Note from Marillyn: During the months of September and October you will be seeing several good blogger friends to do guest posts for me on Just Making Noise. This is totally a blessing and a way to keep things going here while my family and I are on our furlough.
Today I am sharing a guest post from Lauren at Mindful Mama, a new friend and fellow Jesus-loving mama blogger. I am thrilled with what Lauren is sharing with us today because I totally understand and live this out many times as a missionary mama, but just didn’t know how to put it into words to share with you all! Now, I don’t have to because Lauren has done it! Thank you Lauren!
I don’t know about you, but there is only so much I can handle as a mother and a wife…
my fuse might just be a tad bit shorter than the average mama. Or maybe I just tell myself that to feel a little better about returning to that frazzled state, one too many times.
Life has been crazy for us…well practically, since marriage. Finishing nursing school, moving to a completely different part of the country as a (very) young married couple WITH a baby on the way, 6 years of hubbies college education, part-time jobs, ministries and 3 kids later…….WE ARE tired.
And so are you, I’m sure.
Will the chaos ever come to a halt? I’m gonna be realistic for a change and say with confidence a resounding “NO!”
In fact, two months ago, after my husband FINALLY finished his counseling degree, we sold all our stuff and in our 1998 Honda Odyssey drove back up the east coast to return to our hometown in upstate NY, where we will live for the next 2 years (more or less). Right before this big move we drove a total of 44 hours to and from our missionary training center in Kansas City, Missouri. Needless to say all of the chaos in this transition has been exceptionally challenging.
And challenging it has been to KEEP healthy eating a top priority. If you are trying to feed your family a healthy, nutrient-dense diet, somewhere along the way you decided that it was priority enough to research, shop, search, spend, cook and cook and cook……to eat this way.
Should this change when life gets crazy?
Well yes……and no.
Yes- because in seasons like this “SOMETHINGS GOTTA GIVE!” The simple logistics of demands on your time automatically changes how much time you are able to spend on finding/preparing/cooking REAL FOOD.
No- because sacrificing a filling, nutrient-dense diet during times of greater stress will only create more problems, causing you to perpetuate the vulnerable place your body is handling under increasing stressors.
Below are suggestions on how you can both sacrifice and preserve when life gets crazy.
SACRIFICE: Cut the non-essentials
Recognize the things that you do because your family enjoys them, but are not necessary for health. Is it homemade granola, crackers, ice cream or cookies you make every week? These things are fun to have, but sap up your time and energy that you need to use on other things. Cut those things out for a time, promising to return to them when things even out in your life.
PRESERVE: Keep the essentials
Evaluate the things you make that are the cheapest, quickest, biggest yield and most nutrient-dense. Homemade yogurt, homemade broth and chicken, batch of tossed salad, soaked beans/lentils, soaked & dehydrated nuts, baked oatmeal…..keeping up with these more frugal things can feed a lot of people, fill them up, and will help to keep you healthy during your crazy time.
SACRIFICE: Cut the complicated dishes.
Although you may love trying new recipes, and learning new real food tips and staples, this is NOT the time to venture out. You WILL have time to advance in your skills and understanding of how to cook the most nutrient-dense, real food diet for your family, but LOOK AROUND, if you are in a crazy season there may be other things in your life that are in desperate need of your attention at this time.
PRESERVE: Keep the easy-peasy dishes.
Stick to what you know. Remember the basics and stay there. Meat, starch and veggies. Even if you are on a special diet, the basics are still the basics. We eat a grain-sugar-lactose-free diet presently and pulling back to simple meals like burgers wrapped in lettuce with veggies sides or grilled chicken salad has fed us many a night in this crazy time.
SACRIFICE: Cut the challenging nutrient-gems.
Kombucha, homemade coconut/almond milk, kefir/crème fraiche/homemade cheeses, sauerkraut, liver pate…these things have incredible nutrient-value, and yet your body will probably not suffer if you take a pause in making them for a time.
PRESERVE: Keep the easy nutrient-gems.
Throw on the butter, coconut oil, lard, eggs, raw cheeses, red meats, oily canned fish, nuts and nut butters. These quick and easy foods offer your family nutrients they simply cannot run without.
3 important tips to help you not give up…
1) Don’t be tempted to run to the junk food that you are trying to leave behind or have left behind. Don’t be tricked into thinking this is the perfect time for it, it will only leave you with decreased immunity and ability to handle stress.
PLUS- you will be discouraged that you’ve made so many gains in eating well, only to return to the old junk. Old habits die hard, again and again.
Continue to swap out Doritos and Oreos with other quick and easy snacks (that won’t make you feel cruddy!) like whole fruit with nut butter, dried fruit and nuts, cheese sticks, hard boiled eggs and veggie sticks. For meals, throw a roast in the crockpot, or some ground beef on the stove instead of the tempting idea of a frozen meal or an ordered pizza.
2) Employ others to help you. Whether your family members play a big or small role in food prep and cooking in your house, NOW is the time to employ them further! Whatever tasks they are able to do daily will help free you up more! Don’t underestimate how helpful this can be. Strongly encourage your family that if they want to eat, you NEED their help…and you will be more than grateful for the extra help you have in this time.
3) If you find that it always seems you and your family are in this chaotic time that I am referring to, then maybe you need to take a step back and evaluate what your priorities are. Are you pursing things that don’t have much value? Is entertainment sucking the life out of you? Are you wrapped up in a hobby that benefits no one in your life and only yourself? Is your job more of a stressor and less of a true necessity? Could you cut back in any of these areas to release yourself to pursue feeding your family a real food diet??
If you are one who says ‘my life is ALWAYS crazy’, it’s my guess that you realize the value of real food for those you love, but haven’t taken the steps needed to make it a reality— and reap the benefits of blessing your bodies with truly healthy foods.
My husband and I are planning on making a move to Thailand in the next two years to be missionaries there who focus on helping address the needs of other struggling missionaries (member care).
My dream is to use the natural health training I have had to help keep missionaries thriving in their world, so their impact can be as life-changing as possible. When thinking about a missionary’s lifestyle, I recognize that these times INEVITABLY come, or quite possibly make up a large part of a missionaries life. I’m sure Marillyn could completely attest to this hard reality. (Marillyn – yes, it is very much a part of our missionary life, but I am happy to say that I already do most of what Lauren has suggested above and have now learned some new ideas! Thanks Lauren!)
While I am apprehensive that I will be able to feed my family well in this midst of such a crazy missionary lifestyle, I am encouraged by this season we are in now, and how we have honestly been able to continue to make EATING REAL food a priority. Apart from extenuating circumstances, I believe it IS important and possible to feed your family well, no matter how busy you are.
Be encouraged, you can choose which things your family can PRESERVEin eating foods that nourish, and which things you can SACRIFICEduring your crazy season to safeguard your sanity and well being. These are the 2 keys that will help you accomplish all that you need to in this challenging time- without forfeiting your health.
Read:10 Survival Tips to Cooking for Your Real Foods Diet for more encouragement!
Mindful Mama Top 10 Meals for my favorite real food meals.