Monday, February 22, 2010

Family nutritional wellness

Our journey through January definitely included a renewed and purposeful zest for healthy living, beginning with better breakfast nourishment.

I for one have always insisted on a good breakfast at home, much to the chagrin of children who may have preferred not.

I've met dozens of families in general (and many homeschooling families) who often, due to assorted reasons, experience a dwindle of basic nutritional efforts sooner than later from either fatigue, lack of time, not enough hands to assist in the delivery of an action plan, a sick pregnant mommy, or many other and varied real reasons.

When this happens, the initial simple menu planning disappears into an oblivion and I've seen and heard of those sugary cereal substitutes becoming plopped onto the kitchen counter instead. Sometimes too, just sheer junky fast food is offered as acceptable replenishment for their children's growing bodies due to time and man power constraints.

Problem for those is; soon after the digestion of such foods, a sugar high or chemical imbalance may prevail, offering a child a sudden soar in energy, negative energy actually, and most often we all know what happens then? Right.

Mom's patience (or another care giver) becomes worn thin, and fast becomes exasperated over the sudden poor or unruly behavior of the child/children. At times the only remedy may be some discipline, eventually ruining the best tweaked and most perfectly designed schooling schedules for the day. But is it the child's fault? Good question.

A mother has the power to nourish her children's bodies not only to benefit their wellness and growth in general, but also to offer nutritional food fare, which at the same time doesn't ultimately begin to work against the child's health and thwart possible (schooling) progress during the day to frustrate the mother.

Hands down, breakfast really matters because the result of what it contains will either shape or ruin our day, and that of our children. Most of all, the entire family will feel the effect of the good early morning start to the day if proper nourishment is obtained.

Why not take time right now in the freshness of this new decade ahead to make breakfast count in our homes, for we will reap the reward of a little homemaking management in this area of our family's lives.

We have within ourselves home management tools to call upon, the local library, or that of other mothers either in the same position or having already survived it to assist us in this department if necessary. If you're waning for ideas, ask around or get onto the internet for a wealth of information at your "google" fingertips.

If you need help learning more, why not fill up your night stand with books on nutrition, read informative articles, and ask questions for assisting in arming your mothering defenses to keep your family healthy. Why not take time out to;
  • Learn how the body becomes affected by certain poor choice foods.
  • What are the effects of transfats, or preservatives, or chemicals used on growing foods.
  • How do engineered foods, coloring agents, and drying ingredients used to keep commercial cereals dry, affect our health?
Can you just believe that it's already late February! And we're fast moving towards the month of March now. If you're someone in need of a gentle persuasive push, why not get those kitchen engines all revved up again.

It's a known fact that between the months of both January and/or February, many people fall into the category of "burnout" and it is also well known, these are the times to raise things up a notch for better overall wellness.

Best things to do during this particular time of the year; Seek better nutritional fare, increase water consumption during the day, obtain the habit of exercise, and allow for stolen moments of fresh air daily. These things are imperative to a everyone's survival during these time periods.

Have your ever wondered why so many people in our country travel and take vacations to some tropical destination during this time of year? If we're not one of those traveling to some sunny vacation destination, then we can concentrate on our Lenten obligations, and/or watch the Olympics as a family while concentrating our efforts on everyone's health and wellness. Just think;
  • We have the power to feed and nourish souls!
  • We have the power to organize and arm our homes with healthy food selections in our pantries, cupboards AND refrigerator/freezers.
  • We have the power to train our children to assist us in the kitchen, to assign kitchen tasks that the entire family can and will benefit from.
Not only will taking care to provide good healthy meals benefit the entire family, we are also training our children and being an example to them on how to care of their nutritional food fare for their future.

How many young couples live off of junky meals after marriage today because they haven't been taught or acquired the skills to cook a decent meal? TONS.

Breakfast is one of the MOST important meals of the day for our bodies and that of our family's as all have just ended a fast. By daybreak, we are all going to BREAK the FAST from our sleep the evening before. How we all choose to rev up our family's body for a new day is up to us, isn't it? Here are a few helpful tips...
  • Forget the TANG, worse yet forget the Koolaid - positively for the most part these contain more harmful chemicals and loads of sugar the body doesn't require, rather than real juice to make it count as something nutritious.
  • Forget the sugary cereals. Call me a prude but these have never been a staple over here.
  • Put the sugar bowl away and keep it hidden!
It's a proven fact that a steady diet of this type of food will offer our children/teens/young adults moments of falling into the trap of having difficulty concentrating, the effect will be huge in just a few hours when the sugar buzz falters and the possibility of damaging one's system if diabetes runs in the family.

Someone with this eating lifestyle could very well be headed for a collision course in the future if this isn't bridled now to lower sugar consumption. I would implore you to g
et on the bandwagon for healthier breakfasts around your home.

