Life Lesson For Mommy #147:

WomanholdingDonut

Diabetes and Blood Pressure.

Diabetes and Blood Pressure stuff isn’t pleasant. Canada and the US has some of the highest rates of Diabetes among 34 developed countries. It’s not actually as shocking as you think though. Considering the lifestyle that most of us live. The foods we eat, the stress levels, time crunch, etc etc. But eating healthy has become a huge trend in the last decade, but it’s actually also become a lifestyle where we become foodies- which might not always be good. It’s good to love food and be passionate about it, but the downside is that we’re not really focusing on portion control and even though we may be making healthy food choices, we might be eating foods that are not helping our blood sugar or our blood pressure.

Fruit for example is sugar, though it’s not refined but eating too much isn’t a good idea. When I was pregnant with my daughter, at 5 months I became gestational- I couldn’t believe it. I was eating tons of good food, especially fruits. And that might have done me in. Don’t forget about the random bursts of sugar in the foods we eat- such as sauces, grilled chicken etc etc

Salt can sneak into any food, and you might not even know how much you’re eating. Roughly 2300mg of sodium (or 6 grams) is equal to 1 teaspoon of salt. We are only supposed to take in about 460mg of salt a day…that’s a big big difference.

Eating out, and eating foods that we may not realize has excess sugar  and salt could be all stacking against you. Everyone knows that chocolate bars are bad, but not many people know that sushi rice has sugar in it. Or that a lot of restaurants add sugar and salt into a lot of their foods to give it a balance of flavours – salty and sweet and it might not be obvious to your tongue. You might also not know that a lot of sauces like BBQ sauce has tons of sugar in it on top of tons of salt. Now imagine eating BBQ chicken salad at lunch- with all that extra sugar and salt going in.

Now salt doesn’t affect your blood sugar levels but you have other things to worry about for that- like blood pressure. Both are scary and have to be maintained properly. As a gift from my son’s delivery, I was diagnosed with Preclampsia and the high blood pressure is permanent for me since it runs in my genetics. I am on medication to control it, but the ideal would be to lose some weight and control my salt in take and perhaps even be medication free!

Reading Sneaky Labels

Salt and sugar is sneaky, and it’s literally in everything we buy. When I finally learned how to read labels, I realized damn, even healthy food has crazy amounts of salt and sugar. Even naturally occurring sugar and salt, is STILL sugar and salt and it still impacts your body. And a lot of people don’t know that. They think because the label says ‘no added sugar’ that means that it’s sugar free or the natural occurring sugar is somehow not going to do anything to your body. But it does, and it’s not good.

salt

So how does one make healthy choices with all these presumably healthy choices out there that have all these unhealthy amounts of sugar and salt in it? You’re probably thinking, well then I’ll  watch out for how much sugar  and salt I take in a day. That’s not how it works exactly. To avoid something like diabetes- like with any other illness, weight control, healthy eating habits and water is the best way to ward off health problems. And its difficult sometimes when you’re buying food at the grocery store or eating out, to know exactly how much sugar  and salt you’re taking in. Reading labels is a must and don’t just fixate on calories- look at the whole label especially sugar, sodium and carbs.

But with so many things to look out for, with so many options, and so many rules and things to keep in mind, how does one filter out and do a proper diet without having to insanely plan everything. Because lets face it, moms especially already have tons on our plate and sometimes we don’t always have time to make the perfect pinterest healthy meal. So we need something that is easy to plan and make.

And this is where the diabetic and Salt diet comes in. It’s a lifestyle change, but it’s exactly what we need in North America to get back on track to proper eating.

Eating Out, Even Healthy Can Be Bad

When I go out, it’s always big portions, tons of salt and sugar and tons of unhealthy fats. So that’s the first thing I had to eliminate. There is no ‘healthy’ restaurant. Even the uber vegan all organic GMO free restaurants have to use tons of sodium and sugar to make that food taste flavorful. Problem is you don’t know how much of it is in your meatless burger and baked sweet potato fries…

At least when you’re purchasing your food at a grocery store, you can see the full label and ingredients. But don’t be fooled with the ‘only 50 calories’ fluff, check out the sodium, carbs and sugar…you’ll see they make it up in crazy there…

Portion Control Is The Key!

