Let’s Talk About Raising Healthy Kids

When I was a little girl, I believed in fairy tales. That no matter what kind of trouble might find me, there would always be a hero rushing to my rescue.

As I got older, I realized that this is not how life works–no one comes to save us, we have to save ourselves…

Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way.

I started having headaches when I was in kindergarten, and no one could figure out why. I visited doctors, changed my diet, and tried to get more sleep, but nothing seemed to help. I suffered a lot…loudly at first, and then silently, when people got tired of my complaints.

The headaches were relentless throughout elementary school, but I learned to hide my pain. I actually got quite good at it. As I got older, the headaches became more frequent, and new health challenges presented themselves–food addiction, depression, insomnia, and recurring sinus infections. I hid those as well. No one knew how much I suffered.

Until one day, I couldn’t hide my health problems any more. When I was 26, a near-fatal car crash left me with a dozen broken bones, and a long road to recovery. It was then, at rock bottom, that I finally realized that life is not a fairy tale, and the only way I would ever find happiness, was to rescue myself.

I spent most of my twenties recovering, and all of my thirties fighting my way to good health. My body healed from the crash, but a new challenge presented itself–autoimmune thyroid disease. I had to fight even harder, to get back on stable ground.

It took time, and a lot of hard work, but saving myself from a lifetime of ailments and injuries was the most worthwhile thing I have ever done. I learned how to control my energy, pain, strength, moods, weight, and illness with food and exercise. In the process, I traded my victim mentality for the commitment of a warrior, trusting the struggle, and seeking whatever it takes, to live life in balance.

I’m 43 now, and these lessons feel like some of the greatest blessings in my life! I am grateful for all that this crazy healthy life has revealed, and I feel called to share what really works with others, in every way that I can.

As a wellness coach, one of my favorite things to do is teach parents how to empower their children with the awareness, beliefs, and consistency that are essential for a healthy life. I call this approach “The ABC’s of Raising Healthy Kids”, and I will discuss how and why it works at Whole Foods in Atlanta (West Paces Ferry location) next Tuesday night, June 17th. Everyone is invited, there will be food, and it’s FREE!

Please plan to join me at 7 PM in The Cafe. Reserve your spot by emailing stephanie.watson@wholefoods.com, and let me know if you have any specific questions you would like me to address. As always, I am here to help, and appreciate your comments and feedback.

Image.

 

Five Tips For Getting Healthy On A Budget

Image

Think eating healthy is expensive? It doesn’t have to be! Here are five simple ways to save money on a nutrient-dense diet:

1) Do your research. Learn about the nutrient density of foods, as well as when they are freshest, and prioritize your investments in food accordingly (check out what Dr. Joel Fuhman has to say, here). Loose carrots and leafy greens are generally more nutrient-dense than the pre-packaged kind, and also a lot cheaper. Packaged veggies take longer to prepare and transport for sale, which means they have been out of the earth for more days than those that are transported in bulk. They also have higher packaging costs, and that expense is passed on to the consumer at the store.

2) Buy flash frozen organic fruits and vegetables. Frozen produce can be just as healthy, and sometimes healthier, than fresh foods. It is also often easier to find non-GMO produce in the freezer section, than in the produce aisle. Certain foods, such as corn and soy beans, are healthier and cheaper, when purchased frozen. There can be significant differences in prices at different stores, so pay attention to where you get the most bang for your buck.

3) Buy in bulk. Create your own trail mixes and snacks in the bulk foods section at your local farmers markets and health food stores. You can also save money by buying packaged items in bulk. Did you know that Whole Foods offers a discount on items that are purchased by the case, and they will let you mix and match similar items? Consider stocking up on a variety of canned soups, fruits and vegetables (we love their canned sweet potatoes and butternut squash), and other naturally preserved foods. Amazon.com also offers savings on packaged items that are purchased by the case.

4) Shop more frequently, and buy only what you need. Shorter, more frequent trips to the store can save money in the long run. I have found that if I stock up on preserved items once a month, and make quick trips for fresh produce twice a week, I end up spending the same amount of time shopping, and a lot less on produce that goes bad before we can enjoy it.

5) Simplify your menus. One-dish meals, such as stir fry and mexican salads, can be just as satisfying and less costly than a protein and two sides. They can also save a lot of time in preparation. Avoid pre-cut veggies at the store, and use a food processor to save time instead. Your produce will be more nutritious, and much tastier, when it is served closer to the earth. If you do feel the need to serve three or four items for dinner, stick to simply roasted vegetables (toss with a high heat oil and sea salt, and roast at 400 for 10-15 minutes), fresh salads, hearty soups, and rice and bean dishes. They are richer in nutrients, simpler to prepare than complicated recipes, and less expensive than animal products.

It’s also important to remember that, even if your grocery bills stay the same, or increase slightly, most people ultimately save money on over the counter medications, doctor visits, and prescriptions, the more they improve the nutrient density of their diet. In my experience, the more we increase the nutrient density of our diet, the fewer medical issues we experience, and the happier and healthier we become.

Photo: intentblog.com

Cook Without Recipes in Three Simple Steps

how-to-cook-healthy-meals-at-home

I used to think the crazy healthy cooking is difficult–that it takes years of training and practice to learn how to make nutritious meals.

Thankfully, I was wrong. I just wish I had known then, what I know now.

Crazy healthy cooking is actually quite simple, once we learn which foods fortify our bodies, and how to maximize their flavor during the cooking process. When we learn to trust our own instincts, and rely on our intuition more than cookbooks, we empower ourselves to create nutritious meals that lead us to a healthier life.

Admittedly, it took me a while to figure this out. I followed other people’s recipes for years, before l realized that I was working harder than necessary, to feed my family healthy meals. I wore myself out, trying to prepare multiple dishes that would all be ready at the same time, running to the grocery store for forgotten items, and beating myself up for not getting things “just right”.

Until one day I realized that my meals didn’t need to be complicated. Simple dishes can actually taste better than complex concoctions. Less really could be more, when it came to cooking delicious, healthy foods.

I started simplifying recipes, and eliminating unnecessary ingredients whenever possible. Instead of trying to follow recipes to a “T”, I explored new, creative ways to bring out the best flavors of fresh, healthy foods. Most of the time, this meant less ingredients, and less cooking time. Cooking became less burdensome, and I actually enjoyed being in the kitchen, for the first time in my life.

I was amazed that, with a little high heat oil, proper cooking utensils, and a few basic spices, I could prepare almost anything to my family’s liking. I spent less time preparing food, and found it easier to time my dishes, so they all came out the oven at the same time.

This blog is all about learning to let go, so we can live well. In my next few posts, I will share tips and stories about how I learned to let go of cooking with recipes, and empowered myself to cook nutritious meals more efficiently and effectively.

Follow along here, and on the Facebook page for My Crazy Healthy Life, as I share techniques and practices that make crazy healthy cooking as simple as 1-2-3.

Crazy Healthy Cooking In Three Simple Steps

1. Learn how to prepare whole foods as close to their natural state as possible, to maximize their flavor and nutrient content.

2. Keep the pantry stocked with good quality essentials.

3. Get comfortable with working with what is available.

Stay tuned for more on each of these topics in the next few weeks, and let me know what questions you have about this series. I appreciate your comments and feedback–thank you for joining me in this crazy healthy life!

Namaste,

Amber

Photo: http://www.coachcalorie.com