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Welcome!

 

Welcome to marianamcdougall.com, where parents of young children can find out how to break free of ordinary lives to live extraordinary ones.  The place to turn your dreams into goals, and achieve them – because a dream is only “just a dream” until you make it into a goal.  After that, it’s only a matter of time and planning before it becomes a reality.

Join me and my young family as we reach the best health of our lives, embrace our dreams, break free from a life of conformity, and hopefully inspire you to do the same.

Sign up for the mailing list to get some awesome freebies, tips for a healthy lifestyle, and to stay up-to-date on our adventures. We’ll also let you know when there are new posts on the blog, and as an e-mail subscriber, you’ll get lots of freebies not available to other visitors.

Questions? Don’t be a stranger; give me a shout at mcdougallmariana@gmail.com.

Raw Kale salad for a vegetarian meal plan

Raw Kale Salad

Kale is the poster vegetable for healthy eating these days, and no wonder – a mere 100 grams provides nearly 200% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin A, 100% of your daily intake of Vitamin C, 15% calcium, 8% iron, 15% Vitamin B-6, and 11% magnesium. Oh, it happens to be delicious, too, if you prepare it right. What’s not to like?

Here’s a great kale salad recipe that has become a staple in our household. Pretty much any time we want salad, this comes out. My kids even eat it!

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Peanut Butter Pancakes

High Protein, High Iron Peanut Butter Pancakes

Everybody asks you where you get your protein if you’re a vegetarian. It’s a really silly question, since protein is in everything, and if you eat a varied enough diet, even without meat, you’ll be just fine. It’s also a silly question because what most vegetarians might be lacking, if they’re lacking anything, is iron – not protein.

I was a vegetarian for 4 years, without any issue. But during my last two pregnancies, I was anemic. Since my last pregnancy, it’s been very difficult to raise my iron. To try to avoid supplements, I’m trying to raise the iron in my blood by tweaking my diet. For now, I still have to take iron tablets, but the hope is that if I’m good with planning what I eat, I’ll be able to go off them eventually.

This breakfast is one of the ways you can wake up to an iron boost (and it’s a high protein breakfast, too!)

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Slow Cooker Vegan Pasta Primavera

Slow Cooker Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera (Vegan)

Adapted from The Simple Little Vegan Slow Cooker by Michelle A. Rivera

This delicious dish is full of vegetables and whole wheat deliciousness. If you add cauliflower to the mix, you get an extra boost of iron (the vitamin C in the cauliflower allows your body to absorb the non-heme iron in the whole wheat pasta.

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Slow Cooker Vegan Spanish Rice

Slow Cooker Spanish Rice (Vegan)

Slow Cooker Spanish Rice

adapted from The Simple Little Vegan Slow Cooker by Michelle A. Rivera

This deliciously colourful dish pairs well with black beans to shut up anybody who asks, “where do vegans get their protein?”)

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Meal Plan #1

Meal Plan #1

Meal Planning is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy and eat nutritiously. It does take a bit of time, but you do it once, and then it will save you hours each week.

Lucky you, though, you don’t even have to come up with your own meal plans. Follow these ones instead (adapting as needed, or course)!

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Meal Plans, meal planning, recipes

Meal Planning Helps You Save Money, Time, and Sanity – and It’s Healthy, Too!

 

Meal Planning is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy diet (and save your sanity). It also happens to save money and waste, too. What’s not to like?

In the interest of reaching the best health of my life, I’m done with eating cereal for dinner (OK, maybe I’ll still do that sometimes) and arriving at dinner time frazzled because I don’t know what I’m going to make today.

So, for the next few weeks, I’ll be creating meal plans, and I hope you join me in trying to do some meal planning of your own.

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cycletour

5 Lessons Learned from 500 Kilometers on bicycles (with 3 children 6 and under)

At the end of May 2016, my husband and I decided (somewhat spontaneously) to go on a 560-kilometer cycling trip with our three children (ages 6, 4, and 2).

My husband and I are adventurous people, but there’s no denying that adding children to the mix puts a bit of a damper on how adventurous people become. Recently, my husband and I started thinking, however, that this damper is imposed by society, rather than by any real circumstances.

After all, people all over the world live without the luxuries and routines to which we have become accustomed, and their children seem to fare just fine (as do the parents).

So, despite negativity from some, we packed up our things and set off on the road. It was a wonderful adventure, and we learned a great deal.

Here are five life lessons learned from 557 Kilometers on bicycles (with three children six and under).

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Cycle Touring with kids in beautiful Prince Edward County

Cycling beautiful Prince Edward County

One of the most rewarding things about setting out on a cycling adventure with my family was seeing the beauty of the natural Ontario world, which escapes us when we drive down the 401. We live next door to gorgeous Prince Edward County, but rarely take the time to visit it or to truly take in the beauty of Lake Ontario.

Me, my husband, and three children (ages 6, 4, and 2), left Kingston, Ontario, on May 28th, and started riding our bicycles. On May 28th, we cycled from Kingston to Bath, On, and enjoyed the little town of Bath on May 29th, before continuing to Picton, where we spent the night.

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Bike Touring With Kids

Small town markets and pirate playgrounds – Bath, ON

 

As most of you know by now, me, my husband, and our three children (ages 6 and under) set off on a cycling adventure on May 28th, 2016. We decided to see how far we would get, with a possible lofty goal of getting to London eventually. The reason doing a trip like this never stressed me out of overwhelmed me is that I looked at it as a 30 kilometer outing. Then the next day, I looked at it as another 30 kilometer outing, and so forth.

It’s now been 17 days since we set off, and we’ve cycled about 375 kilometers. We have seen some wonderful sights, learned some great lessons, and met some amazing people. I’ll be writing a post later on about all the lessons learned, but for today, I thought it was about time I wrote a little bit about the places we have visited thus far.

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minimalist packing for a cycle tour with kids

Minimalist Packing for a Cycle Tour With Kids

On May 28th, me, my husband, and my three children (ages 6, 4, and almost 2) set out on the road for a 700-kilometre cycling adventure. We had never done any cycle touring in our lives, did not plan this trip out very well (on purpose), and are having an absolute blast nevertheless.

On June 9th, we rode through Toronto and decided to stay at a hotel, since a house that can accommodate 5 cycling tourists downtown Toronto is sort of non-existent. We stayed at a fairly nice little hotel apartment with a fully equipped kitchen, so we did enjoy some freshly cooked dinner (we’re basically surviving on tortillas, canned food and protein bars (plus more junk food than I think I’ve eaten in my whole life put together at this point, but hey, it’s all good. You gotta live a little).

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