parenting babble

The Myth of Feeling “Amazing”: No Amount of Green Juice Can Fix a Bad Night’s Sleep

I started feeling a bit sluggish: falling asleep earlier than usual and needing more than my standard six hours of sleep. As I had routinely done for the past few months, I started to analyze my diet and took some mental notes as to what needed tweaking. Maybe it was time to ditch the legumes and gluten once and for all, and go back to feeling amazing. In response to my inquiry about making further adjustments to my diet to fall in line with the Paleo way of life, she simply stated that I probably just needed to rest more. She reminded me that I was a busy mom of three, juggling work and mom duties on top of trying to completely alter my way of life. To her, it seemed pretty obvious and normal why I would be feeling a bit drained. I too have documented more times than I care to count how “amazing” I feel after downing another “superfood” smoothie after a yoga session, or the energetic buzz I experience following a green juice and power bowl of kale and quinoa. We health food nuts love to extol the healing benefits and life-altering effects of certain food categories: greens like kale and chard, grains like quinoa and freekeh, and power foods like chia seeds and maca powder. Conversely, depending on which food camp you’re in, we shame the damaging toxicity of other food categories like gluten, dairy, antibiotic-laced meats, and vegetable oil. It’s at times a dizzying state of affairs that leave many of us grappling for the key to that competitive edge to feeling amazing. We want to find the perfect equation of foods that will leave us feeling full of energy, slim as can be, and crushing personal workout goals with clear skin — all while efficiently functioning off of four hours of sleep. We want it all, and we look to food for all the answers. However, the truth of the matter is that when I look back over the past year of changing my diet, not much for me has changed besides more regular bowel movements. Sure, I experienced a sort of post-detox buzz after I initially cleansed my body of crappy fast food and overly processed junk like flaming orange Cheetos, microwaveable lasagnas, and soda pop. My body felt lighter, even though the scale didn’t change much, and I did experience more energy. I’m also consistently headache-free, trading in my weekly doses of Advil for a daily green juice addiction. And like I said, my digestive system is thankfully on track and the awful stomach cramps I used to get several times a week have pretty much disappeared. In reality, I think most of us who have wised up over the last few years and in eliminating a lot of the processed and prepackaged foods we grew up on, we’re really just experiencing life, and our bodies, as we were meant to. If amazing means I can make it to yoga 3-4 days a week, live headache-free, and have a regular digestive system, then sure, I feel amazing. But really, I think I just feel normal, as I’m intended to feel, which is definitely pretty amazing. I’ve been able to sustain this way of eating for a year now, and it has really become just a way of life for our family, nothing unusual about it. And it definitely doesn’t give you superpowers. To feel “amazing” on a consistent basis, I try to accomplish the following:
1. 2. In addition to the physical health benefits of exercise for us women, including decreased risk of developing some forms of cancer and heart disease, it’s also great for stress management and increasing feel-good endorphins. 3. Have a positive attitude
A usual cynic, I do notice a remarkable difference in everything from my energy levels to how well I sleep when I try to approach life, family, and friends from a more positive attitude. Mental health affects physical health, and vice versa. 5. Eating “right” varies tremendously from person to person, so follow your instincts, listen to your body, and eat the foods that make you feel “amazing.”
As a harried mother of 3, I usually consider it a successful week if I can accomplish three out of five of the above. In trying to remain positive, I allow grace and try not to strive for perfection.

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