De-clutter Your Healing Journey





 I know it is too late to set an intention for 2018 and I purposefully waited this long to commit to a goal this year. I wanted to think about it and really let my mind and my heart come together. They needed time to negotiate and set an intention for the future.

I've been on this healing journey way too long. I lost track of every commitment and every potential destination. Have you been there before? In the spot of not believing yourself, because you promised your body a change and it didn't work. Vegan, Paleo , Traditional foods, Whole 30, a handful of supplements, a gym membership, journaling.... Ideas keep pouring and it all looks amazing and oh-so-inspiring on Instagram. But then you hit a wall , because you have a real life and a real job, and real people to take care of , and nothing seems to work the way it is supposed to.

I waited this long because I needed to quiet down the clutter in my head and in my soul. All the information I cram in day after day - books, latest research, new articles, webinars, online summits- it was getting too much. It was creating chaos in my body, my home, and my relationship with the world. So I promised myself a frugal and minimalist approach to this healing journey of mine. A year of DE-cluttering. A year to bring me back to my instincts and to my roots. A year of de-cluttering my personality, my food choices, my connection with the people I care about, my time, my home , and my finances. Does it seem a little bit overwhelming? I thought so, too. Where would I start? How would I know when I reach my destination? But then I realized that I can't even see the path hidden by labels, theories and someone else's success stories. It is time to make this path my own. New discoveries. No labels. Be my own inspiration.

The biggest revelation I had was that I don't have to be perfect. Perfect seems to create a negative attitude in my mind. I can't maintain perfect and I don't believe that anyone else can. Community and sisterhood, families and work environments - they are not perfect and we can not connect with the world , if we are perfect. There is no perfect diet, perfect body, perfect daily routines. Live demands imperfections and I want to embrace mine , and live this journey to the fullest.

For these past eight months I've given myself the freedom to be tired, angry, sad, ecstatic, and child like. I promised myself to experience my own emotions and to refuse other people's emotions. I've raised my voice and sang in the car. I cried in the middle of the woods. I challenged my fear of not being the perfect mom, or the perfect wife, or even a best friend. I SPOKE MY TRUTH. And, yes, people didn't like this change and I cried again, but I'd like to think I came out stronger on the other side.

Healing our bodies is never going to take place if we don't heal our minds. I am searching for my sacred space, deep within, behind thoughts of dinners and school schedules. I am going back to my healing journey in order to find myself, so I can bring not just my body along, but my mind as well.

I learned to come back to my breath and step outside moments of stress.

Just breathe.
Everything we need is inside us.
Food will heal our bodies
Breath will heal our minds
Just spend time with yourself

I am getting to know this mind and this soul I've been carrying around for almost 39 years.
And it's wonderful ! It is healing! It is like coming back home after many months away.

It is that simple.
DE-CLUTTER
No labels. No resolutions,. No final destinations.
Just a journey of intuition
Know your mind to heal your body...

Namaste










Homemade Instant Oatmeal Mix








 We all know those instant oatmeal packs in the breakfast isle in the grocery store and, lets be honest, we've all used them. Unfortunately, they are not the best breakfast choice. In my opinion , they give a healthy food a bad reputation. They are often filled with way too much sugar, preservatives, thickeners , and unnecessary additives. And to top it all off , those pouches are tiny. I've never seen a person eat one of those and stay full until lunchtime.
 So in the past year or so I have been making my own instant oatmeal mix at home. It takes only a few minutes to put together and it is very versatile , since it does not limit you to any one flavor profile. I've decided to share my basic mix recipe and some of my favorite add-ons with you. Feel free to make it your own and don't forget to share your delicious ideas.


BASIC OATMEAL MIX RECIPE:



3/4 to 1 cup quick oats ( choose gluten free, if this is a concern)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon raw pumpkin seeds*
1 tablespoon raw sunflower seeds*
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, or more to taste

* for a greater nutritional punch use sprouted seeds.


 Just in case you think you might get bored with this, here are some of my favorite toppings :

  1. Make it a classic : add some warm plant milk (usually I do this at home) , cinnamon and maple syrup (or sweetener of you choice)
  2. Go tropical :  add shredded coconut,  dried/fresh pineapple,mango and bananas 
  3. Go superfood:  add some goji berries, hemp seeds and raw cacao powder
  4. Go seasonal: add some pumpkin puree or apple butter, and a dash of pumpkin pie spice
  5. Go savory: omit the cinnamon and add some leftover roasted veggies, sauteed greens and a dash of turmeric. 
  6. My everyday favorite: Basic mix with frozen berries, walnuts and agave syrup.

Mix and match, or make it new and completely your own. Oatmeal is a healthy food we should have often and some even say everyday. So take the guesswork out of breakfast and have fun. Bon appetit!



5 WAYS YOU CAN TURN PICKY EATERS INTO FOODIES



 Feeding our kids seems to be such a controversial topic lately. Diet fads and lifestyle choices seem to creep up even in our kids' cuisine. Parents get offended,if you share experience or give them advice. Moms are ashamed of what they pack in their kids' lunch boxes and mumble excuses , or  leave their kids' food education to someone else completely. But it doesn't have to be hard, and it doesn't have to turn you, and your kids, into kitchen enemies.
 My boy, who is now six years old, was a picky eater, and a slow eater, and refusing to eat at all. I've been through it all - cooking separate meals for him, and separating food, so it doesn't touch, begging and threatening. Nothing seemed to be working. But now, I look back, and I find that the little things we did , which didn't seem to be connected with dinner time, had greater impact. 
 I want to share my top 5 ways we turned our 6 year old into a "foodie", but before I do this I want to make something clear. Kids are different. They learn in different ways and they follow in different ways. Family dynamics are different and food culture and choices vary.

