Random Ramblings: Respectful Parenting, Healthy Eating, & Podcasts

Today I’m checking in with a whole bunch of randomness to help clear my mind AND share more about honest and raw truth about myself, my life, and my habits with you– my awesome readers!

The forecast is finally tempting us with temps above 50 later this week, but as we’re waking up so another day where snow is falling from the sky (it’s April 10, right?!), I’m trying to keep my attitude and outlook positive today. Aaaaand I’m living in struggle city. Or after experiencing a not-so-pretty grown up temper tantrum when my toddler refused to stay still while I got her dressed this morning (she often does this as my husband so nicely reminded me), I’m living in failure city.

Clearly I’m harboring some mom guilt today. I know I’m far from a failure, but my high strung and short-tempered self is jealous of those who are a lot more patient than me. And honestly, I’m just in this funk, AGAIN. Mother nature, please stop knocking me down with your cold and snow! Hopefully this is the real, real end of winter.

Thinking about parenting and how I can avoid more mommy meltdowns when the weather can’t be my excuse anymore, I’ll share that we’re trying to practice respectful parenting using a lot of Magda Gerber’s principles. Gerber really emphasizes respect for and trust in our growing babies. The big picture of our goals mean we trust that our children are capable growing little people. We try not to yell when there are meltdowns or defiant moments, instead opting to stay calm, gently redirect while being firm, but fair. When conditions are ideal (ie. when everyone is happy and sweet) it works awesome. And when a meltdown happens and I use the tools I’ve been learning, I find I stay more calm and the hard moments end sooner and more productively. Alas, when parenting children who are trying to make sense of these huge emotions they’re feeling every day sometimes it’s hard, for everyone! This morning’s mommy eruption was not in line with my parenting goals. Grace. Being a mom keeps me seriously humble and thank goodness I know I’ll have lots more opportunities to do better.

Other things on my mind today: healthy eating. As I mentioned last week, I’ve been motivated to really get my diet back on track. I’m reducing my chocolate chip intake by handfuls (no, seriously…) and replacing my cravings for sugar with more veggies and natural sugars like fruits.

I’m currently chomping on carrot sticks and hummus.

hummus-carrots

I can’t say cutting out the junk food is easy right now (cravings are real and you don’t have to be pregnant to have them), but I’ve done this before and know it will be worth it.

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Breastfeeding can’t continue to be an excuse to keep eating junk (at least not for me) and I’d like to rely less on high rise yoga pants and flexing my muscles to mask my postpartum pouch (which of course, I’m super proud of and grateful for, but hello–I’m human and fitness focused!).

We’ve restocked the freezer and pantry at Costco and Aldi a few times in the last couple weeks and I’m excited to feel prepared to keep working at self improvement.

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With two kids, my dinners have been so simple over the last six+ months and thankfully these even healthier meal options are still super easy. I know I haven’t been doing the “What I Ate Wednesday” posts anymore (because they were time consuming and not as popular), but I am still meal planning and some of the menu offering in our home over the next couple weeks will include:

  1. Salmon with Veggies
  2. Pesto Chicken and Veggies
  3. Chicken with Avocado Salad
  4. Ham, Apple, and Sweet Potato Egg Scramble
  5. Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs
  6. Sweet Potatoes Stuffed with Shredded Chicken (BBQ or Buffalo Chicken)
  7. Healthy Ramen with Asian Beef and Asparagus (this last one is an original from my kitchen! Watch for a recipe later this week)
  8. Turkey Quinoa Taco Casserole
  9. Burrito Bowls with Cauliflower Rice

If the actual meal isn’t popular, these are all dishes with at least toddler and baby-friendly ingredients (yes, Josie is eating now too–she looooves food), like avocado, sweet potato, salmon, meatballs, and loads of veggies (most of which both girls will actually eat if they’re not too tired). Sweet!

Something else I’ve been doing that makes me feel good is listening to podcasts. It’s a fun way to listen and learn while I’m driving, with the kids, or getting some work done. Some of my favorites lately have been:

  1. Well-Fed Women – I love the honest advice these two women give on health nutrition, and fitness related topics. Their podcast description says, “Expect real talk, moderately amusing banter, and empowering advice for women, from women” and I think this sums up their show great. I’ve really enjoyed episodes #162-#165 in the last few weeks.
  2. The mindbodygreen – This podcast is full of awesome info on a whole host of health related topics and all from pioneers in the health industry.
  3. Unruffled – This is a parenting podcast by Janet Lansbury, a parenting expert focused on the respectful parenting practices we’re trying to use. Listening to this podcast helps me stay mindful and focused on my efforts and reminds me I’m an imperfect human capable of trying again when I slip up.

