New Partnership Bringing More Healthy Options

The End of an Era
Gordon FamilyHappy Easter Weekend!
Easter symbolizes both an end and a beginning, and I find myself feeling exactly that.  Five years ago, Brian and I started our journey of Conveniently Natural with a fire in our hearts, hunger for making a difference, a large dose of optimism, just the right amount of ignorance, and (only) two kids in tow.  We had not a place to live, customers to serve, or any knowledge of running a business or preparing food.  Over the past 5 years, we’ve chopped and diced, packed and delivered, calculated and crunched, stretched and grown, laughed and cried, experienced some of the most profound moments, met incredible people, found great success, made some marvelous mistakes, and had the absolute pleasure of serving a wonderful community of customers!  You have invited us into your homes and onto your dinner tables for 5 years.  To each of you, we’re grateful for the opportunity to have played a small role in your culinary enjoyment, health and/or healing.
Five years ago, Conveniently Natural aligned us with who we were as a family and as professionals.  Success was primarily measured in numbers.  Over time, we have realized it spans across a much larger area – much of which is extremely grey (often messy) and subjective.  In order to better align us with what success looks like these days, we have decided to focus efforts solely on our school lunch catering.
A Partnership Is Born
In order to continue meal delivery business as usual, we sought out a company who holds our same philosophy and integrity – both personally and to the food itself.  We wanted to ensure that those of you who rely on meals week in and week out wouldn’t experience a disruption in service.  Moving forward, Conveniently Natural will be operated by our friends at local meal delivery provider, PaleoFit.
chopchop-truckBrian and I met co-owner, Graham Ripple, when we first started CN.  At the time, he co-owned Life Equals, a vitamin company offering high quality vitamins while giving proceeds to malnourished children.  Three years ago, we encouraged Graham as he and his business partner, Dave Lueck opened PaleoFit.  As a former Whole Foods chef, Dave’s experience from gourmet restaurants to personal chef clients has delighted the tastebuds of PaleoFit customers…So much so that PaleoFit has expanded beyond an exclusively paleo menu.  They took their good eats mobile last year with a food truck, Chop Chop.  As Kansas City’s first mobile grab-and-go meals concept, these guys get it.  They get that you’re busy, but don’t want a drive-through. Convenience doesn’t have to mean compromised quality.  Grass-fed beef, organic chicken, high quality, whole grains…they deliver on these same quality standards as we have for the last 5 years.
We’re excited to offer you our collaboration of offerings ~ old favorite meals as well as some tasty, new dishes to try!
The Fine Print
*Order Conveniently Natural meals as usual on our website
*New Order Deadline:  Wednesday at midnight!
*Delivery schedule:  Sundays as usual
*Vegetarian meals still offered.
*Meal Plans and Ala Carte available
*Subscriptions, Bulk Week Packages honored
While it doesn’t seem quite adequate enough, we can only say THANK YOU.  Thank you for walking with us these last 5 years and allowing us to serve you.  From our family to yours, we wish you the best in your health journey.
“People treat having a kid as somehow retiring from success.  Quitting.  Have you seen a baby?  They’re pretty cute.  Loving them is pretty easy.  Smiling babies should actually be categorized by the pharmaceutical industry as a powerful antidepressant.  Being happy is really the definition of success, right?”
                                                                    ~Jim Gaffigan on the Secret to Life
With gratitude,
Kim & Brian, Isabelle, Adrienne & Avery Gordon

Spring Cleansing Sale

spring sale slider

Spring Break. March Madness. St. Patrick’s Day.
The Fat Pants Tri-Fecta 
School’s out for the week.  The Jayhawks won the Big 12 tournament.  (My Dayton Flyers slid into the tournament at the #7 seed.)  And Kansas City loves a parade.  Translation:  Doughnuts for breakfast, queso in the afternoon, and green beer at night.  We have a lot to celebrate.  (Or if you’re an MU fan, you have a lot to mourn.)
We’ve made it to March which means that you’re either killing it with those resolutions and enjoying the benefits of your new healthy habits OR you’ve given up on them and are already looking to 2017.  According to Gretchen Rubin (habits guru, author of Better Than Before), when we try to form and keep habits, we often look for loopholes – justifications that excuse us from keeping our new habit.  This week might promote the “This Doesn’t Count Loophole” (I’m on vacation!  But my team is in the Final 4 this year!  I’m Irish!)  Sound familiar?  I’ve used all of these myself (100% Korean, but lifetime Notre Dame fan).
Well, good or bad, it all counts.  “Later” will come sooner than you think.  With a graduate degree in Sport Psychology, I’ve worked with successful athletes and peak performers off the field. Those who experience the best results are the ones who quickly get back on track after a missed shot, failed business deal, or hard rejection.  Don’t let one meal become the whole day. Or one week of become the whole month.  You’ve got this.  We’re here to support you.

