Being healthy is about more than just the food you eat

Instead of exchanging gifts this year, our group of girlfriends decided to have a cookie baking party for Santa with all of our kids. As we sat on the couch, one of my best friends took a look at me and said…”You know Caro, being healthy is about more than just the food you eat.” Why did she say that to me? Simply because I looked EXHAUSTED. And quite frankly I am exhausted. She knows me all too well and knows that I am not my usual self. Although I still pile on the greens… the holidays, the loss of my grandmother, the pregnancy, and work have all meshed together and thrown me into a loop. That of course has affected my routine…and therefore my husband’s (since I tend to be the house manager!!!) routine. That, overall, leads to a less healthy lifestyle, and it shows.

So my friend’s comment really inspired me to blog today about more than just the food we eat. Holidays tend to be rough on most of us. Its a time of giving thanks, being with friends and family, sharing, decorating, partying, and enjoying life….and those things can become extremely stressful!!!!!!! Because with all that joy comes the stress of buying gifts, shifting work schedules to accomodate for kids’ school events, less routine, less sleep, more running around, and for those of us who live in Miami…a lot more traffic. And for those who travel during the holidays, add on packing and unpacking, crowded airports, traveling with children, long car rides and work piling up at the office. These shifts in seasons and schedules naturally bring shifts to your eating habits. You eat out more, buy more take out, try to make eating more simple because everything else has become more complicated. So it is no wonder that by the end of the holiday season you start to see people feeling more rundown, sad, anxious, tired, and definitely less healthy. Luckily the positives outweigh the negatives and as we all wind down from the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we get ready for a new year with new beginnings and new opportunities to establish healthy routines, exercise more, eat better, and relax a little. So if you’re feeling like you’ve lost your way during the holidays, fear not… it is temporary.

However, my girlfriend’s comment is more profound than just the loss of control we experience during the holidays. That is what really impacted me. Human beings are complex creatures. We don’t just feed our bodies for survival. We also have to feed our minds and our souls… and that can become very complicated.

Some of us are emotional eaters and have a difficult time controlling what we eat when we are going through hard times.
Some of us don’t exercise.
Some of us are in bad relationships.
Some of us are in good relationships but our partners don’t support or help us maintain healthy lifestyles.
Some of us are under too much stress.
Some of us have financial pressures that are affecting us.
Some of us use alcohol or drugs to self medicate.
Some of us don’t sleep enough.
Some of us don’t have a good support system – like a girlfriend who takes a look at you and tells you its time to slow down 🙂
Some of us have a very negative attitude

All these different aspects of our lives and our beings affect our health. And a lot of these aspects affects what we put in our mouths. It is important to be honest with ourselves and look at what we can work on that is within our control. And it is also important for us to find the tools to positively handle those things in our lives that are beyond our control.

So as we all get ready to begin a New Year, I encourage all of you to take a look at what is affecting your health or well being. Maybe in 2013 you can tackle some of the negative things affecting your health. Even if it is one change at a time, every positive step helps. And believe it or not, when you put good healthy food in your mouth and eliminate toxins and sugars, it really does help clear your head and work on the other stuff. We look forward to continue evolving as a family, as individuals, and as a community and sharing our ups and downs with you in 2013… and of course… as many healthy recipes as we can muster up!

To Health, Happiness and Prosperity!

There is Sugar everywhere!!!!!

I can truly sympathize with people trying to lose weight or maintain weight loss during the holiday season. There is sugar everywhere!!!!! Holiday parties, dinners, lunches….there doesn’t seem to be enough time for routine or consistency and we find ourselves making exceptions on more than just fearless fridays. It is happening in our family also and I can’t stand it. I find myself making exceptions ALL the time lately. I find one of the things making it more difficult for me right now is how much pressure i’m under. I’ve got a baby coming in February, a trip planned for new years, a nursery to decorate, christmas around the corner, tons of work to do, and today is my son’s birthday. All these things piled up make it very difficult to keep up with our lifestyle.  But we are not throwing in the towel friends. We are regrouping and getting in focus to start a strong, healthy 2013. And like my husband told me yesterday, he started 2012 with 50lbs to lose and he is closing 2012 with that weight lost. Now his goals for 2013 will be about staying healthy and fine tuning the lifestyle and maintaining his weight and even body building. He can worry about those things now…and that is a great place to be. So in the meantime we are going into survival mode and concentrating on keeping a balance during these trying holiday times, so we can stay neutral instead of shifting into reverse gear!

