A New Year. A New Perspective.

Can I get real with y’all? I basically have no idea what I’m doing. I mean I’ve spent the past 5 years trying to figure out how I can fuse my love for healthy living, my joy in helping others, and my confidence in Dr. Brown and his God-given gifts with my desire to have a career I’m passionate about and a work-from-home income stream that allows me to prioritize my children. And to be completely honest, it’s not really working. We have been faced with every imaginable and unimaginable obstacle a new business can face… from changes in federal regulations that affect us, to personal events like moving or adding new babies to our families, to just the lack of drive after series of disappointments and failures that completely paralyzed us.

Don’t get me wrong… we’ve had a few mountain top experiences: Getting our products into 2 stores, affecting many families (including our own) with products that truly helped them get well, relaunching our website with hundreds of recipes that are the result of hours of cooking, taste-testing, and picture-taking in the kitchen… a feat that once seemed unattainable. And while we do have some people (mostly in our inner circle) using our products, services, and recipes, sales and customers are slow coming while followers, comments, likes, and all the social media indicators that show our work is reaching people have been virtually non-existant. Partially because I never feel like I have it all perfect enough to try and really get the word out. But mostly due to the fact that I am clearly not the marketer and entrepreneur I hoped I’d be.

With all these doubts, I can think of a million reasons why I should wait to write this post.

“Our new product line is still in the R&D phase. My website is under construction. My IT guys are working on integrating upgraded features to my current meal planning offering. Everyone is doing a Whole30 or some other more popular paleo-based program… Who needs mine?”  And the list goes on …

But in this new year, I have been reminded (by my awesome pastor at Church Eleven32) to revisit my purpose by regularly climbing up the mountain to meet with God and then challenged to live out my purpose by ministering to people in the ways that God has equipped me up on the mountain. I have been basically “living in the valley” with far too few trips back up to the mountain, and though I have been trying to slay the giants in the valley on my own, they never seem to die because I easily lose sight of my purpose and am unequipped in my own power. So in 2017, I’ll be trying to take the perspective off myself and my circumstances and revisit my purpose up on the mountaintop daily, seeing it from a bird’s eye view, so I can minister more effectively to people in the ways God has equipped me to. To start, I am participating in a 21 day church wide fast that began yesterday, and I hope to practice “meeting with God” through prayer a lot over these next few weeks. Hopefully in turn I will be imparted with new vision and direction for the business and how we can reach and help more people to live their healthiest life.

I know that was probably a little more spiritual than some may have wanted me to go. But hear me out. I will translate now what I mean in the physical sense. Out of fear, discouragement, laziness, or maybe some combination of all of those, I have basically been doing the bare minimum to keep my business going in recent months, but things are about to change.

Since there is very little I can do with NatureKits at this given time, I am going to focus my attention and energy on our meal planning service. After all, healthy eating really is the foundation to living well. And this is something Celia and I do day-in and day-out that we know could help people, especially in this New Year.

The Marpé meal planning service is designed to make implementing a paleo-inspired diet, like the Dr. Brown diet, more feasible for the average family. It really came out of a desire to help Dr. Brown’s new patients most of whom are faced with the gigantic challenge of radically changing their eating habits as a crucial part of their journey to get well, many from debilitating diseases or ailments. I remember my first appointment and how completely overwhelmed I felt afterwards reviewing his nutrition guide. How in the world was I supposed to incorporate this {seemingly} impossible diet into our hectic life of being new parents and going to school full-time {ironically for a Clinical nutrition degree that I never completed}?!

To be honest, I made some changes but it was TOUGH. And we definitely didn’t dive head first and cut everything out cold turkey like the Whole30 program has you do. I wasn’t accustomed to cooking so much and was completely lost without any idea as to where to start. So several years later I developed our meal planning service with this in mind. We figure most people would prefer and could manage to cook at home at least every weeknight, so we carefully pick out the recipes for four dinner meals each week as well as compile the grocery list for those four meals. All our members have to do is log in on their smart phone while at the grocery store and their list will be right at their fingertips. (And the next week’s menu and list is visible as well for those who like to shop ahead.) We make our recipes with a yield of about 4 adult servings so people can make adjustments depending on their family’s size with that in mind. It is not as customizable as it will hopefully be in the near future, but its a start and it seems to be working for several of the people who have already joined.

With that said, I think the Whole30 program is a fantastic way to go all in from the start. And from what it appears with it trending like it is, a LOT of people are willing to do this! I think that’s awesome. At first, I will admit I was a little jealous… here I am working tirelessly to come up with a similar offering with not much to show for it (apparently doing a whole lot of the wrong things or just not enough of the right things?!) But then I got to thinking why does it have to be either/or? Why can’t it be both/and? Why couldn’t someone do a Whole30 (even taking advantage of the recipes I’ve taken years to compile) and then follow up the program with something a little easier to maintain like our meal planning service?

Most of our recipes are innately Whole30 approved, while a vast majority of the rest can be easily adapted to become as such (omitting the goat or sheep dairy or maple syrup, for example). Really the main difference is that Dr. Brown’s diet allows for goat or sheep dairy and real food sweeteners such as organic pure maple syrup and local, raw, organic honey to be used sparingly while the Whole30 program doesn’t allow them at all. Whole30 on the other hand allows for any and all potatoes, pork, and shellfish while Dr. Brown prefers his patients to stick to sweet potatoes only and no pork or shellfish.

So all that to say, I decided to do a Whole30 (with Dr. Brown approved modifications) using only recipes from our site during our fast. I plan to create some tools as well like a list of all the recipes on the site that can be used on a Whole30 and a 30 day (3 meals a day + snacks) meal plan PDF compiled completely from our site just to name a few. So be on the look out for these in the upcoming weeks.

My prayer for 2017 is that all the work we have poured into this resource for healthy living over the last several years will bless many lives. That people will find hope and healing by learning to feed their bodies the food they were designed to eat and use our site as one of the many available tools in their efforts to do so. And that God will use me as an encourager and helpmate to those on a similar journey. And lastly that I will keep my eyes ever fixed on Him and be obedient to do whatever is asked of me! Amen.

Blessings to you and yours. May 2017 be your best year yet!


Kristen Barkley
Kristen Barkley
Kristen is a happily married mom to four beautiful and active children and is the co-founder of Marpé Wellness. She has a BBA in Marketing from the University of Houston and completed extensive coursework in the areas of nutrition and fitness. She is excited to be putting her education to use in an industry that she is passionate about where she can help others live a healthier and happier life.

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