It’s summer, which means that there are hot dogs and s’mores to be made around the campfire, beer/wine/sangria/lemonade mixed with Southern Comfort (ugh, the first drink I ever got drunk from when I was 17 … never to pass these lips again!) to be consumed with gusto, and sugar-filled popsicles to bring the summer heat down a degree or two.
It also means that most of my amazing and normally dedicated clients are coming to me saying “I went camping/to the cottage/to a family BBQ and ate complete junk and drank the whole time, I’m so sorry and I feel like I disappointed you!”.
The first thing I tell them is that as far as I can remember, they did not come out of my vagina, therefore, I’m not their mother. They should never feel like they have to apologize to me (or anyone else for that matter) for something that they did or did not eat.
The second thing that I ask them is “was it fucking delicious?”. If it was, then awesome! I’m so glad that they had a moment of pure pleasure that seems to be so lacking in our lives today.
The third thing is how did they feel after eating it? Most of the time after working with me for several months, they’ll tell me that:
1. their body completely rebelled, and they spent the next few hours writhing in pain either on the toilet, on the couch, or in bed.
2. the treat that they ate didn’t taste as good as they remembered, and they don’t even know why they wanted it in the first place.
3. they felt so guilty for “cheating” on their healthy eating.
Let’s get one thing straight: you’ll never be perfectly healthy if you feel guilty when you eat food, no matter HOW healthy it’s supposed to be.
I’d rather have myself or one of my clients eat a piece of chocolate cake and be 100% present by focusing on how chocolatey it is, how smooth the icing feels in their mouth, how orgasmically delicious it is, and how happy they feel after, than to eat a salad and hate the entire process, from preparing it, to how it tastes, to how boring it is compared to a bowl full of spaghetti.
What you feel when you eat is just as important as what’s on your plate.
Your body only has two ways of being at any one time: rest-and-digest or fight-or-flight. Negative emotions like anger, sadness, and jealousy turn on the stress response in your body, which turns on your fight-or-flight response. This response moves blood away from your internal organs (i.e. your digestive organs) to your major muscles so that you can “run away” from the problem and survive.
Our brains haven’t evolved as fast as our technology, so it can’t tell the difference between a bear chasing you 10,000 year ago and your to-do list that’s 3 pages long (or worse, stuck in your head where you obsess about it 24/7).
When you’re stressed, your body literally can’t digest your food. It’s not what you eat, but what you digest. That’s why you’re not going to get healthy eating salad when you secretly hate it.
We’re stuck in a state of stress, and our expectations of perfection aren’t helping.
Man oh man, have we ever hit the terrible twos in the Srokosz household.
Aleks is fully exercising his newly found right to make his own decisions, mostly with what food he eats. All of a sudden, if dinner isn’t noodles (“noni”), pizza (“pipa”), stew or soup (great summertime foods, and exactly what I want to be cooking when it’s 5 million degrees outside), he’s having none of it.
It would be awesome if he just ignored what was on his plate, then at least I could eat the leftovers for lunch. Hells no, he tells you exactly how he feels about dinner by throwing that shit on the floor.
Just a few short months ago I was slightly bragging that my son eats kale. No more.
Feel free to gloat.
So I’ve had to change my attitude about meal planning and dinnertime, when I said that I wouldn’t make special meals just because we have a kid now, or that “he eats what we eat”. Yes, he still eats what we eat, but I have to get creative and package it a little differently, or deal with the guilt that he ate 2 bites of his dinner … again … for the 5th night in a row.
What spurred me to write about this topic was this article from the Huffington Post. I read it, and it pissed me off, partly because I was at the beginning stages of Aleks all of sudden not eating anything resembling healthy, and partly because it was the end of the day and I was most likely exhausted from trying to get him to eat said healthy food.
In fact, here was my response on Facebook to the author (which, by the way, was never replied to or answered, which is annoying in and of itself):
I also read another article which also kind of shamed parents for not having children who love eating lettuce at 2 years old.
What I don’t like about these articles is that they aren’t offering SOLUTIONS to the problem. There’s no suggestions or recommendations for those of us who don’t have veggie-munching angels who sit quietly at their table and don’t question what you’re feeding them.
So, here’s my 2 cents and 3 solutions to the problem of a picky eater (and how to get them to eat their veggies). If you just want to see me make a 2-minute veggie filled pasta sauce, skip to 3:15 in the video:
There’s a saying that life begins outside of your comfort zone.
Do you have to go as far as I did, and get naked in front of 150 women? Probably not, but stay with me as I share with you the story that culminated with a panic attack.
A few weeks ago, my husband Ben and I took a work-play combo trip for 4 days to New York City sans toddler (who’s officially hit the terrible twos).
I’ve been dreaming of going to NYC since I discovered Sex and the City 10 years ago as a procrastinating university student, and I wondered if it could ever live up to the fantasy city that I had built in my head.
Boy, did it ever. Most amazing city ever … but I could never keep up with the pace of life if I actually lived there.
I expected, since we didn’t have Aleks with us, that I’d make even the slightest dent in my sleep debt. I was so wrong.
I got caught up in the energy of the city, and combined with eating dinner 2 hours later than we usually do and wanting to see as much of NYC as possible in what little play time that I had, I slept for 4 hours the first night, and 6 hours the second.
The aches and pains from walking for 12 hours straight on cement didn’t help (I found some epsom salts in our rental apartment on the last night we were there, which was too little, too late).
