It’s December 21 y’all! As a former resident of Georgia when I was studying Communication Sciences and Disorders at Valdosta State University, I feel as though I am allowed to use y’all despite actually being a Yankee. It’s officially winter up here in New Hampshire, and the shortest day of the entire year. For some people this day is really negative. It means frigid temperatures, blizzards, and lots of darkness. I kind of like December 21 because it means that each day after today will be just a little bit longer, and that is AWESOME.
There was a really cool moment that happened today while I was dropping my daughter off at daycare. Ever since my daughter began eating solid foods I have been making my own baby food. All I do is buy frozen veggies, which are nutrient dense, steam them, and then puree them using my Nutri-Ninja blender (which I HIGHLY recommend!). The whole process takes about 10 minutes per item max. So far I’ve made sweet peas, spinach, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, apples, bananas, pears, and carrots. She loves them all! I read a lot about baby-led weaning and really wanted to employ some of the foundations into our home, however as a speech-language pathologist who treats feeding and swallowing disorders, I believe there is a place in our food repertoire for purees. I also had a baby who was OBSESSED with solid food prior to her tongue thrust diminishing, which is a pre-requisite for solid foods that need to masticated (that’s fancy SLP-speak for chewed). ANYWHO. One of the girls at the daycare, who has an infant a few months younger than mine, complimented my daughter for being such a great eater with an already wide food repertoire. She then went on to say that she saw what I was sending my daughter (mini containers of homemade purees) and went out to the store and did the exact same thing. Double pat on the back for me!
What I actually wanted to talk about today was the idea behind choices. I’ve heard a lot of people say things like: “I would never be able to do that”, “I don’t have the time”, or “I don’t know how to cook like you” when it comes to eating healthy. A lot of the time I think these statements are a bunch of baloney. My Mom has actually said the statement to me about not knowing how to cook a certain item the way I do, and how it limits her ability to serve it at home for dinner. I always respond that at one time I didn’t know how to cook that item either and had to teach myself. We live in a day and age where you search “carrots” and the search engine will generate at least 10 recipes for you. Search “carrots” on Pinterest and you’ll emerge 72 hours later from the rabbit hole you were dragged into looked dazed and confused but with a board of 1,000 different ways to cook a carrot.
But eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. I love me a good Pinterest rabbit hole session where I create healthy Thanksgiving options to serve for the next 4 years, but I also love to not have to use my brain after a long day of work and be able to cook healthy and efficiently. Take yesterday for instance: My Mom brain drain got the best of me and I forgot my lunch at work. Our hospital cafeteria does currently not serve food but we do have a cafe downstairs that serves snacks. It’s not the worst option; they have hard-boiled eggs and guacamole, but it’s also not the best. My lunch was scheduled for 30 minutes before the end of my shift and I decided that if I had made it that long without eating, I may as well wait until after my shift and go to the Whole Foods next to the hospital. I went to the hot bar at Whole Foods and chose some roasted sweet potatoes, garlic green beans, one hard-boiled egg, and grilled chicken. BOOM! As I was checking my awesome lunch out at the register, there was a selection of Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups just staring me in the face. Man, I swear they were calling my name. I even picked a package up! What stopped me was flipping the package over to read the Nutrition Facts and repeating some of my mantras to myself of “don’t give up our long-term goals for short-term satisfaction” and “you’re only craving this because you are hungry, feed yourself with the good stuff first and then see if you still want this later. I bet you don’t.”. THAT was a hard choice, but it was still a choice. No one forced me to have the healthy choice and not the peanut butter cups, it was all me and my inner voice. I could have told myself any story I wanted to convince myself that I deserved the peanut butter cups: “You had a stressful day at work, you deserve it”, “You had a great day at work, you deserve it”, “One package won’t kill you”. I chose, however, to tell myself the story that I knew was going to make me happy, not only just in that moment, but in one week, one month, and one year from now when I reflect on the choices I made that led me to whatever moment I may be in.
Moral of the story? You are in control of your thoughts and the story that you tell yourself about what choices you are about to make and why you are going to make them. Make sure it is a story you will be proud of later on when you reflect on that moment and not a story that only brought you immediate satisfaction and delayed regret.