Owning Stress

Mumma, please look after yourself.

I know how you work tirelessly, sleeplessly, constantly as a Mum. You are up all night with the baby then the toddler is up at 6am. The true meaning of 24/7. 

 You think your baby has started sleeping through, then they start teething or they are sick or hungry (I have fed my then 2yo steak at 3am while saying to him “Listen buddy, you better be having a growth spurt or I will be so angry!”) How is it that broken sleep is harder after a period of good sleep, you wonder?

When that little three year old hand wakes you up at 3am “because I want to cuddle you Mummy”, you feel angry and loved at the same time.

Getting out the door is a mission. Where did the time go? How has one hour passed already?? How the eff are we late, we were on time a minute ago?? Then your child walks his little muddy boots across the carpet, and you know you have to clean it up immediately, before it stains. You are now 15 min late. Again. Every day. The kindy teachers must think you are so unorganised. 

Sometimes the stress release is screaming into a pillow or crying behind a closed door.

Sometimes it is laughing at the kids, who are deep in conversation about whether Daddy did a poo this morning. “Daddy did a poo” “No, he didn’t. Daddy is asleep” “Daddy did a poo” “No, Mummy did a poo but not Daddy”.

Life is scrambling to tick off the to do list, forgetting that it is PJ day at kindy, reacting to situations and trying to keep up rather than being in control of them. Life is balancing a job, exercise, housework, kids, relationships and half assing all of them. Everyday. On repeat. Motherhood is like swimming while learning how to swim. I get overwhelmed with it, I don’t know about you.

Stress is toxic to the human body. The stress hormone cortisol wrecks havoc on our system. It drains our nutrients, stress activates the Sympathetic nervous system putting us into “flight or fight” mode – when in reality the perceived threat does not require the body to pump extra blood to the limbs and take it away from the digestive system nor does the perceived threat (so this means your own children, or work, or finances, stress triggers) need your pupils to dialate or to pump adrenalin into the system – No, the perceived threat is a signal to you to “check yourself before you wreck yourself”. When you feel overwhelmed, stressed and anxious, that should be your signal to say right,  life, today I am owning you. 

A widow I used to work with told me that stress is what killed her husband. She said no job, no amount of money, nothing is worthwhile if it causes prolonged stress. My husband was balancing two kids under two in his managerial position, working what I am sure are illegal overtime hours, and his stress physically manifested itself in the form of scalloped tounge. This was his signal to take care of himself.

Us Mums are so amazing at caring for own children. They are fed with careful thought into their nutrition, we buy supplements, we make DRs appointments for them, we clothe them, we make them laugh, we bath them, fill up their love tanks, we do all we can to give them magical memories while caring for every aspect of their well being. They thrive as a result. So why don’t we treat ourselves with the same love and respect? Don’t we also want to feel happy, loved and as a result thrive? 

Now we have needs, and while it is our job to meet our kids needs, it isn’t our children’s job to meet ours. So keep meeting your kids needs and take every opportunity to meet your own too! Meet a friend for a walk (kids in tow), organise a “whine and a wine” play date with friends, tell your husband to organise date night, buy yourself that nice coat you want, hire help, book in a massage – whatever, be creative and make the time. You would do this for any member of your family, you are just as important as them, so do something.

So today, while I was having a hard day after a hard week after a hard month (but a brilliant, rewarding time, just lots to do all the time, you know how it is #blessed). One kid was at kindy and the other went down for a nap. So I took the opportunity. 


I had myself a warm, Epsom salt and lavender oil bath. 

I made a honey and cinnamon tea and lit a candle. The berry candle by living light candles smells Devine! It is my fave.

I did diaphragmatic breathing and enjoyed the silence. 

Epsom salts are a great way to get magnesium. Perfect for sore muscles post boot camp, for healing and for muscle cramps. They relax the body.

Lavender oil helps with anxiety, insomnia and stress. 

Diaphragmatic breathing is the only voluntary control we have over our nervous system. Your breath is a true tool which communicates with your body all the time eg that it is time to freak out, that you are exercising or that you are calm. Breathing is being in control.

I loved this bath. My 1yo did not wake up during so I got lucky. 

Taking the time to pause and refuel my sanity tank today meant that I was better able to get on with the rest of the day with a smile. Not with a ragey Mum voice and angry face. 

My body is not tense under stress like it was this morning, rather it is like a normal body.

