Healthier Traveling

There is absolutely nothing like traveling to put a complete tailspin on a healthy diet.  I decided to be prepared.  For the first time, I came prepared for myself.  Yes, I'm a mom, that means that there are responsibilities to those little monsters that are perfectly capable of creating disasters but incapable of caring for themselves.  Sometimes you get so caught up in cleaning those messes, keeping bellies full, clothes cleaned and hair combed that you forget that you have to take care of yourself first. 

A while ago I read something about this, taking care of yourself first.  I was reminded of this four times on our flights this weekend.  As each flight attendant came down the aisle, although Munchkie's Daddy was sitting right in the row with us, each one looked directly at me and reminded me to put the oxygen mask on myself first before placing it on my child.  Because you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of someone else.  I tell the mothers of my patients this all of the time.  Those mothers who can't for even a second leave the bedside of their sick child, who haven't slept, eaten or showered for days. If you don't take care of yourself there's nothing left to give to your child. 

I think of how difficult it is to stay on track with a diet, schedule or even something like potty training when traveling.  When you are stressed, kids can feel it, having meltdowns and accidents.  Something as simple as staying on track with healthy eating can make all the difference.  Taking care of yourself so that you can take care of others.  This trip I used my Itsy Ritsy snack bags that I've won free from a contest and a questionnaire I filled out.  The night before we left I cut up green and red peppers and put them, carrots and pistachios into my snack bags.  The next day on the airplane we were able to snack on this healthy assortment instead of the overly processed prepackaged stuff found in airports.  I can not tell you how many times we have fallen prey to the crap found in airports and travel plazas everywhere.  Whether it's driving a few hours away during a mealtime or spending the day traveling through airports the options are slim. 

I've read many blogs that talk about how a little preparedness can make a huge difference.  But it wasn't until this weekend that I truly understood.  Eating fresh vegetables instead of the other options really made a difference in our weekend.  It literally took just a few minutes to cut them up and throw them in a bag.  We were able to eat the vegetables on both flights because the snack bags kept them fresh all weekend and all of us felt better because of it.  Eating fresh and healthy makes you feel so much better than heavy, processed foods that weigh you down.  Also, starting a trip by eating healthy makes it just that much easier to keep eating healthy.  You don't have the excuse of, "well I already messed up, I'll just start over again when we get back."  You think, yeah I will have that huge salad before my dinner, knowing that you will be so full you won't eat very much of the other foods.

Now Mimi's gluten free oatmeal raisin cookies (my fav), that's another story.....

And PS we did not have a single accident in underwear this weekend while traveling, a first for us.  Amazing how that works.


To Be Healthy

The other night I had a breakdown.  This isn't too unusual of an occurrence unfortunately, and it usually is instigated by being tired, stressed and feeling gross.  This was exactly the case.  All of the poor eating habits from the holidays piled up and I just couldn't handle it all anymore.  Last week I finished a book my aunt had recommended "The Beauty Detox Secret" by Kimberly Snyder and I really enjoyed it.  When I say that I have probably read at least twenty health and nutrition books, that may be an understatement and that doesn't include the hundreds of articles I have read online, in magazines or in newspapers.  I know that most people think that I am just falling into whatever fad diet I have heard about the most recently.

The issue is that I just want to be healthy.  I just want to feel good.  I want to have energy.  I want to go out and do things.  This is what I told Munchkie's Daddy during my breakdown.  My quest started when I was young, like 13 years old or so, and wrote into the Christian girl's magazine I read for advice on weight loss.  They sent me this cookbook, Eat Well, Live Well and some cheesy note about loving myself.  Obviously that didn't satisfy me.  The problem is that I grew up in a family that loves food.  We are emotional eaters, we like to create, to make, to talk about and to enjoy each bite of food we take.  Each family gathering was filled with eating, from the minute we woke up until we all collapsed in bed praying that the food would stay down.

I have read so many different books and followed so many different plans that I know exactly what I need to do.  I have learned something from each book I have read and have built my knowledge from these, pulling information from each author and making sense of how the body works (as I talked about somewhat in The Evolution of My Diet).  This last book that I read brought together a lot of these concepts that have been floating around in my head, bringing the knowledge from a lot of different books into one lifestyle of eating.  After I finished the book I again felt this deep desire to be healthy, to crave vegetables, to not have the desire to eat junk food, to have the will power and self control to fight through the cravings to "get over" my addiction to junk.  I was so hopeful, getting tons of produce at the store (as shown in my previous post) and spent over two hours before work the other night chopping, mixing and prepping my food.  I got to work and pulled out my kale salad with homemade dressing that contained things I didn't even know existed.  I took one bite and started gagging.  The other nurse sitting next to me started laughing at me because I could not get the salad down.  How can you crave vegetables when you can hardly swallow them?  How do you become healthy when you don't like the food you're eating?

