Monthly Archives: April 2012

Going Vegan: Nutrients to Consider

By Bectoria Crandall

A true smartypants is always looking for ways to improve ones personal and family health. One way we at 4smartypants are doing this is by changing to a vegan diet. When talking this over with Mac and Stephanie, I had two concerns. First, nutrients and then budget. This post is about the former.

SAHM’s are always struggling to weed through the barrage of information that is constantly being published about the foods available in our market. Yes, we in this country are the lucky ones to have the luxury of being so choosey about the foods that we eat. Since we do have a choice, true smartypants would make every effort to provide a well balanced, nutrient rich diet in their homes. For me, going vegan provides its own set of challenges. If I am going to cut out a large portion of my family’s diet, what foods do I need to introduce that would provide the nutrients my growing family needs? “If we aren’t drinking milk any longer, how will my family get the calcium and Vitamin D we need?” was one of my questions during our last 4smartypants admin meeting.

Now I love these two ladies to death, but let’s face it, Stephanie, Mac and I get the majority of our information by reading reports published by the experts in the field. Instead of relying on what they have or have not yet read, I decided to go to the experts myself. To get my answers about all things nutritiony I went to my fav nturition experts Denver Wellness and Nutrition www.denverwellnessandnutrition.com. Instead of muddying up their answer, I’ll just quote what they had to say about transitioning a family to a vegan diet…

“If you’re a family that normally eats meat, then the safest way would be to ease your family into it. Start by trying out meatless Monday’s if your family is a little on the fence about it. Then ease into a full vegetarian lifestyle, and once you’re all used to that, start cutting out eggs/dairy/honey/other animal related products.
Some things to make sure you’re getting in are:
Protein – Soybean products (tofu, tempeh), chickpeas, lentils, nuts and seeds
Vitamin B12 – Fortified nutritional yeast, soy and rice milk.  Make sure to read the nutrition information to know how much you’re getting in!
Vitamin D –During the warmer months, you can get your fix of this nutrient just by basking in the sunlight, awesome right? But for the colder months, try getting things that are fortified with vitamin D such as some nondairy milk and juices.
Omega 3 fatty acids – Flax seeds, walnuts, and canola oil
Calcium – Collard greens, kale, broccoli, beans and almonds
Iron – Black-eyed peas, lentils, oatmeal, nuts, sunflower seeds, quinoa and millet
Zinc – Grains, legumes and nuts
If you’re eating a wide variety of foods, you shouldn’t have any problems getting these into your diet.  But if you still feel that you are deficient, then these can be met with: introducing a multivitamin (if you aren’t already on one), sometimes a B-complex (if your vitamin B levels are low even after the multivitamin) and get in omega 3’s from flax seed  or vegan DHA capsules from algae (otherwise you’d be eating fish!).
You don’t want to shock your system, or that of your family. Anytime you want to make a lifestyle change, remember to ease into it.”
Armed with this new knowledge of nutrients to consider, I feel better able to make the right dietary decisions for my family. Now I can begin to investigate an answer to my latter concern… Budget. How much is this all going to cost me? I’ll keep you posted!
Categories: children, Family, Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Ways to Focus–Have a Business Meeting with Yourself!

I think I might have ADD.  I wasn’t diagnosed as a kid or anything, but I do remember it took me HOURS to do my schoolwork, while everyone else seemed to be able to blaze right through it.  I was always a super creative and super annoying kid to my classmates.  I didn’t get much love from my school teachers.  (Until I was home schooled, then I was the teacher’s pet, but that’s a different story.)  And  I’ve always found myself attracted to people with classic cases of ADHD.  (Like my husband.)  I feel flattered when people call it, “hyper creative.”

Focus is a theme I constantly revisit in my life.  The FlyLady has a phrase, “Focus makes me fabulous,” and sometimes I think that should become my personal mantra.  Over the next few weeks, I’d like to share 5 techniques  that really help me when I want to start getting things done.

1.  Have a business meeting with yourself.

Stephanie and Bectoria know I’m weirdly giddy about a good business meeting.  Maybe it’s because I have more pop-psycology/corporate dogma on my bookshelf than Jack Donaghy, or maybe it has something to do with my strange feelings toward office supplies (I love the way they SMELL!), but something about a table, a cup of coffee, a pen, and a blank page is soothing to my soul.  Last weekend, I told you about my “Diet Sprite” escapes.  I’ll often turn this into a little business meeting I have with myself to set goals for the upcoming week in my home.  I don’t know why, but it helps me so much to take myself physically outside of my home (if I can) as I make plans and goals for homemaking.

