This Is 43

birthday-cake-757102_1920

Most years, when I’m on the cusp of a birthday, I have all sorts of goals and ideas swirling around my head for the next year. Read more books, try a new kind of exercise, plan a trip, you get the idea. This year it’s just….blank. It’s not that I don’t have exciting things happening. Namely,  I will finish my Nutrition Consultant program this year (that’s big!). But I made that goal years ago, so it’s not a new one.

This year, though, I’m struggling with getting pumped about any new plans. I’m trying to cut myself some slack, because for the past couple of months I’ve been dealing with a recurrence of mono. Yuck. I’ve been tired, lethargic, and it has been pretty hard to follow through on things that require my brain  (i.e.: school work). Maybe when I’m back to feeling 100% the ideas and excitement will flow.

In the meantime, I’ve turned to some of my friends to ask them for ideas. My friends KK and KC think I should launch a new business after I finish school. My friend Ali thinks I should shoot for running a 10k. More than a few friends have encouraged me to run for office (I need to grow a thicker skin before that is even an option).

So, readers, tell me: what goals do you set each year? What fun or challenging things are you planning on tackling soon? Leave me your thoughts in the comments and maybe we will all get inspired!

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Run, jog, slog

Good, better, best.

Maybe I’ll Finally Stop Multitasking

It’s possible I get distracted very easily. Maybe it’s actually very likely that on any given day, during any given task, I find myself checking texts, emails, Facebook, and Twitter far too often. Then I forget where I am in my task and it takes a while to get back up to speed. How much time am I wasting every day because of this? Probably hours.

I was on Twitter and saw a well known journalist mention the Pomodoro Technique for time management and I was instantly intrigued. So I did some research and decided to put it to the test the next day, when I had set aside a few hours to finish a school project.

It seems so simple and I’m kind of embarrassed that I haven’t used a time management technique in all the years I’ve been going to school and work. Real talk: my time management sucks. Well, it used to, anyway. So, here’s how it works: set a timer for 25 minutes (if that seems too long, start with 15). After the timer goes off, give yourself a five minute break to check email, read Facebook, make a cup of tea or check messages. After your fourth 25 minute work session, give yourself a longer break to take a walk, read a book, or watch a show on Netflix. Repeat repeat repeat as long as you have time.

If you sit down for a chunk of time without any sort of strategy, you might find yourself getting distracted too easily. When you have shorter chunks of time using the Pomodoro Technique, it’s easy to put off returning phone calls, texts or emails because you know you’ll have a reasonable amount of time to tackle those things. This strategy can even be used for household chores. For kids, break it down into five, 10 or 15 minutes depending on their age.

Give it a try, and let me know how it works for you! Maybe your life will be changed for the better! And if you like this post, please feel free to share with with family and friends!

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Under Pressure

I walked out of Super Target today having no idea where I parked my car. The parking lot was jammed when I arrived and I snagged the first spot I could, then promptly forgot where. This has sort of been my M.O. lately. Every December I tell myself I’m going to pare back my expectations, and to some extent I have gotten better. But there are still things to take care of! I have so many to-do lists floating around in my head it’s only natural I forget the details, like where I parked my car.

One thing that I’ve decided not to even care about right now is whether my food is organic.  For the most part I buy much of my meat, dairy, and fruit and vegetables organic. I have a growing girl at home and it’s something that’s important to me. I also care about putting less chemicals into the environment. I like supporting smaller farms. All that stuff. And by the way, I also make zero judgements about how anyone else feeds their families.  We all have different things we care about. We all have different ways we allocate our budgets. December is always a time of spending more on groceries because I am cooking for others, making big batches of cookies and quadrupling soup recipes. It’s expensive! So this weekend while shopping with my daughter I just had this lightbulb moment where I decided to Just. Not. Care. Immediately a huge weight lifted and I felt happier. It’s kind of a small thing, but with big benefits. My budget will thank me and my stress levels will go down. (Note: I realize that being able to choose whether to buy organic or not is a privilege, and there are many people who go through every month wondering if there will be enough food on the table. If you are looking for a good charity to support, please consider making a donation to a local food shelf, or to Feeding America.)

