A Day in the Life of Erin
I meet a lot of people through seminars, client interactions, and folks on the street, and I’m often asked what I eat and what supplements I take to stay healthy. People want to know how I manage to fit it all in; work, a healthy diet, a good night’s sleep, exercise, and being able to spend time with my family.
So, here I am, writing down a “day in the life of Erin”, my gluten-free, healthy foods, my exercise, and what I take daily. I hope this will help you with ideas and help to keep you motivated to get and/or stay healthy. I’ve struggled with digestive issues, IBS-Constipation, and high stress so my routine focuses on clean foods and an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.
Movement and Exercise
I’m a farmer – I wake up really early (but I also fall asleep by 9pm) and I like it since then I have time to myself. My wake-up time is actually unimportant here, though. I wake up and drink 20 ounces of warm water with a little lemon juice (about 2 TBSP). This helps me rehydrate since my last drink was likely more than an hour before bedtime. I like to meet my hydration needs before dinner so that I’m not waking up during the night with a full bladder. I might drink liquids after dinner but it’s not usually very much volume-wise.
I like to stretch and go for a walk early in the morning with my dog. For stretching I will do a few sun salutations and side bends, nothing fancy, just a little movement to loosen up my shoulders and back. Being a morning person means I feel my best in the morning, so that is when I work out, and I work out on an empty stomach.
Going out for an early walk provides me with a lot of quiet time (I’m often the only one out at that time) and allows me to see the sunrise. I use the time to think or listen to podcasts. If I don’t go out first thing then it’s harder to find the time. I keep a set of workout clothes downstairs so I’m not waking up my family trying to find something to wear. I just get up and go as a matter of habit.
Typically, during the week, I walk 3 miles every other day and add in some quick squats, crunches, dips, and push-ups (5-10 minutes high-intensity intervals) and I alternate that with a 5 mile walk every other day. On the weekends, we hike as a family; somewhere between 3-8 miles each day is our goal, though it varies with weather. One day a week I don’t walk and instead do a 90-minute yoga session to keep me limber and give my feet a break.
My computer desk is a standing desk and below it is a walking treadmill (the TR800-DT3 Under Desk Treadmill from LifeSpan). When on a computer during my workday I walk at 1.0 miles per hour. This speed keeps me from being sedentary but isn’t fast enough to prevent me from typing or loud enough to be heard by others when on a call. I walk at 2.5 miles per hour or faster when listening to a lecture. Cumulatively, I walk anywhere from 35-45 miles per week.
Breaking My Fast
I eat when hungry, but that’s not every day. There are, on average, three days a week I skip breakfast because I’m either not hungry, or we are going on a long hike first thing. I feel my best exercising, walking, and hiking on an empty stomach.
I fast from 6pm to 8am nearly every day, and when I’m not eating breakfast, I am typically hungry by 11am. This means I’m on a time-restricted eating plan from 14 or 17 hours a day.
During the morning I drink either a large cup (20 oz) of decaf coffee or herbal tea. My body doesn’t process caffeine well (it makes me jittery and I start to sweat within a few minutes!), I will add a little stevia or monkfruit sweetener and a teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon to my coffee with a scoop of collagen and a splash of whole whipping cream (pasture-raised, grass-fed and finished). Herbal tea might be flavored with a tiny bit of stevia or monkfruit as well, depending on the flavor.
Typical breakfasts for me include eggs as I have backyard chickens. I love eggs and sausage and guacamole, homemade kefir with nuts, seeds, and blueberries, mini crust-less quiches (which I keep in the freezer) or a whey or collagen smoothie.
Galaxy Smoothie (Blueberry Celery Smoothie)
- 1 cup celery juice We buy Suja Celery juice from Costco
- 4 cups power greens (spinach, kale…) Power Greens bag of organic greens also from Costco
- 1 cup frozen blueberries 1-2 cups depending on how much fruit to celery you like taste wise
- 1 scoop organic collagen or vanilla whey protein powder Pasture raised, grass-fed and grass-finished products
- 2 TBSP Acacia fiber OPTIONAL
- Poor the celery juice and power greens into a blender and blend till liquified
- Add frozen blueberries and collagen or protein powder
- you can also add a little fiber or resistant starch like acacia fiber
Lunch is often leftovers, but I also love big salads. My salads consist of any veggie I have on hand (lettuce, carrots, celery, cucumbers, mini peppers) and often sundried tomatoes in olive oil, raw walnuts, and HB eggs or beans for protein. I don’t like the taste of most dressings and have gotten used to olive oil and sea salt as a topper.
Avocado toast is an easy lunch if I don’t have leftovers or want a salad. I make my own bread and will top a slice of that with Kerry Gold butter, avocado, grated carrots, sprouts, and radishes if I have them.
When busy, I might grab a quick bite of salted, sliced avocado on toasted seaweed, cheese, tuna or nut butter on celery, or hummus with jicama, cucumbers, or peppers.