Literally eat what you want, but keep the size down! You have to look at your plate and see how much of this bad food is occupying your plate. For example, you can make a healthy pizza at home, with thin crust, low sodium pizza sauce, tons of veggeis and delicious cheese on top, but don’t think you can just chow down the whole pizza. That’s a lot of salt, sugar and carbs horking in all at once. Instead, 1 or 2 slices and a side of roasted veggies should fill up that plate. So you can have that slice of cake, but it better be an actual proper slice yo! LOL

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My Gestational Diabetic Diet

I felt really healthy and good during the time I was gestational- weird of me to say. But I had lost 20lbs alone from simply changing when and how much food I ate. Since then my weight has fluctuated with my anxiety and physical pain issues. And every time I reaffirmed to do better, I always fell off. But this time, I dug up my diabetic diet sheet and decided that I’m not going to fail this time! With diabetes running in my family, coupled with the fact that I was gestational diabetic with both pregnancies makes me a prime candidate in getting it- and I don’t want it. I already have blood pressure issues, I don’t want diabetes complicating my health and my life.

So here’s the diabetic diet. It’s no fancy gimmicks, no gym time, no 5 am runs, no stress. It’s easy and this diet can really force you to change your whole life just be simply changing your food, it can change your mental health too and a bonus it can change the health of your family 🙂

Some tips to go along with this meal planning sheet:

1) Eat on time! When you eat is just as important is how much you eat. Eating on time before you get hungry with small meals and snacks is not a new thing but it can change your food choices all day!
2) Portion control. Again not a new thing, but many people don’t realize that even sweet potatoes are a carb and turn into sugar. So now imagine if you’re eating some roasted sweet potatoes with rice? That’s  carb overload and basically a sugar overload.
3) You can’t just eat all the meat you want. Proteins are good for losing weight, and it’s better to up your protein and down your carb, but too much protein can have a bad affect on your health.
4) Beans and some veggies are carbs- yeah like chickpeas are good carbs and protein combo and can fill you up nice. But if you eat a can full…you might be in trouble.
5) Eat 2 handfuls of veggies before you eat your carb or main.

So here’s how you get started today:

First things first: GET RID OF ALL THE CRAP IN YOUR HOUSE!

I kid you not, you need to get rid of everything and anything that is processed, full of sugar, salt and carbs. I’m not just talking about candy bars, I’m talking about Sidekicks packages, I’m talking about canned tomatoes that have salt in it, healthy baked snacking chips are FULL of salt, etc etc you get the hint.
Don’t do it in steps- trust me that never works. Take a Saturday, tell the husband to bugger off with the children and you do an overhaul. Check the labels of everything.

Second: Buy ingredients to make things, not things that are already made. If it’s already made for you, it’s probably full of crap you shouldn’t be eating. I’m not saying cut out everything, but you should have 20% packaged in your grocery store cart and 80% ingredients you make things with.

Third: Spend 20 mins a day to look for easy healthy foods and baked goods on the internet and make a grocery list from that. You don’t have to preplan your week, but at least have staples in the pantry. Here is a grocery list to keep stocked up.
GroceryStapleList

Fourth: It’s not going to be hard, as long as you tell yourself everyday that your cravings can just go die! Having a partner, friend or group of people to support you helps tons!

Fifth: Keep a food journal! Everything you eat, write it down! Even the small handful of nuts or a healthy smoothie. All of it. It will help you keep track of how much you are actually consuming vs how much you think you are. Seeing how much you eat also helps the psychology of your brain to realize you are actually getting plenty of food.

Lastly: Water yourself! Drink a lot of water during your day. If you feel peckish for that something sweet, drink water. You can add different fruits and veggies to get the best flavours.

This is the meal schedule. You can print this one out

DiabeticDiet

Now go out there and be the best and awesome you!

Good Luck!
😀

Life Lesson for Mommy #146:

lunchbox

Bento Lunches!

My daughter has always been pretty good with food. But in the last year, since she started preschool, it’s been hard to get her to eat everything on her plate. Sometimes she just doesn’t want to eat, which is fine I don’t force her. But other times, she just doesn’t want to eat what I made and insists on eating something like ‘fries and pizza’.  I do make healthy pizza with small bits of green bell peppers, onions, loaded with garlic in the sauce and even olives, but I can’t make pizza every night. I had to think of a way to get her to eat her meals, good healthy meals that encourage her to try the food even if it’s not pizza and fries.

