Pick My Brain

Photo credit: Christian Razon

Photo credit: Christian Razon

I get quite a few questions through Facebook, Instagram, and people who just know me in person about leading a healthy lifestyle, raising a healthy child, or simply what made me do THIS. Inspired by all your curiosity (which I deeply love and promote), I posted an "Ask Anything" thread on my Facebook and Instagram accounts. I recieved so many wonderful questions that I believe many of my followers will benefit from. So, as promised, I am answering your "burning, need-to-knows."

Q: I wake up really thirsty and with a sore throat. I don't know what to do because I'm usually on the run and a smoothie feels like it might be too cold, but I can't come up with anythig else! What do you reccomend? 

A: In the colder months, I agree a smoothie full of frozen fruit and cold nut milk isn't the first thing I want in the morning as I'm trying to warm up (literally and figuratively) to the day. While I'm a bit of a coffee and tea junkie (we all have our vices), they are not the best options first thing in the morning either. During the night, your body is using tons of water to heal, digest, grow, and so on. However, you are not likely putting any water back into your system during your hours of slumber.  Thus, you wake up parched. I recommend two incredibly simple things: Drink a big glass of water before you go to bed (yes, you may have to get up to pee in the middle of the night, but I often find during the cold, dry months, my body uses so much water at night that I don't) and drink another big glass upon waking before you eat, drink, or do anything else. Giving your body adequate water will make sure everything is running smoothly, and you likely won't wake up with a dry throat or mouth (or not as much). Plus, the extra water in the morning starts your system out on the right, hydrated foot. I know it sounds like I'm giving you the most obvious answer of to drink more water because you are thirsty, but it really is that simple. Dehydration is linked to so many crappy-feeling issues that drinking more water really is the best answer. If you want something warm, hot water with lemon is my favorite no caffine fix.  It aids in digestion and helps to flush toxins and waste out of your system without dehydrating you.

Q: How old are you? 

A: Thats easy enough to answer, I'm 32.  

Q: How many calories do you eat in a day? 

A: I do not really track my calories. There was a time that I did (avidly) but I found that as long as I eat in moderation and make it a priority that at least half of my plate (if not more) is heaping with fruits and veggies, my body naturally stays at a healthy weight without me having to track every morsel that passes my lips.  

Q: How do you make kids love their veggies? 

A: You can't make a kid love anything, but you can give them lots of exposure and opportunities to learn to love what is good for them. Invite them to cook, garden, and shop with you. Ask them what they would like for a vegetable in the lunch box and/or at dinner. Children will embrace what they have invested themselves in and what they have a little contorl over.  I don't think it is reasonable to expect your child to love every veggie (my daughter will likely never enjoy zucchini), but finding the ones they do love and encouraging them to try new ones can be an adventure for both parent and child alike. Try new veggies together and be sure to be a positive "veggie-eating role model". I did a blog post a while back entitled Raising a Healthy Child. You might find it helpful.

Q: How do you balance a family and prepping healthy meals?  How do you meal prep? What do you prep? And how do you store it?

A: I do A LOT of planning and prep on the weekends.  Saturdays are my meal planning and grocery shopping day. I look at what our week will be like (what days I have to work late, what days we have something extra going on, or the nights my husband will be gone) and plan meals where they fit best. I typically plan a crockpot meal for the days I know will be the craziest, so that dinner is hot and ready to be eaten as soon as we walk through the door.  Breakfast for dinner once a week (okay, sometimes twice), as its usually pretty easy to scramble some eggs with shredded veggies or cook up a pot of oatmeal. Sunday is meal prep day.  I prep our family meal essentials so that throwing together dinner is  a little easier throughout the week. Meal prep typically includes me cooking a big pot of brown rice that we can easily throw veggies and/or beans over or use as a simple side, boiling a dozen eggs for quick breakfasts out the door or to throw in a lunch box, a big salad in (an air-tight container with a piece of clean paper towel to absorb extra mositure and minimize  the chances of it rotting before we get to eat it) to make for an easy veggie serving at dinner or (again) for lunches, washed and sliced fruits or veggies, cooking beans, making sauces and so on. I store a lot in mason jars and air-tight containers. I also freeze anything that is leftover at the end of the week (like a soup or bean, and even rice) so they are there to pull out and make another week's meal prep even easier. It sounds like a lot of work (and, I won't lie, it is) but it really pays off to go into the week prepared. When you do, you will find wholesome meals come together with less stress and easier, thus the temptation for processed food or take-out minimized.

Q: What's been the thing you are most proud of in terms of changing your diet/eating better/ becoming healthier. What's the one thing you would high five yourself for?

A: I had to sit and stew on this one for a bit. After some serious thought, I keep coming back to the same answer: getting my my health in order soon enough to teach my daughter right off the bat how to lead a healthy lifestyle. While I am incredibly proud of my weight loss and figuring out what being healthy really means (not just being skinny), I feel wildly grateful to be able to raise her with this knowledge. Whether she opts to follow my beliefs of health and nutrition into her adult life or not, I have given her a foundation to explore health and foods.