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22Aug/140

Real Food Friday: What works and what doesn’t (for me) for postpartum eating

Hi, All,

As this whole "Real Food Friday" business is rather new around here, I'm guessing my recent inability to post on a schedule wasn't actually noticed by anyone. Still, I'm excited to get back to it.

Selah Marie is now 16 days old, and I'm ready to talk about food again. Okay, I'm always ready to talk about food. I'm ready to sit down and type and actually publish a few thoughts on food again.

I'm eating fairly well. This is motivated by the fact that I have the needs of a baby and a toddler to keep up with + I have other interests I'm trying to pursue + a husband with whom I'd like to continue to have a good relationship. Generally, I try to eat so I have energy for living.

I'm not perfect with the whole eating well/ real food thing. In fact, I'm often re-learning the same lessons because I just can't focus on every thing that demands attention all at once, I get distracted, and I fall off the wagon.

I thought I'd share what's working for me in real food for energy and what isn't. I'd love your ideas, too, if you have them!

[What works]

Our CSA subscription. The more veggies I eat, the better I feel. Crazy, right?

Getting in the kitchen when I can. The kitchen is a form of therapy for me + getting in the kitchen means all that kale (or fill in whatever veggie) we have gets turned into something yummy. (PS. Our family favorite recipe for kale chips can be found here.)

Gifted meals. I used to be shy about admitting to my dietary preferences, like admitting them (even when asked) was piling some too-heavy burden on the person asking. I've since discovered that those who are asking want to know, and I'm feeling a little less weird about it. Can I just tell you that food is my love language? I eat a little differently than most people I know + I view food as medicine, so things like noticing Selah's tummy troubles means cutting out dairy or finding out that wheat leaves me feeling  foggy and sluggish means a lot less (if any) of it. Of course any meal is a welcome gift, but receiving one with my preferences in mind always has me feeling loved and cared for.

Extras. I aim to take in food-based prenatals (Megafood is my current favorite), a real food source of probiotics (I'm eating ruby sauerkraut these days- the refrigerated kind, not the shelf-stable stuff), and a tablespoon of grass fed gelatin most days.

[What doesn't work]

Eating too-tiny meals. I do sometimes have trouble feeling hunger. I blame it on the sleep deprivation. But a day of too-small meals has me reaching for all the sugar I can scrounge by the evening (a default setting I'll likely always need to stay conscious of if I want to be healthy). That doesn't feel good or lend itself to any of the huge doses of patience I feel like I need these days.

Counting calories. I did this for about 2 1/2 days after an evening of over-indulgence. It helps me feel a little more in-control, but it doesn't really fit my style. I always find myself rebelling against it or choosing foods based on calories and not nutrition (because I don't want to take the time to calculate every meal; I just want to cook if applicable and enjoy). No more counting calories for this girl.

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1Aug/141

Real Food Friday: Fast Food

I get that there are times when the prep work for a real food meal didn't happen and time is not on our side. I do.

For those times, I would say there are real food options that can be obtained relatively quickly and at least somewhat healthfully.

There are a couple of options in my area that I would consider when wanting something quick, "real," and satisfying. You might have different options in your area, and if so, I'd love to hear about them!

Chipotle. While I'm not a fan of everything they serve, Chipotle does a great job of being transparent about their food. You can make your own informed decision by checking out their ingredient statement here. Everything, with the exception of tortilla chips, tortillas, and possibly white rice, looks like real food to me.

Elevation Burger. While not quite as transparent as Chipotle, Elevation Burger does offer100% grassfed burger patties, organic bacon, aged & unprocessed cheddar, fresh-cut fries cooked in 100% olive oil, and organic milk, all of which pass my real food test.

If you're from the Reading, PA area, what am I missing?

If you're not, I'm curious- what fast real food options do you have in your area?

25Jul/143

Real Food Friday: Gelatin

This post is not for vegetarians. Grass fed gelatin, as discussed in the following post, is derived from grass fed cows and should not be consumed by those wishing to avoid some or all animal products.

Okay...I'm about to put my crunchy-real food- off the beaten path weirdness on display for you.

I bought a container of gelatin. Like, powdered plain gelatin made from grass fed cows.