If you’re interested in more of the ramblings from my brain these days, follow my IG account where I’ve been trying to post more regularly. Things I’m thinking about sharing in the upcoming weeks include healthier dessert options, ways you can cleanse your diet and jump start weight loss, what we’re planting in our garden this year, exercises you can do at the office, and a workout you can do on your next hike, my Costco and Aldi grocery lists, the benefits of fermented foods, and more.

Tell me, what are some topics you’d like to hear more about? Share on social media, or in the comments below! 

 

10 Small Changes To Live a Healthier Life

The countdown to Easter has started around our house. This weekend we enjoyed some Easter parties and egg hunts and while I haven’t loved Easter in years, I’m really enjoying celebrating with our girls. This is the first year Isla can really participate in and enjoy some of the traditions associated with Easter and with so little time between St. Patrick’s Day and Easter this year, we’re really cramming in the festivities around our house right now.

Along with the parties and egg hunts, we dared to dye Easter eggs with two under two. And surprisingly, Josie was the first to spill a cup of dye. It’s fun starting traditions with our girls. With this fun activity we ate a simple and toddler friendly dinner of baked chicken tenders, tomato salad, and carrot sticks.

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In my last post, I talked about how it’s all of these small changes that help create the larger and more amazing accomplishments and transformations. So, today I thought it would be helpful to talk about some of the small changes you can make today to live a healthier life.

A lot of the time, when someone is trying to get healthy they give up because it feels too hard and unrealistic. People think they have to do everything right to be healthy and when that seems overwhelming, they give up. And I think if I thought I needed to exercise for an hour every day and eat nothing but salads that I would give up too.

Thinking about the results I’ve seen firsthand over the last several years, I often think my clients who experience the best success (ie. the long term results), are successful because they were making smaller and consistent changes. Making changes in this way means you can be thoughtful about your current diet and exercise routine, and you’re truly able to make thoughtful changes that build up to a lifestyle change and most importantly–something maintainable.

So, what changes can you make today?

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  1. Swap your favorite indulgence with a healthier alternative 3 times per week.  What food are you eating regularly and too much of? What food are you not eating enough of? I ask my clients these two questions almost every week. And over time, by reducing your intake of your favorite indulgences, either by cutting down on portion size or not eating it at all 3 times per week, and replacing them with a healthier alternative you’ll see and feel a difference. And hopefully these kinds of changes will become permanent. Some good examples include cutting down on a portion of nuts and subbing that extra serving with an apple. Swap ice cream after dinner with a bowl of your favorite cereal. Eat scrambled eggs with spinach three times per week instead of a bagel. By committing to a change just three times per week, the change isn’t overwhelming and you can still feel like you’re enjoying some of your favorite things.
  2. Reduce the number of alcoholic beverages you’re consuming. Except when I’m pregnant, I do not eliminate alcohol from my diet. However, I do limit myself to a few drinks per week. One of the ways I hold myself accountable is limiting my drinking to weekends with special exceptions. After spending almost 2 years without drinking (because I was preggers), I don’t want to give up alcohol, but I choose to drink a few days per week so I can really enjoy the drinks I’m having.
  3. Swap soda for seltzer. Men shouldn’t be consuming more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day, and women shouldn’t be consuming more than 5. A can of Coke has more than 9 teaspoons alone, plus a whole bunch of other ingredients your body doesn’t need.
  4. Stop consuming artificial sweeteners. One of the biggest reasons I can’t stand artificial sugar is because it “tricks” the body and your metabolism. Consuming artificial sugar sends a message to the brain and body that you’re about to get a sugar rush soon, but it never comes. Confused, your insulin levels may rise even higher than if you had actual sugar, and then you’re triggering the fat storage system. Without getting too into things, it’s a messy and dirty cycle! Stop messing with your your body and just cut these chemicals out of your diet for the biggest benefit.
  5. Consume ginger, lemon, apple cider vinegar and/or other naturally detoxing ingredients. One of my favorite, natural detoxing regimens includes a regular cup of lemon ginger herbal tea. This is especially great after I’ve eaten some particularly salty food or am experiencing some water retention.
  6. Add fermented foods/beverages to your diet. I am always touting the positive effects of fermented foods to family, friends, and strangers (sorry, not sorry). I love fermented foods and drinks for so many reasons that I will eventually write a whole post about them, but in short: fermented food improves your immune system, can help improve your mood, and yes–it can help aid in weight loss. Some of my favorites include kombucha, sauerkraut (not the mushy stuff your grandma used to serve on top of hot dogs), and kim chi. Just a little bit goes a long way.
  7. Flavor your coffee with an alternative to your favorite processed “dessert” creamer. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup creamer may taste good in your coffee, but it’s not good for you. Instead, consider flavoring your coffee with a slurry of a tablespoon of whole milk, a pinch of cinnamon, and a few drops of your favorite extract (vanilla, hazelnut, almond, coconut, or pumpkin spice).
  8. Go for a quick 5 minute stroll once per hour. If you have a desk job (and even if you don’t), go for a walk once per hour! You don’t have to log a mile, but keep moving to keep blood flowing, feel energized, improve your mood, improve your focus, and more. Hopefully this small movement will help you want to move more than you have more time at another point in your day too!
  9. Drink more water. Aim to drink about half your body weight in ounces in a day. If it feels like a lot more than you’ve been doing, you can count one cup of coffee into your ounce count. Staying hydrated also keeps your body functioning optimally. If you’re drinking enough water you should hopefully be moving enough through the day as you need to keep visiting a restroom.
  10. Exercise for 20-30 minutes, 3 times per week. If that seems overwhelming, be creative when you plan your exercise. Do 10 minutes of exercise a few times a day. Fit in a set of ab exercises while your breakfast is cooking. Go for a walk with the family a few evenings per week. Do some jump squats before you get in the shower and push ups before you go to bed. Fitting in regular movement will help you start exercising more regularly and maybe eventually for longer chunks.

