Frustrated

Blogs are a weird thing because you can kind of be an “alter-ego.”  You can post about the very best things and parts of life, and readers go on getting depressed that they don’t have the picture-perfect marriage, the most attractive and obedient children, the cutest house, the most exciting lifestyle, the best recipes, and the hardest body.  It’s like keeping up with the Joneses but worse and way more in your face.  I like to keep it real because I think it helps other people relate, and it makes everyone feel better.  So I have a confession:

I fed my kids Hot Pockets for dinner on Friday.  Say WHAAAAAAAT?  Yup.  We had a free coupon a while back so they were just sitting in the freezer “for emergencies.”  I guess I thought I’d never break them open.  Friday was a pretty good day, but by 5:00 I was completely out of steam and when I got a call from The Mr. saying he wouldn’t be home for a while, I just couldn’t muster up the energy to make a dinner from scratch (plus we literally had zero food in the house).  The little angel and devil popped up on my shoulders.  “How about Hot Pockets?”  “NOOOOOOO!  I can’t feed that to my babies!”  But guess what, sometimes we have to give ourselves a break.  Do I usually give my kids lots of nutritious yummy foods?  Yes.  Are they happy and healthy?  Yes.  Is one tiny hot pocket over the course of their childhood going to give them colon cancer?   No.  So I did it.  It was done in 60 seconds and devoured in the same amount of time.  And I smiled and I felt fine.   So there you have it.  Granola Mom isn’t perfect.  Give yourselves a break and just do the best you can!

So on to the next topic.  I am extremely frustrated and completely stressed out.  I heard somewhere that if you read 10 books on one subject you are considered an expert.  So what happens if you read twice as many nutrition books and you are more confused than before you read any thing at all?  I am so sick of not knowing who/what is right and feeling guilty despite my best efforts to provide good nutrition for my family.  In the past month alone I have read/watched/skimmed/listened to the following arguments, from very passionate researchers, who all provided convincing arguments:

1.  Animal protein is extremely bad for you and will cause cancer.

2.  High-quality animal protein is beneficial to optimal health.

3.  All dairy needs to be cut out of diet.  This will cure many diseases.  Don’t ever feed your baby or children cow’s milk.

4.  “My father-in-law is a Pediatric Neurologist and he says all children should drink whole milk until the age of 12.”

5.  Whole grains are the best kind to eat, but not “modern and processed” whole grains.

6.  A book called “Wheat Belly” just came out that claims ALL grains are bad for you, and they are what is keeping Americans fat.

7.  Pasteurized milk is healthy.

8.  Pasteurizing milk kills important bacteria and enzymes that are needed for nutrients to be properly absorbed.  Drink raw milk instead.

9.  My pediatrician told me Tornado needs to drink 3 pediasures a day to be on the right weight curve, and if his weight is not where she wants it in a month she is re-testing him for allergies, Cystic Fibrosis (which he does not have), Celiacs, or other digestive disorders.

10. The very next day I took him to a dietician who told me that he was perfectly fine and healthy, especially for a baby who was breastfed and that 2 pounds gained in 2 months was “awesome.”  She sees hundreds of babies with the very same issue where the dr. is freaking out because they are not on “traditional curves” compared to formula fed babies.  It isn’t necessary to give him any pediasure.  Just real food and real fats.

11.  Give fluoride to your children.  It will prevent cavities

12.  Flouride is poison.

13.  The food guide pyramid is what you should eat.

14.  You will never know the truth about nutrition, because the government health programs are so corrupt that it will never be permitted to be printed.

So my friends, what is a mother to do?  Should I just stop listening to all these different sources with conflicting information (and the research to back it up) and just go with my intuition?  I literally stress out any time I think about giving my children anything to eat!  It’s insane.  Who do I listen to?   Do pediatricians really know anything about nutrition?   Real nutrition?  Or are they just taught what the general population is taught (Food Guide Pyramid and all that stuff) which so many activists are against?  Who can I trust?

I suppose that is why I am doing this blog.  Hopefully I can keep learning as I go, and read and study and get more knowledge, but for now, my philosophy is this:

I will feed my family whole foods that I cooked in my own home, as much as I can.  And all those questions…I will let them roll off my back until I gain enough knowledge to feel sure about them.  If I do make changes, I will make them very slowly so as not to get overwhelmed, and that’s as much as I am thinking about it.  The rest of my “worry” time I will spend having fun with the fam and giving myself a break for not being perfect.  Who’s with me?

 

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On Listening to Your Body

I’ve made reference to being in tune with your body before – it knows if it wants a salad or if it needs some iron, etc.

It takes time to get the hang of it, especially if you’ve been suppressing what it’s been trying to tell you because “you know better, and you aren’t supposed to eat that food,” or “that has too many fat grams; I’d better buy the fat free option.” (Those are both wrong, by the way).  Important stuff, but I’ve also been thinking about listening to your body in other ways. When I was pregnant with Tornado, I started to get back pain that got gradually and gradually worse.  But I thought I was tough, so I ignored it and kept up my too-vigorous workout schedule, and chased after The Wild One (who was even wilder back then) day after day after day.  I learned my lesson, because it landed me in the hospital with the worst back sprain I have ever had in my life.  In fact, the worst pain I’ve ever had in my life.  I literally could not move an inch for at least 3 days, and had to stay in the hospital for a week.  Once I got out, I had to take it easy the rest of the pregnancy.  No swimming, no gym, no exercise basically.  I just had to rest.  And it was sooooo nice.  You know what else was nice?  Having to use one of THESE babies for a while afterward.  