I even managed to shave my legs and put on matching undies when I got out of the bath. So now I feel like I am winning the day when just a couple of hours ago I was sinking under it.

Please, look after yourself Mumma.

Garlic in the Garden

I never thought I would catch the gardening bug.

My Dad and older brother are keen gardeners however I was never bothered with it. I just happily accepted their generous offers of pumpkins, lemons, plums etc. when time came to harvest.

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Now I am a home owner and the garden is calling my name.

Being a student at the Naturopathic College of NZ, there are no surprises that what I want from a garden is a herbal medicine garden. I pretty much envision a medicine cabinet in the back yard! It is also known as a healing herb garden.

“Healing Herbs Garden” contains things such as:

  • Garlic – Forget an apple a day, garlic has been used for it’s medicinal properties for thousands of years and by many different cultures.
    Garlic is a triple power superstar. Just like tumeric, it is anti viral, anti fungal and anti bacterial. There is some evidence to show that garlic can fight against bacteria which is antibiotic resistant(!!!) It fights yeast infections such as candida and provides relief from colds and the flu.
    Garlic also has vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin A. It’s minerals are Copper, Iron, Calcium, Selenium and Manganese.
    In our home, we use a clove of garlic in the ear for ear infections, or raw chopped up in water as a shot when we are feeling ill. We eat garlic daily with dinner (sometimes lunch and breakfast).
    RECIPE: A breakfast garlic dish I was taught was to make stuffed portabello mushrooms by removing the stalk, making a mix of feta and garlic to pop in the middle, frying the mushroom and adding avocado, bacon, ciabatta bread to serve. A little thyme also works well here.
  • Lavender – Aromatherapy as a calming oil, great to induce calm and sleep/fights insomnia, purfume, skin healer, air freshener, helps sooth bug bites.
  • Peppermint – Upset tummy, abdominal pain, bloating, irritable bowel
  • Chamomile – Can be crushed and made into a tea plus has cute wee flowers which strongly resemble Daisy’s! Good for indigestion, anxiety,Β  burns, anti fungal, skin infections, can be used to help induce sleep
  • Parsley – Helps with bad breath, remedy for bloating and gas, boosts energy
  • Sage – I dry and burn sage to help with good vibes. Other uses are that it sooths mouth, throat and gum infections, antibacterial, astringent.
  • Rosemary – Improves mood, sweetens breath, boosts memory and concentration, promotes healing
  • Tumeric – Antiseptic, antibacterial, anti inflammatory

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Garlic has delicious culinary properties too (which is the whole point, right?). It adds an incredible flavour to many dishes, it is a core ingredient in many cultures and spices up common dishes such as mashed potatoes.

 

Growing garlic is all about the timing.

 

On the shortest day of the year it is the Winter Solstice, in New Zealand this day is June 21st, and this is the best day to plant garlic. Why? Because Garlic establishes it’s root system over winter then shoots it’s tops out into spring. On the Summer Solstice, 6 months later, it is ready to harvest. Garlic grows itself from itself so if you have some in the pantry then you are ready to plant! Doesn’t growing garlic make you feel a little more tied to the planet and its seasons, it’s rotations? (No? Just me and my nerdy self overthinking about how I don’t even notice seasons on a deeper level than ‘Oh it’s cold’ ‘hey it’s hot’ so maybe this gardening with the seasons bizz might be good for me and the kids. Ok! Moving along!!!)

Fertilizing the garden for garlic planting

A growing plant gets it’s nutrition from the soil. If a plant has adequate nutrition it will thrive (much like any other living creature!) A little blood and bone (if not vegetarian) and compost turned into the soil will suffice otherwise a good old manure will feed nutrtients and beneficial micro organisms into the soil. Add blood and bone to the surface again every month.

 

Step by step:

  1. Fertilize the soil
  2. Plant on winter solstice (June 21st in NZ)
  3. Plant one clove in a hole about a thumb or finger deep. Plant each clove about one hand (your hand) away from each other so they don’t have to compete for nutrition.
    (Cloves should be pointed tip facing up and flat side down).
  4. Add blood and bone every month, if desired
  5. Watch for tips to shoot out of the ground. These tips will grow 9 leaves.
  6. When the leaves start to turn yellow in patches, the garlic is ready to harvest. Generally look for 4-5 leaves to be yellow and the plant may even fall over. This means it is ready to harvest.
  7. Hang to dry

 

Top Tips for growing garlic

  • Each individual clove can produce a whole bulb. So plant it and it grows itself! Money saved, you do not need to buy a plant or seedling. Just grab one from your pantry.
  • Look for the best, biggest cloves which show no sign of rotting or discoloration etc.
  • Growing garlic is all about the timing because the root system has to establish in the cooler months, then shoot out and mature in the warmer months
  • Garlic can be grown in pots
  • The flat part which faces downward will shoot out roots all winter long to establish itself and the tip will shoot out a stalk, visible above the ground.
  • In NZ the best day to harvest Garlic is about December 21st or 22nd.

