This morning, though just a regular ol’ rise at 4:15 AM to leave the house by 5 AM morning for CH (cave husband), was “Back-to-School” morning for me & the kiddos. If you haven’t already experienced one, “Back-to-School” mornings are notorious for several things: 1. If you’re a teacher, there are inevitable coffee stains that appear on your whitest articles of clothing as soon as you reach the I-can’t-turn-around-to-change-my-shirt-or-I’ll-be-late threshold on your commute to work. 2. If you’re a mom, there are the, I-can’t-find-matching-socks-even-though-I-swore-to-you-on-my-life-that-I-laid-them-out-on-my-desk-last-night moments as well as the, Mom-my-tooth-brush-fell-in-the-Qtip-filled-garbage-can-do-you-have-a-spare? moments, only to be trumped by the occasional, Mom-the-dog-stole-my-coconut-pancakes-and-got-maple-syrup-all-over-my-backpack fiasco. 3. If you’re both, well, good luck–or, so I used to think.
As it turns out, life doesn’t have to be so hard.
Embarking upon this Paleo Lifestyle journey has taught me that a little preparation goes a long way to prevent run-amok stress from ruling our decisions and responses, especially where food and other stress-related triggers (and sticky backpacks, missing socks, and waxy toothbrushes) are concerned. How so? Read on, Lovelies!
Our typical morning begins at 4:15 AM. Yes, Monday thru Friday. Year-round. CH is a hard-working, responsible, and not-salaried man. He works, we eat. He doesn’t, well, we eat much less. Which, in itself, is a stressful lifestyle for us adults. The last thing we want to do is expose our kids to our stress and compound it with poor choices. However, our choices were far from stellar. Very, very far.
Prior to Paleo:
I’d try to scrape myself out of bed at that pre-morning hour to make CH a sandwich, or two, pack some chips or pretzels, and call it a success. He’d also stop on his way to work for a bagel and an abnormally colored neon soda (that I’m pretty sure has been reported to remove paint from cars) in order to round-out his work-day meals.
Next, I’d pack the kiddos their eats for lunch: Special gluten-free bread. Special lactose-free cheese. Special gluten-free, lactose-free crackers. Carrot sticks. Apple Slices. Then, I’d get them their breakfasts: Whole grain cereals. Oatmeal. Almond Milk. Soy Milk. Bananas. Granola Bars. And, I’d eat whatever was floating around like some kind of scavenger animal, content to just live off of my family’s cast-off scraps as long as there was plenty of light & sweet coffee to chase it down.
Sure, this routine doesn’t sound like a lot of work, just a little unwrapping and pouring, but it was killing us–literally drowning us in a whirlpool of our own stress, fatigue, and malnourishment.
I bounce out of bed first thing Sunday morning and shop for whole, fresh, organic (ad nauseum) foods. No exceptions. I prepare any meats for the lunch boxes when I get home. While they are cooking, I wash and cut and pre-portion any lunch box veggies and fruits that can be prepped ahead of time. I bake a batch of coconut flour lemon poppyseed muffins (everyone’s favorite) twice a week: Sundays and Wednesdays (our two free nights). We go to bed earlier because it feels good, and when that alarm clock goes off at 4:15 AM, our hands are already reaching for the off switch. I pack the pre-prepared goodies into the appropriate lunch boxes, toss a few things in my crock pot so dinner prep is easier when we get home, and off we go, each with a day’s worth of nourishment at our disposal.
It sounds more like work than our previous lifestyle, sure. But, that is just an illusion. One day of an hour’s worth of work certainly is not more difficult than scraping yourself out of bed with bitter reluctance each morning. To improve upon an old adage, “Nothing–not convenience foods, not sugar, not grains, not white potatoes, not dairy–tastes as good as healthy feels!”
And, when you feel alert and fantastic, the dog doesn’t stand any chance of stealing anything. Especially those delicious coco-pancakes! Remember, a small tweak or two to your routine each week will eventually add-up to big changes for you, your family, and your health. Patience, persistence, and preparedness are key. One day at a time, Lovelies…