All of these changes might not be easy, or sexy, or even fun. However, I do find that over time, they really help you be a healthier version of yourself for the long term.

When you’re fighting to make these kinds of commitments, the number one way I help myself stay on track is education. Educate yourself! Educate yourself about WHY these changes help you achieve your goals. Get on Google and remind yourself why you’re making these changes in the first place. Unsubscribe from the junk food videos popping up on your social media news feeds and surround yourself with information that supports the healthy changes you’re making instead. When getting healthy, education is your best tool.

Think about what you’re putting in your body regularly and about how various choices you’re making are affecting your waistline, immunity, inflammation, wallet, and more. Consider how eliminating, reducing, or adding something to your life can help you feel better and achieve your goals. Then the likelihood of your sticking to things is a lot more likely!

What are some changes you’ve made to start living healthier? Which one of these changes will you make first? Share in the comments below.

Healthy Snacks That Satisfy

It’s no secret, when it comes to being healthy, diet is important. Diet isn’t a word I ever use as a means to lose weight. I actually hate when people say, “I’m on a diet.” It’s something I don’t let my clients say (at least around me).

Why am I such a hater about this word? Probably for the same reasons most of your favorite fitness professionals agree with me. When we’re on a diet, it’s like a short term commitment. Our regular diet should be exactly that–things we eat on a regular basis. When my clients are making diet changes, I am always asking if they are missing something. A favorite treat? And then we address how they can either reincorporate a particular item back in, or find something similar that won’t wreak so much havoc on their goals.

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite healthy snacks that support my health and fitness goals. These items are staples in my diet. I would say I eat at least two of these options each day. When I think about a snack I try to keep my added sugar intake low. Then, I always eat some protein and typically, I add in a carb and I definitely make sure I’m eating some fat too.

Some people still balk when I emphasize that they must have fat in their diets. But low fat is not the healthier trend. If you didn’t know this yet, I’m so excited to educate you.

I remember a news story came out recently about soy and how soy products have been labeled as heart healthy, per approval by the FDA. The FDA has now taken a step back on their approval to label soy products in this way, instead saying soy MAY be heart healthy, but it’s no sure thing. A woman being interviewed said she was so confused by this change and ultimately about what were smart grocery choices for her family. She goes to the store and reads the labels and feels like the best choices are always changing. It was at that point in the feature story that I started yelling at the TV.

Another thing that drives me nuts is how so many people are educated about what’s “healthy” by reading the boxes and containers at the grocery store. Those packages are labeled by marketers, not nutritionists.

This method of education is exactly why so many people believe low fat (or even worse, no fat) is one of those smart choices. In reality, fat is an important of any person’s diet. Fat helps absorb essential vitamins and minerals. Fat supports cell growth. Fat helps with important hormone functions in the body. And fat leaves you feeling satisfied for longer because it takes longer to break down in the body.