The paradigm of nutrition education

It is not often that I rant on here, but we’re all friends right? πŸ€—
My son goes to an amazing kindy in South Auckland where kids bring their own lunch. As a big food nerd, I always peep at other kids lunches not to shame, but to get an idea of what others eat. My son is quite restricted with his food allergies, my lack of time and being a student I am not on a full income. But he is always fed.

At my sons kindy, some kids have hot lunches, some kids have lunches similar to what we knew as normal in the 90s, some have Instagram perfect lunches and some kids have a piece of pizza or two minute noodles. I believe all the kids are fed, there is free grainy bread for everyone who wants it. At the community daycare down the road, the kids are fed as part of their fees and I hear from a friend that the food isn’t amazing, there is sugar and white bread. But the kids are fed, the parents have one less thing to worry about.

I follow loads of nutrition pages and always read the media driven debates on kids lunches, what we are feeding our kids, what we should be feeding our kids etc. etc. I saw one (wonderful and inspirational) nutritionist comment with good intention on my friends post regarding the food they eat at the community daycare, and if she could ask them if they want her to go in and do a nutrition seminar with the teachers and parents. I shook my head at this, the nutritionist has great intentions (can’t blame her for trying to drum up business) but she doesn’t get it. I feel like all these incentives targeting the working class are thought up by people with education and privilege.

The Mum and Dad who work 50 hours a week each on minimum wage, have 5 kids and no time, energy or know-how to whip up vegan chia seed pancakes for lunch won’t have time to come to your seminar and they won’t want to. They don’t want to sign up to something where they could feel guilty, ashamed, stupid or like a bad parent. When I speak of education, some people don’t know how to peel a carrot because they didn’t have that growing up, or they aren’t sure how to cook so they don’t. They are in a routine which works for them, be it cocoa pops  and takeaways or whatever, and no support or resources to change their routine. Their kids are fed. That is better than their kids being hungry.

These people don’t have time for a seminar, they probably work 7-7 every day or do night shifts and are exhausted then need to tend to their house and the kids, pulling in 35k a year, so a 6-7pm seminar does not work in with their schedules although it probably does work with the schedules of those who earn twice/three times as much and work business hours at a desk. A different approach is needed to work with different lives.

Incentives to educate haven’t worked because well intentioned health promoters are approaching educating others in the wrong way. They keep slapping posters on the walls, they are the Doctors who just tell obese people if they loose weight they will feel better and they send notes home in kids lunches and pat themselves on the back, like they have made a difference. To some people, this is fine but not to those they are trying to target. If you know better, do better. Health promoters know better? So do better. Think outside the square. Come up with something different, something tangible which actually helps. Not the poster I saw on the wall at Manukau super clinic saying “Do not put fizzy drink in your babies bottle” with a picture of a brown baby – the target audience. The Mum who needs to read this is probably so caught up in her own head, worrying about why she is at the super clinic and whatever else is going on in her life, that she won’t look up to read your poster. If she does, then what? She goes home and justifies giving her 2 year old 90c fizzie because it is cheaper than $4 cows milk, and fed is better than starving, so she keeps putting the fizzies in the bottle. Your poster is not effectively educating the target audience.

If something doesn’t work, if the people aren’t learning time and time again then we’re going the wrong way about how we are teaching.

It is so easy for us coming from a position of privilege and education to judge and think, well they need to stop buying noodles and coke and buy fruit and whole grain bread instead, everyone knows that. And stop having so many kids. And get off the pokies. And put your children first. But you sitting there thinking that or being a keyboard warrior doesn’t help either, it is just shaming the working class. Until you walk in their shoes, you won’t understand the struggle. When those with education and privilege look at a 1.5l bottle of coke, we think “40 teaspoons of sugar, caffeine, spiking blood sugar levels, insulin response, phosphoric acid, toilet cleaner, corrosive cavity creator, diabetes in a plastic bottle” and we may assume everyone thinks the same thing. But people could also think “Yum and only $1.39, that’s good because I only have $50 this week”. On that deeper level, in their minds, lies the difference.