Why Shopping Local and Organic is Expensive


Last month, I introduced my 7 year-old daughter to World Market stores where she spent an hour in wonder looking at treasures from ‘all over the world.’  While her younger sister wanted to spend her money in the exotic food aisles, she ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the trinkets made in China and Thailand. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that most of the trinkets sold in stores here are made in China and Thailand.   Nonetheless, we made off with our $14 of loot from money she had earned.

Last week, we went into a small local business and she wandered over to the bag and toy section.  She gasped at the $125 price tag for a school bag. “What?!?! Why is this so expensive? It’s not even from another country!”  All I could think is, “Somewhere a 7 year-old in China is asking herself the same thing…”
When it comes to food, shopping locally grown can seem expensive.  We’re used to the lower prices at the megasupermarket down the street.  Believe me, with 5 mouths to feed, I get the appeal.  It beats paying $8 a lb for strawberries that will be demolished in under 10 minutes, right?  This begs the question…
Why is the cost of local and organic foods often higher than prices at the big supermarket?
Consider that it is based on the true price of producing food, unaided by government subsidies of commodity crops, cheap oil, and underpaid workers. We pay more for our food than we realize because at tax time we pay for those subsidies. Small family and organic farms and businesses rarely get the subsidies, and they often pay their workers a living wage.
If a farm is operated organically, then the solutions to problems like pests, diseases and weeds are more costly than the pesticides and herbicides used in conventional farming. Industrial agriculture has not only had a bad effect on the environment, it has skewed our perception of what food should cost.  We’ve grown accustomed to fast food “dollar menus” but what are you really getting here?
Support the business down the street and keep money in our local economy. Stop by a farmer’s market, find a food co-op, and order from your favorite organic meal delivery service today! 

Do You Play Like a Girl?

mia hammGrowing up with three older brothers, I had to figure out how to hold my own be it on the family basketball court or at the dinner table.  Boys can make a game out of just about anything…like flicking Planters cheeseballs down the dinner table into my open mouth waiting at the end of the table.  I heard things like, “Open wider, Kim,” and “Move to the left!” It’s all fun and games until your younger sister vomits cheeseballs…when the parish priest is over.  So, forgive me that I relish in quotes like this one from Mia Hamm.   As I got older, I ditched the cheeseballs and found my own trash-talking voice.

This week was a great one for women in sports.  The US Women’s National Team won the World Cup, led by Carli Lloyd with an impressive hat trick in their win over Japan.  And then Serena Williams won her 6th Wimbledon and 4th consecutive major title making her the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam tournament in professional tennis.

“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” 

~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

 As a former athlete with a Masters degree in Sport Psychology, I’ve studied  the concept of Flow. Athletes talk about being “on a roll” or “in the zone.”  Sports Psychologists refer to Flow as a state of optimal experience in which athletes are completely absorbed in an activity with intense focus and creative engagement where they feel strong, alert, in effortless control, unselfconscious, and at the peak of their abilities.  It’s not about thinking, “How can I execute this pass?”  It’s not really about thinking at all.
I experienced this state of Flow a handful of times and studied it in collegiate athletes.  I found the work of psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, to be fascinating – how to experience peak performance and optimal experience, not only in sports but in life.  Fast forward 12 years beyond that M.S. in Sport Psychology and I find myself in the throes of quite another experience… juggling a newborn baby, a toddler-age business, and two school-age children.  It can only be described as a state of being in which I feel…tired, dazed, putting forth complete effort, and feeling out of control – basically the opposite of Flow.  I am in the Un-Flow.