Then I discovered the bento lunch! It’s a concept in a lot of countries, China, Japan, India to name a few! But Japan’s bento for children is especially wonderful! It’s cute little food characters, appetizing arrangements and tons of colours and textures! I thought this might be it, this might help her to feel excited. And that’s just what happened! She was excited to show her friends her bento, and excited to eat it!

The first bento I made for my daughter!
The first bento I made for my daughter!

 

Food should be excited and appetizing! With awesome idea’s on pinterest and selection of different tools and tricks to help you make them, these bento’s are easy and fun to make and eat! I honestly find it relaxing to craft these bento’s for her because it got my creative juices flowing, and with awesome recipes online, it’s made packing her lunches easier then ever! It doesn’t take a ton of time as one might think.

Above is left over thin crust pizza I made with green bell peppers and pineapple and cheese, with baby carrots and cut up pieces of peach. That was my first time making one. Now I do more complicated stuff, rice stuffed inside with chicken, cheese, eggs, and whole slew of amazing stuff!

Eat me, I'm yummy!! >_<
Eat me, I’m yummy!! >_<

 

You can go on pinterest and see tons of great idea’s and recipes to make healthy lunches. Use leftovers from the night before and just revamp ’em to make cute, healthy and wonderful bento’s!

Some tips I recommend!

1) Use stainless steal, not plastic.
I’m not like a plastic nazi, but if you want to pack hot lunches, then go stainless steal.  I got this one for my daughter and this one for me.
I didn’t like the Hello Kitty one to be honest. Because it’s not already sectioned into compartments like the one I got for myself. I have to use cup cake liners to make the compartments- it is cute but I prefer it to be sectioned. I love mine, because it’s perfectly portioned and is great for if you want to stick to a diet! Also encourages you to pack a wide variety of fruits and veggies, and side dishes for a more complete and balanced meal.

2) Make awesome details!
Use small cookie cutters, bread molds and rice molds to make beautiful details! It doesn’t have to be fancy, if you have dollar store near you or better yet a Daiso store, it’s pretty affordable at 2 bucks a package. Or you can always try ebay or amazon.  Tons of options here

Cute details with seaweed and toothpicks!
Cute details with seaweed and toothpicks!


3) Use your leftovers.
Set aside a small portion of whatever you make for dinner to make your bento’s. It makes life a little easier. Made meat and potatoes last night? No problem, cut up the meat into cubes or pieces, cut up the potatoes, add some fun shaped pieces of cheese, carrots, broccoli florets. Cut up some fruit into cute shapes and BAM BENTO done!

4) Don’t throw the scrapes!
After you’ve cut your cheese, fruits or veggies into cute shapes, you always have pieces left. Don’t toss it, just eat it! No guilt at all! I always eat the pieces left over. I cut up some cheese and fruit and then chomp down on the little bits left.  Yummers! 🙂

5) Get your kids involved!
Give them slices of cheese and have them cut the pieces out. Got a bread mold, let them press the bread shape. There is always a small job they can do. I have my daughter wash the fruit, or pat the cucumbers dry etc  Give them some responsibility for their food.

And have fun! I learned to really appreciate food and relax. It’s creative, fun and healthy- both mentally and physically! You are what you eat and I want my daughter to be cute and healthy 😉

Good Luck!
😀

Life Lesson for Mommy #144:

Small and colorful table and chairs for little kids

Cluttered Environment Creates a Cluttered Mind

My daughter is 4 years old and is going to a private Montessori preschool and we recently had a parent/teacher conference. Now before I get into the conference, I want to touch base on what is Montessori.

Montessori is a hands on form of learning. It is very well recognized and really gets the children engaged in what they are learning through a series of different toys that are tailored for education-such as math and reading. A famous child going to Montessori right now is Prince George! So that’s a plus!

But you really need to learn more about it before deciding if it’s right for your child. And you also should consider that not all Montessori schools are the same, some have more play time, some have less. Some are more tailored to reading some are more for math. If you are interested in the Montessori approach it’s best to talk to the teacher and see the work other students have done; and take your toddler along with you to see how they like it.