To change people we need to change their mindsets. Changing a mindset doesn’t happen by belittling a person, or by telling someone what to think, because they respond to being judged negatively, by feeling insignificant and maybe overwhelmed. Changing mindsets happens by slowly chipping away at a persons default thoughts and replacing them with another thought.

Incentives to help change a persons mindset should include real life, everyday changes such as taking GST off fruit and veg and advertising the fact – that way, when you think of cheap you think of fruit and veg. I wish fruit and veg had more marketing, if it was on everyone’s radar that when you only have $20, you knew you could buy ready to eat fruit and vegetables which only require a microwave to cook (potatoes, kumara, cauliflower etc can be cooked in the microwave) and if we rewired our brains to accept that that real food is filling (as one attitude is that fruit and veg doesn’t even touch the sides, is birds food, wouldn’t be enough) then people would make that choice. Instead people look for so-called “fillers” like $1 white bread loaves as they are perceived to fill up tummies. My kids are 1 and 3 and they can go through a loaf of bread in 2 days. I totally get why people go for the $1 white bread vs the $3 grainy bread loaves, because if you are buying 6, 7 or 8 loaves a week it all adds up.

Incentives to help people with their nutrition need to be real life community based initiatives, not seminars, not posters on the wall, not some person from another suburb who only works 8 hours a day telling others of a different lifestyle what they should be doing. If the initiatives are not easily a part of everyday life (such as taking gst off fruit and veg) then they will not reach the people they need to reach.

We need new thinking to change old ways.

If a person is not learning when you have tried the same thing two, three or four times then you need to change the way you are teaching them.

Stop taking for granted that others even know how to peel a carrot, how to boil an egg, how to shop for groceries.

Maybe they do have that education, ok. Then stop assuming that others have the time or energy to cook when they have worked a 10 hour, physically demanding shift then have kids and possibly a second job to then go to. Their lives might be totally different to yours. Maybe the oldest child has to get cheap cereal ready for the younger ones, and Mum and Dad are just happy their kids are fed. That is the mentality.

I went to a decile 1 primary school in Kawerau in the ’90s. Some incredible people have come out of that school including businessmen, Olympic athletes, teachers and a prominent fitness model. To the kids who stole my lunch, my hoodies, my togs, I am sorry I didn’t help you because I didn’t realise you were going without. I had enough, I didn’t realise you might not of. I didn’t realise ANYONE went without or struggled. I remember one boy who stole one item from my lunchbox everyday, he never wore shoes or had nice things. I was scared of him but told on him for stealing when he started taking my chocolate yogurt. Looking back, he stole out of necessity, not as a personal attack or out of greed. He wasn’t the only one living in poverty at the school either. Why aren’t we doing more to alleviate the need for that boy to steal? Do you think his parents would have signed up to a seminar on nutritious lunches? Read a poster on the wall? Cared about a keyboard warrior telling them not to breed? No. Of course not!

We need to get real if we really want to help. There must be more we can do.

Breastfeeding and eczema/food allergies

For a little over three years I breastfed my two babies, one after the other. While it is natural for a Mumma to feel a little emotional about their breastfeeding relationship coming to an end, I unexpectidly am reflecting on it as one of those relationships that come into a persons life to change it for the better. You know like a person who has influenced and changed you. Anything that changes a person is hard, is a journey and is a rewarding challenge. That has been breastfeeding for me.

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Prior to having my babies I was a fairly typical niave girl in my 20s. Nutrition wasn’t always at the forefront of my mind. I drank way too much alcohol, consumed too much caffeine, was on the pill for 10 years, had taken antibiotics all my life without a second thought, I smoked cigarettes too. My poor body! I thrashed it but expected it would look good and preform optimally for me (oh to be 21 again!). I had so many factors that would lead to bad gut health but I was too busy finding the perfect dress for the weekend to have gut health on my radar. I had briefly seen adverts about probiotics around the place but that all seemed too hippy lala for me. I worked out sometimes, had a healthy bmi and good iron so I assumed that was all there was to my health. I was like holistic health, what’s that even mean?