So, what will you give yourself a pass on this month? Will you decide that not everything has to be homemade? Or that you’ll use gift bags instead of wrapping paper? How about that you don’t have to Pinterest the sh&% out of every project? If you need permission to let some things go, you are hereby absolved. Pick one or two (or if you’re an overachiever like me, five or six things) that you used to think were super important but upon reflection just really aren’t. I promise the holidays will still be special, perhaps even more so. Because instead of being cranky and tired and overwhelmed, you might find that you are actually enjoying the company of your family and isn’t that really what this whole thing is about?

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Confessional

LET’S GET OUT OF HERE!

 

VEGGIE DUMPLINGS!

veggie dumplings

Thanks to everyone who participated in helping choose the very first recipe I’ll test from the It’s All Good cookbook.  The big winner was Veggie Dumplings followed very closely by Japanese Chicken Meatballs. So no one feels left out, I will make the meatballs next, okay?

I am planning on making the dumpling with my 10.75 year old’s help (she would really want me to tell you she’s ten and three quarters).  She truly is my sous chef.  I started cooking and baking with her when she was about one.  First, she “helped” (i.e.: made a huge mess and caused a lot of havoc but had a great time).  Now she truly helps.  For real.  She reads recipes, measures, chops, cracks eggs, blends, toasts, and can even make some recipes by herself start to finish.  It’s a revelation.  After all the hard work of incorporating her into my kitchen endeavors, even on days when it would be so much easier to do it by myself, she now truly makes cooking and baking easier on me!  It only took about 10 years, but here we are. So anyway, the picture of the dumplings above are what they would look like in my dreams.  The end result will surely be delicious but maybe not so pretty.  Regardless, I will post the real photos of our finished product.

On a separate but related note, I started my classes for my Nutrition Consultant program yesterday.  I am enthralled already by the material so that’s a good sign.  My favorite takeaway from yesterday’s reading was this: “Being in conflict over what to eat, when to eat, how to eat, and with whom to eat may be a greater problem than what to eat, as distress sends a major stress message to the nervous system, inhibiting robust digestive response”. — Ed Bauman.  I find this to be so true.  I know so many people who are on special eating programs, or who just feel really stressed about eating in general.  I think it’s so important to remember that being relaxed about eating, whatever it is you are putting in your mouth, is so important.  Stress surrounding eating just messes up your insides.  I truly believe that when you are relaxed about it, your digestive system works better.  Remember though, I’m no doctor, so if you are on some sort of medically required eating program, you should stick with it and listen to your physician.

Until next time, eat well!

Let’s Take Back Our Health and Vitality!

My name is Melanie.  I am a mom and nutrition enthusiast who gets excited about exploring new ways to nurture my (and my family’s) health, well-being and happiness.  I believe that we can assist our bodies and minds in being their healthiest through the use of:

  • Healthful and nutritious food
  • Exercise
  • Nurturing activities that make us feel good and reduce stress (massage, meditation, yoga and acupuncture are some of my favorites)

This DOESN’T mean I eschew going to the doctor or taking western medications when needed.  I am a firm believer in using knowledge and expertise from both sides.  I am forever on a journey to find a healthy and balanced mix of these two disciplines.

I’m increasingly worried about the state of our health in this country.  Although information and knowledge about the causes of obesity and ill health abounds, the rates of obesity and its accompanying diseases like diabetes and cancer continue to rise.  I love a good juicy burger like the next person, and I don’t believe in full-on deprivation of “fun” foods, but I also firmly believe it’s time to take the reins of control into our own hands and do what’s right for our and our families’ health and our wellness I believe we can cultivate a healthy balance in our lives, one which allows us to enjoy delicious tastes and textures but also guides us in the direction of balance and vitality.

Let’s do this together! I recently embarked on a Nutrition Consultant program through Bauman College.  I cannot wait to share all I learn with you!  We will focus on eating for our overall health, and there will be lots of information on disease prevention, chronic disease management through nutrition, mental health and more.  I will post recipes, ideas, inspiration, studies, articles and anything else I think will help you on your journey towards better health.  Join me, won’t you?