Here is what MY 6 year old thought ME:

IT IS JUST A PHASE 

Most of the time it's as simple as that. Kids go through phases and will focus on one food at a time or will, all of a sudden, hate something that was a favorite for months. This is all normal. Some kids do have food texture issues or allergies, but this goes beyond the everyday refusal of foods. Most of the time,growing toddlers and pre-schoolers, are trying to assert their independence and to show us that they can make their own choices. Keep offering healthy choices at home and be a little more relaxed outside the house. Do not get tricked into becoming a short-order cook. Even in his picky eating stage, Max could only choose from the food I had already prepared. For example, if I made a salad and stir fry for dinner, I would simply chop the same veggies for him (raw) and give him a few pieces of meat or plain rice. He wasn't big on sauces and spices and that was ok. And remember, not all of us like all foods ,even as adults. We have our favotites and our no-no list. It is the same for our kids. Offer, but do not force them to eat what you think is delicious.


SHOP AND COOK WITH YOUR KIDS 

 Max loves helping me in the kitchen and checking off the shopping list when we are in the store. Bring your kids with you and shop the outside parameter of the store. Show them the different fruits and veggies and let them pick something for dinner. Sometimes they will go by shape,color and size when choosing, and that is part of the fun. This is how we fell in love with romanesco, purple cabbage, fingerling potatoes, and heirloom tomatoes ( so many colors,so much fun). Always tell your children what they are eating. Hiding veggies is something I don't do. This creates the mindset that veggies are not delicious and have to be masked by other flavors.
A lot of moms tell me that they don't have the time to let their kids cook with them when they have just minutes to throw something together after work. I know it's hard. I also juggle a full time job with being a mom and a wife. But I always make time to have fun in the kitchen. Food culture is created at home. Comfort food is created at home. I still remember ,when I was little , back in Bulgaria,  we used to have scheduled  power blackouts and my dad will cut up a huge plate of apples, and tell us stories of his childhood in the candlelight, while we munched on the delicious fruit. So, apples are a comfort food. So is watermelon with feta ,and peppers, roasted on the fire. It's all about the memories you create in your kids. The comfort is in the nostalgia. So,even if you cook one meal with them a week - making pancakes on the weekend,  stirring muffins for a bake sale at school, sprinkling salt over the salad, peeling carrots for the soup - it will be the best teaching experience you can give your children.


LEAD BY EXAMPLE 

This seems to be common sense to me. You can't have pizza and chocolate cake for dinner and expect your kids to love grass fed beef and quinoa salad. We don't separate food in our house,or designate it to adults and kids. Max tries everything we buy and then he has the choice to eat it or not. As I said before, don't expect your kids to like everything you like. Teach your kids about food,what goes into it and how you can make it healthier at home. You can make  pretty much everything you can buy in a jar. Dressings, hummus and various sauces are the things I make at home. I don't appreciate the added ingredients in most of those store bought products, so I prefer to spend my time and not my money on them. Children are much more fascinated by food and ingredients than we think. What is a chore to us ,to them is like a whole new world of discovery.


REWARD GOOD CHOICES 

 Even though good food should be a reward on its own,kids can often see meal time as a chore,something that takes them away from the fun they were having a minute ago. This is still a struggle for us sometimes. "Just five more minutes" can turn into half an hour and the whole evening routine you've been working on so hard is gone out the window. We decided to establish the rule that eating only happens at the dining table. No couch snacking, no mommy running after a toddler with a spoon, no snacking anytime of day or night. We have established a meal schedule, which does not consist of times, but routines. We try to always have dinner together, it is our family time. Breakfast and lunch are more flexible, since one of us , the adults, is at work during the week.
          After we established a healthy eating routine and got Max more involved in the preparation of food it was time to figure out how to reward good behavior. Kids thrive on motivation. Little things can be a big motivation for a six year old, just don't make promises you can't keep. Max gets to choose his rewards for making good food and behavior choices. He often chooses activities like technology time, or board games, verses eating treats and unhealthy foods. But there are times that he sees a kid at school eating something we don't normally buy, and requests it as his treat. If it is an item that contains a lot of artificial colors and sweeteners, we discuss it before we buy and try to find a healthier version if we can. Our neighborhood store carries a brand called "Yummy Earth Organics" and they have a variety of items like lollipops,  gummy bears, and jelly beans, made with organic ingredients. It is not healthy foods but a great substitute for a treat. 


KITCHEN CONVERSATIONS 

 This is the one thing that ties it all together. Talk to your children about food. Teach them to respect food and see it not only as calories and sustenance , but to cherish and appreciate it. Food is community. Food is culture. Food is health. Food is medicine. Food heals the body and the soul. It connects us to other living beings, It connects us to the planet and can take us places we can never go. Food is peace. Food is kindness. Food is fun. It is so basic and yet so much of what we are revolves around food. We are what we eat in a more literal way that we ever imagined.


Bon Appetite!