When we planned a baby at 25 and fell pregnant right away, I was overjoyed. I did everything right – cut caffeine, ate well avoiding all the ‘No’ foods, did yoga, walking etc. After birth I was only 5kg heavier than my start point so I believed that I must have been healthy. I suppose in this respect my beliefs on health were very one dimensional.

His birth was a good one with complications. I self taught hypnobirthing, John had to be induced when he was 10 days late and the waters had been broken for a while. They pumped me full of antibiotics in case of infection. With a little synthetic oxytocin, he was born naturally with no further intervention. Then I got unlucky and had a post partum haematoma to deal with, where the blood pooled internally in my vulva and I had to have two rounds of surgery to remove a busted vein and clamp an burst artery. One blood transfusion later and 10days in the hospital, I was on the path to healing. As fate would have it, when I was whisked off to surgery my baby was having a little trouble with his breathing so he was sent to NICU and also pumped full of antibiotics. Our gut health would have hit rock bottom at this point.

When John was a newborn, I had to ask the hospital staff how to change a nappy because I had never been close to one of those things let alone changed one! Did you know the packet has instructions on them? Haha, that’s there for people like myself who had never held a baby before then they had full responsibility of one. I was very maternal but had no experience! As an impressionable and clueless new Mum, I took loads of bad advice. Amoung the worst of it was that my baby should be sleeping more than he did so my boy must just be hungry and he would need watered down farex and formula to make him sleep. I am so ashamed to say that I believed this terrible advice, so into little newborn John’s delicate little gut I put in dairy and watered down farex.

When John started getting red rashes in his folds and also his whole body turning red in flashes, through bad advice and my own ignorance I thought it was the washing powder or the swim lessons. When he started developing eczema in his folds, on his face and under his multiple baby chins, I thought he needed topical creams. When his eczema worsened and covered his whole body, turning infected in patches requiring steroids and antibiotics, through a combination of sleep deprivation, desperation to help my baby and good advice from a fellow allergy Mum Jen I tried an elimination diet. I cut dairy and stopped the farex and formula feeds and it seemed to help a little but John’s skin was still so severe the GP talked of hospitalizing him. I realized I was on the right path with a natural approach as steroids hadn’t worked, and kept diving deep for more information. I turned to modern parenting (google!) And learned more about elimination diets, gut health, candida, eczema and I was releived to learn that as a Mum you cannot die from sleep deprivation.

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Eczema – 7 months old

I will never forget those months of eczema life which seemed to go on forever. My little bubba, scratching himself into a literal bloody mess and looking up at me with big eyes as if begging me to make the itching go away. It must have been torture. All day and all night he would do nothing but scratch and cry, I was the 24/7 scratching police as I held down his limbs and cried as he screamed himself to sleep. He slept in our bed so I could hold him down to sleep, he woke every sleep cycle (45min) then it would take me 15min to get him back to sleep then he woke again. I was only sleeping 30min streches at this point and began to despise nighttime. When it got dark I would feel this doom and gloom pressing down on me and I would impatiently wait for the sun to rise so I could stop trying to sleep and get on with the day. My days were filled with baths, wet wrapping (2am every night included), appointments, washing blood out of baby clothes and wishing to be a normal Mum who only had pumpkin stains to worry about. I will never forget the stares my baby got and the gasps ftom strangers, some of whom would tell me coconut oil will fix that, others would ask me what was wrong with my baby. My poor itchy baby, I can’t imagine the stress and I often still worry about his cortisol levels as a baby. We bought so many pairs of scratch me not gloves that as much as I love them, I was happy to see the back of them as my son was 1.5years and gradually stopped needing them. My firm fave for eczema clothing is bam [+] boo for everything especially their zippidy zip suits, amazing product, they saved our sleep and sanity!

I was now a breastfeeding Mum of a baby with food intolerances. Through all of this I found a little me time at Ashy Bines 12 week bootcamp in Howick. It felt great to exhaust my body and become strong, fit and a good example for my boy. I completed the challenge, coming in 2nd place and winning a scholarship to study nutrition theory through Ashy Bines with FIT Australia. I could not believe my luck! I got 100% on the course and just like that a burning passion was lit.

My path to gut health has been a series of small steps leading to a path in turn becoming my journey. Around the time I commenced study, we consulted with leading naturopath Gina Wilson at Indico Ltd. John was 7 months old and I felt although his eczema had improved, we could not go it alone and needed guidance down the only route which worked for us so far which was holistic health. As well as being a naturopath, Gina has a nutrition qualification and specializes in children so she was perfect.

