One of my greatest pet peeves is observing someone so caught up in "doing it all" that she thinks taking time out for herself would be selfish...when really, the stress she's put herself under to "do it all" causes her to operate at about 50% in all her activities, resulting in a less-than-ideal mood for those around her. Before I elaborate, let me just first confess that I have been that woman.
Take this example: in high school, like may teenagers, I was involved in a number of extracurricular activities. Show choir, youth group, piano practice, various clubs on campus, an honors class...I remember coming home from choir practice one night, mountains of homework still to be completed before the next day, and begging my mom to wake me after a 30 minute nap so it could all get done. In that 16 year-old state, I did not yet have the maturity to understand how staying involved in all my activities to the extent I was caused me to be a burden to the people around me. It caused me to be sleep deprived which weakened my immune system and lead to mood swings. In that season of life, my mom often preached to me the concept of "margin"...how creating margin for oneself allows a greater awareness of God's presence; how it reminds us that human beings are neither meant nor able to do everything.
Since high school, like all of us, I've experienced busy seasons and slow seasons. But the lessons from my mom, coupled with a growing awareness of the importance for self-care have allowed me to stop neglecting sleep, nutrition, and fun breaks when the season is busy. Here's the thing: self care is not selfish. When we take care of bodies and hearts, we are creating space to be the best versions of ourselves. When we are the best versions of ourselves...rested, nourished, and at peace, we can then pour ourselves into our "things"--work, family, ministry, relationships, to the best of our abilities...rather than continuously pouring out just that 50%.
So what do you need to do this weekend to take care of yourself? Do you need a nap? Do you need to get on the yoga mat? What about a delicious sugar free, whole food smoothie to detox some of the junk you've eaten this week (sign me up)? Or carving out an hour to watch something funny on TV? Get the childcare, schedule the time, cross off the unnecessary item on your to do list...do what you have to do to get the self-care in. Because "doing it all" without taking a break...well, that can be selfish.
If you get my newsletter, you know that I'm working hard on reconciling my once hostile relationship with the month of September. And what better to aid with this than a sweet and comforting pumpkin recipe? This one is tried and true; the star of A Nourished Holiday, really...and I have a feeling that between the double batches I'll keep in the freezer for myself and the batches I'll whip up for my clients, that I'll make at least 150 of these babies this season. So without further ado:
Flourless Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 1 dozen
½ c coconut oil
2 organic eggs
⅔ c honey
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 ½ c quick oats
¼ c ground flax seed
1 t freshly ground nutmeg
1 t allspice
1 t ground cloves
1 t baking soda
½ t salt
½ c organic raisins
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and soak raisins in warm water to clean out any grit.
Combine wet ingredients (coconut oil, eggs, honey, and pumpkin puree) in large bowl. In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients (oats, flax seed, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, baking soda, and salt). Dump dry ingredients into wet and stir to combine. Strain and towel dry raisins, then fold in. Spoon into 12 large muffin cups (no need to grease the pan). Bake for 20 minutes. Because the muffins are flourless, a toothpick inserted in the center will not come out clean, so look for browning on the sides and tops of muffins. Allow to cool in muffin tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto cooling rack.
A question I've been getting a lot these days is: "What kind of a lunch can I send to school with my kid(s) that's healthy AND that they'll actually eat?" Parents frustrated with kids coming home only to dump out the sandwich you so carefully assembled, have no fear. You may think snacks are the problem, but I want to encourage you to embrace the snacks! The reality is: a meal CAN be made up of snacks that are built from nutrient rich carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. And I know that you know that your kids love snacks. So let me just jump into some examples to help you get the ball rolling...why not try one of these lunch ideas this week:
Homemade guacamole (squeeze a little lime juice over the top do it doesn't brown) and organic tortilla chips
Cucumber sticks (kids might eat "boring" vegetables if they're cut into sticks!)
An organic cheese stick
A flourless muffin from the batch you make time to whip up over the weekend
Red pepper hummus with veggie dippers: carrot, celery, and cucumber sticks
Whole grain crackers
Chopped mangos and peaches
An organic, low sugar (or fruit juice sweetened) yogurt--Whole Foods has some great options!
A chocolate bar sweetened with beet sugar--try to 100 calorie bar from Trader Joe's!
A high protein, low sugar smoothie you've made and frozen the night before (pour into a drink container, then in the morning, insulate with a towel to absorb moisture as it defrosts to the perfect drinking temp by lunch time!)
Apple and celery slices with peanut butter for dipping
Grain free chips (try bean chips!)
A defrosted whole grain chocolate chip cookie (again, requires that you've made time to whip up a batch over the weekend, but then it's so easy to just grab from the freezer and toss into a lunch bag)
As for beverages, I recommend encouraging your kids to love water by sending a different infuser in their water bottle every day...cucumber slices, mint leaves, berries, orange slices, or lemon slices. If they're very attached to juice, try a sparkling juice beverage that's made with 100% fruit juice and fizzy water. These can be found in most grocery stores. Just read your labels!
The bottom line is: a little prep work over the weekend (both getting the right groceries in the house and making some big batch baked goods or smoothies) will do wonders for you during the week! So happy back to school season to one and all...may your children come home with empty lunch boxes and happy tummies!
*full disclosure, the smoothie idea was not my own (check out this container recommendation in the show notes of a recent episode of Sorta Awesome!)