you get back to basics! He actually just came out with a cookbook too. To purchase “Food Rules”, click here and to purchase his new cookbook called “Cooked”, click here.

Yay, I am so excited to have this all in writing for you!! Please comment with any questions or thoughts and try some of my recipes!


Photo Editing Tutorial plus an awesome deal I found…

Until 4/26/13, Canvas People are running a deal and it’s awesome!!

Free 8×10 Canvas! Click HERE.

All you pay is $14.95 for shipping. I just ordered mine!

*Make sure you opt out of all special effects on the site to get the deal

Here is a really fun idea for editing your image before you import it…

Step 1: Go to

Step 2: Click the “edit a photo” button

Step 3: Select the photo you want to edit (make sure it’s a good quality photo)

Step 4: Once you get to the photo editor screen, select the “effects tab”, it looks like a chemistry flask.

Step 5: Scroll down and select the effect called “Warhol”

Step 5: Select one darker color and one lighter color that would look great in the room in which you will hang your canvas…I chose a gray/blue and pink because those two colors will be in my baby’s nursery…

Picture 24

Step 6: Click “Apply” when you have decided. Feel free to play with other effects or continue to step 7

Step 7: Click the “save” button and save your image in a place where you can quickly retrieve it.

*If you want to use the photo you just created for your free 8×10 (before 4/26/13) continue to Step 8..

Step 8: Click this link (if before 4/26/13 you will get the deal; if after 4/26/13, go to and order a canvas for their regular price)

Step 9: Click “create my canvas”

Step 10: Click “upload my photo”

Step 11: Find and select the photo you just edited!

Step 12: Select free 8×10

Step 13: Select “no frame” and “no effects”

Step 14: Add to Cart and order your canvas!! That was fun!!

Here is my completed canvas:


Cleaning Reference Site!

I just found this incredible site that I will surely be referencing!!! I had to share!!!

I just did a quick skim through this website and I already know that this is a gem!

This creator of this site has included everything and it so organized. It will be so easy to find exactly what I am looking for in very little time.

Oh my goodness, I am so excited! You have to check it out….

A Perfect Sunny Sunday

In keeping with the theme of this blog (a peek into my simple, balanced, small town life, for those who are new readers) I hope this post once again inspires you to find happiness in the daily experiences that make up your life…

This morning I woke up at 7, straightened up a little bit around my house and got dressed for a boardwalk stroll with one of my favorite people, my friend Deirdre, who I have mentioned in past posts. I drove onto the island of Ocean City, NJ and I snapped a few photos while I waited for her… my home is so beautiful!


I snagged a shot of a few birdies enjoying some breakfast.


Speaking of breakfast, in the middle of our stroll, Deirdre and I stopped for “banana whips” from the Bashful Banana for breakfast. They are made of only frozen bananas which are put into an appliance to create an ice-cream-like treat on which I personally topped with fresh raspberries and granola! It is the most delicious and healthy breakfast! Deirdre threw a few chocolate chips into hers!

We caught up and had an amazing time as usual, I love her!

We parted ways to go about the rest of our days, which of course, on Sunday’s means the grocery store and laundry, for me. Once those chores were completed it was still before noon (on a normal Sunday I would be prepping some food for the week but my MomMom came down to visit for the day so the food prepping chores were rescheduled until she went home; my MomMom takes priority over almost anything) so I still had a full day of fun ahead of me!

My mom and I took her to see my new house, we went to visit my aunt and then we went back to the boardwalk for late lunch at my favorite restaurant in the whole world, The Hula Grill! We stopped into Shiver’s, a 115 year-old Salt Water Taffy and Fudge shop for a few taffy’s, to satisfy our sweet teeth and headed home.

A little exercise, good food, time with friends and family, feeling my little baby rolling about inside, and the smell of the salt air made for one special and irreplaceable day!

Below is a photo of my MomMom and me from when I was a kid. I was all dressed up for my dance recital in Ocean City, where else?! I cried the entire time on stage.


If you are ever in the area, one, if not all, of these aforementioned establishments really deserve a visit!

Thanks for reading, happy sunny Sunday!

Get Organized: File Box Project, Part 2

Here she is, the completed file box!!


I feel like I need to name her; she is so beautiful! I love filing paper now!

See Get Organized: File Box Project, Part 1 for tutorial!

I hope you are inspired by this project; I have inspired myself to take on many more organization projects.

Come back soon 🙂

A few warm days…

The winter has been long and cold! Everyone has been waiting for some nice days.

Over the last 2-3 days we have had some beautiful weather so I am definitely trying my best to take advantage of it.

Just a few photos…


Phillies Game with some friends…


A walk in our favorite, beautiful park…


and a precious little lady buggy…

…we are starting to feel much better!

Get Organized: File Box Project, Part 1

My husband and I bought our first home (as mentioned in previous posts) and ever since we signed the papers I have been researching some organization techniques. I can’t wait for every single item in my new house to have “a home”, a place where it belongs. I have been very inspired by many different projects but need to prioritize and make moves to actually do some of the projects I have been reading about.