 I have a lovely planner (in fact I have it by my side right now) that I doodle in and make sloppy notes all over.  At the end of my “business meeting”, I like to know what’s on the schedule and what we’ll have for dinner each night, as well as where I plan to fit in weekly tasks, and lately, what creative goals (decorating, crafts, blogging, etc.) I want to achieve in the given week.

This loose plan helps me feel secure, and helps me really think about everything I want to achieve in a given week.  I often struggle to start projects I know could get pretty involved.  Having everything loosely doodled out on my calendar makes me a little less apprehensive and frees me up to pursue more creative interests while still balancing quality time with the kiddos!

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Treat Yo Self: 30 Minutes is All It Takes

 

Did anybody else go see the move “Date Night” a year or two ago?  It’s hard to say no to Steve Carell and Tina Fey as a busy married couple just desperate for a relaxing night out without the kids.  In what to me is the most memorable scene, the couple are in a car, revealing to each other their most intimate fantasies.  Fey’s character responds:

“If anything, I fantasize sometimes about being alone. There are times when I just thought about, on my worst day, just you know, leaving our house and just going some place like checking into a hotel and just being in a quiet room by myself, just sitting in a quite air-conditioned room, sitting down, eating my lunch, with no one touching me, drinking a Diet Sprite, by myself.”

“That’s sick!” Carell responds in disgust, while I’m laughing my head off because I think every mom knows that feeling ALL TOO WELL!

You ever have one of those Diet Sprite days?  Here’s the deal, sometimes I just need to get out of the house.  Away from the kiddos.  I just need to go some place where I can have dignity.  Some place where I’m not constantly barraged with other people’s slobbers and boogers and other unwelcome bodily functions.  Some place where I can go to the bathroom by myself.

I think a lot of moms feel like they have to wait until they can have a whole afternoon or a girls night to get out of the house.  But seriously, I think every SAHM can and SHOULD get out of the house at least once or twice a week for a little 30-60 minute coffee break.  (Or tea break, or juice break, or smoothie break.  You know, whatever floats your boat.)

My challenge is to give it a try this week.  Ask your spouse if they can handle the kiddos for 45 minutes to an hour, and just go somewhere, even if it’s just McDonalds.  Sit at a window.  And, if nothing else, enjoy a quiet, guilt free, Diet Sprite.  See if you don’t come home feeling refreshed, and ready to be a better spouse and mom!

What’s your favorite escape?

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JUST SAY NO (LESS)

The other day I was making dinner while my 3 year old daughter Campbell was playing in the kitchen. She was repeatedly opening and closing the dishwasher door, which had no dishes in it at the time. I told her “Campbell, stop doing that and go find something to play with.” As she walked away, it dawned on me, I didn’t really have a reason for telling her to stop. She wasn’t slamming the dishwasher door or doing anything with the potential to damage the dishwasher in any way. There were no dishes in it, clean or dirty, so there was no chance she was going to hurt herself on something sharp inside, like a knife or food processor blade. She wasn’t even in my way while cooking! I was on the other side of the kitchen. She was just being a curious 3 year old, and she was enjoying exploring something while being near her mommy. And I made her stop for no reason.

As I thought about this situation, I began to identify a myriad of activities throughout the day to which I put a needless end. I say no a lot! I think I have it on auto, I just say no without even thinking. I don’t think it was always like this, but over time I’ve settled into a habit of telling my kids not to do things that honestly aren’t hurting anyone.

What effect must this have on them? What am I teaching them? “Adeline, you don’t need to unfold your sandwich to eat it.” “Anderson, don’t hold the computer mouse while you’re watching the show.” “Campbell, get out of the exersaucer.” Why? Adeline still eats the sandwich, whether she opens it and digs around at the peanut butter with her finger or not. Anderson doesn’t throw the mouse around or damage it in anyway, he just wants to hold it because he’s enthralled with technology. Campbell, although she is 3 years old, doesn’t weigh anymore than many 1 year olds, she’s not in danger of tearing up the exersaucer.

The bottom line is, at the end of the day, I often feel run down and a little guilty over the way I parented, and I often couldn’t tell you why. I think the reason is that I’ve just squashed their little curious and creative spirits by telling them no so much. I would guess some of you experience the same feelings. Now, there are things we should certainly say no to and behaviors we should definitely stop. But what if we took a chill pill and just let them do some of the things that really aren’t a big deal? As I type this, Anderson is singing at the top of his lungs some ridiculous made up tune with nonsense syllables. I am fighting the urge to tell him to sing quieter. Why should he sing quieter? The babies are not asleep, he isn’t bothering anyone. Let him sing.

