Mompreneurs – Balancing Motherhood, Work and Eating Well

Illustration credit: Yoshiaka

Illustration credit: Yoshiaka

To say it’s a challenge to balance motherhood, work (whether at home or outside) and eating well often seems like a bit of an understatement. It’s not hard to feel overwhelmed and that we can’t seem to do more than head to the drive-thru or order another pizza. But we know we should do better: for our children and for ourselves. Here are some tips to help you out of the momrpreneur-and-food maze:

1) Cook once eat twice: when planning your meals, think ahead for how you can “repurpose” leftovers from one meal and then make extra food when you cook and use again in the next day’s lunch or dinner. Whether you are making one cup of beans of two, steaming one head or broccoli or more, there’s not really more work and it saves you time the next day.

2) Cook in bulk on the weekend: Mornings tough cause you’re always rushing out the door? Make a big batch (in your crockpot) of steel-cut oatmeal on the weekend and then scoop out portions throughout the week to warm and go. Do the same with other grains (brown rice, millet, quinoa). Cook protein foods like beans and tempeh on the weekend as well and use them throughout the coming days in dishes. Prep veggies and salad fixings and place in containers to have handy throughout the week. Veggie dishes can be cooked ahead and can, in general, be enjoyed for several days as well. Create trail mixes, make kale chips and bake some healthy treats your family can enjoy during the busy week.

3) Enjoy convenience: It costs more but can sometimes be the saving grace we need: you can grab cut fruit and veggies at the produce store. Some grocery stores have veggies chopped and packaged together in fresh stir-fry mixes or veggie dishes ready to just sauté and enjoy, check the produce section. This makes dinnertime a little easier and, though it is a bit more expensive, is much healthier and cheaper than a meal out.

4) Soup’s On!: Have a weekly soup night. Soups are a nutritious and easy way to create a meal. Add a salad with everyone’s favorite toppings and you’re set. Leftovers can be the next day’s lunch. Soups can be varied based on the season and what you have on hand. They can be made the night before and simmer in your crock-pot during the day.

5) Ask for Help: Sometimes as women and moms we feel like we have to do it all. It’s not easy for us to ask for help. And then we wonder why we are feeling run down and frustrated. Ask the people (partner, children) you live with for support around food shopping, preparation and cooking. Create a communal cooking night where the whole family creates the meal – maybe make-your-own burrito night – where all can be involved in prepping and cooking the ingredients (and cleaning up afterwards!). Or get even more creative: find another family that would like to share cooking duties. Maybe once a week you cook a double batch of what you’re making and share with them. They return the favor on another evening. You can have 2 or more families in such a meal-share arrangement.

It definitely requires some forethought and planning but being a busy mom and eating well don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, the effort you make to provide healthy food for both yourself and your family will pay off in great well-being and energy to enjoy your days.

 

7 Tips for Emotional Eaters

 

Does this sound familiar? You’ve worked a long day, picked up the kids and a few 7 Tips for Emotional Eating from The Kicking Kitchen, thekickingkitchen.comgroceries, and finally arrive home at six o’clock to a pile of laundry and several bills to pay – and you still need to get dinner started. All you want is to find some comfort in a mentally and emotionally exhausting day. That’s when curling up in a blanket on the couch with the carton of Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer starts looking like the perfect end to a horrible day. It will probably make your life better, even just for a few moments.

Have you ever been in this type of situation? Um, yeah – every day! We know, we’ve been there too. Haven’t we all?

Consider this: “Our relationship to food is a perfect reflection of our relationship to life itself.” This statement was made by Geneen Roth, author of New York Times bestseller, When Food is Love, and it says a lot about how people often eat and think about food.

People often turn to food not because they are hungry, but because they don’t know what else to do when feeling bored, sad, angry, guilty, stressed or unfulfilled. Food is an easy target for unbalanced or resisted emotions. Emotional eating means eating when you’re not hungry or not eating when you are hungry. Unfortunately, one’s daily diet doesn’t work when built on guilt, punishment or shame, and this is commonly the result of emotional eating.

Think about the way you eat. Roth believes that how we eat is the way we live – it’s how we spend our time, love, energy and money. Do you sneak your food when no one is looking? Do you eat on the run? Do you sit down in front of the television and hardly notice what you are putting in your mouth? Next time you eat, be aware of your surroundings, your emotions and the food you are consuming.

Roth recommends these guidelines for eating. Try them out and discover how your relationship with food and your life changes.

1. Eat when you are hungry.
2. Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
3. Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety producing conversations and music.
4. Eat only what your body wants.
5. Eat until you are satisfied (and we recommend eating slowly to recognize this).
6. Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.
7. Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure.

Do you sometimes eat for emotional reasons?

 

 

The Secret Ingredient : Love

 

By Annette Ramke, CHHC

It’s mealtime.

Maybe you’re cooking an old favorite.

Or you found a new recipe you can’t wait to try.

In either case you’ve been to the store, picked up everything the recipe calls for and are all set to make your chosen dish.

Food is washed, diced, chopped, mixed together, cooked, baked, tossed, or blended. All according to the directions on paper or in your head.

But something’s likely missing. Something to make your meal complete and your food more delicious than you can imagine.

It’s a secret ingredient. One that you’ll rarely find listed in a recipe.

What is it, you ask?

Photo: Fangol

Photo: Fangol

It’s love.

While that may sound a little “fluffy” to some, I am pretty darn serious.

Because when we “get” the fact that what we put into our body matters, then that means all of it.

And so it matters – the conditions under which are food is grown or raised. It matters the care given, how the plants and animals are treated and, in turn, our earth.