Before you click away, remember gelatin is in marshmallows. And jello (which I don't love, but Tim and Nolan do). And fudgsicles. That makes it not so weird, right?

Besides the fact that, unless you're vegetarian, you're likely eating gelatin in some form (smores, anyone?), the stuff that comes from grass fed cows is really, really good for you.

After hearing a few casual mentions about how beneficial the stuff is, I decided to look up more info for myself, and I found out that gelatin can

-help tighten loose skin (hello, post-baby belly!)

-support better digestion and even help heal some digestive disorders

-help the body relax and sleep well at night

-promote joint health

-promote healthier skin, hair, and nails

-add protein to the diet without any of the weird, non-real food additives a lot of protein powders tend to have

Sold.

So far, I've added it to banana soft serve and smoothies. I've also tried it in Against All Grain's recipe for fudge pops.

On my to-try list of recipes using gelatin are

Strawberry Lemonade Gummies by Stupid Easy Paleo

Healthy Sour Watermelon Gummies by Meatified

Dirt Worm Pudding, a guest post by Fed & Fit on Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind (This one looks like it would be a lot of work, but I'd love to try it once!)

Rustic Homemade Marshmallows with Honey by The Urban Poser

There's a lot more yummy-looking, gelatin-utilizing recipes out there; these are some of the most delicious- looking to me at the moment.

So, really, what's NOT appealing about doing something beneficial for your body while eating your pudding/marshmallows/gummies?

21Jul/146

Coffee Date!

I love, love coffee dates. I'm particular to those in my home because I'm not quite sure where to get a good cup of fair trade coffee around here ,other than Haute Chocolate, but they don't open til 11. It's 6 as I type this. Also, I really want organic half and half, too, and while I will admit to carrying my own with me from time to time just come over to my house for coffee, please. It's cheaper. Easier on my conscience. And you can stay as long as you want.

Once in a while, I like to host these virtual coffee dates. Maybe that's weird. But basically, I tell you some random stuff about me that I feel like spilling this morning and then it's your turn.  This works out because maybe you're not awake at 6 and/or maybe you're pretty picky about your coffee, too, but I don't make it like you like or I don't have your favorite creamer.

So.

I should first tell you that I ate 3 giant marshmallows last night while sacked out on the couch with my exhausted son, watching Phineas and Ferb. Yes, I did. Those marshmallows were not the real food, homemade kind (although that needs to happen in our house!). They were the store-bought, grabbed for a trip to the mountains and stuffed in the back of our pantry kind. I tell you this not out of guilt, but because I want you to know that when I write my Real Food Fridays series, I'm not talking about perfection. I'm talking about the choices we make most of the time.

I wake up every morning wondering if this will be the day I meet my Selah girl. I am trying to keep making plans as usual, enjoy my one-on-one time with Nolan, and relax in the fact God knows the day and hour of her birth. My challenge is that the cramps and contractions I've been having don't let me forget for too long that I am about to give birth, and I've kind of stopped formally exercising because holy cramps (!).

My current obsessions include Noonday and Don't Waste the Crumbs.

Noonday is all about creating a sustainable marketplace for women around the world who are otherwise economically vulnerable or oppressed. The jewelry and accessories are gorgeous, the stories are compelling, and the work being done is redemptive and beautiful and it seems like the right place for me to be right now.

-Don't Waste the Crumbs is a blog/ website all about eating real food on a budget. I can't get enough and pour over the posts when I have the chance. As a stay at home mom (read: brings in minimal income) with a passion for quality, sustainable food systems, I am mining this site for all its worth.

Your turn!

What's something that you think about every day?

How do you like your coffee?

What are you obsessed with these days?

14Jan/140

Getting Healthy Mama

I'm a strong believer in food as a foundation for a lot of things- community, energy, mood, quality of life...

Yet there is this part of me that struggles with abusing. I'm not talking about treats. I see nothing wrong with occasional treats; after all, they can be a fun part of quality of life. I'm talking about eating in mass quantities, eating so my mood dips low, so I don't sleep well, my energy dips, all of that.

I am a fan of food journals. Not the kind that count calories; I've been there and it's not for me. I've filled journals with what I've eaten that day, notes, shopping lists, highlights from the day...that kind of thing.