On the Saturday I attended my first ever in-person work conference. As an online entrepreneur who’s a one-woman show, I spend a LOT of time by myself in front of the computer screen. I meet “work friends” over Facebook that I’ll probably never meet in real-life. It was so surreal at the airport to say “I’m travelling for business” (said me, the person who until last year was terrified of flying).
Needless to say, I was first-day-of-school excited/nervous/woke up at 4:20 am/tried on 4 outfits the night before. I packed my snacks so I wouldn’t get hangry and say something stupid in a moment of low-blood sugar desperation. I put on my super bright new lipstick (I work at home all by myself, a good day is when I get “dressed up” in skinny jeans) and my new Kate Spade purse (in the colour Fresh Air) that I spent all of my spending money on, and walked the few blocks to the event.
What would it be like? Who would I meet? How was I going to make a meaningful connection with even 1 fellow entrepreneur in a room of 150 women and online mavens making multi-six figures in their businesses?
Green smoothies are somewhat of a fad these days. And I can understand why. They pack a powerful nutrient punch, are a great way to turn dark, leafy greens into “fast food”, and if created well can be uber delicious.
But…there IS a dark side to The Green Smoothie – that nutritionists, vegans and raging raw foodies don’t often talk about – OR EVEN KNOW ABOUT. Like every “health fad”out there, what works wonders for one person may truly backfire on another. And you can’t always believe everything you hear. Period!
I’ve got to tell you a few things about Green Smoothies that you may not know. Including reasons you may not want to drink them in large quantities, or at all:
- They can taste gross. Especially if you are “throwing it all in”. There is a reason why I create a separate Green & Multi-Coloured Smoothie Recipe Book with my Spring Community Dump – all green smoothies do NOT taste equal.
- No matter how delicious I think my recipes are – you may not ever get past the green colour.
- Many green smoothie’s “veggies” are high in oxalates – something many of you will not tolerate. Oxalates are connected specifically to kidney stone formation. (There are oxalate-free green smoothies too, though.)
- You may have a thyroid condition or be on the verge of one – it doesn’t mean you can’t have green smoothies. It simply means you can’t have ANY green smoothie – you’ll need to make a special version or not eat too many of them.
- You are freezing cold. For some of you they may simply be too reducing – even in the warmer months.
Where did they come from?
They were “invented” by the Victoria Boutenko and her family. With so many health-issues Victoria switched the four of them to a plant-based, raw foods diet – and not surprisingly, saw incredible health transformations in everyone. Then she discovered a way to eat enormous amounts of green vegetables at once, while “releasing” minerals and making the foods easier to digest. Thus, the green smoothie was born.
FYI: I am skeptical of ANY extreme fad diet, unless it’s being used for therapeutic reasons and for short-ish periods of time. Initially you’re gonna feel great – especially if you’ve just come off a highly processed diet – but…that doesn’t mean you should eat that way forever – or that it’s the BEST diet out there – it’s simply a huge improvement for what you’ve done before.
My Crazy Story
When someone signs up for my free pantry party and meal planner, they get an e-mail asking them to reply with what their biggest struggle is about eating healthy. I personally log, track, and reply to each and every return e-mail, and tag them with things y’all need help with.
Without a doubt, with 3 times more mentions than any other concern, is that you need help with quick meal ideas … and that you’re in a rut.
You would think that with all the food porn out there being shared on Facebook and Pinterest that we would all be eating raw apple pie crumble or strawberry chia muffins, which were the first two recipes in my Pinterest home feed when I checked it this very minute. True story.
The problem is that we’re all so damn busy, over-scheduled, and stressed that we can’t bear to waste even $5 or 5 minutes making a recipe that we a) don’t know if it’s going to taste good, and b) don’t know if our kids are going to eat it.
So we stick with the tried and true, even if our tastebuds and our kids are bored to tears.
In life and in cooking, people always feel that safe is the easiest option, especially when we’re so busy that there’s no room for error.
So instead we spend hours and hours creating a whole new virtual life on Pinterest that doesn’t really exist (including all 2,761 pins of mine that make up my ultimate but pricey wardrobe, dream house, shoes to die for that I probably couldn’t even walk in, hair styles, and recipes that look damn tasty but I’ll probably never make), and spend
an hour bundled up in the cold watching our kids chase a soccer ball in a group of 20 other kids (and one kid in the middle of the field with his finger up his nose) our free time dreaming about that life instead of making it happen.
When I was paralyzed on the couch with anxiety a few months ago, Pinterest was one of my only escapes from my panic-inducing reality that gave me hope that dammit, life has got to be better than this.
While I may not have the money *yet* for this very low-cut designer dress for date nights (that happen once every 3 months), or these Christian Louboutin’s that have my name written all over them (that are so not practical, but oh so pretty), I CAN make the recipes that make me happy just looking at them.
Since I consider it my job to find, test, and curate a collection of tried and true recipes that will get YOU eating healthier while saving time and money (and that your whole family will love, too), I have no problem trying new recipes each week. In fact, I usually push myself out of my own comfort zone and try a brand new dinner recipe at least once, but sometimes three times, each week.
I feel like a fraud if I give a one-on-one client recipes that I think will supercharge their health without tasting them first. Just last month I tried a recipe that I’ve been giving out for years to clients, and it was so disgusting that I couldn’t eat more than a bite.
While you may count on me for a recipe every few weeks (there’s one below), there’s a whole lotta other nights that need a quick, tasty meal that’ll make you feel happy about food again.
Here’s my method for kicking your own butt out of your mommy food rut: