FUN FACT: Switch to Summer Foods
BOOK OF THE MONTH: If It's Not Food, Don't Eat It!
For pictures of Christi's new baby, Evan, click here!
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If you're new to my newsletter, you may not know that I recently had my first baby, Evan. He's now four months old, and fabulous!
After spending a few months getting used to the crazy roller coaster that is motherhood (boy oh boy, do I respect moms with a passion now!)... I'm ready to get back to my writing. After writing this newsletter every month for three years, it felt strange to miss four issues in a row. It's good to be back!
And yes, this is indeed my June newsletter. I started writing this one at the end of May. I'm just finishing it now, four weeks into June. That shows you how little I get done with Evan around! It's hard to write when you've got 10-minute chunks of time here and there. I guess I'll get better at it as I go along.
A lot of people assume that - since I'm a health counselor - I'm a superhealthy creature who eats seaweed and quinoa... goes to yoga class and kickboxing on a daily basis... and meditates every morning while drinking tea and grinding up flaxseeds to put in my homemade amaranth pancakes.
OK, I admit that pre-Evan, that scenario actually might have been pretty close to the truth. Before becoming a mom, I had a very cool self-care routine down pat, and I took extra good care of myself. I had an awesome "Healthy Balance."
The reality is that these days (which I refer to as "Post-Evan") I'm struggling to find my new definition of "Healthy Balance." Now that I've got another human being depending on me for food, comfort and entertainment... night and day... it's a whole new ballgame.
I say this not because I want sympathy... but I do want you to know that I totally understand how HARD it is to be healthy sometimes.
This health counselor has been humbled.
If you don't have a new baby, then perhaps you're taking care of a parent who is ill. Or maybe you have just taken on a new job that's putting a lot of pressure on you. You are training for a marathon. You're in school. You just moved to a new house. You're volunteering all the time. You've got a busy social schedule. You're going on vacation.
Chances are, there's always something that will compete for your attention... something that constantly forces you to redefine your "Healthy Balance."
Once you've got things figured out, that's always when life changes and throws you off balance, isn't it?!
This newsletter is dedicated to helping you find a healthy balance again.
THE SWEET POTATO STORY
I first got a glimpse that my Healthy Balance had changed when my darling friend Fee (also a health counselor) came over from Paris to help me out when Evan was three weeks old. She stayed for a week, cooked me fresh food every day, put it in front of me, filled up my tea mug, and quietly observed me and my baby.
At the end of the week Fee said, "My dear, I've been putting fresh, delicious meals in front of you... and you STILL don't have time to eat because you're so busy taking care of Evan. What in the world are you going to do when I'm not here? You're going to waste away!"
** Not having time to eat was a concept that was completely incomprehensible to me before becoming a mother. I simply didn't understand how a new mom couldn't have time to eat. I mean, c'mon, it doesn't take that long to put a sandwich in your mouth, does it? **
Did I mention I've been humbled?
There are things you just don't understand until you have kids!
Agreeing with Fee that starvation was quite possibly my inevitable fate, we sat down to come up with a list of fast, easy meals that even I - a New Mom - could make.
I dropped her off at the airport smiling smugly, knowing that I could do this. I had the list. The list outlined mini meals that were so easy and simple... I could do it, even in my sleep-deprived, weepy New Mom state.
The next day, I went into the kitchen to make sweet potatoes. According to Fee and my New Mom Food list, this would be a simple task consisting of: Poke holes in the sweet potatoes. Put potatoes in oven. Turn on timer. When timer goes off, remove sweet potatoes and eat them.
In reality, my post-Evan sweet potato cooking fest went more like this: Poke holes in sweet potatoes. Put in oven. Turn on timer. Congratulate myself for making it this far ("Why can't other mothers eat healthy after having a baby? This is SO EASY! Must be because I'm a health counselor."). Timer goes off in the middle of a diaper change. Evan is wailing at the top of his lungs. By the time I finally turn timer off, I'm wailing, too. We go to sit on the couch and breastfeed for what seems like the hundreth time in an hour.
Three days later, sitting at dinner with my in-laws, I let out a gasp when I realized that the sweet potatoes were STILL IN MY OVEN. I never took them out and ate them. When I got home from dinner, I opened up the oven and THERE THEY WERE. Hard as rocks. Three days old. Totally inedible.
And I thought to myself:
"You fool. Now you know why other New Moms can't eat healthy after having a baby. This is SO NOT easy! ESPECIALLY for a health counselor!"
My post-Evan cooking disasters got even funnier as time went on. There was the time I left muffins in the oven for three WEEKS before realizing my mistake. There were many times I reheated a mug of tea ten times before realizing that I would never have the chance to drink that cup of tea before going to bed. There was the time I started making hardboiled eggs (another of Fee's 'easy' snacks) but then forgot to turn off the water while breastfeeding and alas... the water boiled down to nothing and the eggs exploded in the pot.
What's a girl to do? How to regain the balance?
Well, I'm still not eating as healthy as I'd like these days - in fact, I'm still not eating as MUCH as I'd like these days. But I'm slowly but surely starting to figure out what works and what doesn't. There are a few tips that I'd like to share with you. Perhaps they will help you fit a more healthy balance into your day.
Even if you're not a New Mom.
I now start out by asking myself, "What's MOST important to me this week?" I take things on a week-by-week approach now. The first few weeks, I concentrated on my food. Then once my cooking became a bit more routine, I focused on my workouts. I'm just now starting to get back into meditating mode. Homemade pancakes probably won't happen until Evan enters college.
Here are some of the solutions that have worked for me recently:
Struggle #1: "I Forget to Take my Supplements"
I was having trouble remembering to take my prenatal vitamins, essential fatty acids, green drink, and fiber every day. I was lucky if I got to one of them. I was also forgetting to eat breakfast. But I figured out that if I put all of my supplement powders into a fruit smoothie in the morning, I would not only remember them, I'd get breakfast in, too. Oh and I actually had to list the supplements on a post-it on the fridge, and put them all right near the blender for easy access.
Are you forgetting to take a supplement or eat a certain food? What's one way you can remind yourself to make it happen?
Struggle #2: "I'm just not sure what I need to do to be as healthy as possible right now."
Even health counselors struggle with this one from time to time. After Evan was born, I came up with a list of things I needed to do to get myself healthy again, but the list was huge. I knew I wouldn't be able to do all the things on the list, but I couldn't prioritize. Heck, after he was born I could barely even think straight or stay awake... so even making a shopping list was tough.
As a health counselor, I can self-diagnose myself (and I usually do) but I knew that I needed (and wanted) the support of someone else.
So I booked an appointment with an amazing naturopath doctor... someone I'd never seen before, but whose personality and background mesh well with mine.
I spent 2 hours in her office. It was amazing. She let me bring Evan with me, since I didn't have a babysitter yet... and I spent two hours pretty much bawling my eyes out. It was so great to have someone "taking care of me," the way I usually take care of my own clients.
She asked me lots of questions - like I do with my clients - and didn't judge me when I made excuses or didn't have answers right away. I asked her questions about all the things I wanted to do for myself, and she helped me prioritize.
That appointment was worth every penny (and it wasn't cheap!). If you're looking for a naturopath, you can search using this online directory. My doctor was Dr. Sue Doyle (located in Newburyport, MA).
Could you benefit from having someone listen to you... help you prioritize... give you a fresh outlook on your health? If so, perhaps a visit to a naturopath or a holistic health counselor is in order.
If you're used to only getting 10 minutes of your doctor's time, you're in for a real treat! Feel free to contact me if you need a referral.
Struggle #3: "I Never Have Time to Work Out Anymore"
My biggest frustration was not having the time or energy to do my typical workouts anymore. I love working out and I feel terrible if I don't get to move my body.
First, I had to adjust my expectations. Instead of a 60-90 minute workout, I do a 30-minute workout. Somedays it's only a 15-minute workout. But whatever I can do, I do. If I only have 15-minutes, I push myself hard.
At first, if I didn't have a big chunk of time, I wouldn't work out. I'd "'wait until tomorrow." But I found that I missed way too many workouts that way. So now I head out even if I only have 15 minutes. That's enough to work up a good sweat.
I used to be an evening workout girl, but lately, I've had to start working out in the morning after I feed Evan and hand him off to Ben for some daddy time. It's the only way to ensure that the workout will get into my day. Otherwise too many other things come up.
Whenever I think about doing a workout, I GO. I don't do "one last thing" first anymore, because that one thing will turn into a wasted workout day.
I now do workouts that I can do right from my front door. I roller blade, run, walk, etc. I bought a yoga DVD so I can do yoga at home. I look outside the box for workout moments (i.e. doing squats while emptying the dishwasher with Evan in the sling for 20 extra pounds of weight). I go up and down the stairs a lot. I do sit-ups randomly throughout the day. I do lunges while I'm pushing him in the stroller.
It's my mission to figure out how to move my body every day. It may not be glamorous, but for now, it's what works.
Is there a change you can make to fit your workouts into your current routine?
Struggle #4: "I Never Have Time to Meditate Anymore"
I used to be much calmer when I was doing my Hypnobirthing meditations, but I don't have the luxury of 30 minutes to lay still on my bed anymore and breathe.
So, I looked at all the new things that were now occupying my time and picked breastfeeding as my new meditation time. I breastfeed for several hours every day, so why not use that time? Now, I sit down and simply breathe while I'm feeding Evan. It makes me feel calm and sane (that could also be the hormones!).
I also use red lights as a reminder to stop and breathe.
The other thing I do to de-stress is get in the shower. Even if I'm still clean from my morning shower. The running of the hot water always calms me down and makes me feel better. My friend Amy suggests getting in the shower and covering your ears with your hands (the water sounds just like rain on a roof, she says, and I agree!).
Could you use your commute or your shower time as a de-stressor today?
Struggle #5: "I don't have time to cook healthy."
The biggest help for me these days has been my rice cooker. For a New Mom or a Busy Person, a rice cooker or slow cooker is a lifesaver. Why? Because it cooks the food for you, it shuts itself off before things burn or overflow (!), and it keeps the food warm for you. Bingo!
I cook rice, millet and quinoa in my rice cooker so I always have a good whole grain base on hand. Then when I'm ready to eat breakfast, I throw in some dates and nuts. For lunch or dinner, I throw in beans, cherry tomatoes, shrimp, spinach, and pre-cut mushrooms (no chopping required!).
I noticed that the days I eat the best are the days I put a few bowls out with snacks in them, like walnuts, baby carrots, etc. If it's ready to go, I'll eat it. If not, I forget.
The other three healthy cooking lifesavers have been my old stand-bys for ages. I forgot about them in the first few months of motherhood... but once I went back to them, they've helped out tremendously. Here they are:
The Default Menu (click here to read more)
The Restock List (click here to read more)
My One-Pot Wonders (click here to read more)
So, it might sound like this health counselor is going back to the basics. And it's true. I'm going back to Square One. There's nothing wrong with that. We all get off track because of life events, a busy social calendar, a health situation. That's why I call it a "Healthy Balance." We're bound to move in and out of balance from time to time.
So, if you've fallen off the health wagon recently, hopefully this newsletter inspired you to pick yourself up and just start back to the basics.
Just start with the question, "What's most important to me this week?"
Follow that up with the question, "What's one thing that I could do to make this happen?"
If you still can't come up with a solution then you may need to do one of two things:
1. Reduce your expectations. If you're an overachiever on the health front, then expect less of yourself. 15 minute workouts are better than none. A healthy bowl of brown rice is better than a take out meal. Aim low if you need to while you get started.
2. Ask yourself, "If someone offered me a million dollars to make this one thing happen, what would I do to make it work?"
** This month's newsletter was highlighted in Sarah Zeldman's "Solutions for Busy Moms" blog. **
Did you like this Christi's Commentary? Hate it? Tell me what you think!
Do you have any suggestions for people who are struggling to redefine their Healthy Balance?
Do you have any advice for New Moms, especially when it comes to self-care?
If so, email me! I'd love to hear from you!
Teleclass: "No More Emotional Eating! The Top 3 Secrets a Health Counselor Used to End Her Emotional Eating Battle For Good "
WHEN: Thursday, July 20 at 7:30 EDT
Spots are limited, so sign up now! The class is only $15, and once you purchase your seat, you'll get an email with all the call-in details.
For more info and class details, click here.
*A teleclass is a seminar delivered over a phone line. Call in from your office or home. You can simply listen in... or you can participate and ask questions. If you've never tried a teleclass before, it's a fun and convenient way to learn about a new topic.
