We live in an extremely fast paced world. Many of us go nonstop from the moment our feet hit the ground, not even taking a break to eat. We eat in the car, at a desk or event standing, shoveling it all in. Slowing down during meal times is imperative to moving forward on your journey towards optimal health. I present to you one of my favorite and most inexpensive ways to slow down when eating: chopsticks. Using chopsticks at meal times really forces me to slow down, because there is just so much I can pick up with them. Although I have really improved my skills using them throughout the years, it always works to get me to slow down. One rule though: the plate stays on the table or at least away from your mouth. No “shoveling” the food in. How do you slow down?
Last night we headed out to dinner at #JoseTejas in Fairfield, NJ for dinner after enjoying an open house event at #NewYorkRedBullsArena (however like so many NY teams, the stadium is in Jersey). The best part of eating out, for me at least, is reinventing my leftovers. I had the vegetable jambalaya, which surprisingly did not have beans. I added a #Gardein Chipotle Black Bean burger and a few tablespoons of salsa. Once plated, I added a 100 calorie pack of guacamole, fine, 2 of them. Oh, and I am one of those unique folks that dislikes plain cornbread and as much as I typically avoid wasting food, it was tossed. Totally better the second time around.
Progress and not perfection. That is what we strive for here at Nutrition Map. We strive for balance. For example, pictured here is one of my favorite desserts. This is a total, “have an oatmeal with chia seeds in the morning before you have it” kind of dessert that should come after a meal full of beans, oodles of plants with a flax seed berry smoothie chaser followed by a long walk. BALANCE.
I am, generally speaking, an incredibly optimistic person. I can find the good in pretty much anything that comes my way. Everything, everyone and every experience has some beauty, some “magic” that ultimately has some divine plan, or at least I like to think so.
Another jam packed holiday season is upon us. It is around this time, every year, that I try to get my home and family in order for the festivities. Part of this yearly ritual for me is to look back to see where I have come. I am grateful for so many things, but what I am most thankful for? My mind and the gift of my memories. This year I learned first hand about the disease that no one wants. A disease that you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy. This crippling disease that no one dare speak of? Alzheimer’s disease.
My mother was diagnosed officially December 3, 2014 with what the doctor reported as “Moderate Alzheimer’s” disease at the age of 65. You read that correctly, 65. She had no concept of what year, day, season, or month she was in. She couldn’t recall 3 simple words (Yellow, Tulip, Cadillac) after several attempts. I don’t think I will ever forget those 3 words. The list goes on. I knew this was coming after several experiences with her throughout the last 7 plus years. She closed the door on our relationship when I tried to get her help, something I am learning, can be very common for family members to experience. This disease has destroyed my mother as I knew her, revealed facts about her I probably should have never known, and wrecked many relationships, some beyond repair.
There is so much I learned in the past year that I am sure I could write a book about, but for now I will focus on what changed since my mother’s diagnosis.
I started the practice of living, I mean really living. This is still a practice and I am still learning. No longer a prisoner of the past, which I never really was, but now I also let go of what I can’t control: the future. Yoga has been a life saver.
It all became enough: My entire life my mother focused on bigger and better things. When my sister and I cleared out my mother’s house and storage shed we encountered countless, what I will call, “vision” lists about all the things she would attain when she was wealthy. She even wanted a car she could never fit in quite right to drive at barely 4’10”. She never realized all she had. Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t strive to do better, it means that I have learned that what I have is always enough. The material doesn’t define me or my happiness.
I started loving me. I love this body I live in. For the last 10 years especially the first 5 of those 10 years, it has been a working body. This body grew 2 beautiful children and fed them each for 1.5+ years each, and at times, exclusively. This body plays with her children and takes them on wild adventures with its partner in crime, Mr. Syto. This body is a warrior.
I learned to take many pictures and to be in as many pictures as possible no matter how my hair, skin or body is performing that day.
I became fearful. I am a dietitian. I know what that pound of bacon will do to my arteries especially the ones in my brain.
From fear I became plant based. I dislike it immensely when someone labels their eating patterns, but the plant based moniker, I love. It leaves it open ended. My choices are plant based. I like the saying: “I’m not afraid to die, I just don’t want it to be my fault.” You don’t have to agree with my food choices. Living this was keeps me happy, and it gives me hope.
I learned to practice forgiveness. My life has been one wild soap opera. I think we all have these types of experiences throughout our lives. I learned not to ever forget all the trials, to learn from them, forgive (even if it is a silent forgiveness in my own heart), and to move on.
Finally, the most important lesson I learned? First, when you mother doesn’t recognize you, it shatters your world, even when she remembers a moment later. That initial “who are you look” is forever imprinted in my brain. My final lesson? I am a survivor.
The holiday season can bring great times with those you love and hope for the new year to come. This year has been a wild ride for me and I had to take some time off from the website to get some things into much needed order (more on that another time), but I am back with big plans for you all for the rest of the year and in 2016. Enjoy!
Are you serious about your morning cup of piping hot java? Are you a brand loyal die hard that can’t fathom going anywhere else except (insert your brand) for your cup o’ joe? Do you enjoy the gasps and stare downs you get from friends when they ask if you want anything from the café and they actually hear your order? Do you get a hearty internal giggle the more intricate your order is, or are you a straight up “light and sweet” kind of person? Let the coffee battle begin! Nutrition Map presents: Coffee Wars!
Show your support and choose your favorites by voting with your purchase. We have t-shirts in short and long sleeves as well as sweatshirts for those chilly days. Choose between:
Don’t like coffee? We have you covered! Check out our neutral and uber sexy “Bringing Healthy Back” shirt just in time for the new year!
Can’t decide? Buy them all for you and everyone you adore!
This project will benefit www.nutritionmap.com in the development of the next publication due out in 2016 geared at demystifying nutrition as it relates to health, disease prevention & management, and weight loss. This is our way of making the world a better place in our own little way. We hope to once and for all remove the body shaming that happens in the nutrition world between the “experts” in nutrition (e.g. that diet doesn’t work, the creator of it is overweight!”) and get you on the right journey for you in your quest for health.
We will remove the labels from meal patterns. No more of that:
“I can’t eat that, I am low carb” or
“I have to avoid that, it is too low in fat” (yes, I hear this one), or my favorite…
“I’m Paleo” so I cant eat that”. You know what Paleolithic man ate? Paleolithic man ate bugs my friends, bugs. Let that one stew for a bit.
Happy voting and thanks for supporting our small business.