Sunday, June 27, 2010

A New Blog Find!

This time I've actually physically known this blogger in person! That's exciting! Korene was one of many people who had some input in my journey toward living a healthier lifestyle. She taught Stroller Strides and while we pushed our kids, between huffing and puffing (she really worked us!), we talked health, nutrition, kids, kid's health, keeping the home clean and green. We had a fun book club for a short while and eventually went our separate ways. Truthfully, it was more me as I finished my degree and subsequently moved away. We maintained a Face Book connection and I'm glad I did because I love adding new reads to my list! Without further ado, I present Organic Size Me.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Letting go...or not

My genetics have predisposed me to mental issues. It's not so serious. There's medication available when it's bad. There's counseling. It's never been so debilitating I can't go to work (well, except maybe when I was pregnant with S... that was a tough time). We all have "stinkin' thinkin'" from time to time, but this past winter I felt like I was going nuts! It's obvious I have Seasonal Affective Disorder. So when I don't get enough sunshine I feel the loss of happy chemicals and get really, really down. Also, feelings of anxiety spike. It's a double whammy. I beat this monster while living in NC by exercising regularly. But this past winter, I did not have the lovely YMCA to go to living in MD, so I didn't have an outlet. Plus I was commuting to work with the kids in the car and was very stressed with teaching and it all culminated one week and I knew I couldn't ignore the symptoms. It was bad. I couldn't ride in the car with anyone, not even Will, who I've never had a problem riding with. I would get terrible anxiety attacks as a passenger. One week I had an anxiety attack while I was driving the girls to school in the morning. Then I had it again the next morning. I felt I just couldn't do another drive to school with them. I made a doctor's appointment and knowing I would soon get treatment got me through that week. I got on Zoloft--sertraline, actually, the generic, and it really took the edge off my anxiety. I had hoped to get off the drug once I moved and school was out, but if I go 4 days without taking it I start feeling anxiety again. The eating is going well. The days are lovely spent with my kids. But, for whatever reason, the anxiety comes back if I don't take my drug. And I hate that. What is wrong? Is it out of my control? Is it a chemical thing that can only be corrected with sertraline? No, I don't believe that. I am ready to try something different. One component that is missing is exercise. I'm looking forward to joining the Y next month. But there's more. Apparently certain vitamins taken in high doses can fight depression. And cashews are supposedly very good for it as well. The summer is here and I'm making sure to get plenty of sunshine (without getting burnt). I eat breakfast on my front porch every morning. It's lovely! I know I'm on a healing journey. It's always a journey without a destination. Well, maybe the destination is reached daily. If I can enjoy and appreciate life daily then I'm living well and healing my body and mind each day. When are we actually healthy? Doctors have always considered me healthy even when I knew I wasn't. Cholesterol is good, so why worry about anything else? Well, when you feel like crap much of the time, that's not health. When you feel an afternoon nap is necessary even after a night of 9+ hours of sleep, that's not health. I'm definitely not UNhealthy, but it's always work to be healthy. And the anxiety I continue to feel from time to time is not healthy. However, I'm going to use a tip I got from Kris Carr and take this anxiety and send it to the light. If I feel nervous in the car later today while my husband is driving, I'll think about the accident I'm picturing in my mind and push that little image to the light. It's a meditative thing of which I do not do enough.

Update: It worked. I had a few moments where I felt anxiety about traffic, but I pushed those thoughts to the light and felt better. Overall, it was a great drive. In the past I would think "The only way I'll feel better is if I'm driving." But if I think that then I can't relax, because I'm NOT driving.

Oil, not the healthy kind

Just heard this on the Diane Rehm Show yesterday: the best way to test if something has petroleum/oil in it is the human nose and taste buds. So, professional tasters are tasting shrimp and other seafood from the Gulf to see if it has been exposed to the oil spill. Yum!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Food, Inc.

Food and weight issues. Don't most of us have them in one way or another? We can't get away from food and so they continue our whole lives. And they can start young. You've probably read or seen a news segment about little girls worrying about their weight. Well, it's true. They do. S started asking if she was skinny at about 4 years old. G came in from riding her bike yesterday and her dad commented on how sweaty she was. I said she was getting some good exercise out there. She said "I'm getting some weight off me." Oh Lord in Heaven please help me. What would you say to that? G is a scrawny little thing as it is, but she has already been exposed to the idea that exercise is for losing weight. I told her, "No, you're not losing weight from exercising. Exercising is necessary to keep your muscles and bones strong and healthy. People of all different sizes should exercise; not just to lose weight." S told me a classmate had a salad at lunch one day and had told her she was on a diet. Again, I think that classmate had absorbed the idea that people only eat healthy greens to "diet" and lose weight. I've explained to the kids that diet doesn't mean losing weight; it simply means the foods that you eat, such as having a healthy diet like we do.