But as Csikszentmihalyi promises, the best moments occur when we’re stretched to our limits. We see images of victory in our newsfeed and forget about the countless failures that occurred along the way.   We watch 90 minutes of one soccer game and don’t consider the numerous hours of training that preceded it.  We see trophies and medals and ignore the bruises and scars. If you’re anything like me, you may be waiting for your day to “arrive” – when you get that promotion, lose that baby weight and get in shape, find your perfect mate – and then, it’ll all be perfect, right?  It’s not by mistake that Csikszentmihalyi talks about the best moments NOT as you cashing your big paycheck, showing off a skinny waistline, or standing at the altar.  It’s the moments.  Getting there.

You. Have. Arrived.  Now, put down the cheeseballs and order some world-class dinners.

Kissing Cousins & Other Family Secrets

Gordon Family
If Katy Perry were a country singer, she’d be singing, “I Kissed a Cousin and I Liked It.”  Not only did I kiss him, I married him.  That’s right, Mr. Conveniently Natural and I are kissing cousins… and apparently kissing led to three children.  We met when my oldest brother married Brian’s first cousin.  It wasn’t love at first sight, but a deployment to Bosnia for 6 months can make me look real pretty.  Back in 2001 (pre-Facebook, Instagram, and texting), an introduction email led to 4 months of daily emails, a seven-hour first phone call, and 2 year long-distance relationship.  Cousins schmousins…it was meant to be from that first AOL dial-up voice, “You’ve Got Mail.”  It’s only weird at family holidays when younger generations start to ask questions about who’s related to whom…and probably for my sister-in-law whose cousin became her brother-in-law.  Or my nephew whose second cousin became his uncle.  But enough about our inbred family…
One of my favorite Sharks, Barbara Corcoran, says that, “Failure and innovation are kissing cousins.”  Ain’t that the truth!  Back in the day, I certainly learned that in the kitchen with my “Stevia Brownie Hockey Pucks” and “Straight-to-the-Trash Tofu Pot Pie.”  This also resonates to me outside of the kitchen.  Many failures ago, we dove head first off the corporate diving board into small business ownership without checking to see how deep the water was in the pool.  Sure, we had our business plan and and endless spreadsheets, but you know what they say about the best laid plans.  Be it your cooking, your career, or your relationships, my secret weapon has always been to just go for it!  The conditions will never be perfect to start that new exercise plan, go back to school, ask him out, or have that third child. There’s no time like right now.  Going for it sure beats a lifetime of monotony and mediocrity, in my book.  I think Nike’s slogan should have been, “Just Get Over It” because “Just Do It” sounds too easy.  I have found that award-winning chefs, self-made millionaires, and those healthiest and happiest in their families and relationships didn’t wait for the “right time.”  They just did it anyway.
Twelve years ago when we got married, I had no idea that Brian would develop a chronic illness which would lead us to a diet that would have a caveman scratching his head and eventually impacting the health of our community with a business we decided to start.  You just never know where a kiss might lead you.
Last month, we celebrated our four year anniversary of Conveniently Natural.  It’s a privilege for us to serve you each week.  We tip our hats to all of you who Go For It and make the choice to give your body clean, healthy fuel to pursue your goals and dreams.  Cheers to failure and innovation!

A One-Legged Man, a Nun, and a 600 lb Runner Walk Into a Bar

I’m an inspiration junkie.  I collect stories like most women collect shoes.  Some are printed out and hang on the wall above my computer, others are filed away in a box, and most reside somewhere in that invisible file cabinet in my brain.  Brian has a framed rendering of Robert E Lee, captioned, “The Loneliness of Command.”  Sometimes, being a business owner or parent can feel lonely.  It’s these stories that keep me company.

