The days can go by so slow, but the school years fly by! Can you believe we are passing through January already? As I sit here across from my three-year-old daughter, trying to readjust my seat six months pregnant, we are practicing for the millionth time how to write her name. If you are like me, your entire life revolves around serving people, sometimes without even realizing we are serving. As educators we are natural public servants...we can’t help but constantly proof-read people’s social media posts or calculate the tip percentage at happy hour mentally while our friends turn to their tip app on their smartphone. With our brains and our bodies always on the move, it gets exhausting. Not to mention the toll of our actual jobs of educating the youth of society to read, write, calculate, comprehend, engage, critically think, and become independent young adults in 45 minutes to turn it around for second period (regardless that 1st period totally bombed that quiz where you basically gave them the answers.) The moral of my story… we MUST take care of ourselves.  We are expert jugglers who balance home life to a professional life to a social life but while we teach and preach self-care to our colleagues and our students, can we say it to ourselves in the mirror?

Fitness and nutrition have been a part of my life since I was young; I literally grew up in a gym, but trust me when I say I have absolutely had the lunch consisting of three-day old tortilla chips and a warm Diet Coke from that useless, busted machine in the teacher’s lounge. I, like many of you, tutor before school, during my lunch block, after school and lesson plan during my planning so the idea of exercise or following a nutrition plan used to be a joke to me. It’s common for us to eat walking down the hallway to our next class or next mandatory meeting.

But I decided three years ago after having my daughter that my body deserved better. My body gets me up, walks me from A to B to C to D etc… and I treat it with poison; literally food that is banned in other countries.  Shame on me. So, I came up with a plan in 2016; For one month I would eat foods without labels, I would prepare them, and I would commit to moving my body more than my average 10,000 teaching steps a day. Within the first 10 days I noticed a difference in how I felt, and it immediately affected my profession; My patience was not as thin, and I was more committed to my students. I felt a sense of perseverance, so I expected it of them as well. I raised the bar for my babies because I felt better.  That year my passing percentage went from 83% to 88% in math with two sections of bilingual students, one dual language, and one general education. I never looked back after those 30 days of my nutrition experiment. I still eat on the go, but I eat whole foods from the Earth verses from a chemical plant or bag.

“That’s great Farmer Sally but I COULD NEVER DO THAT, #hotcheetos…”

I get it, I didn’t think I could either.  You know what else I didn’t think I could ever do? Maintain a healthy marriage through graduate school, keep my family in one piece while bringing home the hardships my students face daily, plan my dad’s funeral while also planning my wedding, teach math through being on medical bedrest in my pregnancy, and the list goes on. Somehow when I look back, eating some quinoa, beans, fresh veggies, with homemade peanut hot chili sauce didn’t seem so bad. Trust me when I say your pallet will change and you will quickly break the nasty habit of consuming over processed foods and drinks, developing a love for the beauty of flavors the world has provided us with.

So, for going on three years I have been running from our planning meetings to my lunch tutoring club eating fruit out of a Tupperware then stuffing my face with a veggie burrito going to carpool, all while downing 80 oz of water throughout my day and I can honestly say to you I have never felt better. I do not think I could do what I do everyday without the diet I have grown a custom to. At the end of the day, YOU are the most important person; your students get the reflection of how you feel… no matter how well you try and mask it. I challenge you moving into 2019 to change the way you look at food.  Food was and is designed to fuel us, keep us alive, keep our energy up, and this doesn’t mean you have to throw away flavor, happiness, and satisfaction.

I have attached a free meal plan below developed by myself and my husband (sport’s nutritionist/chemist) that is SIMPLE to prepare, CHEAP, and EASY to eat. Happy 2019 to all you beautiful educators!

6:30AM Wake up: 8 oz warm lemon water

8:30/9:00AM Breakfast/Meal 1:

  1. Dave’s Killer Bread with 8g sunflower butter

  2. Iced coconut milk with espresso and a tiny bit of almond vanilla creamer

12:30PM Lunch/Meal 2:

  1. Baked sweet potato or white potato with chives

  2. BIG BOWL of spring mix lettuce

  3. handful of snap peas

  4. shredded carrots -or- red pepper

  5. sliced radish  -or- a new veggie you may have never tried

  6. 1/2-3/4 cup some type of bean, chickpea, black, kidney, northern whatever

  7. 2 tablespoons of hemp seed

  8. lime juice (fresh is delicious)

  9. 1 whole mashed avocado (this with the lime acts as dressing and it is BOMB.com)

  10. sprinkle nutritional yeast

3:00PM Snack/Meal 3:

  1. handful of blackberries

  2. handful of raspberries

  3. 1 banana or apple

  4. sprinkle chia seed over the top

  5. Granola

6:00PM Dinner/Meal 4:

  1. Portabella mushroom marinated in liquid smoke, after 5 minutes or so put that baby in a panini press or over the stove

  2. water fry white onions and garlic

  3. salad or fries (you know I will do fries 99% of the time… bake them at 325, toss with pink salt, garlic, pepper, nutritional yeast and a touch of water- no oil, my skin is happy)

  4. Bun-it-up with the onion and garlic, add lettuce, tomato, mustard, whatever!