M

If you want to start giving your child the montessori experience there are a ton of free DIY activities on pinterest
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/170081323405870908/
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/52495151882682507/

Tons of awesome ways to get their little minds working! Or you can take a trip down to amazon and purchase these
Math & Numbers
Counting & Math
Upper & Lower Case Letters
Building words

Trust me, don’t spend the money and DIY it! The process of making it yourself is like craft time and also saves a ton of money! And it does the same thing with the added flexibility of tailoring it to your child.

Anyways, continuing on. My daughter goes to a Montessori preschool as I stated, but it is also coupled with drilling on good old fashioned pen and paper. Because life is not all games and play time. I believe that learning should be fun but taken seriously. It’s what will set them up for the rest of their life, it should be something you help create love for! So don’t badger and push them, encourage and engage them!

So on to the parent/teacher conference! The teacher asked me if she can be blunt so right away I was nervous. I mean I knew my daughter had focus issues and always just wanted to play instead of sitting down to read with me or practice her numbers, but I was not prepared to hear this.

“She is stubborn and distracted”…ouch that hurts. But I had to shake off those feelings and stop myself from becoming defensive and get to the point of why she felt this way. When she showed me my daughters work I could see what she was talking about. My daughter has had some conflicting discipline issues (her grandparents don’t believe in time out or consequences just give her whatever she wants to stop the tantrums- sigh). I thought that might be the cause so I discussed what exactly does my daughter do in class, when and how much does she focus.

The teacher was very good at explaining my daughters day, and what is expected of her. And she is progressing but she does not like learning at all…she gravitates to just the play time and often starts to look around and loses focus, even during crafts. She simply just didn’t want to do anything that wasn’t playing with toys, not even drawing.

I knew right away, that this is the same things I’m noticing at home. Resistance to even read with me, or draw and do crafts. The teacher asked me about her environment at home to get a sense of why my daughter might be so unfocused and distracted. And as soon as she asked how many toys are available to her I knew that this was probably it. My daughter has a lot of toys, and a lot of it was distracting, non-motivational play…basically zombie play. She did have blocks and lego but she usually made castles and thats it. She also has loads of puzzles but she doesn’t want to do them. She also has dolls, drum set, and just a bunch of other toys way too young for her age. The teacher knew it right away, that maybe she’s unfocused because there is no focused play at home. Everything is everywhere and she has loads of stuff to play with.

So I went home and went through all the toys and started to pack up a lot of the stuff she didn’t play with, were too young for her age to play with and just loud distracting colours and sounds….I left her with her puzzles, her books, 1 doll set, her dress up box and her mouse family tree house, and thats it.

In 2 days I noticed a difference in her. She started to play with her puzzles, she even sat down and read with me. Like how long has it been since she did that, I can’t even remember! Her attitude also calmed down, she responded better when I told her no or time out.

I think she honestly needed a overhaul of her toys and all the things that distracted her. She practiced her numbers with me and was eager to see all the check marks and wanted to correct her work when she got an X – I saw that as a huge improvement instead of her  just accepting the x mark and doing nothing about it.

So if you have a toddler who is all over the place, try to clean up your house, put away things in drawers or boxes and keep their toys limited and to things that stimulate imaginative play and not zombie play. For example a toy that you just press a button and the lights flash and a voice comes on- even if that voices is for alphabets, that’s zombie play. Get a puzzle instead, or purchase a kids boardgames that gets them excited and thinking.

Couple that with a solid routine- when is play time and when is learning time, creative time and reading time. These things should all be sectioned into different parts of the day. (Click here to Print this cute weekly schedule for preschoolers)  timetable

And when you get a doll, don’t just get a frozen doll that all they are going to do with is brush their hair. Get a  set, that comes with some accessories like little pets or furniture. It doesn’t have to be pricey! If you don’t want to buy it, grab some dollar store felt material and cardboard and make your own accessories and get their minds going!

There are great tips and tricks on pinterest on sensory play, but try to look into creative play because nothing builds a mind better then thinking and problem solving.

And get rid of all those toys!!

