It is one of the stereotypes of our modern lives that a ‘good’ mom – a mom who is vigilant and pro-active on every aspect of her kids’ lives – is an exhausted mom! She is usually visualized as this harried woman, rushing from pillar to post, handling the housework, supervising the older kids’ classes, picking after the younger ones, growing more and more exhausted, finally to collapse like a wrung out dishrag! And unfortunately, you do see moms around you who do just that.
However, this need not necessarily be so. Being a mom is one of the most rewarding experiences of a woman’s life – nurturing your little bit of creation and guiding it through the growth process is a deeply fulfilling aspect of life. Like all good things, it is fraught with pitfalls and conflicts – difficult behaviour, negative influences, tough choices and emotional traps that are physically as well as emotionally draining. However, the wrung out dishrag is not every mom’s reality. You do see moms who seem superhumanly energetic and manage to do it all without turning the proverbial hair. And how you hate them!
Well, instead of being futilely envious of them, why not try to see how they do it and take a lesson? Moms who have managed to negotiate the inhuman demands of motherhood successfully and raise stable, happy, successful children, while at the same time, maintaining their own health and sanity, attribute a good part of the credit to healthy routines and eating habits. Depending on your physical health and energy levels, the exercise routine can be anything, from a 20-30 minute walk to some treadmill/cross-stepper time, to some basic stretches and yoga, to a full-blown jogging session. Whatever suits you, the important part is to do it regularly.
And now for the food habits. And before you fall into the time-worn trap of thinking that it is too much effort on top of everything else, remember two things: One, that it will make the rest of it much easier; and two, it is simply a one-time effort to start things up, and then it will automatically become a routine. And the energy benefits you get from it are more than worth it. Here are the seven magical must-dos, along with tips to do them easily and quickly:
1. Start With Detox
A detox routine need not be complicated. A simple glass of water with a spoonful of lemon juice, first thing in the morning, will do it. You can add a pinch of black salt in the summer, and for the winter, warm the water and add a teaspoonful of honey. Also, drink as much water as you can throughout the day. Another easy option could be a tablespoonful of Amla juice followed by a tablespoonful of Aloe Vera juice. All these are easily available in the market, from a number of companies, even bottled lemon juice!
2. A Shot Of Energy To Kick-Start Your Day
American President Barack Obama recently made waves by revealing his daily routine of seven almonds. Well, our mothers and grandmothers have always sworn by almonds and other nuts as mind and body food. Keep some almonds, walnuts and raisins (preferably munakka raisins) in a jar. Soak a handful at night and eat them in the morning, chewing them fine before swallowing. They replenish the minerals and micronutrients in your body to kick-start your metabolism and give you a shot of energy. Plus, you can also carry ziploc packets of muesli and roasted namkeens for an instant energy shot during the day.
3. A Full, Balanced Breakfast
A good, solid breakfast full of energy-giving nutrients makes it much easier to get through a demanding day. Oats, wheat porridge, upma, poha, idli – preferably all with lots of veggies thrown in – or even stuffed paranthas, with a glass of milk (with or without cornflakes/ wheatflakes/ muesli) are good breakfast options. You could chop carrots, beans, cabbage, cauliflowers and turnips in advance and store them, along with shelled peas, in airtight containers in the fridge, to make preparation of healthy breakfasts much easier and quicker. Chopped onions can be lightly roasted and stored while pureed tomatoes can be frozen in ice-trays, to be used one cube at a time.
With this preparation, which will take you maximum one hour in a week, and your kitchen stocked with rolled oats, rava, chidwa and daliya, a healthy breakfast takes as much time as spreading butter on toast. Even omelets taste much better with lots of sautéed veggies. Try it sometime!
4. Raw Fruits And Salads
This is a no-brainer, isn’t it? We all know about the health benefits of raw fruits. No need to go looking for exotic fruits, though. If kiwis and pineapples are out of reach or out of budget, the humble bananas and guavas are no less packed with vitamins and anti-oxidants, even though they may not sound so ‘fashionable’! Oranges, kinnows and mosambis are storehouses of God’s own nectar and immunity-boosters to boot. Apples, grapes, pears, plums, cherries, apricots, peaches, mangoes, chikus, lychees – you name it. Just make sure you munch at least two raw seasonal fruits everyday. Also, if you are a fried namkeen fan, you could try making a bhel out of it with chopped salads, dhaniya, green chillies and a dash of lemon ... adds the taste and benefit; cuts the harmful effects!
5. Lots Of Proteins
Literally the building blocks of life, proteins actually renovate and rejuvenate you from inside-out. Make sure to include lentils, whole dals, soy, beans, yogurt, paneer, eggs, white meats and fish, depending on your choice of diet, in your meals. These build up your body tissues and restore your body’s stamina and strength.
6. Coarse Grains and Better Carbs
Coarse grains have a much higher fiber content, which tones up your digestive tract, and a much lower proportion of harmful carbs. So, multigrain breads, multigrain flour for chapattis and parboiled rice (if not brown rice) will keep your energy levels much more stable than refined carbs and sugars .
7. Essential Oils And Healthy Fats
And now, for a vital tip. DO NOT fall into the error of cutting out fats from your diet. Not only do they add taste and satisfaction to food, the right kind and quantity of fats carry numerous health benefits. They stave away hunger pangs for a longer time, balance the diet with good cholesterol for better heart health and lubricate the body tissues and joints as well as the brain synapses. In fact, a complete absence of fats in the diet can cause brain-related disorders in the long run.
Steer clear of refined oils as far as possible, though. The best oils to use in Indian cooking, according to cardiologists, are coconut and mustard oils, and desi ghee – all in MODERATE quantities. Sesame oil is a good option for winters. Olive oil should be strictly confined to salads and lightly cooked pastas, as it actually becomes harmful at high temperatures which are the norm in traditional Indian cooking.
About The Author:
Parul Gupta, our Edu-blogger,. is a person with many hats -- writer, editor, economic analyst, writing skills coach, workshop facilitator -- all of which she fits around being a full-time mom and homemaker. Her personal blog 'At Random' (www.parulg0.wordpress.com) is her pensieve (Harry Potter fans will understand) and she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org