January 9, 2012

Green on the Go!

It has been so long since I've posted. I come up with great posts constantly, jot down notes, even start them in a Word doc, but they rarely get finished these days. Life seemed to go into warp speed the moment Mia started walking, er, running, and hasn't slowed down!
My little peanut is my whole world. She fits beautifully into mine and Steve's world, and we have perfectly adjusted to being a family of three, raising a tiny tot full of vigor, imagination, energy, curiosity, and energy beyond that which you can imagine, even for a toddler!
Keeping Mia healthy and training her pallet have been top priorities over the past months. Developing her taste for not only nutritious and healthy foods, but new and different foods on a regular basis. Every time I am at the grocery store I look for a new piece of produce that may catch her eye, such as star fruit, her recent favorite. She has developed a preference for ethnic food, just like her parents enjoy, and nibbles on treats like roasted seaweed, kale chips, raw cashews, purple carrots and fresh green juices I make her.
Juicing has become a huge part of our lives since I finally talked Steve into letting us get one several months ago. Prior to that I was driving to our nearest juice stand weekly, and making green smoothies daily. Now that I have my juicer, life is even better. Mia helps, and she gets so excited when she sees me preparing to to make "juuuuuuuuice!" We wash our vegetables, cut up the larger pieces, and I very carefully allow her to assist me in putting the pieces down the chute.
We get a straw, and she drags me into her little play house, which is her favorite spot to "dwink juuuuuuice!" (I highly recommend making healthy snacks "fun" with your tot by creatively developing a special place to indulge. Mia and I drink juice in her playhouse, we eat almond butter and apples out on the grass, and lately have been noshing on roasted seaweed in the tree!)


With my nursing program starting in one week, I know that life is going to get even more hectic around here. I know that I am going to have to "give" in several areas. Being the perfectionist that I am, I have already been challenged in parenting with "letting go" of things I cannot have control over. I am sure you have been faced with the same challenge! Now I will be pushed to my limits I am sure, but I am purposing to have the attitude of compromise, and appreciation for the moment and the way things are in that moment. I will likely have to "give" on having a perfectly clean, organized house all the time. I will probably have to "give" on having laundry done promptly, and before the baskets are full. I will certainly have to "let go" of having amazing and creatively healthy meals, made from scratch each night. I am going to have to find a way to keep my family healthy and well-fed in quicker, easier ways. Juicing is one of the methods I will use to get lots of raw veggies and fruits into them.
Over the next two years my number one priority will be my daughters health and happiness, as well as Steve's. My number two priority will be the nursing program. But when I am with my daughter, I will be with her and not distracted by a messy house, or what I should be preparing for dinner. I refuse to clean instead of read to her, I refuse to fold laundry or cook unless she can "help" and it is a fun thing for us to do together. I will not allow myself to become overwhelmed by all the things I "should" be doing, but I will simply do the very best job with what is at hand. Finding the balance in being a "working" mom is something I will have to work hard at, and something millions of women and moms out there are doing at the same time. What an art it is!

Keeping my own health in tact will be a challenge, and I am nervous about that. I have received many emails from moms who are faced with that very challenge, who have asked for ideas for health on the go. It is so difficult in this fast-paced world to keep your health whole while being in a million places at one time, wearing so many hats. You women who have hit your stride, my hats are off to you! It is difficult, yet doable. I know this from examples I've seen, and from the last 8 months of juggling I've done personally with full-time online classes and being at at-home mom. Now I'll be really put to the test as I'll be in class and hospitals training for the next two years.
My strategy at this point is lots of juicing (when at home, and for on the road), using some time on the weekends to shop and prepare simple and easy healthful snacks to take with me, and to make sure I get at least 6 hours of sleep per night.
The kind of go-to snacks I will keep handy and available are:
-Raw almonds
-Pre-cut and bagged portions of cucumbers, celery and carrots
-Green apples
-Justin's Almond Butter (single-serving packets, life-saving!)
-Hummus in mini-plastic/glass containers to grab 'n go
-Green juice first thing in the morning, and one to-go in a glass jar (I know the enzymes die quickly, but it is better than nothing in the middle of the day when I have a break from labs!)
-Green smoothies (if I have time to make them in the morning to take, in addition to juices)
-Goat cheese and homemade almond flour crackers (my favorite gluten-free gal and her recipe:  http://www.elanaspantry.com/rosemary-crackers/ )
-Water, water, water!

I know that I won't be able to work out the way I have been over the past two years, but I know enough about myself to know that I need to do something  every day, even if it is just 20 minutes of yoga before bed, or 4 sets of single and double leg wall squats. Hopefully I get to run at least 3 times per week, that is my goal, along with 20 minutes of weights 3 times per week.
One of my all-time favorite 20 minutes kick-your-a** cardio/weight workouts is Jillian Michaels: 30 Day Shred videos (number 2 and 3 especially). If all you have is 20 minutes, she will give you a run for your money! I also always revert to my 100/100/100, wall squats, and just a 30 minute run with Mia in the stroller does the trick. For abs, my go-to is Ab Ripper X (P90X) because it is only 16 minutes long, along with Abs/Core + (P90X). I do yoga before bed, even if it is only 15 minutes of it, and I will lay over my textbooks in plank pose, until every muscle is shaking, while I study. You can always squeeze it in, and that is what I'm about to become an expert on! I hope.
If I can do all of that, and keep my body properly nourished, I should be okay. I will have to continue working on my anxiety over being a busy "working"/student mom, and release my fears of my daughter feeling like I don't have enough time for her.

I recognize that I am entering a whole new era of mommyhood, one that I have not navigated, nor have I mentally prepared for, so I am choosing to take each day with stride, and focus on health and wellness for myself and my family, and the rest will hopefully fall into place. So "Hello!" messy house, overdue laundry, 5am mornings, eating on the run, tired eyes, and a whole new chapter in my life.

Here are a couple of Mia and I's favorite juice recipes, packed with raw superfood nutrition:

Mia's Orange Delight:

5-6 Organic large carrots
2 Organic green apples
Chunk of ginger root (cut off about a half inch from the root)

Juice and enjoy!

Mia's Green Goodies":

1 Large bunch organic spinach
1/2 Bunch organic parsley (or more)
1 Bunch red or green organic dandelion greens
2-3 leaves of organic swiss chard
1-2 Organic green apples

Juice and serve immediately!