By Brenna O’Dea
The Dark Side of the Moon
Am I seriously about to tell you that it’s okay to keep eating chocolate after Valentine’s Day?? YES I AM. ABSOLUTELY. What’s the catch, you ask? GO DARK. Dive into that dark chocolate bar and enjoy an antioxidant boost without the sugar crash later. Try out Theo brand or Green & Black’s brand for some Fair Trade, super dark deliciousness. Theo even offers a bar that is 85% cocoa, one of the highest you can find, and a children’s line of beautiful bars loaded with crunchy puffed rice & quinoa and freeze dried berries & bananas for a fruity flavor without any fake stuff. And if you and the little ones want to get REAL crafty with it…make your own! All you need is a lil’ cocoa powder & coconut oil and a whole lotta love. You probably also want to add some extra sweetness like honey or maple syrup because that unsweetened cocoa or raw cacao powder won’t quite cut the cravings on it’s own. Try out this recipe for some super simple “chocolate” bark and invite your little ones to sprinkle on top whatever their hungry hearts desire.
I know, I know, I’ve said it before and I’ll surely say it again…HYDRATE. Water. We all need it to survive. It’s just that simple…or is it? Studies show that nearly half of all adults in North America drink around 4 cups of water per day. Sounds sufficient, right? About one cup with every meal. Think again. We truly need at least 8 cups of water every day to stay properly hydrated and healthy. Try to follow to 8×8 rule: 8 glasses of water, 8 ounces each. But who wants to deal with measurements and constant refills all day long? Not me. My weapon of choice to solve this dehydration dilemma is a 24 ounce mason jar. I only have to fill it up a few times a day and by the time I finish one jar-full, I’ve already had three servings of water for the day. I also do my best to fill it up at night right before I go to sleep, place it on my nightstand, and get to gulping first thing in the morning. That way I am already ahead of the game before I hop out of bed.
Take a Hike
Don’t worry, I’m not an outdoorsy gal either. I’m not actually going to force you to hike up a mountain, or even a hill. Unless that’s your thing, then lace up those sneakers…boots…whatever you wear and go! All I ask is that you add something new, something small to your daily or nightly routine. You could even try adding it in once a week to kick off this cleanse. Eat, then WALK. No sprinting necessary, no jogging required. Just walk. Studies show that taking a brief, leisurely walk after eating a full meal can aid in digestion and honestly, just help you feel good. Did you hear those key words? BRIEF…LEISURELY…FEEL GOOD. That’s one prescription I would LOVE to take. So skip the sitting-around-feeling-full-and-funky phase after dinner tonight and get moving! Even if it just means walking a few blocks to get some ice cream…we won’t tell!
It IS Easy Being Green
I just don’t have time. It’s just too expensive. They never taste good. These are the things we tell ourselves to get out of EATING OUR GREENS. Well in the immortal words of the oh-so-charming Benjamin Barry, AKA Matthew McConaughey, of the oh-so-wonderful How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days…”Bullshit. You heard me. Bullshit.” Adding an extra dose of greens to your daily diet does NOT have to send you into a stress spiral. Spinach, kale, romaine, arugula, collards, cabbage…you’ve got options baby! You do not have to spend your days munching on raw kale to get your green on. Choose any green veggies you like. Really, ANY of them. Chances are, if spinach ain’t your jam, collards might do the trick. Kale makin’ you queasy? Romaine could be right for you. Just start somewhere. Toss just a few leaves into your morning smoothie or try serving tonight’s roast chicken over a bed of greens instead of a grain. Whatever the recipe calls for, add in one green ingredient for good measure. Make sure to add it to your little one’s plate too, even if you have to sneak it in at first! Soon enough, they might even grow to love their greens…even if it’s only the sweet peas swimming in a bowl of carbonara.
(Image by flickr member Stephanie licensed under Creative Commons)