For the past couple of weeks, my son has been waking on the dot of midnight and gently and quietly requesting that a sippy cup of warm milk be brought to his room, if it’s not too much hassle of course. Ba ha ha ha. Oh how hard it was to even type that sentence without cracking up. Let’s just replace ‘gently and quietly’ with ‘loudly and shrilly’ and ‘if it’s not too much hassle’ with ‘do it immediately, if not sooner’, and we’re closer to the mark. There’s nothing quite like the fog-horn-esque sounds of a thirsty two year old yelling; ‘Where’s bot bot? Where’s bot bot? Me milk. Me milk,’ to really get your heart pumping in the middle of the night.
This string of broken sleep, paired with the normal busyness that’s inherent to life with a toddler (I swear my son has more social engagements than I did when I worked full time in magazine land) has made for one rather tired mama. Add to that the whole ‘growing a second human in my belly’ thing and it’s safe to say that I could pretty well head to bed after the 6pm news. Of course, that’s not generally a possibility. Nor is letting myself become so tired and rundown that my body (and mind) ceases to function. It’s a tricky old tightrope to balance on and one which fellow mums will know all too well.
Complicating things even further is the inexplicable link my body seems to have with lack of sleep and wanting to eat ALL the sugar in the entire world. I seriously don’t know what sleep deprivation does to your brain chemistry but the more tired I am, the less likely I am to eat the way I usually do. I suddenly become all about the ‘quick fix’ or anything that will give me that extra burst of energy to push through another few hours. Ironically, I know that when I’m tired, run down and emotionally fragile, what I need the most is to reach for a massive bowl, mug or glass of something nourishing and packed with nutrients but, as is the case with so many things, what I know and what I do aren’t always the same thing.
Nurturing your own health and wellness often becomes a second tier priority when you become a mum and as much as it’s understandable, it’s something I’m constantly working on lessening in my own life. While I can no longer schedule in daily lunch dates with the gym or spend the same kind of time or money on a monthly massage or seasonal juice cleanse, I do what I can, where I can to stay as on top of things as possible. This is especially important for my mental health as I know that when I start to miss sleep, eat badly and run myself into the ground with work, my anxiety will suddenly pop up and start frantically trying to make itself heard.
One of the best ways I’ve found to keep myself physically and mentally well is by employing a bunch of healthy shortcuts that give maximum impact in as minimal time as possible. While I wish I could spend every morning in blissful meditation and wafting around the house sipping my hot water and lemon and indulging in a spot of dry body brushing, it’s just not a reality in our house. What I can do however is find ways of giving my health and wellness a boost that fit seamlessly with life as a busy mum.
Here are my top 4:
-Action packed smoothies – I reckon I’d have a smoothie pretty much everyday of the week. If it’s not for breakfast, I usually bolt one down as an afternoon snack with Ollie after he wakes from his nap. I’m lucky as he loves them as much as I do! I find that smoothies are one of the best ways to pack a whole heap of body loving goodness into the one glass and I really go for gold when it comes to what I put into mine. Alongside your usual milk/water/coconut water base and fruit and veggies, I always add 2 tbsp of chia seeds (for a protein, fibre and omega boost), 1 tbsp of LSA (tastes great and adds magnesium and another helping of omega-3 to the mix) and 2 tsp of a smoothie booster like Nuzest Good Green Stuff (a green powder which combines greens, fruits, veggies, berries, probiotics and vitamins) which I discovered back before I was pregnant and which I’ve been delighted to trial recently to really pump of the goodness in my glass. While there are arguments for and against green powders and the like, as a busy mum, I’m happy to have some of the hard work taken out of enriching my own (and my sons) diet and while we still eat plenty of ‘fresh’ stuff, it never hurts to embrace a few sneaky shortcuts!
– Super Lunchtime Salad – While the weather is getting cooler, I’m still making a conscientious effort to have a massive salad at least three times a week at lunch. I find I have a little more time to myself at this point in the day and can spend an extra 5 minutes creating something really delicious. I’m also far less tired than I am by dinner when it sometimes seems like hard work to remove the tray of roast veggies from the oven to serve up to the family. By using a mix of greens (think mixed salad leaves, rocket, baby spinach and even lightly steamed beans and broccoli), my favourite veggies (usually beetroot, shredded carrot and diced capsicum) and some form of protein (poached chicken or hard boiled egg), I can guarantee that I’ve gotten a decent serve of goodness that will keep me going through a busy afternoon and into the evening.
– Awesome afternoon snacks – I go through phases with snacking. Sometimes it seems superfluous to my actual eating needs while at other times (like when I’m pregnant), I pretty much have to have something to eat around 3.30pm to keep me going till bedtime. As my son is a complete grazer, this works out well as we share something after he wakes up from his nap. Generally we choose from fruit with nut butter/veggie sticks with dip/homemade muffins etc or a smoothie most afternoons, depending on what we’ve already eaten earlier in the day. I usually find that I need something with a bit of substance to tide me over and keep me going. If we haven’t had a smoothie for brekky, I’ll often whip one up at this stage for us both. If I’m going to have a ‘proper’ green smoothie, this is usually when I’ll have it as I find it hard to stomach first thing in the morning. My favourite combo at the moment is a handful of baby spinach, 2 cups of cold water/cold coconut water, half a peeled lemon, some mint leaves, 1/2 frozen banana and 2 tsp of Good Green Stuff. I whack that in the Vitamix and either have it as is or with something else on the side if I’m really hungry. On really busy days or when I’m out and about, I have been known to mix the aforementioned Good Green Stuff into a glass of water and chug that down straight to give me a quick boost, without the need for something sweet (or caffeinated).
– I switch from coffee to herbal tea after 11am – After a few months separation, coffee and I are back to being buddies. While I can only stomach a small, it’s a lovely indulgence that I enjoy almost every morning. As someone who is sensitive to caffeine however, I find that I need to have downed my latte by 11am otherwise it ends up haunting me of an evening when my body says ‘sleep’ and my mind says ‘party time’. I do love a hot drink though and find that a mug of something helps me write and stay focused, especially when I can feel my attention drifting. Lately I’ve been reaching for a bunch of different tea varieties, all de-caffeinated and all delicious. I’m not sure if it’s just a placebo effect but I’ve found that the revitalising varieties I’ve been trying HAVE actually given me an afternoon boost. My fave at the moment is Pukka ‘Revitalise’.
I’d love to hear what ‘healthy shortcuts’ you employ as a busy mum. Even better, if you share your favourite, you’re in with a chance to WIN 1 of 2 Nuzest Good Green Stuff packs (including 2 x 10 pack and a NuZest shaker) valued at $45.90! Yippee! All you gotta do is share your tried and tested tip in the comments below!
Entries open Thursday 27th March and close Wednesday 2nd April 2014 at 7.00pm EST with the winners announced on (Not) Just A Mummy.
* Nuzest very kindly provided a trial pack of product to me (and Ollie) to help us to feel as healthy and vital as possible. We’ve been enjoying the powder over the past few weeks in our smoothies (and on its own) and it gets the big thumbs up from us both!
Our favourite way to have it? In the above mentioned green smoothie! I love being able to boost our greens intake simply and easily and am also a big fan of the pure, GMO free ingredients.
With over 70 ingredients, Good Green Stuff is a superblend of all your essential nutrients in one place. The real power of Good Green Stuff is in its high concentration of fruits, berries, vegetables, green algae, and herbs; a potent blend of nutrient-rich and high anti-oxidant superfoods. This is REAL FOOD, as nature intended; NUTRITION that your body recognises and can use; not a synthetic multi-vitamin.