After my preteen’s recent emotional outbursts, I hit the internet to find solutions to help this problem as naturally as possible. Then I started to notice other common symptoms. Her symptoms included emotional instability, inability to fall asleep or sleep well, and a way-too-early onset of acne. I found that all these symptoms point to a hormonal imbalance. Of course all pre-teens and teenagers suffer from some form of hormone fluctuations, but some can suffer worse effects, and I am afraid she most likely falls into this category. I wish I had known this a week ago, when we had our last doctor’s appointment. So I continued to read on looking for some natural cures to keep from running back to the doctor.
Over and over again, I found that the number one preventative measure we needed to take is to make sure she is getting a well-balanced diet. Sure, that’s easy enough, isn’t it? Then I started thinking about the foods that go into my child’s mouth on a daily basis. Starting with breakfast. She usually has to eat while running out of the door in the morning, because she can’t seem to wake up on time, especially after having trouble going to bed at night. Ok – so actually we are going to start with the trouble sleeping part. I read about melatonin. We decided to give that a try to help her fall asleep at a reasonable hour at night. So then onto breakfast. As I said before, it’s always on the go. So if she has it, it may usually consist of cereal (in a bag, because she is lactose intolerant), pop-tarts, cereal bars, or any other version of these convenience foods. CONVENIENCE FOODS. Herein lies our #1 problem.
After breakfast comes lunch (obviously). I send her with checks to pay for her school lunch, but they usually go uncashed and turn up missing. Her lunch time at school is 1030 am. Yes you read that right. So most of the time my daughter isn’t even hungry for lunch (or so she says) that early, so she skips it, and what happens to my checks? Who knows! I believe she has an afternoon snack time in the last class she has for the day, but she never takes anything that I’m aware of. So she shows up to my office after school “starving”. I try to keep some convenient snacks on hand for her. There they are again….CONVENIENCE FOODS! But I don’t always have them, so she has to go to the CONVENIENT VENDING MACHINE. So so healthy…NOT! So then after she drinks a Dr. Pepper and eats a bag of chips or a chocolate muffin (licking every crumb off the muffin wrapper like someone who has been starving for a week), she gets home and isn’t very hungry for dinner. Well sometimes she is, but then here is how the dinner scenario goes….it’s worse than the other ones!
I hate to cook. I am married to a chef, so we eat well when he is around (and have been fortunate enough to have had him around at dinner for the past year until recently). The past month or so he has been working extended hours opening a new restaurant for his company. Bye bye fabulous, well-balanced, yummy dinners! My solution? Well I’m ashamed to admit it, but some nights I have the kids just eat some frozen microwaveable meal (or garbage if you will) and I may skip dinner. Other nights, I cook all three of us girls some CONVENIENCE FOOD out of a bag or box that can be whipped up in a matter of seconds via the microwave or maybe a pan on the stove. That’s it. Packaged, over-processed, convenient, too-lazy-to-cook food. Given the time frame of my husband’s dinner disappearance and the onset of my child’s emotional outbursts, it’s just stands to reason, it’s definitely the diet! At least when daddy was cooking dinner, she had one good balanced meal a day. Now she has essentially none. I am failing my children in the area of good health. Sure they look healthy, but are they really?
So now I am starting a new mission. Changing the diet. Today I went to the grocery store and focused on the girls’ school lunches. Then I realized just how difficult a task it was. EVERYTHING in the grocery store is geared toward convenience. Thanks to recent health movements everywhere, I was able to find some sort-of-convenient items that they could pack that were organic, low on sugar, etc.. Not the perfect choices, but probably 100% better than the typical packed-lunch snacks. The down side to these healthy choices? One week of lunch food for the girls = $50. School lunches would be way cheaper, but I suspect they aren’t very healthy either.
Since the menu I put together for the week cost so much, I had to find a way to make sure what I purchased wasn’t binged on in one day at home – which usually happens when I go grocery shopping. It’s amazing to watch two-weeks worth of food disappear in two days! Anyway, I purchased brown lunch bags (I know, not environmentally friendly, but hey, it will serve a purpose here). When I got home, the girls and I wrote a day of the week on each bag for each girl. Then in went, one beverage, some form of fruit, some form of dairy (yogurt in hopes that the lactose intolerance is mainly with milk as it is for myself), a few other “healthier” snacks such as trail mix or fig newtons to satisfy the sugar cravings, and one or two other additions like cut-up vegetables . Then they all went into the fridge with strict instructions that the bags weren’t to be touched except for school on the designated day. Any left-overs from the items purchased could be devoured as they saw fit. Of course, each morning we will add a sandwich to the bag to complete the meal, but we didn’t want to do that too early so that they don’t get soggy (yuck!). Oh and just to be environmentally friendly, I suggested each morning they actually transfer the foods to a reusable lunch box and to reuse the bag for the next week.
So lunches for this week are ready. Unfortunately they are only a small part of the battle. I also purchased actual breakfast food I will have to cook. This means I will have to get up earlier. Oy! I also still have to figure out what in the world I am going to cook for dinners. This is going to be a major challenge for me. But hopefully it will be a successful one. I will keep you posted.
OH – I almost forgot, I also picked up some vitamins to help supplement any nutritional deficiencies. Wish us luck!