For those of you who don’t know, I’m a teacher. A Learning Resource Teacher. Otherwise known as a Resource Teacher, a Support Teacher, a Helping Teacher, a Special Education Teacher. I support students with special needs in inclusive schools. I collaborate with Classroom Teachers in planning lessons and programs for our very diverse classrooms. The teaching that comes out of these plans is what we call differentiated instruction.

What does all this have to do with healthy plants-based eating and healthy living? Don’t you see the connections?



Herbivores like you and me need to have diversity in their diet. When we eat a variety of food, we know we are getting the nutrients we need. I, however, live in an omnivore dominated world. I make accommodations for this by preparing vegetarian food for omnivore guests that resembles their more familiar meaty dishes (Mushroom BourguignonLettuce Wraps), even cooking a turkey dinner now and then. I eat at restaurants that have menus that can satisfy both me and my dining companions, or have chefs willing to make some changes to the standard fair to accommodate my dietary needs. In other words, I practice differentiation in my menu planning.

Are you seeing the connections now?

Last month, I posted an entry on my blog about exercising (see below or see here). I’d like to add a bit more to that information. In fact, I want to help you diversify your active lifestyle with a bit of differentiated instruction. I realized, since that last post, that I could provide a few more details about how to get into that bootcamp run no matter what your fitness level is – tone it down, beef it up. Some of you may run and exercise with a partner, perhaps even a mismatched partner. I think you can still have the support and togetherness of a buddy while participating at a level you both feel comfortable with. So, I offer this:

1. If you want to increase the intensity of the workout, try these things:

  • Run quickly between exercise stations
  • Set up quickly for the exercise after each run
  • Move quickly into a run after each exercise
  • Do more sets of the exercises at each station
  • Go for a longer run and add in a few more exercises – either ones you think of yourself, or repeat some of the ones from the bootcamp run program.
  • Do both static and dynamic work at each exercise station. For example, for squats, do your 1 or 2 sets of 10 squats, but also hold your squat for 30 seconds of more.


It usually takes me between 42 and 45 minutes to complete my bootcamp run. Today I set off on my run a bit later than I wanted and I needed to get home by a certain time. So, I picked up the pace, following some of those tips I just outlined above. I was done in 39 minutes!

2. If you want to decrease the intensity of the workout, try these things:

  • Jog or power walk between exercise stops
  • Walk into the set up of your exercise
  • When you have finished your reps, walk out of it before picking up the pace into a power walk or a jog
  • Do the minimum of 10 reps of the exercises – DO NOT DO FEWER THAN THIS!
  • Play around with how you run between exercises, but do not adjust your exercises. Work slowly and at a comfortable pace, but do them all.

3. If you’re running with a mismatched partner:

  • Run or walk at a pace that is a bit slower for the fitter partner and a bit faster for the less fit partner – this promotes pacing and patience for one and pushing at a supported level for the other.
  • Fitter partner does more sets of the exercises while the less fit partner does the minimum.

Reward yourself at the end of your bootcamp run with this delicious and refreshing smoothie:

Peppermint-Cucumber Smoothie


2 small English cucumbers (leave unpeeled if organic), chopped in chunks

Several fresh peppermint leaves

Large handful of spinach leaves

1 banana, sliced

large handful of blueberries

1 tbsp ground flax seeds, or chia seeds, or ground hemp seeds

1 cup + non-dairy milk

Throw everything into the blender and blend until smooth. Drink it on down!


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