A guest post written by Jess McLean
I am huge into cooking, and as a caregiver for my mom who has dysphagia (trouble swallowing), cooking and coming up with interesting new meals she can eat and enjoy has become a big part of my caregiving life.
One thing that seems to translate from caregiver to caregiver no matter your situation or caree condition is simply finding enough time to do it all – provide care, work, cook for modified diets, manage a family, etc. When it comes to eating well and taking care of yourself, you simply don’t have an hour to spend whipping up a fancy meal every day, and you certainly don’t have time to succinctly measure out perfect portions and measurements for a long, complicated recipe. (more…)
A guest post written by Lorna Scott, The Caregiver’s Lighthouse
It is a pleasure to be here today and a huge bundle of thanks to Elizabeth for inviting me to share with you some ideas and strategies to help you get through the holiday season without having to dig deep for willpower to say no to every yummy looking holiday treat.
Beware of the Holiday Sugar Monster
I’m not sure how the last two months of the year became most famous for all the sugar filled food that you find on every corner in every store. In Canada, it starts even earlier with Thanksgiving in October. Soon it’s Halloween, American Thanksgiving and before you blink an eye you are rolling into the rush of Christmas. There’s no time to catch your breath in between pumpkin pie, Halloween kisses and candy canes. How can anyone expect to get through the relentless bombardment of “eat this treat and be happy” messages?
This can be especially true for family caregivers. Really, what is easier than grabbing a leftover Halloween goodie or candy cane to give you a boost of energy? Sounds good and you might even feel great for a few minutes. And then the fatigue and fogginess returns quickly, and often is worse than before. So you grab another treat, the same thing happens, and you grab more, and soon, you have been sucked into the grasp of the sugar monster.
I know how easy this is to do because I just lived through it. For some reason I caved into that cycle this week. I have a sweet tooth and while I’ve never sworn off all sweets forever, I am usually very careful about giving in to the sugar cycle. I know it takes me off course in every aspect of my life, hurts my body and adds weight I’ve just worked hard to release. It’s insidious, and I gave in to it.
Are you eating enough protein?
Wouldn’t it be great if we had a energy gauge on our body that told us what we were required to eat for optimal health?
When we are required to to fill up our cars with gas, our little label from the manufacturer even tells us what type of gas we need to make our vehicles work effectively. Our human bodies, who also need fuel to work effectively (especially when caregiving), are so complex! To think that the food we eat doesn’t have an impact on our mood, energy, and overall physical health would be an oversight.
Protein is definitely a requirement for our diet. While we often get too many mixed messages from the health and wellness community, I haven’t seen anything that has said we don’t need protein in our diet.
Technically, our bodies need protein to build and repair our cells. I personally find that when I eat ample amounts of protein, I have more willpower to resist unhealthy snack options probably because it takes longer to digest these foods allowing me to feel fuller longer. I also feel like my energy level is more stable. (more…)
I believe many family caregivers think of self-care as a weekend retreat, a night out with the girls or a relaxing day at the spa. Those activities do sound and are amazing! However, self-care can be a collection of tiny little daily habits that allow you to nurture and energize yourself.
In this post, I want to focus in on those daily self-care habits. The little things that you do or could do to take better care of you.
Does anything come to mind?
If you got a decent night’s sleep last night, that’s a good start. If you ate an energizing healthy breakfast this morning, you are starting to seize your day.
Wouldn’t be great to have some little self-care breadcrumbs sprinkled throughout your day for you to savor?
“Mom, what’s for dinner?” may be the most annoying question of the day.
Dinner is something my fantasy self is really good at. In my head I cook yummy hot, healthy, homemade meals that are prepared with love and see my family enjoying every morsel around our family dinner table while recapping the events of the day.
Not so much a reality with a tired family coming home from different stresses of the day. Some are famished and in need to rush off to homework or the next thing.
My true self does the best she can with dinner with the energy and time allotted..and definitely solicits the help of her family in the process. My husband takes turns preparing meals and one kid sets the table and the other helps with cleanup.
Two weeks of healthy dinner options
Finding the perfect combination of recipes that 1) my entire family will eat, 2) are easy to prepare, and 3) help me reach my health goals is a struggle.
So when you find a meal that meets all three of these criteria, you repeat it.
Here are two weeks of meals that are part of our usual dinner fare. (more…)
I’ve been sitting on this advice for a few months and it’s time to release some of it into the universe.
My dad passed away 2 years ago this week. A death anniversary is melancholy yet I have this urge to do something in memory of this special person to continue to honor his life.
A few months ago, my cousin Meghan emailed me the collection of dad’s unpublished chapters intended to go into his next book. It seemed too special a gift to unwrap at the time, like a fine bottle of wine that deserves a special occasion. He had asked Meghan to review it because she has editing experience and he valued her opinion. Meghan was in the process of editing dad’s chapters when he passed away in 2014. (more…)
Are you as curious about essential oils? Lately I’ve been hearing more and more about them and I just had to know what these are all about.
As part of my holistic health discovery, I enjoy learning about natural ways to overcome health obstacles and optimize health.
My expert interview conversation with Sue Ellen Jones certainly peaked my curiosity about essential oils even more.
Sue Ellen Jones is a former teacher turned Essential Oils Wellness Advocate with doTerra (which means ‘gift of the earth’). Sue Ellen lives with her husband in Alpena, Michigan. She’s raised five children and now enjoys 13 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. (more…)
Expert Interview – Ashley Poptodorova
Ashley Poptodorova herself is a natural energy source. Spend five minutes with this certified fitness professional and you’ll leave recharged and wishing you could wear yoga pants, tanks, and flip flops to work every day.
Ashley and her husband Alex have been my training team for two and a half years. A friend of mine was their client and I had watched her achieve amazing results. I was frustrated with where I was with my health goals, had tried dozens of diets and exercise regimes on my own, and decided I had had enough of navigating through all the different health and wellness information on my own and it was time to bring in the experts. When I first met them at a local coffee shop, I shed tears of frustration and they assured me that it would take time but that they could help. Little did I know then, what an emotional journey I would start. Soon after hiring them to create a personal nutrition plan for me and start my group strength training sessions, my mom was hospitalized and I’ve shared the rest of the story in several posts on my site (here and here).
Ashley is also a professional speaker and aspiring author who has such a drive and motivation for encouraging others to see the best in themselves. Ashley embarked on her own journey to health with the help of her husband Alex. At one time Ashley weighed 208 pounds and successfully lost 80 pounds. To me, Ashely is more than an expert, she is a friend. I strength train with her twice a week and she has pushed me to new heights, physically and emotionally, including sharing my personal stories and starting Happy Healthy Caregiver. She’s positive, encouraging, beautiful on inside and out…and the strongest woman I know!!! (more…)
I like the benefits meal planning and preparation affords me all week long more than I dislike the two hours it takes to plan the meals, go to the store, and prepare everything up for the week.
Have you tried weekly meal planning and preparation yet?
When I get way too hungry, or ‘hangry’, I tend to make bad food choices. You know what I’m talking about..the ice-cream, popcorn, sour patch kids, potato chips or french fries. Having a few healthy snacks with me at all times helps keep me on track for my nutrition goals. I also take a bottle of water with me wherever I go.