Later this week I’ll post some of our survival tips. If you feel you’re managing the holiday season well, please write to us and give us your tips. We have to keep the support going in our little community!!! We look forward to hearing from you!

Distraction and Manipulation…

Funny how kids work and how important presentation really is. We were in New York this weekend. On Sunday we went to a nice restaurant, Isabella’s, with my aunt and uncle for brunch. The kids’ menu had grilled cheese and chicken fingers…so we opted instead for one adult plate to split between both boys. A breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, veggies, chorizo, black beans and avocado. The waitress was nice enough to bring the meal split in two already and each plate brought with it a mound of french fries.

Before any of us had a chance to process the meal, Orlando had already taken action. He grabbed the fries from each plate and dumped them in the bread basket!!! One would think he’s a crazy person, but his fatherly instinct screamed at him “get rid of the french fries if you want these kids to eat the meal!” As he moved the fries, both boys whined a little and reached for the fries, but he simply said…”first your meal, then the fries.”

No other mention was made of the fries and the boys proceeded to scarf up their meal which was delicious. I gotta hand it to Orlando. He was quick and slick with that move and it was so authoritative that he really didn’t give anyone at the table a chance to process what had happened. What happened was that he removed the bad and the tempting from the direct line of sight of a 2 and 4 year old. That allowed all of us to enjoy the meal without making the entire brunch about portion control or negotiation : “one more bite of the burrito, and you get one more french fry…” etc. Had I been alone, I would have made the mistake of leaving the french fries on the plates and my lunch wouldn’t have been nearly as pleasant.

1 cab, 1 train, 1 car ride and 3 hours later… I remembered the famous french fries and asked Orlando if he ever gave the kids any and he said to me “come to think of it, we all just forgot about the fries…they never asked me for any so they were left in the bread basket.” WOW. Talk about out of sight, out of mind. I think that is an important lesson for all of us. Even we adults are tempted with our eyes when a meal is presented to us at a restaurant. And french fries are just one of those items that you tend to overeat because they are bite sized and easy to pick at and before you know it you it you are stuffed and totally regret it. But Orlando taught me a huge lesson on Sunday. REMOVE THE TEMPTATION QUICK. FOCUS ON THE GOOD STUFF. And if after its all said and done, you still have room or desire for the french fries….then have some. But I’m sure you’ll eat a lot less of them than you would have at first impulse when they arrived.

Funny thing about my 4 year old Orly. Before arriving at the restaurant we had walked in to a bakery just to keep warm and stay away from the rain while we waited for my aunt and uncle. Orly’s little eyes were looking at all the treats and he wanted something sweet. When we were leaving the bakery, he whined and said…”I don’t want real food, I want a chocolate cookie.” So I said to him: “Orly, after you eat your lunch, I promise I’ll let you have a cookie…but you can’t have one right now.” Well, once we were at the table, one would have thought that the french fry temptation would have trumped the cookie desire…but it didn’t happen. Orly finished his burrito, looked me straight in the face and said “ok mom, now I want my cookie.” Promises are promises so we ordered a chocolate chip cookie ice cream thing we saw on the kids menu and had the boys split it. They loved it! My point is….i’m not advocating that you can’t treat the kids or let them splurge. But moderation is important for all of us. And in this case, the treat Orly “really” wanted was the cookie. But had we left those fries on his plate, that would have become his focus…and he still would’ve asked for the cookie. So at least I was able to feed him a good meal, offer him the cookie afterwards, and avoid one bad food. As far as I’m concerned, it was a successful lunch for the Rodriguez family!

Cheers to good choices!