During this season of my life, sitting down to write what I ate is not how I want to be spending my time. There are cards and posts I haven't written, books I haven't read, friends I haven't met with....

This morning, I created a new Instagram account (in addition to my personal one, which is mostly pictures of Nolan) to document my adventures in making choices that lead to the quality of life I'm after. I think it's going to be a lot more fun than a food journal. Want to join me? Check out http://instagram.com/gettinghealthymama.

See you over there!

25Oct/122

Messiness

I can already tell this is going to be the kind of post that has me sitting down to write, not really sure of what's going to end up published when I get up.

I'm just going to write, ok? If I say something that doesn't make sense or you don't agree with or that resonates with you, I hope you feel comfortable speaking up (if you want to).

You may know that one thing I love in life is sharing a meal. I love a full house and full plates and bellies and lots of noise and laughter and nodding and chaos.

That happened in my house last night.

In the name of Food Day, I invited a few friends and family over. We had a potluck. My Lauterback side had me worried we wouldn't have enough. But we did.

There is always enough.

And I don't know, I guess I was kind of tired. I said a few things that I wish I had said better, and I did dwell on them. I felt pretty bad for not saying them better, not saying what I was really trying to say.

But.

Those people in my house?

They're the kind of people that I CAN be my messy, tired, sometimes high-strung and/or spacey, I-don't-know-what-I'm-doing self with and know I am okay there. Do you know what I mean?

I feel like I've been wanting community, people I can be completely human with, for so long.

All along, they've been right there waiting for me. Waiting for me to be a little more honest, a little less trying-to-be-perfect, a little more willing to disagree or have a bad moment and not trying to make up for it in a hundred way. I little more willing to say I'm not a finished product. Will you bear with me?

Lately, I'm seeing that the more aware I am of myself (the good and the bad), the more I can let it go. I can relax. I can stop worrying if one perceived mistake wrecked everything.

When I relax, stop straining so much, my world kind of opens up.

Every one's evolving all the time, I think, so I don't know if my relationships are deepening or I'm just more open to them. More okay with screwing up if it means I'll just get back up again.

I get all kinds of grateful and journal-y whenever I have lots of noise and people and food over at my house, so maybe I need to do it more.

2Oct/122

Favorites Lately

My favorite festival is Rodale's Organic Apple Festival. We went (with a sick baby) and loved it, as expected.

It happened on the first official day of fall and...although I no longer think I have a favorite season (it used to be fall) because living with Nolan is like living out every thing with fresh eyes and so much more is beautiful now...fall is already really, really good over here.

The season just kind of spilled out of that first day.

We did all get sick, one after another, but we went on an impromptu apple-picking trip. It was an off time, so we had the play area all to ourselves, almost the whole place to ourselves (with the exception of employees). We fed goats and chickens and tried apple cider donuts for the very first time.

My husband made apple sauce while Nolan and I slept and it. is. DELICIOUS.

I made this apple pie smoothie (making a few substitutions based on what I had available) which I had to wrestle from Nolan. (Really. Every time I tried to take a sip, he tried to pull it away from me. )

Tim introduced me to the simple but incredible dessert that is thin slices of fresh apple cooked in butter. (I will be eating those every day until I am tired of them.) (Maybe I'll try cooking in coconut oil, too?)

The "baby" (he's not so much baby any more) and I have been getting longer stretches of sleep- usually 4 to 5 hours in a row each night, which translates into a lot more joy for both of us. I have been laughing so much and so hard lately and crying some happy tears. I like that.

25Jul/128

I Called Myself a Vegetarian

Once upon a time, I didn't eat meat. At all.

This made for memorable conversations. Questions about whether chicken or fish is considered meat. Arguments intended to change my mind. Dialogue with people who didn't or did agree with me, who knew more or less on the subject than me.

It was mostly enjoyable.

And easy.

Because given an eating situation, I had a hard and fast rule: No Meat (including chicken and fish). My body felt pretty good about this, and so did I. I felt like I was doing something to alleviate stress on the planet. I felt good not eating meat when I knew its production requires so many resources while too many people go hungry. (Food and hunger is always a hot button issue for me.)

