A year and a half ago, I met a woman and somewhat dismissively thought, “Hmm, if we lived closer we’d probably be friends.” But we don’t. Cristie’s in New Jersey (which happened to be my home when I was Big’s age) and I’m in the Bay Area. Sure we had tons in common—including a very similar view on life, laughter and family (so what’s not to love?)—but life’s busy and I barely see my favorite people in my own area. But somehow this new-fangled thing called the Internet kept us connected. And we met again in person at BlogHer last August. I’d roll into the sessions sipping my third latte and she’d be just as sunshiny thanks to her morning yoga on the beach. Ah, yes. There was that one little thing we didn’t have in common: a focus on good health.
Until now. Cristie recently became a Health Coach and started Real Life Wellness and I’m thrilled to be one of her guinea pigs. (Though I’m working to remove the “pig” part as one of my one-month goals.) So far we’ve had a couple of calls (maybe we’ll move to Skype once I’m looking better!) and she’s working with me (between carpool and karate drop offs) to figure out holistic, sustainable ways to be healthier in the the real world. My world. The world of early-morning bus drop offs, nap time battles and potato sack race failures.
The plan? To have a 50-minute call twice a month to check in, and email in between if things come up. See what’s working, what’s not and adjust accordingly. (Oh, and get bathing-suit ready for a beach getaway in a month…yep, she has her work cut out for her!) Cristie’s approach is to give me new ideas of what to eat to maximize my health as opposed to tell me what not to eat. (Remember what I do when someone tells me I can’t? Yeah, well, so does all that Halloween candy.) If you get enough good stuff in your menu, you end up crowding out the bad stuff. (And honestly, I’m thinking of applying this approach to all areas of life—people, clothes, activities, toys…)
My first order of business may sound simple to some of you, but it was a doozy in my world. Eat something green with each meal. (And, no, Christmas tree nougat candies don’t count.) Cristie gave me all kinds of great ideas. Throw a little spinach in eggs in the morning. Buy and rinse a bunch of lettuce/accompaniments on Sunday so that you can grab a salad for lunch as easily as a PB&J. Sauté all different kinds of greens with onion or garlic for dinner—a great adventure for Big, my foodie.
But in case you don’t know this about me, when someone gives me a challenge, I like to really rise to the occasion. So I’ve been making the green smoothie I found on Cristie’s blog for breakfast (made up of all the glorious things you see in the photo above). I swear to you, things like kale and dandelion leaves used to scare me more than Little jumping off play equipment. But somehow after talking to Cristie, I walked into Whole Foods with my head held high and confidently annoyed all the regulars—carefully reading the description of each leafy green. It was bizarrely empowering to check out and know that I was doing something for myself. (Something that’s surprisingly tasty, but with a bit of an icky texture…though it’s wonderful kid repellant—only thing of mine they don’t beg to eat.)
I’ve found this green thing is working. I’m focusing on what I can have—even at restaurants—and enjoying trying new things. There are a few I haven’t enjoyed too, so those aren’t making it into my regular rotation. Romaine is my staple. Spinach is another go-to choice for me, but I have to use it in moderation because it’s high in oxalic acid (that’s right, I said oxalic acid and meant it). Green beans, snap peas, broccoli. So far the kale and dandelion leaves haven’t made it beyond the blender, but they will. At least once.
Oh, and because Cristie is making these green things a part of my world, Big is making them a part of his. On New Year’s Day I asked if he wanted a grilled cheese, a PB&J or a salad for lunch. No question. He rinsed and chopped everything—even the raisins—and helped make homemade vinaigrette. Heck, if he can do it, so can I (with a bit of encouragement, of course).
If you’re interested in learning more about Real Life Wellness, click here. Thanks to technology, Cristie can coach you no matter where you call home. The initial consultation is complimentary and at the very least you’ll get to chat with one very cool lady. She works with people on personal and corporate wellness while juggling her own three kids and junk food cravings.