My husband and I are well into week 3 of our first Paleo 30 day challenge. We have a 3yr old and a 7 week old baby. I have lost about 5 pounds since starting eating Paleo, hubby hasn't noticed any changes though we're doing it more for him to feel better, not lose weight.
I've ready Wolf's book The Paleo Solution which suggests you need to get plenty of rest...not possible with a newborn and a preschooler. Our newborn is waking at least twice a night for feedings and I'm exclusively breastfeeding. I also feel like I'm spending TONS of time in the kitchen adding to the lack of rest. I'm always either cooking or cleaning up the mess I just made while cooking leaving little time for much else. While I am super proud that we haven't had any processed foods for 3 weeks, it might just be killing me!
So the question is, should I wait to give Paleo another try once we're all able to get more rest and life is a little more predictable? Do you think it would make a difference? If we quit for now I'm sure I'll do my best to stay mostly paleo but add a few convenience foods back for the sake of my sanity. I can't help but think about what life was like before all those convenience foods...I'm sure stay at home moms in the 50s really did spend the entire day in the kitchen!
yes! yes! yes!
We did it with ours. Not only is paleo-fed mom's milk much better for the baby, you'll be more resilient to illness if you get your immune system up.
Other than when in utero, right now is the most important time for your baby. Now is when you're laying down the epigentics that will affect the little one for the rest of his or her life. Get the nutrition dialed in now. It may be a bit harder since you have to cook rather than use packaged food (really, not food, but "stuff you can eat). We relied on lots of roasts and things that could be done in the crock pot all day; along with simpler meals that I could cook since I'm not that good in the kitchen :)
Our little guy is 10 months now, and has been 100% paleo the whole time. Once he got on solids, he just does pureed versions of whatever we're eating for dinner; and, he LOVES it.
It may be hard, but I'm convinced that there's nothing better for baby's nutrition than avoiding all processed and packaged foods. Don't let your pediatrician bully you into common things like rice cereal either. I could go on and on about this, but I'll just stop now :)
Enlist hubby's help and do a day of major cooking. Cook most of the meats and veg you will need for the week and store everything in separate containers. This will allow you to continue eating Paleo and survive the next year or two.
I use this method to keep myself sane and stay out of the drive-thru on my way home from work. This keeps my husband and son eating Paleo while I'm not at home and I can have dinner whipped up in about 15 minutes at night.
Check out http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com/. Melissa's cookbook, Well Fed, has tips for pre-cooking the week's meals and has tons of tasty recipes, too. Most of the info is also on her site.
Good luck and get whatever rest you can!!!!
Are you co-sleeping? Some people find that helps with the nighttime feedings and reduces fatigue. When it's time to nurse, you just roll over, and it's done :)
Seconding MathGirl72: cook in batches. Get some big pots. Look into buying bulk, into food co-operatives, into delivery. Do you have a freezer? If yes, use it -- if no, think about getting one.
Having a newborn, it is exactly the time to be eating as little processed food as possible. What you do now and for the next six years will have the biggest impact on your child's long-term health, vitality, and intelligence. If it were my child, it would be worth it to me.
Think about developing systems to make things work easier and better. How can you streamline things?
And another thing... you have a newborn. Your kitchen doesn't have to be constantly spotless :) (I promise I won't tell anyone!)
I have a two year old and I'm two weeks away from my due date with baby number 2. I can't say I'm not anxious about food prep and execution in the months to come!
1) Crockpot, crockpot, crockpot. Even if it's just a whole chicken or a roast with little to nothing on it. Just get it in and start it right after breakfast, and at least you'll have something to work from for dinner.
2) Bags and bags of frozen veggies. Sure, fresh is better. But I know I will not have the time or energy (and if I do, I don't want to spend it chopping!) to deal with lots of fresh veg. So I will be microwaving LOTS of veggies in these first few months.
3) Meal Plan! I plan on basically making every week look exactly the same. Roast a whole chicken on this day for dinner, sweet potatoes here for lunch, hard boiled eggs for breakfast, etc. I will post this on my kitchen wall and just repeat every week until things settle down and I can get more creative again. Don't try to be an awesome chef, don't try to be creative, just make reasonable food and eat it and move on.
4) Pay for convenience when you can. Can you afford to buy pre-cut fruit and vegetables? It's more expensive of course, but there are times in your life where if you can swing it, you totally should for a few months. Buy broth instead of making it yourself. Keep Lara Bars in your diaper bag at all times - my two year old loves them and calls them "Mommy snacks."
5) Make a list of reasonable fast food options I think we kid ourselves as parents when we don't have a plan B for meals. That's what every other mom uses McDonald's for! There will be a day soon when one of the kids will be sick and I will be wrangling them to doctors appointments and stuck for an hour in Boston traffic, there will be an emergency somewhere and for whatever VERY GOOD reason, I will not get dinner done. I will not be able to explain this to a cranky two year old, and I will be starving because I will be breastfeeding. I don't like having fights with my husband because we're both hungry and exhausted and we're all melting down. SO! Is there a place you can buy a whole chicken nearby? Perhaps with some vegetable sides? Are you okay doing a burrito bowl from a Chipotle? What restaurants deliver to your area - and is there anything reasonable on their menu? Having a fall-back plan for me helps me through the roughest of those days, and since I've already though through what I'm okay with us eating when those days happen, I don't feel guilty or feel like I've "failed" when it comes to feeding my family.