Think of the kind of energy you are taking into your body from an animal raised in factory farm conditions and, under stress, transported and butchered in a huge “processing facility” versus the animal raised and lovingly cared for according to its natural ways on a family farm and which is not forced into trucks at the end of its life before it reaches our plates.

Think of the energy of produce grown from genetically-modified seeds, fungicide and pesticide-laden as compared to fruits and vegetables that are grown organically, using nature’s tools for pest management and for protecting our environment.

Our body not only takes in the protein, fat, carbohydrates and vitamins of our food, it takes in the whole essence of it — from the way it was grown, to the manner in which it is prepared.

You can test this by seeing how you feel after eating certain foods. There may be more aggression, more sadness, more unsettledness. But also more joy, contentment and wellbeing.

Beyond how our food is grown there is the atmosphere in which it was prepared. Can you notice the difference in how you feel between eating, say, a fast food meal versus a home-cooked meal made with care and love? Or a home-cooked meal made under feelings of stress, anger and resentment compared with a restaurant meal made by a chef passionate about real food and her work?

I am going to venture to say that there is a light bulb going off for some right now. Maybe you had never stopped to reflect on this.

So when we shop for our food, when we get in the kitchen, we have a lot of power, actually!

First, the act of showing up in the kitchen, of placing a priority on food, is an act of radical self-love. This comes from realizing that your meal is not just there to fill a hole in your stomach, but rather to nourish and support your body. When you bring your presence, care and love to preparing your food, you are not just making dinner, you are caring for your body and your life.

So….grow the love.

Grow the love inside you.

Our tips:

Choose food grown with love.

Make self-care (self-love!) a priority – one aspect of which is preparing healthy meals for yourself.

And when you are in the kitchen, treat this time as a scared time as much as possible. Feel the gratitude for your food. Your health or the path toward health you are on. For the people you will share the food with, whether yourself or a whole group. Really feeling the gratitude, the love, as you are preparing and eating a meal makes all the difference between food that merely pacifies a hungry stomach and food that helps us create a life full of meaning and well-being.

Love your food. Love yourself. Love your life.

 

Banana-Pecan Pancakes with Chocolate-Coconut Drizzle

Banana-Pecan Pancakes with Chocolate-Coconut Drizzle, Photo: Steve Legato

Yup, they’re as good as they sound! This is one of the recipes from our book, Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen. We use spelt flour (whole grain, low gluten) and add in some pecans and bananas for some more whole food goodness. There’s also coconut oil, which is a fabulous, health-promoting oil to add to your pantry. Oh yeah. Then there’s that chocolate coconut drizzle. A-MA-ZING!

Want the recipe? Watch Kendall make these easy, delish pancakes on WCSH6’s 207 Show with anchor, Rob Caldwell. Click here to watch on the WCSH6 website and get the recipe, or watch the video below. Enjoy!

7 Steps to Finding Your Food Groove

Making the decision to begin changing your diet can feel overwhelming and confusing – possibly so much so that you end up making no changes at all! And that’s not what we want to see happen. Once you’ve decided you’re ready to begin eating better (which is really the first step!), then take on the rest in baby steps. Go one day at a time and one goal at a time.

Perhaps you decide to begin eating a leafy green vegetable every day or 4 days of the week. Maybe you want to try drinking more water or eating more whole grains (like brown rice) instead of processed grains (breads, pastas – especially the white flour ones!). Start small and add on as you go.

Here are 7 general steps to finding your groove with food. These are great areas to start with, and you may want to break down your steps and goals even more. Remember to be realistic, but also push yourself to see just what you can do! You’d be surprised!

1.) Drink more water: There is no right amount of water to drink, but generally the bigger and more active you are, the more you should drink. A good rule of thumb is a 1/2 ounce of water per pound of weight. So a 160 pound person might start with 80 ounces of water (or 10 eight-ounce cups). Staying hydrated is imperative during cancer treatment! This will help to increase your energy, support your immune system, reduce nausea and other treatment and cancer side effects.

2.) Practice cooking: Cooking is a fundamental step to healthier living. By making your own meals you know what’s going into them. Meals don’t need to take hours to prepare and involve multiple ingredients. Pick a healthy recipe or two a week to add in to your routine. 

3.) Increase leafy green vegetables: These are seriously lacking in the American diet and they are most essential for creating long-lasting health. More specifically they help eliminate depression, improve liver, gallbladder and kidney function, increase energy and boost your blood. Try kale, collards, mustard greens, dandelion greens, spinach, and chard.

4.) Increase whole grains: It’s not these types of carbohydrates that have led to the obesity epidemic, but rather the processed goods like doughnuts. Whole grains are some of the best sources of nutritional support and provide long-lasting energy. Try brown rice, quinoa, oats, and millet. 

5.) Increase sweet vegetables: People forget that these exist and they are the perfect medicine for the sweet tooth. Instead of depending on processed sugar, you can add more naturally sweet flavors to your diet and dramatically reduce sweet cravings and better support your body. Try sweet potatoes, beets, carrots and squash.

6.) Experiment with protein: The majority of Americans eat way too much protein and mostly in the form of animal meat. Pay attention to how different types of protein make you feel. Try other forms like beans, lentils, nuts or fermented soy (tempeh, miso).

7.) Eat less meat, dairy, sugar and processed foods; consume less coffee, alcohol and tobacco: Did you notice we said eat less instead of don’t eat? If we told you not to drink coffee or eat sweets you would want them even more. By increasing your whole grains, vegetables and water you will naturally crowd out the more processed items, so this step often comes naturally (and it’s much easier to add in good food than try to restrict yourself from the not-so-good foods).

 

Adapted from 10 Steps to Boost Your Health for Life, Joshua Rosenthal, IntegrativeNutrition.com