My parents recently asked me if I missed their TV. See, since moving out of their home where we lived for the past year, we do not have TV service, just Internet. I responded honestly that I do NOT miss their TV. I do not miss the blaring noise, the louder-than-the-program commercials (I was glad congress was voting on making a law against that... whatever happened with that bill?). I certainly do not miss the crappy food commercials that go against how I am feeding my family and what I want my children to think of as "real" or good or healthy food. I love that I am not allowing the propaganda from the food industry into my home.

We watched Food, Inc. yesterday afternoon. I didn't invite the kids to watch it with me since the little one has a difficult time sitting still for a long time and being quiet and I also had no idea how much awful stuff it would show. Turned out it didn't show grossly horrific images, just hanging carcasses at factories and cutting of meat (horrific to me, but it's the truth). So when the kids wandered in about half-way through I let them stay and watch. And I explained a lot to them. S was especially curious to understand the whole Monsanto ordeal wherein Monsanto Secret Agents visit farms and sue farmers. If you don't know about this, watch Food, Inc (which is on Netflix Instant Watch) or read The Unhealthy Truth: How our food is Making Us Sick-And What We Can Do About It. Monsanto is a terribly corrupt corporation and everyone should learn what they are doing to our food and what products they make and sell. Even Rice and Soy Dream are connected to Monsanto and buying those products give money back to Monsanto.

So I took a break after the last paragraph and got the whiny kids dinner. We had salad. Big woop, right? Everyone's was different. Unfortunately G didn't care for hers. I didn't have her favorite Miracle Dressing ingredients from Vegan Lunchbox because I still haven't bought all the basics I need in my kitchen. So I mixed some plain hummus, black beans, baby greens, garlic powder, stevia and lemon juice together. Her response was great! She sat down and dug right in. After a few minutes she shared that she really didn't like the salad all that much. I tried giving her a mix of maple syrup and tamari (two of the Miracle Dressing ingredients) but it didn't help much. Maybe she just wasn't that hungry since we'd had a late lunch/snack? I don't know what it was.

S is pickier and expresses her opinions freely--too freely. When she saw me putting Stevia on G's salad she made a face and said ewugh. She cut it out when she saw my face, though. For her salad I gave the greens a splash of lemon juice, added two tablespoons of black beans, some garlic powder and a little ranch dressing (Nature's Promise because it doesn't have any type of MSG--did you know autolyzed yeast can be MSG? Learned that from Chemical Free Kids, another great book). S LOVED her salad. She said I should put it on my blog because other parents would want to make it for their kids. She couldn't get over the black beans. She thought they were much better than the "cooked" black beans we eat with other meals. Her palate is sensitive and having too many spices in the beans doesn't appeal to her. So there you go. Salad with straight-from-the-can-rinsed black beans and ranch. Maybe your kid will eat it. If not, go for the Asian Miracle dressing in Vegan Lunchbox.

There is no easy way to raise kids and it's a very difficult world to navigate these days with big business only watching out for the bottom line and not for consumers. It's a lot to handle as an adult, so teaching children how to care for their health and the environment isn't easy, but it must be done. Thank goodness for all the resources online. Now to find people to meet face to face. I'd love for my kids to meet other kids who are raised veggie.

And here's my tip for getting kids to eat salad. Serve salad for dinner. Eat it as well. Offer fun things to put on it like seeds and nuts. Make kid friendly dressings or buy their favorites (in the best form possible--aka no Hidden Valley Ranch). If salad is dinner, then salad is important, not just some side to tolerate.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Kids say the best things! (sometimes)

I've been catching up on my blog reading (listed to the side), especially Crazy Sexy Life and Kristin's Raw. Both are full of so much information. I'm feeling really encouraged to keep the focus on raw fruits and veggies. I also checked out Raw Mom and enjoyed hearing an interview with a 10 year old girl. She spoke very well and talked about what it's like having a raw mom and what foods she really enjoys, one being a juicy hamburger! haha! S (7 years old) had a cheeseburger at my school picnic the other day and she said it was the best lunch she'd ever had! Truthfully she says that about a lot of meals including my vegan concoctions. She just really enjoys good food. S also thanked me recently for providing her with information about good foods and for learning so much about eating healthfully. Aww, she was so sincere and sweet. G (4 years old) saw the juicer my husband has been using and told me she wants a green juice because it's her "absolute favorite!" How great is that? S has not been won over by juices or smoothies. She prefers to EAT her food than drink it. But G will chug down a green lemonade and ask for seconds. I'm so grateful my kids actually try foods and eat good fruits and veggies. They make me so happy.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A new season

These days I am very tired and hot by the end of the school day. I guess that's what the last weeks of school are like. There are only a couple more exam days and then I finish for the school year. However, it's more like a beginning for me. I plan on reorganizing my classroom little by little this summer and I have a lot of planning for new classes I'll be teaching in the fall. The summer is a time or renewal for me. I'll have more time with my daughters. I'll read a few books for fun. I'll renew my exercise and eating habits. (Both of which should give me some much needed energy.) I plan on getting off coffee as I'm incredibly addicted and it's the first thing I think about when I wake up. I hope to be less stressed and more focused on myself and my family. Here's to a new season... my favorite season: summer.