We were now starving candida whilst on an elimination diet where John and I both excluded gluten, wheat, dairy, egg, nut, soy, nightshades and all sugars (no fruit even). This was 3 months and because we were doing it for my baby, it was easy. I found preparation was key and it got easier with every meal, every day.

John’s eczema was two steps forward one step back but eventually (by 2) he wasn’t having much trouble anymore. By 3 he only gets eczema when he is triggered by food, sunscreen or chlorine. He is such a happt boy now with a sparkle in his eyes, gone are those giant, pleading eyes which used to look at me with such desperation.

During all of this, of course, we uncovered that John had multiple food allergies through painful trial and error. He is allergic to dairy and eggs and anaphylactic to cashew nuts. Multiple Drs trips, hives/swelling/itching/tears, a couple of ambulance rides and lots of antihistamine later – we are managing as best we can.

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I breastfed John whilst avoiding his allergies until my milk dried up in pregnancy with Daisy. The kids are 1.5 years apart. With Daisy I decided to do everything in pregnancy that I could to reduce her chances of allergies and eczema, I researched, talked to other Mums and felt confident that I was holistically healthier than my first time around. I truly did everything, even populating my birth canal with probiotics for her to swallow on her way out!

Not to bore anyone with the long version, Daisy is allergic to white fish, something unknown and anaplyactic to nuts and eggs. She got eczema as a baby. But, lucky for her, we made all of our mistakes with her brother (sorry Johnny). She was breastfed exclusively, bugger the bad advice I got from relatives about her “starving” from 4 months (when they strongly felt she needed mushed up pumpkin). What I have learned with my second child is that I am my babys biggest advocate, I come with instincts that are right for my baby and breastmilk is best for baby’s gut health.

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When Daisy got eczema, I went back onto the elimination diet and followed Gina’s advice once more and we nipped it in the bud! A few breakouts but all nothing comparitvely.

I am happy to say that I had such an oversupply of breastmilk that I was able to donate to other allergy babies. I have continued my studies now with The Naturopathic College of NZ.

Now Daisy is nearly 1.5years and I have weaned her. I feel like I should have gone to two as per the World Health Organizations recommendation but the relationship wasn’t mutually working out anymore.

I look back on this journey with appreciation and love for how much it hs shaped me, changed me and put me on the right life path where I am thrilled to be helping others not just with text book advice but real life experience to draw on.

I laugh about how even though my kids are weaned, I am so used to not eating dairy or eggs that mentally I cannot bring myself to eat them now. I got a sip of my husbands coffee and dry wretched everywhere, no moo for me!

What I found really beneficial has been cutting out their allergens myself while breastfeeding because it has forced me to find, create and make food which is safe for them. I don’t just rely on the first 5 safe foods I found, I know all of the places they can eat and all of the items which are safed because I live in their shoes.

On reflection, I am so glad that even when John bit my nipples hard and made them bleed, I persevered with breastfeeding. I had a tin of allergy baby formula and read the ingredients – first one up was corn syrup. CORN SYRUP!? No. I had so much pressure to feed him that and I kept with breastfeeding despite my MIL and SIL giving me dirty looks while I breastfed as John turned one. The family pressure was hard, loads of comments and when I announced I was pregnant with baby number 2, my MIL mocked my toddler saying, “Ha ha ha haa ha, you’re gonna get weeeened”. So you see I had opinions against my breastfeeding relationship however I knew not to worry.

My husband was supportive and Β real catalyst for natural, holistic health the whole way.

Now I am not breastfeeding anymore babies, but breastfeeding my two with food allergies and eczema put me onto the right path and I am sure the resulting journey will never end.

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Meal Time with a threenager

In the morning, my son wakes up, has a cuddle and asks for his breakfast.

He wants the following:

  • Muffins
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate cake
  • Chocolate yogurt

I serve the following:

  • Oats with banana, chia seed, cinnamon and rice milk
  • Gluten free weetbix with rice milk

A similar pattern repeats for lunch then it intensifies at dinner time.

Before I get accused of having all the time in the world to cook (as has happened in the past), I work 2-3 days a week, I am a student, we are building a house, we are getting married in 6 weeks time, my son goes to  kindy half an hour away, my daughter to playgroups, we visit Grandparents at least once a week, I do bootcamp 3x a week and take the kids on walks too and I manage all of the household chores. Like everyone else, I don’t have time for their shit when they refuse food.
So how do I get him to eat his meals?