I understand we are busy, but doing just a little independent research regularly about what you put into your body is so important. Think about how many times we feed ourselves in a day. And the number of times we feed our family.  Even if we only eat three times per day, that’s almost 1100 times we make a choice about what to put in our body. Aside from sleep, I argue we eat more than we do anything else in our lives. If we can make seriously smart choices even 50% of the time, that’s a lot of opportunities to be healthy and be that best version of ourselves.

I won’t get into it here, but some feel so strongly that fat is the most essential part of their diet that they are on “keto” or ketogenic diets. So their diets consist of foods that are mostly high in fat. I personally opt for a more traditional diet balanced in carbohydrates, protein, and fat. But fat is an excellent source of energy and when consumed in moderation, it can certainly help maintain a healthy body weight–and support your ideal body composition too.

So yes, all of the snacks here have a mixture of nutrients, including fat, which is really why I think they’re so satisfying. Meaning,  you normally won’t be running back to the cabinet for another handful of chips an hour later. I also love that these snacks are easy to grab and go with. It seems I’m always on the move, either chasing after my baby, running errands, or exercising. These snacks require minimal prep and most even keep well in your purse or backpack.

Here are some of my favorite snacks. Nutrition information is from MyFitnessPal:

Veggies with Hummus – I use whatever veggies I might have in the fridge. Some of my go-to’s are carrots, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, broccoli, and radishes. The veggies are full of healthy carbs and protein (yes, veggies have protein too!), and the hummus packs even more protein and fat.

One cup of assorted veggies + 2 tablespoons of hummus = 180 calories/7 g fat/14 g carbs/8 g protein

hummus-veggies

Kind Bar + Apple – This is such an easy snack to grab and take on the go. I keep Kind bars in my purse for when I’m running errands and hungry. I also almost always grab a piece of fruit like an apple, orange, or banana on my way out the door in the morning.

Kind bar + apple = 270 calories/15.5g fat/38 g carbs/6.5 g protein

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Protein Muffins + Clementine– As I’ve shared before, I’m often using Kodiak Cake Pancake Mix to make food at our house. Various protein muffins are a staple around our house. I often make a few dozen and throw them in the freezer. The muffins featured here are pumpkin chocolate chip. Sometimes I have one. Sometimes I have two. I almost always combine my serving with a piece of fruit to get an extra bit of sweetness.

One pumpkin protein muffin + clementine = 215 calories/7.9 g fat/32.4 g carbs/6.3 g protein

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Salad – One of my favorite snacks lately has been prepackaged salads from Costco. They have a kale salad, and now this tasty organic “Mediterranean Crunch Chopped Salad Kit.” Holy yum! I mix this up and grab scoopfuls for a couple days. You can easily make this a meal by adding some grilled chicken or fish.

2 servings of Mediterranean Crunch Chopped Salad = 300 calories/20 g fat/26 g carbs/6 g protein

salad

Trail Mix – This particular trail mix is the kind with the M&Ms. Not organic, but seriously the best. We get a giant bag of this from Costco and love it. I regularly get trail mixes from Marshalls and TJMaxx too and those have more dried fruit and no candy. Still tasty, but sometimes I like to indulge a little (ie. I love chocolate).

3 tablespoons of trail mix = 160 calories/10 g fat/12 g carbs/5 g protein

trail-mix

Plain whole milk yogurt + vanilla extract + granola – Here’s one of my full fat dairy products! This is either a great snack, or sometimes I make it breakfast too. Adjust the serving size to suit your needs.

Instead of buying vanilla yogurt which has tons of added sugar, I flavor my own yogurt with vanilla extract. It has no added sugar, little to no calories, and I actually think it’s much tastier. Sometimes I add a pinch of cinnamon too. This particular granola is from Love Crunch and it’s their Dark Chocolate Macaroon flavor.

1 cup plain whole milk yogurt + 1/4 cup granola = 440 calories/21 g fat/44 g carbs/12 g protein

yogurt-granola

Not pictured, but other favorite snacks of mine include:

  • avocado with salsa in the middle
  • a scrambled egg and sprouted grain toast
  • 1/2 a cheese quesadilla + fruit (sometimes I add black beans or shredded chicken)
  • a cheese stick and veggies
  • sprouted grain crackers with guacamole and tomatoes

What are some of your favorite snacks? Share in the comments below!