Tag Archives: indulging

The 80/20 Rule: How to Keep Your Family Healthy (And Have Fun Doing It!)

Matt and Jack share a snowconeWe went to a local carnival on a recent night, and the boys and I each had a snow-cone. Sam’s and mine were both bright blue and George’s was half red, half blue.

They were nothing but sugar and nasty dyes, but it was part of the fun of being there. We stood under the fireworks and happily ate them. We broke a lot of rules that night. We stayed up past 10 o’clock, we paid to play games we knew were unwinnable  and we ate carnival food. It was all part of the experience of being there and we had a blast.

This confuses some people. Most notably, my husband. Yesterday he brought home conventionally grown strawberries which I promptly returned to the store. “How can you let the boys have snow-cones and not let them eat conventional strawberries?” he asked. I understand the question, and see that it looks like hypocrisy, but this is how I make sense of our lives. This is my 80/20 rule.

scale (1)It’s All About Balance

I do not strive for nutrition perfection. That wouldn’t be any fun. I mean, what is life without french fries? Instead I strive for 80% good and 20% of whatever comes our way. Life is to be enjoyed. The negative impact of the stress of trying to eat perfectly all of the time far outweighs that of eating something that really makes us happy.

So, how do I balance this? How do I keep track? My way is to treat my home as a sacred food zone. We eat 100% clean food. No dyes, no chemicals, no pesticides (hence the no conventional strawberries rule), no refined sugars or refined flours and no GMOs. The 20% of the time that we are out in the world then all bets are off. We eat what comes our way. That said, of course we eat the best option of what we are offered. Like if we are given a choice between a not-so-good food and a just-plain-awful one, we will choose the former, and if there is a healthy option we will always go for that. But, even then sometimes, we take a time-out.

When we go to birthday parties, we eat cake. We go to the movies and eat movie-theater popcorn. Today, after a haircut, we went into town and had a double scoop of ice cream before dinner. I believe that the key to teaching children to eat healthily is for them to recognize those not-so-good-for-you foods and accept them as being something that is consumed occasionally.

The 80-20 rules works well for us. The kids know it’s all right for them to break the rule on occasion because they understand what the rule is – and why.


Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

How to Maintain A Healthy Diet on Vacation


Vacation time is often an excuse to let healthy lifestyle habits relax a bit, if not go completely out the window. We let ourselves indulge, try new things, and get off a steady routine. And our healthy habits tend to suffer as a result. Many experts will tell you that the occasional indulgence can be quite good for your health – a sweet treat every now and then, a day sans exercise, etc. But getting too far off track from your routine can also create imbalance and lead to health and self-esteem issues.

What can we do, then, to maintain healthy habits – particularly healthy eating habits – while we are on vacation? Two quick essential tips: plan ahead and keep moving. If you have a backpack full of fruit, trail mix, and cut veggies, you won’t be so dependent on those taco trucks or crepe stands on every corner. And if you have a hankering for a croissant but arrange your day so that you’re walking two hours through the streets of Paris to get to that little patisserie, the indulgence will seem all the more rare and special.

Here’s a roundup that will be your go-to guide for healthy eating on the road:

Road Trip! Eat Healthy — anywhere (CNN)

10 Healthy Eating Travel Tips (Natural News)

5 Tips for Fun and Healthy Summer Travel with the Kids (Ace Fitness)

10 Healthy Habits For Travel (Tara Stiles – Huffington Post)

Eating Well and Staying Active While Traveling (Independent Traveler)


So remember: be prepared, keep moving, get creative, and don’t beat yourself up if and when you stray from the healthy routine. More important than maintaining a rigid diet plan is to act with intention and be confident in the decisions you make.

Are you traveling this summer? What tips do you have for maintaining healthy habits on the road?

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The Secret is All About YOU!

One thing no one (except my husband) knows about me is that I am in a self-induced midlife crisis. I fantasize about having a day once a week in my home entirely to myself. I would then have uninterrupted time to write, read, and watch The real Housewives of New York City without my husband moving through the house mentioning that he just finished The Sunday New York Times Crossword puzzle in about twelve minutes.

  Of course, my kids would have to find somewhere else to go after school and my husband would have to go see about eight movies in a row. Our two cats would have to go on a 24-hour mouse-hunting safari in our neighborhood. My beloved dog Lola would absolutely have to be out of the house as well because she follows me and watches everything I do. She analyzes me. Honestly, she does. I can see it in her gorgeous, milky, doughy, golden, round, sweet, manipulative, little eyes. “You aren’t the boss of me!” I tell her with an alpha dog glare. Then I melt and realize that sadly, she is. Still, I possibly couldn’t enjoy eating an entire pizza standing naked in the kitchen with her “I haven’t eaten in weeks” look, followed by her “it looks like you certainly have” look.

 In order to offset the hormone shifting that is occurring in the world and within my body, I want moments of indulgence with no one around to witness them. I want more time for my work in the world. I want to set up a smorgasbord all around my computer so I can write, eat, write, and eat without caring what size I will be at the end of my article or if I have food on my face. I want an indulgence day every once in awhile, so I can continue to enjoy taking care of my family. I think all the “doing” is messing with my “being.”

 A friend sent me an interview that is going around the internet with “The Purpose Driven Life” author and pastor, Rick Warren. Rick said:

 “Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into another one.”
He said the reason for that is that we are here to develop character, not comfort. He mentioned that he used to look at life as a series of hills and valleys but he no longer does. He now sees life as a train track, one rail good, and one rail not so good. The blessings and challenges are constant and side by side.

 Realizing that helps, but I also think that when we focus on others it makes us much more comfortable and full of gratitude.  A side affect is that we get out of our pain, or in my case, my midlife crisis. I think that in order to do that, we need to take a little better care of ourselves. In doing so, we can grant the simplest blessing of just being there for another human being.

Maybe this means I will schedule in a “mid life crisis” day, or half day, once in a while to be authentic, to self indulge and to refuel.

  I invite you to share two things about you:

1.    What is something no one knows about you?

2.    If someone could do something for you that would uplift you tremendously, what would it be?


Lauren Simon is a therapist, certified hypnotist, Reiki Master, and the author of the forthcoming book, “I’m Broken, You’re Broken, Now Get Over It!” Lauren counsels people internationally. For more information:>www.spiritoflivingwell.com. Lauren lives with her husband , Film Producer/Director Stephen Simon, near Portland Oregon with two of their six children, and three beloved pets.


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