This discouraged me greatly.  I was so down and upset yesterday, unsure of what to do.  I really truly want to be healthy.  I want to eat raw kale and have my body absorb all of the amazing vitamins and minerals.  I want to feel good about what I eat and draw energy from what I put in my body.  I think that I just need to learn to do it slowly.  I can't jump into a raw kale salad with things such as nutritional yeast, dulse flakes or miso when I don't even know what those three things are.  I always read something and get so inspired and so motivated to completely change my life because I know what I need to do.  But then when I am eating that kale salad by myself at work while the girl next to me is chowing on a bag of goldfish crackers and my family is at home eating chips and salsa, the overwhelming feeling of being alone, torturing myself for an end goal that nobody but me cares about makes it even harder to choke down that bite of nastiness.

Munchkie's Daddy doesn't understand this.  He's skinny, always has been.  He doesn't think that it's a problem that he pounds coffee all day long just to get through the day.  He feels good about his life and under no circumstances will he ever give up his cheese-its.  As I write this he's piling a tortilla high with cheese, lunch meat and condiments in the kitchen.  While I am procrastinating pulling the blender out to make a "Glowing Green Smoothie" to start my day with.  How do we make this work?  I tease him and say that after he dies from a heart attack my second husband will eat greens with me, which obviously isn't the way to go.  But it's my way of begging, pleading for him to even remotely care about our health.  It's not the most efficient way to convince someone, and really just makes him mad, but I really don't know what else to do. 

I just want to be healthy.  I understand that this doesn't happen overnight.  I understand that we are young and it takes years to create the person that you become.  But I know that what I put into my body directly effects every aspect of my life and that the changes I make to my diet will have such positives effects on my life.  I know that my skin will be brighter, clearer.  I know that my energy will skyrocket.  I know that I will have mental clarity and break free of this brain fog that has been hovering over me. I just don't know how to accomplish this change in lifestyle.  I just don't know how I can survive a stressful night shift of running around taking care of crying babies with a salad, pushing down the intense desire for a latte and ice cream with chocolate.  I just don't know how to cut out all of the horrible-for-you foods that I love.   I just don't know how to get my family on board.  I just don't know how to make it a team effort instead of everyone looking at me like I'm crazy and out of my mind for "following the latest fad."

Sigh.  I guess the first step is to get up off the couch, go wash out the blender and mix up that vegetable heavy smoothie.  Then continue to pray that I can do this, that I can find the strength to do it alone.  To pray that I can lead by example and show others how great life can be when you pile up the veggies and pair your foods together carefully.

**So I started this at the beginning of the week and never posted it.  I did get up and make that smoothie.  And it was DELICIOUS!  I froze some of it because there was so much and tonight I had one of the defrosted containers.  Munchkie was "sharing" it with me and said that she wanted me to make her her own smoothie.  She said that it was so yummy, and normally she usually spits out greens.  Maybe I'm onto something here.....

The City Is Growing On Me

It's true, I am starting to enjoy the city.  I enjoy taking the subway in, walking around, grabbing a bite to eat. The other day we realized how we are becoming more of a city family when we asked Munchkie if she wanted to go to Subway with her Daddy.  She said yes and started to get ready to leave, then she asked, are we going to take the red one or the blue one?  It was then that we realized that we meant "Do you want to get a sandwich at Subway with Daddy?" and she thought we meant "Do you want to go somewhere on the subway with Daddy?"  We go on the subway so much that she just assumed that's where they were going. 

There are several things that we've learned about living in a city that we just never thought about before.  Some of these include-
  • Boots- a good pair of boots is absolutely essential.  When the rain comes down, when the snow piles up, your feet need to be protected.
  • Dressing in layers- because you have to peel them off and on as you sit on a crowded bus with the heat blasting or walk several blocks through  buildings that become a wind tunnel.
  • A solid stroller- we destroyed a few before we realized this. Wheels popping off as you go over a bumpy sidewalk is not the most pleasant way to learn this.
  • Patience- you can't do anything or get anywhere fast.  I heard someone one day on the bus in a southern drawl tell another rider that she thought that you had to be laid back in the south, but living here has taught her patience.
  • You can find just about anything you could possibly want.  When a recipe calls for something interesting, or you think that there is something odd you want, you can find it somewhere in the city.
 Tonight I went into our little neighborhood shopping area to do my weekly shopping.  Some friends down the street from us have told me that they do all of their shopping in our neighborhood stores and I was always so amazed by this.  Tonight, I could completely understand how.  I went into our Middle Eastern store- Bob's Pita Bakery which sells a lot more than just pita, it is stock full of produce.  Good looking produce.  Really cheap produce.  I was in fruit and vegetable heaven.  I just kept telling myself, do not go crazy, you only have so much room in that ridiculously small fridge. I was able to get all this sink full of produce (those twelve lemons at the regular grocery store would have alone been $6), fresh herbs, tahini paste, coconut and ginger root for under $50, that to me is amazing!  This store is small, two people can't pass each other in the two aisles. I walked in and out of several stores finding a "welcome to the neighborhood" (which secretly means, sorry you live below a toddler, a dog and a Kinect) gift basket for the girl who just moved in underneath us.  We have a wine store, cheese store with all kinds of delicious things, several bakeries, a cafe, ice cream store, meat shop, Italian deli, thrift store, unique gift shops, among several other little places - all in a couple block area. I was able to put together a nice little gift basket of local treats, including a few take out menus of course! 