Online Nutrition Program for Marathon Runners
Are you a marathon runner who is confused about what to eat during your training season? The "Peak Performance Nutrition Program" (PPNP) is an online program that teaches you the dietary changes you need to make during an 18-week training season.
The fall marathon programs started recently, so sign up now to make sure you receive all 19 online issues.
To learn more and read a sample PPNP issue, click here.
The Maine program started 5/29 - sign up
The Dublin program started 6/5 - sign up
The NIKE program started 6/19 - sign up
If you're training for a different fall marathon and would like to participate in PPNP, simply email me your race date and I'll get you all set up!
Spring Cleanse eBook
It's never too late to do a cleanse. If you've never done one before, The Ultimate Spring Cleanse eBook will make it simple as pie. But no, you can't eat pie during your cleanse - sorry!
Healthy Shopper DVD
If you'd like to take a grocery store tour from the comfort of your own home, please check out my "Healthy Shopper" DVD!
The Best Summer Foods
When you eat in tune with the seasons, you experience less food cravings and you help your body run smoothly.
June 21 marks the beginning of Summer, the season of the heart and small intestine. It's also the season of joy!
The next time you go to the grocery store, try loading your cart with Summer-friendly foods, including:
Corn, summer squash, asparagus, red bell peppers, dandelion greens, endive, escarole, scallions
Quinoa, brown rice, amaranth
Strawberries, watermelon, tomatoes, apricots, raspberries
Red lentils, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pistachios, shrimp, lamb
If you need suggestions of how to cook any of these foods, please visit my Recipes Page.
If you still want to do a Cleanse to help your body detox, you can do so using my Spring Cleanse eBook (just add in some of the Summer Foods listed above to your cleanse eating list).
BOOK OF THE MONTH:
"If It's Not Food, Don't Eat It!" by Kelly Hayford, C.N.C.
When Kelly, the author of "If It's Not Food, Don't Eat It!" asked me to review her book and post it on my website, I was skeptical.
A lot of folks want me to promote their products or services, but I'm really protective about the resources I recommend on my Free Resources page.
So, I had a conversation with Kelly first, and was really impressed with her knowledge about food, her realistic approach to healthy eating, and her passion about helping her clients.
I asked her to send me a copy of her book and promised I'd take a look at it. I'm so glad I did! Now I'm delighted to share it with you.
Kelly's book was a refreshing change. I found myself nodding in agreement to almost everything I read in the chapters. It's the kind of book I'd want to write about healthy eating, and one of the few books I would really want every one of my clients, friends, and family to read.
1. It's simple. She breaks down healthy eating into simple explanations (ones that make SENSE!).
2. She's passionate. You can't help but get inspired by her (I did!).
3. It's packed with information, quotes, and statistics that you can use as ammunition for making some serious health changes.
4. She's realistic - she doesn't want you to cleanse your entire body in one day. She helps you take it step-by-step, starting from where you're at (a concept I always tout).
5. It's very focused on "how-to's." In addition to all the valuable info, Kelly also provides 'how-to' steps like recipes and action plans that are very easy to follow.
6. She's a fun writer - you'll love her casual, fun writing style. It's an easy read.
To find out more information about Kelly's book, check out her website.
If you like what you see, let me know... and perhaps we'll invite Kelly to co-host one of my upcoming teleclasses.
ABOUT CHRISTI LEHNER
Christi Lehner-Collins, H.H.C., AADP, is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. A Holistic Health Counselor is a nutritionist and life coach all rolled up into one.
Christi studied Eastern/Western nutrition and modern health counseling at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City and earned a B.A. in Honors in Communication Arts from Villanova Universty.
Christi's goal is to help people fall in love with healthy eating, juicy living, and guilt-free self-care. Christi is a three-time marathoner and triathlete, an avid pianist, and a newly converted Red Sox and Patriots fan.
She is the author of the forthcoming book You Don't Have to be Superwoman to be Healthy: 50 Ways to Reclaim Your Health.
To read more fun facts and stories about Christi, click here.
Christi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978.494.0144.
About "Christi's Nourishing Nuggets"
Note: the information in this newsletter is presented for educational purposes only. This information is not intended as a substitute for diagnosis and treatment by a licensed professional. To suggest topics for future "Christi's Nourishing Nuggets " issues, please contact me.
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