Good Luck!
😀

Life Lessons for Mommy #143:

Rest, Relax, Colour

Adult Coloring Is Hard

I used to color a lot when I was younger, I don’t mean just in my teen years I mean well into college and beyond years.
But as the years ticked on and I got older, got married, got some kids, got responsibilities and some things in life just change you. And then you change so much that you no longer remember that you colored and enjoyed drawing and being excited about it.

Mental Health is something that is really being focused on lately and it’s about time! I didn’t even know I was an anxious person until a car accident and I started to see a Psychologist. And one of the things my psychologist told me about was these adult coloring pages. At first I was really excited about it! I remembered that I used to love drawing and coloring! It was very relaxing and very fun! And apparently it’s mentally good for you!

Adult colouring pages! The new thing in mental health! Next to proper diet, exercise which both need like serious will power, colouring is fun – no will power required!

The one my psychologist gave me just wasn’t doing it for me. So I surfed the net for some one’s that appealed to me. I found this great blog that points you to awesome free printable pages! http://www.everythingetsy.com/2015/08/printable-coloring-pages-for-adults-15-free-designs/
I printed these 2

My favorite honestly is the fishes!!!

And then some one’s from amazon that peeked my interest. These 2 were my favorite
Tribal Life – perfect for both guys and gals
Colour me Calm – my 2nd fave, perfect combo of detail and design

So I got my colouring stuff and was all set and ready to color with a fresh new case of Laurentian pencils. I quickly realized though, I was really sucking. The colors I was using were all over the place and the more I colored the less aesthetically pleasing it was. God, the more I tried to make it look good the more stressful it got. Why wasn’t I just enjoying this?

Some of the shapes and designs area’s weren’t 100% symmetrical, and other times it was just the colors I was using weren’t making it pop out. I was over thinking it and making something that was supposed to be fun into a freaking annoyance. I talked to some of my friends about it, and one of them suggested studying online for color schemes and learning how to use the right colors to make a more aesthetically pleasing page….really? I’m going to have to study how to color to relieve my anxiety?

These pages were causing a lot of anxiety for me. It wasn’t working. When I told my psychologist this, I honestly think she probably thought ‘what the heck are you doing???’ in her head. And that made me more anxious thinking about how anxious I was being about coloring. And its’ true, what the heck am I doing? This is about coloring and having fun, making mistakes and accepting them and letting it pass. This isn’t about looking good or producing something that looks good but something to learn patience from.

I decided that I’m going to print out a new page and go nuts! Have fun and forget about aesthetics and just randomly color and just have fun with it! And I even printed one for my daughter. It will be fun to color with her and learn from her how to just wing and have fun. To be thoughtless for once in doing something. To not over-think or even think. To make something that might not look good but accepting it and being proud of it. I don’t have to try hard on every thing. Maybe the reason why none of the other methods for anxiety are working because I over-think it and try too hard on it. I need to just let it be.

If you want to get started right now, here are a few FREE printables!
1) Sailboat

Sail On My Anxious Friend!
Sail On My Anxious Friend!

2) Flower Garden

These Flowers Need Colour!
These Flowers Need Colour!

 

3) Being Zen

Now you're totally Zen.
Now you’re totally Zen.

I remember a long time ago, when I was in college I believe, I was feeling anxious. I was going through some tough circumstances and things in my life didn’t feel fair and I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. I was actually sad a lot those times. But one day I literally woke up, felt the sun on my face and said “I am not going to be sad anymore!” And I actually just did life, instead of thinking about things. I made some mistakes and I wish I could go back and fix them because I think I would have been able to achieve a lot of great stuff.  I also wish I could go back and not let that car accident happen that would probably end all my current pain and anxiety. But that’s okay, I have a great husband, 2 wonderful kids and yes it’s not all good- there are some bad days and bad things. But I will color myself out of those bad days by relearning how to just let it be and let it go.

And now, to color.

Good Luck!
😀

Lesson for Mommy #49:

The Perfectly Imprefect You.

I spend a good chunk of my week checking out different recipes, crafts, parenting tips etc on Pinterest and Momma bloggers. And the one thing I see a lot is ‘perfection’. I  said this a long time ago, but I’m not perfect. And seeing so much perfection all over the net from all the mommy bloggers and pinterest creates this image that you should also be able to create this perfection.