And then.

I remembered not only do I actually enjoy meat (once in a while), but I also felt good about supporting the farmers who were raising their animals on large pastures of grass, who made their living from taking care of chickens and collecting their eggs. Also, maybe my body was craving it? (It certainly was while I was pregnant. I was anemic, a problem that only changed once I started eating grassfed beef again.)

Some days I kind of miss the label.

Vegetarian.

It made food choices I felt good (or at least better) about easier for me. Some people were upset with me for it, some people did wonder where I got my protein.

But my issues with meat (the main one being the exorbitant resources it takes up) were alleviated.

A problem I have with not being a vegetarian is that it is too easy for me to slide away from choices I feel comfortable with, especially when I am in an unfamiliar environment...until I make some sort of "last straw" choice and I know I need to get back on the wagon NOW. (I'm not very good at the "wait til Monday" or "wait til I get home" changes.)

A last straw choice happened last night.

Which means I'm "back on the wagon" today.

I find myself sort of wishing food blogging was my thing, because it would bring me some accountability. But it isn't. Also, my camera chord is at home, and I don't need a third blog to keep up with (not that I exactly keep up with this one). (Click here if you want to know what we've been doing behind the scenes at The Social Eater.)

Still, I am going to record my food choices this week. I'll just kind of keep a running record under the tab "7 Days of Conscious Eating." No pictures for awhile.

Follow along if you're interested, of course.

What do you do when you find yourself straying from choices you feel are important?

3Jul/120

Fuel for Life (as a mother): The Food

I am a lover of food (for so many reasons! You might already know this.).

I appreciate healthy, satisfying meals.

I thrive on meals that are shared with others (even if they aren't the healthiest).

I think that food can be community glue.

And.

I think there is more than one "best" way to eat because no two bodies are the same and because our bodies change in chemistry every few years.

Since the arrival of my baby boy and my new role as a mother, I've been experimenting with my approach to food. I need to marry my love of community-glue-meals, my adventurous palate, and my need for nourishing food that fuels days that include, but are not limited to, taking care of an active little boy.

I'm sharing what works for me right now because recently, I've seen that every time I share something that's is important to me or is a need, especially when it comes to something parenthood-related, there is always someone (often several someones) that come out of the woodwork to say, "me, too!" And usually me, too, and this is my take.

I love that.

How I approach food to fuel motherhood

  1. I don't eat any added sugar from Monday to Thursday. I do this to avoid sugar crashes and sugar "hangovers." Maybe I've become more sensitive to sugar with pregnancy, but those things are real. Most of the time, I can't afford them.
  2. By Friday afternoon, I kind of feel I've earned a real dessert (added sugar included) and I'm ready to kick back and relax. Tim will be with me much of the time, so I don't have to be so concerned with being on top of things constantly. This means dessert is a-okay.
  3. I allow myself to have whatever I want all weekend, including sweets. I'm still aware of how my choices make me feel,  and I still make a lot of my usual healthy choices.  I do say yes to the cake with the perfect icing that so many weekend parties seem to have  and even eat dessert every day (if I actually want those things).
  4. I avoid sugar later in the evening on Sundays to avoid a sugar hangover on Monday.
  5. I drink coffee. I know a lot of moms don't, but this mom most certainly does...and I'm not looking to give it up any time soon.
  6. I eat a lot of plant-based fat. Peanut butter, avocado, olive oil.
  7. I don't subscribe to any one diet (as soon as I even try to, I am in mental rebellion), but my eating style is probably closest to Clean Eating during the week.
  8. I try to eat as much as often as I am hungry. Sometimes this is 3-4 times, and sometimes it is 6-7.

Now I'm curious- do you have a role you purposely fuel for? Nurse? Runner? Parent? Something else? What is it and what is your approach?

15Apr/121

Happiest of Birthdays

Yesterday was my birthday. It was perfect, thanks in part to so many people that I felt I just had to find a way to pay homage to all of them. I hope I didn't miss anyone, but yesterday was just so full of good that I have a feeling I likely did. Still, if you played a part in making the day so refreshing and beautiful and special, thank you. My heart is full, and I am so grateful to have the friends and family I do.