Why not begin to prepare food the night before; make things like cooked sausages and hard boiled eggs, pancakes or waffles are frozen and can easily be popped into the toaster, granola and yogurt is a favorite quick meal, fruit salad with nuts and coconut atop, hot steamy porridge in the crockpot, homemade muffins and cheese sliced up, fresh fruit salad, toast and a quickly scrambled egg atop, whatever, just something nutritional!

World's simplest breakfast?
Hands down - We love protein shakes!

For many, many years I've concocted many a protein shake using whatever staples I've had on hand, and always an army of children would surround me begging to share them with me.

Types of shakes for me can include fruits, greens, flax seed (prefer ground flax but don't put it in until very last or it makes the shake all foamy) or flax seed oil, primrose oil, protein powder or greens powders, yogurt, whatever - even water as a base, just a variety of what's available at that moment.

It's a great way to use up those blackened bananas. Actually I freeze bananas immediately when the skin begins to turn darker. The banana peel is the perfect freezer protection and when I want to use one for a shake or perhaps a banana loaf, I simply remove the peel using a knife to cut it off and chop it into small pieces.

Admittedly I've produced my share of real "duds", really awful stuff, but with a cheery voice I sip mine back (gag, gag, gag!) and request the children just follow along by plugging their noses and getting it down. If I had been able to plug my own nose in front of them, the endurance episodes I partook in would have been much more tolerable for me too, but since example is everything, I played the role of "mama the brave".

Through that same trial and error, I've come to discover the perfect blend for us. I like to have frozen fruit on hand, my favorite is blueberries in a very large bag from Costco when I run out of my summer stashes.

Using frozen something or other allows for the shake to be frosty, icy and provide me with much tender sipping to enjoy the health I'm sipping back. And these digest so well!

With my trusty blender on hand, I use either some milk, or juice, or just water, maybe some yogurt as a base.

Pressing the blend button, I allow the liquid to whirl around while I drop in other ingredients a bit at a time. The reason why I want to do this is also because if using frozen goods, they tend to block up on the bottom of the blender inside to halt all of the whirling and blending action, mounding into a frozen blob that needs to be broken down after turning off the blender.

If adding "greens" by way of something like fresh or frozen squeezed chopped spinach, or two large spoonfuls of powdered greens or wheat grass, be sure your liquid will offset the taste. A bit of something like a bit of frozen orange juice (1/4 cup and water added) as a liquid, a chopped up mango, pineapple, some apple juice, something sweet to offset that taste will be your just reward for optimal health in a glass. I've even used a bit of tomato or carrot juice in mine. Yum.

These are super handy for the person on the fly! Add these to a water bottle for instant goodness. And they taste good too. I like to add them to my shakes.

Today and the past few days we've used a variation of this one; 2 cups milk 1 cup water 1 cup frozen blueberries 1 frozen and chopped up banana 1 - 2 tbsp protein powder 1 - 2 tbsp powder greens 1 - 2 evening primrose gel tabs poked with a pin and squeezed in the mix.

Whirl all up, add more water if necessary until desired consistency is reached. We like it thick just not thick enough to have to depend on using a spoon.

Here's another favorite;
1/4 cup frozen concentrated orange juice 1/4 cup apple juice 3-4 cups of water 1/2 soft ripe mango 1/2 cup vanilla or plain yogurt Add in whatever is on hand - protein powder, greens, flax seed oil, mashed leftover carrots, mashed leftover greens like brussel sprouts or spinach, etc. Feeling a bit indulgent, how about one big plop of vanilla ice cream? Smoothie city!

Warning; I've realized it's just not great to add in leftover broccoli heads because all those little dottie bits seem to freckle up the shake drink and all the children turn their noses up at me.

If your shake is thick enough and everyone loves it, why not whirl up 2-3 batches and make popsicles from them for another time. Just a variety and shake up from the usual drink.

Oh, and one last thing; We usually use
"Stem Glasses" because (for shakes AND water daily) our family is more important than saving these fine glasses for only when having guests over. Our children love using stem glasses, but upon occasion, someone shows up with this one to fill to its brim.

I'm sure you can find hundreds of lovely recipes to try your hand at for making fruit/vegetable protein shakes around your own home.

If you choose to freeze a batch in ice cube trays, get them secured into freezer ziplock bags and allow your family members to grab a few on the run in a cup or thermos for the road. As it thaws, shake it all up to keep it blended, and then voila, instant drink!

Best of all, remember health is wealth. Go for good quality foods, the best possible, especially when it comes to produce.

Always remember;
  • You get what you pay for.
  • Buy good, become healthy.
  • Buy garbage foods and guess what you end up feeling like?
I'll leave that one up to your own imagination folks.

Best of all, have fun. Sip slowly. Laugh often. Love deeply. (I think that's the line to use anyway about now. grin...)