You see white walls, clean children, a hot family dinner on the table, bento lunches for the next day, and the whole house top to bottom is clean. Um where are you finding the time to do these things? My 4 year old goes to Preschool, and I have a 13month old son- who is walking, but refusing to learn sign and just fusses all the time. I’m still breastfeeding and struggling to get things done; I’m finding it so hard to even find time to do something for myself. I try really hard to maintain everything, try to get wonderful meals, keep the house clean and tidy, and also take care of my children. But it’s really hard and I’m having to sacrifice a lot. In this time I’m also struggling to maintain some pain in my neck (from a car accident a while back) thats eating up time like crazy.

ARGH! I’m even skipping re-reading what I time and correcting spelling misteakes and snetence issues…you get the idea!

So when I pinterest, I feel awful! This image of a perfect home with the white walls, with perfect kids that just seem to do what they’re supposed to do, and meals that are just so healthy makes kale feel worthless; it all just gets me down. And a lot of times their ‘how to manage time’, ‘quick fixes’ aren’t so quick or manageable at all! Just more tips on how to be perfect.

I try to remind myself though that ‘this’ is just an image. An image of perfection, it might not be reality, not even for these perfectly perfect pictures. Sure there are some momma’s who just have it all together and just get things done like BAM BAM BAM, DONE! But with the amount of pinterest momma’s out there, it gives the illusion that they all have those white walls.

No one wants to show their dirty laundry on the internet, so instead they post the picture of their folded laundry. With this age of technology we momma’s are adding so much pressure on ourselves ‘TO LOOK GOOD”. It’s not just a body image issue now. It’s an everything issue. Way too much pressure. To look good with kids on both arms, a clean home in the background, with dinner on the table and everythings all sparkley!

I have my good days where everything just rolls and it all gets done and I’m like WOW is this how those Pinterest Momma’s feel all the time. But the point is that are we really this superficial? That we need to post ‘look how perfect I am’. And even when it’s something thats a fail they post it in such a way that it doesn’t even seem like a fail….like your minions cake looks awesome even if the yellow shade is slightly off….like wtf is that even a fail? That’s a huge accomplishment and your damn cake is so freaking awesome I wish I could eat it through my laptop !

So what is reality and what is ‘just for the internet’. The fact is that even these pinterest mom’s have tough lives. They’re just doing the best they can and posting their ‘best photo’ for social media. Some often talk about how many nights of fails and effort they put into their material. They try and try even if it means sacrificing sleep- but not all of us are like that. We don’t have an audience of readers waiting to see the next great blog post. These perfect momma’s though are maybe doing more harm to themselves then good, because they may be teaching their kids image is everything, perfection is everything. Post only your triumphs not your failures. And they may be doing harm to you as the reader, a mother who is just doing the best she can too with what she has. In this age of social media, we mommy’s are just putting more and more pressure on ourselves then we need to. Why are we doing that? You don’t see fathers doing this?

There are momma’s like me who post their failures, post their hard days and the real stuff that just can’t get any more real, so there is a balance. Because with all those pictures of perfection we need a reminder of how wonderful it is to be imprefect. How amazing that unfolded laundry is. Because I would rather sacrifice folding laundry and spend my time doing crafts with my daughter. I would rather forfeit making a super duper healthy kale on kale with guinoa dinner to let my nursing son explore the pantry with me (pulling down and disorganizing everything. I hate it sometimes, but I still do it. I feel bad about it sometimes, but I still do it.

You can be a perfect mommy and still have fails. Failures and messiness is how we know we tried, and I don’t want my daughter see me perfect, I want her to see my imperfections so she knows it’s okay to be imperfect, to have flaws and failures. Why not? In her lifetime she’s going to try and fail sometimes, she’s going to gain weight, loose weight, get pimples, have people who are better at something then her, I want to give her the emotional stability to cope with that. To accept herself. I also want the same for my son. He’s not lacking because he isn’t perfect in something.

Why do we post perfection on social media? Why do we need other people to think we are perfect and everything we do is perfect. Don’t dismay and think you’re doing something wrong, because that picture with the clean white walls might just be the only white wall in their house. Don’t fret and continue being the imperfect you.

And always, Good Luck!
😀