Take Sister Madonna Buder, the world record holding “Iron Nun,” who has completed over 350 triathlons, including 45 Iron Man distances…at age 84.  Just to be clear, that’s a 2.4 mile swim, followed by 112 mile bike race, and finally a 26.2 mile run.  A marathon is its own accomplishment, but GOOD LORD (really), this is impressive.
noah gallowayI feel like some nights I log 26 miles in my living room walking my baby around to get her settled, but then again I haven’t already completed a swim and bike race…in a spandex one-piece.
And then, there’s Noah Galloway, the Army Sergeant who lost an arm and a leg in combat on his second tour of duty in 2005.  I saw him on this past season of Dancing with the Stars and cried every time he danced, seemingly unlimited in his capabilities.  He’s a personal trainer who competes in Tough Mudder and Spartan events, with a mantra of “No Excuses.”  When I’m feeling a dead end in my business, I think about how an able-bodied person would scale a wall in one of these events, let alone someone without a left arm or leg.
derek mitchell
One of my new favorites is Kansas City’s own, Derek Mitchell.  Weighing over 600 lbs and diagnosed with a non-cancerous tumor on his pituitary gland some 5 years ago, Mitchell decided to make a positive change to his health with a personal goal this year to complete a 5k race each month.  Keeping to his word, he is inspiring others all over the country who have been flying him around to various cities to complete his 5k-a-month commitment.  Mitchell has signed up to run the Honolulu Marathon this December and break the Guinness Book of World Records as the heaviest man to complete a marathon.  Click here to help fund his efforts!
I’ve never met these 3, and I’m pretty sure they haven’t met each other.  If they ever walked into a bar together, I’d be following.  We’d all like to be in better shape, get off the “hamster wheel,” and regain control.  But we also want to live our lives, and it’s easy to get caught up.  We swear that tomorrow, we’ll be “good” and that the next diet will be “the one.”  I get it.  I’ve been there too.  Reading these stories can have the effect of making you feel bad about your situation, like, “Man, look what they’re doing!  I’m young, able-bodied, and am holding onto that baby weight…from 5 years ago, and I still can’t get my act together!”  We all love an underdog and the triumph of victory is what we see on TV or in the papers.  Meanwhile, all of them started out just like you.  One step.  One choice.  One click.  Insert end of your story here…

Have You Ever Said the Wrong Name in Bed?

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly 6 weeks since I gave birth to our daughter, Avery.  It’s been a whirlwind/circus since then re-learning newborn tendencies.  What I failed to realize at the time is that on April 29, we also gave birth to a middle child.  Our 5-year old, Adrienne, who has enjoyed being the baby, had her world turned upside down some 6 weeks ago.  She has engaged in the typical attention-seeking behaviors, like sucking on a pacifier, storming out of the house in search of a new family, and penning original songs such as “Babies Can Fall Out of Trees” and “I Don’t Want You Sleeping in My (Old) Crib.”  (These are all typical, right?)   

This past week, she expressed to us her desires to be an only child – that sometimes Isabelle (our oldest) gets her way, sometimes we get our way, but mostly, the baby gets her way.  In an effort to give her special time, Brian and I lay in bed with her snuggling one night.  And then, he did it…  “We love you very much, Isabelle.”  REALLY, DAD?!?!  Timing is everything.  This couldn’t have been a worse time to say the wrong name in bed.  (I’ll start saving now for her therapy bill.)

In honor of all middle children, we offer you a recipe for a Grilled Margherita Sandwich.  To you, who are sandwiched between the overachieving older sibling and younger spoiled one, we raise our forks to you.  Cheers to my middle siblings – Brian and Tim – for any and all resentments and added therapy caused when I joined the family.  To the oldest and youngest, mark your calendars…August 12 is National Middle Sibling Day.  (It’ll probably be forgotten like those middle child baby books, but I thought it was worth mentioning…)

Grilled Margherita Sandwich

Makes: 2 sandwiches

  • 4 (1/2-inch) slices crusty Italian bread
  • 1 large garlic clove, quartered
  • 4 to 6 thin slices whole-milk mozzarella cheese (about 3 oz.)
  • 1 large plum tomato, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic-pepper seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Rub both sides of each bread slice with garlic. Place 2 slices on work surface; top each with one-fourth of the cheese and half of the tomato and basil. Sprinkle each with 1/8 teaspoon of the seasoning; top with remaining cheese and bread slices.

Brush tops of sandwiches with some of the oil; sprinkle with some of the seasoning. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot. Place sandwiches, brushed-sides down, in skillet; cover and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown and cheese on bottom of sandwich begins to melt.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Brush tops of sandwiches with remaining oil; sprinkle with remaining seasoning. Turn; cover and cook 2 to 4 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is melted.