I don’t often snack, but if I do, I’ll grab a piece of my seed cycling energy bites which I keep on hand in the freezer. A handful of cashews, Barukas nuts, or olives also does the trick.
My kids love it when I make them my “everyday cookies” – so rich in protein and low in sugar they are fine to eat every day 😊
- 2 cups raw organic cashews (can substitute any nut butter)
- 2 medium bananas mashed
- 2 medium eggs
- 2 cups mini chocolate chips We use Enjoy Life brand
- sea salt to taste (optional)
Optional Additions/Substitutions (choose 1 instead of choc chips or 1 to add to base (more than 1 is too dry)
- 1 cup almond slivers
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup chia seeds or hemp heart
- 1/2 cup coconut shredded
- Grind cashews in a dry blender or food processor into a paste (can sub with nut butter and skip this step)
- blend in mashed bananas and continue to mix in food processor or by hand
- add eggs, and salt (if desired), to mixture
- fold in mini chocolate chips by hand
- Bake on parchment paper for 12-15 minutes at 350 till done
Between mid-morning and dinner, I drink another 64 ounces of water. I have a 64 oz stainless steel water bottle so it’s easy to meet my hydration needs without playing ‘count the cups’ all day. By meeting my hydration needs prior to dinner I’m able to sleep through the night.
We normally eat by 5:30. To make this as easy as possible on us we have a meal plan for the week already outlined. I look at the meal plan at breakfast so that I know if I need to set something out to defrost or get something ready early in the Instapot or slow cooker. On weeknights we use tried and true simple dishes; baked chicken and baked broccoli, salmon, mushrooms and asparagus, or bison steak, onions and Brussels sprouts. I often make soups as well. A tortilla soup with two cans of beans, a little leftover chicken, stock I always have on hand in the freezer, and some leftover veggies is very easy and tasty with a topping of Dubliner cheddar cheese and some tortilla chips.
Whenever I’m making chicken, I buy whole chicken. We bake it and eat off it one night, use the smaller pieces for a second meal like a soup or on a salad, then boil the bones (2 days in a crock pot with 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar) for stock.
We buy a half a pastured bison every other year. I get the meat and all organs and bones they will give me. We also have a freezer full of salmon thanks to a commercial fisherman friend who ships it to us directly for a very good price.
We might eat a gluten free pasta occasionally, but typically like to abstain from packaged foods. Tomato sauce or marinara we made last summer and froze tastes great on spaghetti squash and/or caramelized onions.
A favorite starch-based dish is a medley of root veggies with Brussel’s sprouts layered like a lasagna with olive oil, salt, pepper, and walnuts added as a layer too. My favorite veggies to layer are yams, parsnips, and golden beets with Brussel’s sprouts.
My kids aren’t really fans of steamed veggies, but will eat a ton (more than ½ of their plate full) if we roast the vegetables instead. Roasted carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, Yukon gold potatoes and asparagus are common for dinner.
I live in Boulder, Colorado and our local Costco has a lot of fresh organic produce; that helps keep costs lower. For things that can’t be found at Costco I shop at Vitamin Cottage/Natural Grocers or Sprouts (smaller selection of organic groceries, but physically closer to our house).
Love the process and remember your why
My healthy lifestyle didn’t happen overnight, it’s been a journey of changes and optimizations over the last twenty years. I was once a workaholic – staying up all hours, completely stressed, and living on coffee and Snickers bars. I was then diagnosed with IBS, cleaned up my diet, leading to an eventual shift towards wellness (I quit my job in software, and went back to school for a master’s degree in nutrition). I saw dramatic changes in myself once I focused on my body and my health – nutrition, exercise, work life balance, sleep, and stress management.
Small incremental changes along with remembering your why* will help you be successful finding your own rituals to support your health successes and journey.
*Remember your why = remember why you do what you do, i.e. why are you focusing on improving your health. We get burned out when we forget why we do things.
Garden of Eden canned beans are pressure cooked prior to canning – great way to destroy the lectins (which is hard for some to digest) and get the great fiber and protein from beans that are beneficial for your gut microbiome. Much faster than cooking beans from scratch when in a time crunch.
Supplements I take
- Vitamin D Supreme – Designs for Health
- Complete Mineral Complex – Designs for Health
- Fermented Chlorella – Dr. Mercola
- Liver Cleanse – Gaia Herbs
- Glutathione Cell Defense – Integrative Therapeutics
- ProOmega Lemon – Nordic Natural
- Digestive Enzymes Ultra w/ HCl – Pure Encapsulations
- Dr Ohhira’s Probiotic Plus/Prof
- Magnesium bath every few days for Mg absorption
Erin Williams, MSN CN LMP, is the founder of EZBalance.com, a health and wellness company established in 2001. Erin has a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Purdue, a master’s degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University, and is currently studying to become a Functional Medicine Practitioner. Erin enjoys sharing her love of natural health and wellness with people through lectures, blogs, and consultations