936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
We drink a lot of coffee. On Monday, Grayson came into our room to kiss me goodbye before work. “The coffee maker is toast”. My heart sank. My husband is resourceful, however, and he managed to brew us a fine pot of coffee by pouring boiled water over the grounds in our almost useless coffee maker. We went that route for a few days before I came home with a new coffee maker. And we always have our old faithful espresso machine–my favorite piece of equipment in our kitchen–to come to the rescue.
I’m not against coffee by any means. I am a wife, the mother of a 20-month-old boy, 33 weeks pregnant with another boy, working part-time, blogging, and involved in ministry. I find coffee essential for the stage of life I find myself in. Not only that–we just down right enjoy a good cup of coffee in the morning.
Of course, at times we realize we are becoming a little too dependent on this source of energy. We’ve managed to transition to depending more on the food we eat to sustain a steady level of energy throughout the day. One of the areas in my life which I’ve chosen to place my focus on at this time is enabling Grayson in his studies for his masters degree. One way I’ve decided to do this is through creating light, energizing dinner meals, and not feel weighted down or groggy after dinner, but rather re-fuel for an evening of studying.
I find energizing meals especially crucial on nights with an agenda: Bible studies, church activities, blog deadlines, or lots of homework. I’ve learned that it’s important to anticipate our nights by preparing meals that will not weigh us down, or tempt us to bed early, but instead give us the fuel we need for a few extra hours of productivity after the little man hits the hay at 7:00pm.
On these nights, I avoid cooking pasta or heavy carbohydrate meals, or dinners including a lot of cheese or cream. Italian is definitely out the window if it’s going to be a productive evening. Instead we opt for dinners such as:
The key to these meals: vegetables. Often these meals will be accompanied by fruit and vegetable smoothies for an extra punch. I realize there is a lot of information out there about energy-rich foods. In all of the information available out there I find one common theme: energy is found in whole foods. Oats, nuts, fruits, vegetables, eggs, beans, these are just some of the whole foods that will keep you going on busy days. Instead of focusing on one or two “miracle energy foods”, we’ve chosen to incorporate a large variety of whole foods into our diet in order to achieve our highest energy levels.
Grayson and I were discussing yesterday the essential role fat plays in our diet. Last summer, when we were still very new to everything wholesome, we adopted a diet rich in vegetables, and very low in meat and dairy. Because of the limits we placed on meat and dairy, there was very little fat in our diet. We still noticed an increase in energy, for that was a natural result of ditching processed foods and eating fresh produce. However, we had not yet discovered the fullest potential of our diet’s possible effects on energy.
In recent months I’ve been gearing my research toward fats and how they effect our body. I have become a strong believer that they are indeed essential. The findings in my research have resulted in a shift in our diet. I’ve become a strong advocate for foods such as real butter, whole milk, cheese, and red meat. However, what is important to remember here, crucial even, is the quality of fats we are eating. Whenever possible, our butter is organic. Our whole milk is organic, or better yet local. Our cheese is local and/or from grass-fed cows. Our red meat is always grass-fed. You see, fats are so densely concentrated that they are one of the primary foods we should purchase the best quality products of.
As Grayson and I were discussing these things yesterday, we kept coming back to the fact that our diet last summer was simply insufficient for our lifestyle–it was not for us. We are now eating just as much fresh produce (more, even), but are also incorporating high-quality fats, which we have found provide us an additional source of energy. Calories from these fats take much longer for our bodies to burn through than what we were getting from only vegetables. These calories provide us longer-lasting energy. This is crucial especially for Grayson, as he works a highly-physical job. Our diet now offers him a more abundant and better-balanced supply of energy throughout each day. In essence, our increase of quality fats has resulted in an increase of energy, but not an expansion of waistlines.
You may recall my “botch batch” of peanut butter from two weeks ago, which I thoroughly messed up by trying to “fix” with too much olive oil and honey. Well, here we are two weeks later and all 4 cups of mediocre peanut butter are gone! Grayson worked a 13-hour roofing day this past Friday, and he attested to the fact that the homemade peanut butter he brought to snack on is what got him through that grueling day. The natural, healthy fats and sugars were just what he needed.
In light of my recent research, I’ve been brainstorming a post devoted to the health benefits of quality fats. Watch for this future post coming soon!
I was recently listening to a podcast by author and blogger Michael Hyatt on 10 ways to boost your energy levels. One strong point he advocates is that we should be drinking 8 glasses of water a day (at least!) He argues the point that the earth’s surface is comprised of about 70% water, and about 60% of the human body is water. We need water to live and function to our greatest potential. Water acts as its own detox program, cleaning our body of toxins. I’ve personally found it a great practice to drink a 12oz glass of water first thing in the morning to wake my body up and clear it of toxins from 7 hours of sleep. I also keep a glass of water next to me throughout the entire day, and out of habit I now consume about 10oz (one glass) of water every hour of the day. When I find myself lethargic and tired, I can almost always point it back to not enough water intake for the day.
I am the mother of a 20-month-old son, and 33 weeks pregnant, and have an auto-immune deficiency which characterizes itself by chronic fatigue. I must say, however, that I have more energy than I have ever had before! Yes, certain medical conditions can render one with a great lack of energy, and inhibit them from daily responsibilities. I am living proof, though, that whatever your circumstance, you can indeed increase your energy level by what you do and don’t eat. You have it in your control to increase your energy–start with what’s on your plate.
This brings me to my Real Food Question of the Week. I’m curious, so please comment below: What do you reach for when you need a mid-day pick-me-up. And if you stopped to think for a minute, what could you reach for instead?
Cheese and Fruit Market (1 Trip): $9.56
Natural Food Market (1 Trip): $20.73
What are just some of the things we ate with these ingredients, plus the ingredients from last week?
Beat in blender:
Add to blender, and mix until thoroughly incorporated:
We filled our crepes with sauteed veggies (8oz chopped mushrooms, 2 chopped leeks, and 1/2lb asparagus) and a Dill Jack cheese. We then topped our crepes with a little more Dill Jack cheese, homemade hollandaise sauce, and fried capers.
**Don’t forget to comment below on the Real Food Question of the Week: What do you reach for when you need a mid-day pick-me-up. And if you stopped to think for a minute, what could you reach for instead?
Real Food, Nina Planck
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!