Nolan has changed yet another part of me (in a good way) because most years I have "needed" the day to be perfect (whatever that means) and FULL of celebration. Those are good things, but usually I will put too much pressure on it which kind of takes away from the fun.

This year, I just wanted to go to Rodale's Tulip Festival with my family; I wanted to bask in mass quantities of my favorite flower and show them to Nolan.  I wanted to go on a date with my husband. Since those events were already on the books, I took on a much more relaxed approach to the day. I was free to enjoy it.

And enjoy it I did.

Some of my favorite parts:

-Snuggle time with Tim and Nolan in the morning. Oh MY, you should see this baby in the morning. He is chatty and happy and so excited that hey! all 3 of us are together! I love it when we can all lounge in bed together.

-An hour long conversation with my sister. It made it seem like she's not so far away. Also? She's getting MARRIED to a man who is perfect for her, and I'm so excited for them and her and OK, me,too because I just got a new brother-in-law whom I adore.

-Two hilarious phone messages, one each from Katie and Steven. Really. I laughed out loud.

-Tim took care of Nolan while I did Yoga for the Warrior. I'm getting closer to being able to do Bird of Paradise! (See below if you're wondering what I'm talking about.)

-Birthday mail! My favorite piece today was a card from my friend Kristen T. I'm pretty sure Kristen is my long-lost sister. Words from her just kind of seep into my heart and fill in the cracks.

-The Tulip festival! Rodale is a bit of a drive for us, so it meant time for Tim and I to talk. When we got there (after a bit of a panic because oh, no! We were going to be late! I HATE being late and making people wait), I fully sunk into Tim's everything is going to turn out fine and soaked up an hour and a half of wandering through fields, rows of beautiful flowers, and what I think is going to be Rodale's kids' summer camp with Tim, Nolan, Mary Ellen, Bill, Steph, Eric, and my mom.

Can I just tell you how much I love my family? I had a blast just taking in the scenery and exploring the grounds with these people who I feel so lucky to have in my life. And I got to watch them love my son. There's not a lot that can fill my heart like watching people love my baby well. (Also? You should have seen Bill with that little boy. They looked like they were just meant to be together, chilling, and taking in the sights. Ho.ly.Cow.)

-Tim and I went on a date! Just the two of us! I'm not quite sure when the last time that happened. I mean, my parents offer to watch Nolan often, but we usually have to use that time to work on homework or complete a project. But today? No projects, no homework. We wandered into a health food store when we arrived a bit too early for dinner (I got a few new things to play with- dried cherries with no sugar added, coconut oil, and fair trade cocoa nibs.) and then ate quite possibly our best dinner out to date.

Tim's cousin, Stacey, has been recommending The Farmhouse for quite some time, and I'm so glad she has. Words are my love language, but right after that? Food. Really good, well-thought-out food. The Farmhouse does that kind of food well. They source local and organic ingredients whenever possible (part of why it tastes so good- it's fresh!), aren't afraid to use fat (hello butter, pancetta, cream, and duck fat) and are creative with their menu offerings. Love, love, love. I'll certainly be talking about this meal for quite some time.

Oh, and our server? Amazing. I'll be contacting The Farmhouse to find out her name (we were at Table 3 at 5 o'clock) because she was just that good. Guessed immediately that I love mojitos, works there because she loves the food just that much, had great ideas and tips on what to order, and was so sweet and fun. To our server- I'm so sorry I don't remember your name! But I'll be finding it out and remembering it. You helped make our dinner so wonderful.

-With my love tank full, thanks to all the great conversation, experiences, sweet birthday messages (in email, text, and written, and facebook form) and amazing food, I returned (with Tim) to pick up my son, refreshed.  Snuggles happened immediately, of course.

-As a perfect topper to the day, my dad presented me with two cookbooks he personally picked out for me. My dad essentially works two jobs, is training for a marathon,and is in the middle of a construction project at home (plus he tries to spend as much time with his grandson as he can!). He doesn't have a lot of extra time to be picking out presents, but he DID. And he picked out ones that perfectly suit my interests. That made me feel like a million bucks.

-And then my mother handed me giant organic chocolate cupcakes.