Ma’am, Step Away From The Goldfish.


I had just finished up several days of morning hearings  and I felt like crap.  I had a constant upset stomach, I was tired and feeling like I had brain fog.  I knew I hadn’t been taking care of myself but it suddenly hit me that I had been grabbing a coffee and Egg McMuffin (no plastic cheese, please) in the mornings and a Diet Coke and grilled chicken sandwich for lunch – feeling like these were the healthiest choices available for a busy mom on the go.  But still, I felt like crap.  With the hearings done, I went back to eating peanut butter on whole wheat toast for breakfast and leftovers from home for lunch – ahhh, the light bulb goes off! – fast food is not my friend.  I know, you’re thinking, “duh”, but when you are on overdrive sometimes basic self-care is the last thing on your mind.

As mothers, we lose touch with our own needs so early on.  It starts when you are nursing and you realize that when you eat garlic, the baby gets colicky or that eating dairy creates an allergic reaction in your little one.  You begin to choose your food less based on how it makes YOU feel, or what YOU want, and more to help your little one feel well enough not to keep everyone up screaming all night.

And then it continues when they are toddlers, your lunch becomes the leftover carrot sticks and sticky remaining half of the peanut butter sandwich.  You snack on goldfish and grapes, not because they are so tasty, but because that’s what you packed for the trip to the park.  As they get older, you’re eating whatever foods they are eating – this week.  The day comes when you’re not sure if the thing bothering your stomach is the cheese, the pasta or the hot dog, because you’ve been eating those same three things every day this week.

To be energized by our food, we need to know how our body responds to different foods and food combinations.  You deserve to feel well and your family would probably rather have you healthy and happy than lethargic and cranky.  So here’s the challenge: cut something out of your diet that you normally eat every day, for at least a week.  Then, eat a portion of that food and see how that feels.   Or if you feel majorly deprived when you eliminate things from your diet (like I do), try adding something healthy – like a daily green juice, servings of whole grains, a few cups of kale and see how that feels.  Try to re-learn what your body craves and needs, separate from what your kids are willing to eat. 😉

If you’re in the midst of an extra busy time in your life I’m not going to tell you to plan ahead, because if I could do that, I wouldn’t be making my kids’ lunches two minutes before we head out the door in the morning.  My tip for avoiding fast food without being late is to come up with a few combinations that you can pick up at a corner market in a hurry – an apple, cheese or yogurt and whatever crackers have the least amount of scary hydrogenated oils; pack of peanuts or almonds, banana and pretzels.  I’m not claiming this is as satisfying as an order of McDonald’s fries, but I feel better for the rest of the day if I take a little better care of myself along the way.  And drink lots of water, I swear being on the road in freeway traffic is dehydrating and you really don’t want to load up on diet soda.  Here’s why:

So I promised last week to tell you about the current research on diet sodas and here we go – just don’t give me crap if you see me drinking a diet soda, I haven’t quite kicked it completely.   Recent studies are finding that diet sodas and energy drinks can impact your long-term memory and your impulse control.  There have been studies for years that suggest that the combination of chemicals in diet soda breaks down the myelin sheath on your brain cells – which has been correlated to MS, neuropathy and other health problems related to your nervous system.  Scientists have found that when you taste the sweetness of an artificially sweetened drink (or food) your brain gets ready for a sugar rush, when that energy boost doesn’t come, your brain gets all jacked up (that’s official science terminology, right there) and you actually  have an energy crash.  But beyond the concern that drinking diet soda can decrease mental cognition, lower your energy levels or cause painful neurological conditions, here is the scariest thing for me (as a former diet soda addict and occasional back-slider) – every researcher that I have heard interviewed or speak on the effects of diet soda to the brain has stopped drinking it themselves.  Just something to think about…


  1. Great job noticing what fuels you food wise! I don’t have kids but I can relate to when you feel overwhelmed or what happens to me sometimes is sorta checked out in the chaos and I can tell a difference once I am eating things that are not full of chemicals and grease!

    • Yes! Once I made this connection, I felt like an idiot for not noticing sooner. Nothing worse than realizing after the fact that you just made a hard day worse by eating crap. xoxo

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