"Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table." -William Shakespeare

Friday, May 6, 2011

You Cannot Cheat Mother Nature

Get a group of home-educating mothers together, or a group of mothers with newborns, or mothers with nursing toddlers, or toddlers in general, or a group of mothers... PERIOD. And ask them if any of them is tired. Fatigued. Cranky. Feeling over-worked. What percentage will say yes? Or bite your head off for no reason....

Well, today's the day. All you mothers out there, listen up. You cannot cheat Mother Nature! You cannot deprive your boday of sleep and feed your body sub-optimum fuel
after wearying day
and expect it to repay you with boundless energy, a sunny disposition, and a sharp mind. Not going to happen.

I frequently get asked if I have any ideas for more energy. And people are frequently dissapointed to hear there's no magic pill. Or even a magic whole food.

You start by cutting out white sugar and white flour. Ruthlessly. They tax your immune system and rob your body of minerals just so your bowels can get rid of them. They do worse than NOT nourish you- they harm you.

Next is tough stuff. You cut out caffeine. No, I don't want to hear how you cannot survive without it. You can. Your body craves caffeine because it craves energy. And it needs REAL NUTRIENTS to create energy. Your body has a recipe for energy and joy. Unfortunately, 14 out of 10 Americans are putting the wrong ingredients in and wondering why the recipe doesn't come out right. White sugar and white flower aren't on the ingredient list of the feel-good recipe. No can do. Sorry, but you cannot cheat Mother Nature.

Caffeine- coffee, black and green tea, soda pop, and chocolate- is a band-aid on your energy problem, a major contributor to cranky-mother-in-the-afternoon syndrome, and a good slave (i.e. you need to drive when you also need to SLEEP) but a bad master (i.e. you crave it every day). I used to consider caffeine a help in an emergency. But I learned the hard way, no emergency lasting longer than 36 hours is going to be helped by caffeine.

If you are tired, you need to sleep. Inconvenient? Yes. Impossible? No. You sleep when the baby sleeps; you sleep when the toddler sleeps; you sleep during veggie tales; you sleep in the back of the truck in the back yard while kids go on a backyard nature walk. Get it? You must get enough sleep. Ask your spouse to help you go to bed early or sleep late a couple times a week. Nap on Saturday when he's home. Laundry? Messes on the floor? I don't care! You MUST prioritize if you want energy and a sense of well-being. Ask yourself if you'd rather be on top of the laundry situation or feel really happy and ready to tackle the world. You cannot cheat Mother Nature.

Next comes another tricky thing- giving your rested body the right foods. If you can't eat 90% of what is sold in the supermarket, what on earth's for dinner? You start with 100% whole grains. Brown rice, whole wheat, old-fashioned or steel-cut oats, and, who knows, maybe millet even.

There'll be a learning curve while you figure out exactly how to cook edible brown rice. Don't worry, your family won't starve in the meantime, because of all these
that require
no cooking.

And they'll be amazed at how good they taste when they are really, really, really hungry.

Next you buy meat, if you eat meat. You buy real meat, as in, dead pieces of animal with the fur or feathers removed. This does not mean heat-n-serve meatballs, or processed deli meat. (Contrary to popular belief, the local brand Boar's Head CONTAINS A HOST OF CHEMICALS INCLUDING NITRATES AND NITRITES. Boar's Head makes a nitrate/ nitrate free turkey and beef. And you will pay for them. As in, $13 a pound.) And no, bacon and sausage are not real meat. They are heart attacks and cancer that happen to smell (and, ok, taste) really good. Many brands of turkey sausage, however, are chemical and additive-free. Read labels. If you can't pronounce it or don't know EXACTLY what it is, don't buy it!

To these meats you will add something like this
and this
to make it taste good. Really good.

Next you make a trip to the Nifty Nuthouse, if you are lucky enough to live in Kansas. And if you can resist all the wicked temtations around the perimeter of the store. You will order quarter pounds of every raw nut and seed in the store and no, you will not order the chocolate-covered nuts or the honey-roasted nuts or... ok, don't go to the Nifty Nuthouse before lunch. You will eat these nuts with your children and make up games if you want to. You might make GORP out of them with raisins and cranberries. You will try making nutmilk, maybe.

And you will throw out your table salt forever. When people say salt is bad for you what they really mean is this
is bad for you. This

or this

or this

is something else entirely. Table salt is NaCl refined from, basically, rock. Real Salt and pink Himalayan salt and grey Celtic sea salt are rocks, crushed. In addition to Na and Cl they contain dozens of trace minerals, most of which haven't been discovered yet. Like a toddler with a scroll saw, your body doesn't know what to do with NaCl + all those noxious chemical additives. But actual, true salt? Your body puts it to work right away.

Here is a very informative and interesting children's book about salt. It never hurts to explain what you're doing in the kitchen to the little people. Especially when you are throwing things out of the cabinets and into the trash!

Then you will take a deep breath and congratulate yourself on all the amazing progress you've made! These things could take you weeks, months, or years depending on where you are now. Don't worry. Every baby step counts.

Are there super-foods that can increase your energy? Yes. If you are eating healthy foods in general, and at least, say, 80% of the time, there are certain foods that really spark energy, and I promise I'll talk about some of them very, very soon.

This post to be continued...

The formative period for building character for eternity is in the nursery. The mother is queen of that realm and sways a scepter more potent than that of kings or priests.
-Author Unknown


  1. i have soooo enjoyed your blog. i read it word for word. it is motivating and inspiring me to get healthy(er). thanks and keep blogging!!!!

  2. I do feel better when I get to eat healthy and I'm thankful for a toddler who gives me several excuses througout the day to sit down or lay down and just rest. Thanks for the reminder and inspiration to keep eating healthy. I didn't realize Boar's Head DID have those chemicals but did notice the 'new' nitrate free one which confused me b/c their regular one says nitrate/chemical free. What do you use for making sandwiches? (or do you just not?)

  3. For sandwiches we use a lot of natural pb&j, sliced or shredded chicken, egg salad, fried eggs, hummus with veggies, leftover sliced roast...