Ohhhhhh yeah.  But why did I feel like it took a doctor to tell me I shouldn’t work out?  Shouldn’t my body be telling me that?  Sometimes I think the voice in our head is too overbearing and we push our intuition aside.  Lately I’ve really been trying to listen to it.  I think we all instinctively know what we need.  Just like mother’s intuition once you have a baby.

This morning I woke up with intense pain in my hip.  I couldn’t put any weight on it.  My first thought was, “It will be better before my swim class tonight.  I’m still going.”  It literally took hours for me to realize it was probably not a good idea and I should take it easy for a few days until I know what’s going on. And after I talked myself into that, I was comfortable in that decision

So here’s the thing:  When it comes to being active, there is a fine balance between being “tough” or “hard core” and making excuses to be lazy.  Both extremes can be dangerous: injury and burnout on one end, and inactivity and increased disease risk on the other.  Don’t get me wrong – a day or two off can literally give you a fresh start or re-energize you, and those are important too.  But we’ve got to find a healthy balance in moving our bodies, feeling good, and ultimately letting our physical body sometimes dictate what we do or don’t need.  Know when to hold ’em (a medium intensity workout), know when to fold ’em (an injury or you got 2 hours of sleep last night), know when to walk away (a great workout with a friend), know when to run (as in people will be chasing you because you look so great from pushing it in your last workout).  That’s my 2 cents.

A Pep Talk

I was talking with my BFF today about something that has been on my mind a lot recently.  It’s this: being overwhelmed.  In July we had a big move across the country from NYC to Utah.  I used the moving date as the “starting over” point.  No more crackers for the kids, no more refined sugar, less salt, less dairy, more whole grains, only organic, only homemade, sprouted grains, and only $70 a week.  Wanna know how that turned out?  Fast forward two weeks and I was trying to sell everything I could on Craigslist to have extra money to buy food, I was at the grocery store practically every day and there was still nothing to eat in the house, the kids were both whiney, I was very grumpy and depressed and on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and the house was a complete disaster. The Mr. (always the voice of reason) sat me down and said “Honey, you are in way over your head! No one is happy!  It’s too much at once.”  He packed us in the car and we sped over to Costco and blew $300 on glorious food.  It was amazing.

I came to realize we cannot do it ALL!  Duh – how many times have we heard that one before?  I lots of times think “well MOST people can’t do it all, but I can.”  And surprisingly I have still had to learn this lesson over and over and will probably have to keep learning it in the future.  I’ve learned to get a bit more realistic about my expectations and what I am able to do.  If I have a day where everything was homemade and yummy and nutritious, and the kids are happy and full, something had to give somewhere else to make that possible.  Lots of times it’s the tidy house.  Or time with The Mr. (which I LOVE and don’t get nearly enough of).   Or the kids have been stuck in the house all day with an absent mom, because I’ve been slaving away in the kitchen trying to make them healthy food.  That doesn’t seem right.  Right?

SO, the lesson I learned after the move was to simply do what I can.  I aim to feed us all as healthy as possible.  If I have extra time to get organized or find a few awesome recipes, I try them, but I am a mom of two little BABIES.  I have to give myself a break.  They need their mama so much, and I need them too.  I have to give them my best self.  I don’t like to eat processed stuff.  Do I have to sometimes? yeah.  Sometimes we just have one of those days.  But I don’t beat myself up over it. Case in point – as I mentioned yesterday, The Wild One busted his chin open. He is only 2 and ended up having to get  stitches, and he was not numb for the last two.  He was such a trooper.  When we got home, I had ice cream in the freezer and I was so glad I did, cause I wanted him to have a HUGE reward for being so brave.  It made him feel happy.  Imagine if we had come home and I said, “I am sooooo proud of you buddy.  Here’s a nice bowl of plain Greek yogurt.”  Not quite the same message.

Once I attended a seminar by green smoothie girl.  She mentioned that when she started out trying to feed her family healthy foods, she bought a bunch of celery and apples and they ate like that for a week and were STARVING.  Been there.  Then she went and spent a ton of money at the health food store, and made a lot of recipes that made her kids CRY.  I’ve been there too!  Eventually, little by little, she got the hang of things and figured out how it worked best for her family.

The whole point of this blog is that it’s a PROJECT.  Get it? It’s a process and it’s going to take time.  A lot of time!  We’re tweaking things little by little to try to improve our health.  I’ve made a rule for myself that I can only make one drastic change every 2 months.  Like using brown rice instead of white, or only whole wheat pasta instead of regular.  Otherwise it gets a little insane and the important stuff starts getting overlooked.

So there you have it.  Don’t stress it.  Don’t make your families cry with all the “healthy” recipes.  Just make changes little by little and do what you can!  Pretty soon we’ll look back and say “Wow!  I was such a greenie back then, and now I’m a REAL granola mom!”