Today we’re welcoming Robyn from the popular website, Real Food Whole Life. This woman is wise, her recipes are incredible and there’s so much we can learn from her. Grab your coffee, sit down and enjoy!
Thank you so much for joining us on NW Healthy Mama. What fun it is to have you here! Please tell us a little about yourself and Real Food Whole Life.
What inspired you to start your website and what has been your favorite part about running the blog?
A few months after giving birth to my daughter I found myself overwhelmed, exhausted, and overweight. I knew I needed to make some big changes, but I wasn’t sure where to start. I was working full-time, in a full-time doctoral program, and trying to balance caring for a newborn. It was crazy.
I started my health shift by prioritizing daily workouts, regardless of my never-ending to-do list. Next, I focused on eating real, unprocessed foods. At that point I had a hard time finding easy, healthy, family-friendly recipes that I could make on busy weeknights. Since I couldn’t find what I was looking for I started creating my own.
I also started developing systems—like meal plans and meal prep—to make healthy eating in real life attainable. When I looked around for resources online to help with the process I had a hard time finding what I was looking for, so I decided to start my own website to share recipes, tips, and what I’ve learned.
Running Real Food Whole Life brings me so much joy, first because it allows me to connect with a strong and vibrant community of women interested in eating and living well. Second, it allows me to create something on a daily basis, which is quite gratifying.
How do you manage blogging, mothering and the demands of life? What does your typical day look like?
This is a tricky question, as everyday looks different. It’s a constant game of shifting and prioritizing to try to get everything in. I still work full-time running my parents’ consulting company, so weekdays generally find us rising early, eating breakfast, and then heading off to school. My husband and I switch off dropping my daughter off, and I try to squeeze in a workout before diving into work for the day.
Work usually involves lots of emails, meetings and calls. I try to get up and move as much as I can, even if that means pacing while on calls or doing a quick 10-minute online workout. At the end of the workday I pick up my daughter, we head home and throw together a quick dinner. I honestly use the recipes on Real Food Whole Life for daily inspiration. It takes the guesswork out of what to make!
Then it’s bath, books and bedtime for my daughter. I usually hop back on my computer once she’s in bed and finish up any work that didn’t get done during the day, and then I work on blog stuff. Writing posts, answering emails, editing photos and scheduling social media.
I try to leave weekends for family time, so we usually aim to get outside for a hike or walk. I used to do my food photography on weekend afternoons while my daughter was napping, but she’s recently outgrown naps. These days I’m trying to figure out how she can help with the process. It’s always a bit of a juggling act.
Tell us a bit about your health journey. Have you always been drawn towards healthy foods?
I definitely indulged in my fair share of junk food and soda in high school and college. I was fit and healthy growing up, and my involvement in sports meant I didn’t really think much about what I ate. Bad habits caught up with me in my early twenties, however, and I struggled with my weight and eating on and off for years. It took me until my thirties and having my daughter to really understand the importance of eating well and taking care of myself.
Many women are just beginning the journey towards a healthier lifestyle. What words of advice and encouragement would you give them?
Just start. I know it can be difficult, but starting if often one of the hardest parts. You don’t need to change everything all at once. Swap your morning cereal (or your habit of skipping breakfast altogether) for a green smoothie. Add a salad with your lunch. Cook one healthy dinner at home this week. Add a 10-minute workout to your day. Start small and see how you feel. Then build upon that momentum to keep going.
Second, it’s so important to remember that this process isn’t about perfection. Approaching healthy eating and living with self-empathy and forgiveness when things don’t go as planned is essential. Do the best you can each day, and give yourself grace when there are bumps in the road.
Some women are struggling with picky eaters around their table. As a mom, how do you handle this?
Picky eating can be such a challenging and even emotional thing for parents, and since each circumstance is different it’s hard for me to give individual advice here. I will say that getting your child involved in as much of the process as possible is always a good idea.
Bring him along to the grocery store and allow him to pick out a new ingredient to try. Have her select a vegetable from the produce aisle that’s her favorite color. Invite him to chop, or wash, or mix in the kitchen. Serve whatever you’re eating in a “deconstructed” form, with each ingredient served separately on his plate. Or offer the meal family-style, allowing her to serve herself.
From a practical standpoint, it’s also a good idea to limit snacking before meals so that your child is actually hungry come mealtime. If my daughter starts telling me she’s hungry prior to dinner, I put out a plate of raw, cut up veggies.
Overall, I’ve summarized my approach in my Feeding Healthy Kids Philosophy approach. Above all, my aim is to raise my daughter to have a healthy relationship with food. Sometimes she eats the healthy options I provide for her, and sometimes she doesn’t. I try to set an example for her in how and how I eat, and sometimes that’s the best I can do.
Lastly, what’s your favorite thing about living a healthy lifestyle and what do you love most about mothering?
My favorite thing about this lifestyle is the community. I love connecting with other mamas who are on this journey. Learning from, sharing with and supporting others is such a joy. My favorite part of mothering is watching my daughter grow into her own individual, unique person. She makes my life so much more complicated and messy, but in the best possible way. Just loving another human so unconditionally—that’s probably my favorite part of mothering.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
If you have any questions for Robyn, feel free to ask them below!