  1. Wake up early. I have realized that I need to get up before the kids so I can make their breakfast and have it on the table, ready and waiting. That eliminates the kids trying to ask for other foods while I make their breakfast. For lunch and dinner, I get my kids involved in the cooking where possible.
  2. Be direct. Guide them to the table saying directly, “This is your breakfast”. It is not a discussion, I am not asking my kids what they want. I am telling them, this is your breakfast.
  3. Non negotiable. Don’t argue with a three year old. It is not a discussion, a choice, a compromise. I try not to have this arguement with my preschooler because it leaves him thinking he has wiggle room. I tell him, “your breakfast is on the table”.
  4. Eat together. I absolutely love drinking coffee and eating brekkie alone, in peace, in silence before the chaos of the day begins but I find that the simple act of eating together as a family sets the atmosphere and culture in the house of meal time. Ever noticed how kids eat food off your plate but wont touch their plate even though you have made the same damn meal? It encourages kids to eat when you are eating at the same time. Monkey see, monkey do. 
  5. If they don’t eat, serve it to them again when they say they are hungry. This is what we do but I know not everyone agrees. A great example of how effective this is with my 3yo is at dinner time, I serve it around 4 or 5 (as I dont eat late) and if he doesn’t eat it then, he will usually cave by 6pm and eat some dinner. After he has his dinner he is allowed a smoothie for dessert, but never a smoothie just for the sake of it. It is a little hard because if he goes to bed hungry then we know we might be in for a 2am wake up. I have been up with my son at 2am while he eats his steak. But now that he is 3, he gets it, and will even use eating his dinner as a stalling tactic at bedtime. I don’t mind this as I know he is eating nutritious food which will fuel his body. Personally, we start again in the morning with brekkie, we don’t go as far as to serve his dinner to him again the next day.
  6. Consistency. On repeat. They soon get it!

We have had so many setbacks of when my kids are with relatives and their routine/eating habits are set out of whack again. My kids were at my Mums house on Thursday while I worked and she spoils the crap out of them, it is extreme. My son is a king there, he demands a muffins, blueberries and cookies so she goes to the shops and buys it all for him !!!!! What the fuck Mum? Then back out to the shops when he asks for an ice block. She is his slave. You can imagine the next couple of days following a day at their grandparents house is quite hard on me. I have to put in a real effort to get them to eat what they are given. It is also like this coming back from holiday when my 3yo knows who to ask for alternate food to what we have cooked, there is always a relative or two who will stop eating their own meal to comply to his request for toast instead of meat and veg. When we come back from holiday it takes a few days and a lot of “in our house we eat what we are given for dinner”, “I want you to eat your oats”.

Healthy meals are so important for our kids. I was bought up with “you’ll get what you are given and you’ll like it”, “no you can’t have that, you can have a smacked bum instead” or “eat everything on your plate. There are starving kids in India”.

Interested to hear what happens at your place? 

Running

I have always wanted to run a half marathon.

I have quite a few runner friends, some who compete multiple times a year, others who have made a name for themselves in New Zealand and then there are all of the “half marathon ticked off my bucket list” facebook posts I see time and time again or “1hr 51 smashed it”. I wanted that.
While running 2km this morning after 1 round of strength, as part of bootcamp, I realized why I have not ever run a half marathon.

It’s because I don’t really like running.

Don’t get me wrong, the orange sunrise at the top of Point View hill was gorgeous and uplifting… but I am not runner.

On reflection I wanted to complete a half marathon only because everyone else was doing it. But I am not a runner. I like HIIT, I like weights, yoga/pilates, short bursts of stair running, strap one kid on my back and the other in a pram and I will walk uphill for kms. But I am not a runner, so it feels good to no longer feel like I have to be one just because everyone else runs.

Not into zumba or bikram yoga either… happy to have tried these but they are not for me! It doesn’t matter what you like or dislike, try things and find YOUR thing.

It doesn’t matter how you move, just get up and move that body while you’re still able to. 

I often walk past a multi level retirement apartment block on the way to a playground nearby and I see people looking out the window at us. When I am in that position, as an old lady, I want to look back and know that I used my body while I could. I made the most of being capable. I worked out in appreciation of being able to work out, rather than because I hated the fat on the theighs.

Better organize that kayaking date which my fiance and I have been meaning to go on for the last 5 years… while we’re young(ish)

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