I decided the first thing I NEEDED to do was to create a filing system for all of our paperwork. Piles of papers give me agita (Italian slang for stress or aggravation) so with all these new documents making their way into my life (home insurance policy paperwork, medical bills, utility bills, etc.) I needed to get organized.

I first decided that I would be purchasing a file box instead of a filing cabinet because we do not need anything too big at this point. I purchased a blue filing tote from office max for $10.40. (The exact one I purchased is not on the website to tag for you but this one would work just fine as well).

The next step was to write out all the categories for which I would need folders and then lump them into groups. I ended up with 10 groups.


Once I had the groups all labeled I researched some file folders. I found these (Smead Hanging Folders) which made perfect sense for me! I purchased 2 boxes of the “brights” variety ($11.78 for each 25 folder box) and 2 boxes of the “jewel tones” variety($12.97 for each 25 folder box) to total 10 colors for 10 groups. I bought these from Amazon and got FREE Super Saver Shipping!

Next, I created a key to tape to the front of my box with all the names of the groups and their folder color. I did this in Microsoft Word by inserting a 10×2 table into a document, putting the colors in one column and their group name in the other, see below.IMG_0338

The next step was to use a label maker and actually create the files. I used the Brother P-touch H100 labeling system, which I got on sale at OfficeMax for $24.99, regular $34.99! The link I attached is actually cheaper, from Amazon for $22.93.  I had to buy 6 AAA batteries for this little guy but I really like it and will be using it very often! So worth it!

I attached the labels to the inside of the file tabs and inserted the tabs into the folders.


Finally, I filed my paperwork into the folders and then I cried because I was so excited!! Just kidding, of course, but I feel so good about how this came out!

I am still waiting for the boxes of the jewel tone folders to come in the mail so I still have a little more work to do and will post a picture when the entire project is completed!

I put the folders I am not currently using behind the labeled folders and I put the unused tabs into a baggy for safe keeping. I put the baggy into the tote with the files for now but when I move into the house I will put them into their own “home”. I cut the rectangular pieces of cardboard from the boxes in which the folders came, to use in the future; they are good for other projects. I like to be resourceful!


Total cost for this project, excluding printer paper & printer ink for the key and batteries for the label maker: $84.89!

*Tip: I am planning on attaching a list of brands and some notes about this project to the inside of the box in case I need to order more folders or makeover this bin in the future.

This was so fun! I will be storing this bin in my office closet next to a safe with all the very important documents (birth certificates, SS card, passports, etc.)

Check back in for the photo of the completed project!

10: Objects from The Container Store

Objects from The Container Store

This post is about 10 objects I want to buy from The Container Store to organize my new home!! I have not bought or tried these items yet, so if you haven’t tried any of these items either, we are in the same boat!!

1. Tea Bag Box: This looks like something that will really help me save some pantry space. I like “switching it up” with tea so I have several different kinds. This little box will be a great way to keep different varieties organized and contained!

2. Expand-a-shelf: This neat product will be perfect for all the different cans I have in my pantry. This will help me see what I have and take advantage of vertical space.

3. Boxes: These little boxes are for CD or DVD cases but they could really fulfill any purpose. They come in all kinds of pretty colors! I am not sure if I will end up purchasing any of these but I like them and am considering using them in my office for cards or stickers. They come with 3 dividers inside. I like the black and white one!

4. Battery Box: This little box would help me see my current supply of batteries and keep them in order. I love this little guy!

5. Photo Box: This really cool box will find a home in my office very soon to house some pictures I just ordered from I will be organizing mine my year but you could do it by event, vacation, or whatever you want!! I can already see this bin on a shelf in my office closet. + Additional *PHOTO TIPS* at the end of the post. 

6. Stacked bin: I am planning on using this under my bathroom and kitchen sink to take advantage of vertical space. They come in 2 sizes to experiment with. They seem sturdy! I am going to put putty or Velcro on the bottom of the legs so it doesn’t slide around once it is in place.

7. Drawer Dividers: These dividers will be perfect from my utensil drawer! They adjust to fit any depth.

8. Cabinet Shelves: I can imagine myself using these in my kitchen to keep my plates organized. I hate piling plates of different sizes on top of one another. These are pretty darn inexpensive too.

9. File Folders: I have been reading that these are THE BEST! I think I will be giving these a chance!

10. File Tote with handle: And this tote is where the pretty little file folders will live. I like the little compartments in the lid (I would put leftover labels in there).

*I write the year and sometimes details about the photo on the back in case these photos are found millions of years down the line. I want them to know the year they were taken and a little about each photo! This is time consuming but I want to do this for my daughter; it is important to me!

**Also, I have all the photos saved on a USB drive (which I will put in my safe) in case something happens to the printed photos.

Once I purchase some of these items and put them to use I will try to post photos! If you have used any of these items, please comment or share your photos!!

Happy Organizing!