The truth is, I feel great about my parenting when I choose to give them freedom. I enjoy seeing what silly things they try to do, and the ways they explore their world. They are fascinating to watch, and they’re having a great time. I don’t want to impress upon them the thought that every little fun thing they want to do is wrong and should be stopped. They are little kids, with perfect little imaginations. Maybe Campbell was exploring the sound that is made by opening and closing the dishwasher door, and I ended her experiment. I don’t want to be that mom. I want to be the mom who says “go ahead” more often than “no.” I want to be the mom who encourages her kids to make up their own little games and explore sounds and sights and (within reasonj) jump off different objects in the house to practice their landings.

I have to tell you, after a few days of paying attention to how often I say no and making a real effort to say it less, I don’t feel as run down and guilty at the day’s end. My kids don’t seem as frustrated, either.

Do you struggle with saying no? I challenge you to spend the next week saying no less. See if you don’t feel like a weight has been lifted. It’s liberating!

Can you think of anything in the last few days you’ve told your kids not to do that really wasn’t hurting anyone/anything? Tell us your stories!

Categories: Parenting | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

JUST SAY NO (LESS)

The other day I was making dinner while my 3 year old daughter Campbell was playing in the kitchen. She was repeatedly opening and closing the dishwasher door, which had no dishes in it at the time. I told her “Campbell, stop doing that and go find something to play with.” As she walked away, it dawned on me, I didn’t really have a reason for telling her to stop. She wasn’t slamming the dishwasher door or doing anything with the potential to damage the dishwasher in any way. There were no dishes in it, clean or dirty, so there was no chance she was going to hurt herself on something sharp inside, like a knife or food processor blade. She wasn’t even in my way while cooking! I was on the other side of the kitchen. She was just being a curious 3 year old, and she was enjoying exploring something while being near her mommy. And I made her stop for no reason.

As I thought about this situation, I began to identify a myriad of activities throughout the day to which I put a needless end. I say no a lot! I think I have it on auto, I just say no without even thinking. I don’t think it was always like this, but over time I’ve settled into a habit of telling my kids not to do things that honestly are hurting anyone. 

What effect must this have on them?  What am I teaching them? “Adeline, you don’t need to unfold your sandwich to eat it.” “Anderson, don’t hold the computer mouse while you’re watching the show.” “Campbell, get out of the exersaucer.” Why? Adeline still eats the sandwich, whether she opens it and digs around at the peanut butter with her finger or not. Anderson doesn’t throw the mouse around or damage it in anyway, he just wants to hold it because he’s enthralled with technology. Campbell, although she is 3 years old, doesn’t weigh anymore than many 1 year olds, she’s not in danger of tearing up the exersaucer.

The bottom line is, at the end of the day, I often feel run down and a little guilty over the way I parented, and I often couldn’t tell you why. I think the reason is that I’ve just squashed their little curious and creative spirits by telling them no so much. I would guess some of you experience the same feelings. Now, there are things we should certainly say no to and behaviors we should definitely stop. But what if we took a chill pill and just let them do some of the things that really aren’t a big deal? As I type this, Anderson is singing at the top of his lungs some ridiculous made up tune with nonsense syllables. I am fighting the urge to tell him to sing quieter. Why should he sing quieter? The babies are not asleep, he isn’t bothering anyone. Let him sing.

The truth is, I feel great about my parenting when I choose to give them freedom. I enjoy seeing what silly things they try to do, and the ways they explore their world. They are fascinating to watch, and they’re having a great time. I don’t want to impress upon them the thought that every little fun thing they want to do is wrong and should be stopped. They are little kids, with perfect little imaginations. Maybe Campbell was exploring the sound that is made by opening and closing the dishwasher door, and I ended her experiment. I don’t want to be that mom. I want to be the mom who says “go ahead” more often than “no.” I want to be the mom who encourages her kids to make up their own little games and explore sounds and sights and (within reasonj) jump off different objects in the house to practice their landings. 

Image

I have to tell you, after a few days of paying attention to how often I say no and making a real effort to say it less, I don’t feel as run down and guilty at the day’s end. My kids don’t seem as frustrated, either.

Do you struggle with saying no? I challenge you to spend the next week saying no less. See if you don’t feel like a weight has been lifted. It’s liberating!

Can you think of anything in the last few days you’ve told your kids not to do that really wasn’t hurting anyone/anything? Tell us your stories!

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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