By Stephanie Politte
I have gestational diabetes. Also, I’m not the weight I was in college. My husband suffers from a nasty case of acid reflux. I could add a few more points, but I don’t need to embarrass myself. Not all of this is directly our fault. Genes play a role, no question. However, we could stand to step up our game in the realm of healthy choices. As a mother of 4 1/2, (we are due with #5 October 1) I don’t have the time to exercise a lot. That’s certainly no excuse to forego it completely, but if anyone has a valid reason for having a hard time squeezing in a 5 mile run- it’s mothers of several babies/toddlers. I don’t like to use being a mom as an excuse, and I think that’s an easy trap to fall into. But my daily schedule just doesn’t have a lot of give. “Just get up early, before the kids.” Right! My kids wake me up at the crack of 5:45 as it is, these days. I have enough trouble trying to come up with a game plan for getting a shower. Maybe some of you can handle getting up earlier than that, but I am not cut out for dragging myself out of bed while it is still what I would consider the middle of the night.
That being said…no one has a legitimate excuse for not taking care of themselves, if they are able-bodied. This includes hygiene, diet, and physical exercise in some form. I do get some exercise, you should see how many trips up and down the stairs I make each day, usually carrying 1-2 children per trip. Then there’s the chasing I do. “Catch me, Mommy!” “Campbell’s holding Daddy’s coffee, Mommy!” “Adeline took yogurt up the stairs, Mommy!” Not to mention the number of times a day I sprint to save the poor 9 month old from the torture of any one of his toddler-siblings. I keep active.
As far as hygiene, I think we are doing a fine job in that category, assuming we’re talking about the days I do manage to work out a plan for getting a shower. I won’t lie, there have been several days that my shower for the day didn’t happen until the kids were in bed for the evening (I’m a shower first thing in the morning kind of girl.)
Now diet….I really have to say that I think we’re pretty well-rounded when it comes to eating. We aren’t health food gurus, but we love our veggies, and we don’t eat a lot of dessert, and our menus are generally fiber-rich. But this is the area I feel we can take the most control. Lucky for me, my husband is up for trying whatever I propose for our meal plan. He really notices the difference when we’ve been making too many unhealthy choices and starts to feel run-down. He’s come a long way from when we got married and his favorite food groups were bacon, sour cream and cheese. Don’t get me wrong, those still hold a special place in his heart, but he regards them now as “sometimes treats” rather than necessities at every meal.
So, in pursuit of feeling better, encouraging our children to make good choices, and preserving our health, I am on a quest to explore new culinary offerings. I am not one for extreme diets that are restrictive and that leave gaping holes in the variety that should compose our menu. (This is my way of saying I don’t have the willpower to cut something I like completely out.) But I do think that the way we eat as Americans is pretty far off from what our bodies are designed to consume. So, I’m proposing that we give some light vegetarianism a try. By that I mean I want to start making 2-3 meals per week that contain meat, and go meatless the rest of the time. Some of you are thinking, “She’s just now coming up with this idea? I haven’t eaten bacon is 8 years!” And others are thinking, “She wants to do wha?!? No way I’m gonna choose a garden burger over a big fat bacon cheeseburger!” I’m not ready to give it up completely, and I doubt that I will ever feel inclined to do that. (Believe me, as soon as this baby is born, I will be sitting down to a nice juicy rare steak at Longhorn the first chance I get.) But I truly enjoy meatless meals like black bean burgers, sauteed string beans and rice, or a tofu Triple Lindy from Moe’s (don’t knock it till you try it!).
Before you say, “That’s not for me,” give this a try:
Black Bean Burgers
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup diced red onions
1 tsp finely chopped jarred jalepenos
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cheyenne pepper
Mash beans with fork or blend in food processor
Using your hands, work all other ingredients into beans
Form 4 burger patties
Freeze between layers of wax paper
Grill on med/high heat 2-4 min per side
Serve on whole wheat buns with tomato, lettuce, red onion, avocado and
So…I want to know what you think. Are you enjoying a vegetarian lifestyle? Are you a confirmed carnivore with no interest in exploring meatless options? Do you like a little of both worlds? As I venture out there in search of delicious dishes that don’t contain beef, chicken, pork or fish, do you have a recipe to share with me? This is controversial, but I want to hear you weigh in on the matter!