Needless to say, it may be a slow process, but I am starting to enjoy my new life.  I just wish that it wasn't so lonely, building up a new life in a new city. 


The New Year is Underway GIVEAWAY

The last few years we have made Christmas presents for our family and friends.  It is something that I enjoy doing and something that I think about and plan for the entire year.  I am already starting to look up ideas for next year, just in case I find something that will be exceptionally time consuming or takes time to come together.  I also always make extra because I don't ever want to be empty handed.  I love to give gifts. 

This year we had to cut back, mostly because I am pretty sure that I single handedly keep my local post office in business.  I have a closet (and closet real estate is a very limited in our apartment) that has boxes of all sizes and shapes, as well as a few flat rate shipping boxes, that way they are ready to go whenever I need to mail something.  Since I am far from most of my loved ones, the USPS is my lifeline for giving.  Luckily since we've moved, the post office down the street doesn't know all that it missed out on this year since I have drastically cut back on my shipping.  This was very difficult for me, and so I think I'm having package sending withdrawals.  I am just itching to send something out. Now that Christmas is over, the New Year is underway and there are still various things taking up space on my kitchen counter, I am giving away the handmade items that have yet to find a home.   

So I have a GIVEAWAY of the homemade presents that we gave this year.  The handmade-with-love-in-our-kitchen items that may be in this giveaway:

  • D'Amaretti Biscotti
  • Candy Cane Biscotti with White Chocolate
  • Shaving Soap
  • Green Tea Body Butter
  • Bath Salts/Salt Scrub
  • Lip Balm
  • Friendship Tea
There will be TWO lucky winners!

To enter this Giveaway, please comment on this post with a way for me to contact you (email, Facebook, etc).  I will draw the winner out of a hat (literally) next Monday, the 16th- MLK day.   Then I will contact the winners and mail your packages out next week.

Good Luck! 


Health and Organization

It's another New Year.  Another opportunity for a clean, fresh start.  A time for evaluation of your own life and a time to figure out how to make yourself a better person.  At the start of each year I have such a flood of emotions.  Most of the time I can't believe that another year has gone by so quickly.  I can't believe that a whole year went by without me accomplishing all that I set out to accomplish.  But then I have to remind myself that baby steps are key.  When I set out to change my life 180 degrees in just 12 months, it's overwhelming.  When I set obtainable goals, I can accomplish them and also feel good about myself and my accomplishments. 

As always, physical health is at the top of my list of resolutions.  For Christmas our family received a present of a Kinect and found a few games that we can all play together.  The great thing about the Kinect is that it gets you moving.  You have to actually move around to play the games and we can all do it together.  I hope that moving around together as well as the walking around we do in the city will help to jump start increased physical activity this year.  Of course part of physical health is what you eat, so we are going to continue our meal planning and continue to make healthy choices.  It's hard to say no to a bowl of ice cream, but if I can say yes to veggies more, than there doesn't have to be that guilt associated with the occasional bowl of ice cream.

Living in a small space, organization is the key to a sane life.  I am going to strive to keep our small home organized and picked up.  I started with Munchkie's room this weekend.  We learned why toy boxes aren't exactly the best option for toy organization shortly after putting her toys in the toy box.  The toys all fall to the bottom and most of them don't get played with.  When they do get played with, the toy box usually gets emptied and spills over into the living room and if we're lucky, (not) into our bedroom.  Now when she wants to play with something, she can pull the box down and play with  those toys.  Then she knows that she has to put all of those away before she can get a different toy to play with.  She saw this and was so excited, she kept saying "oh my toys!  My cars are all here!  All my baby things!"  I think that she will be happy to have all of her toys accessible and we will be happy that they will not be spilling over and out of her room.

There are other goals that I have set for myself for this year, but these (in addition to blogging more- check) I have already started.  Hopefully this year I can continue to accomplish goals and change my life for the better.  Happy New Year!