Bottom line, you can do it, and you will feel better for having done it. But don't feel like you have to do it to the level that some single person in their twenties can do it, and don't listen to those people if they try to criticize your day to day "paleo-ish" choices you make to survive this time -- your reality is a very different one!
Best of luck!
I too am sure that many housewives DID spend all day in the kitchen and I could easily do so today if I let myself. I don't have kids myself, so I cannot speak from personal experience on that front, but I really do think it is worth it for everyone in the family to eat as much whole, unprocessed stuff as possible. It doesn't have to be complicated, though. Meals don't have to be productions and you don't have to follow recipes. (I'm not saying that you are doing this, but it is a trap that I fall into.)
Yesterday morning before leaving for work, I tossed a 4 lb beef roast in the crock pot with an onion, salt, and a liberal dose of my "Mexican seasoning blend." When my husband and I got home from the gym, all I had to do was microwave two sweet potatoes, top them off with meat from the crock pot, and add some scoops of guacamole (just avocado mashed with lime juice, garlic powder and salt). It took about 10 minutes of kitchen work.
Other times I just cook up some ground beef in a skillet and mix in whatever veggies I have on hand. It might not be pretty, but it gets the job done.
Go for easier stuff to eat - till it becomes second nature to you . When I am busy my daily diet is - eggs for breakfast - anyway
Lunch - chicken salad - as simple as I can make it sometimes I just have the chicken. I buy a kg of tenderloins and make up 3 to a bag and freeze them - take them out in the morning and cook it on stove top they are fast - and really easy - sometimes I cook the whole lot up and freeze in portions too .
Dinner is a fast steak and veg or some lamb or fish - I cook the fish in a bag with veg - really fast.
So once or twice a month I invest an hr or so and buy lots of easy meat divide and or cook and its all there ready to use - fast. I buy my eggs 10 doz at a time from the farm - an egg is always fast and I have a few boiled ready to go. The eggs and chicken your 3 year old will love too.
I have a flat skillet on my stove - I dont wash it just wipe it - it does everything and that saves a lot of time too
Yes and no. And that comes down to support, this whole nuclear family thing most of us live in is not very conducive to nurturing a yourself, nurturing a newborn, and having nutritious meals every night. Going it alone is a completely new phenomenon, only a couple of generations old for child rearing. If you are killing yourself cooking all day during a time that should still be restful I would think that the stress could reduce the benefits.
I love the bulk cooking with hubby, and reheating idea. I would also urge you to reach out to friends and family, most people will want to please you, and if you send out your favorite recipes to people willing to cook for you that will take the some of the burden off and get you some rest.
And here's a little plug, for my previous profession, a postpartum doula can help with the cooking, do light cleaning and laundry, plus help care for you and your family in whatever way is needed.
One small suggestion that has helped me with sleep, but it doesnt relate to your question that strongly though - low lighting, especially more of the amber, as opposed to white colour.
Blue light (like is found in whiter spectrum light bulbs), especially strong blue light triggers your circadian rythmn to think that its still daytime. This would effect your kids and you's sleep.
If you get some warm coloured, lower strength bulbs, and just use mood level lighting after a certain hour (say 8 or 9), it may help get everyone a little more sleep. Its worth a go anyway.
I have struggled with insomnia, until recently i started using just one low watt lamp at night, installed f-lux on my computer (dims and warms your screen). I have been sleeping a fair bit better, more regularly. First night I tried it, I yawned heaps, lol. The low lighting definately makes you ready to sleep. I am going to get a bunch of flameless electronic candles to make the whole thing more like a campfire, and even more relaxing and amber coloured :)
I also put on some nature sounds, like birdsong in the later evening. Trying to emulate some paleo-style sleepytimes, and it very works well with the low light.
You can also buy bulbs specifically via the net that have no blue in them too. Ive never tried them, but thats something I am interested in.
Its interesting to note that if you look back historically, people got more sleep before the electric light bulb, especially young kids. I think they may be especially sensitive (is my theory anyway).
All just ideas, but its working for me, it might help you too maybe. It does take a bit of adjusting to get used to less light to work with, and if your busy, thats a balancing act, but having to go a little slower generally is probably a good thing.
I also second these two ideas: batch cooking
And co-sleeping. Mammals generally co-sleep. It makes us more at ease, warmer at night and builds bonding.
Modern social nonsense prevents us from doing it so easily when we reach a certain age, but I think families could try to keep at it while there kids are young and its still allowed socially. That may well make your kids sleep better, and be more at ease, perhaps even more adjusted mentally as well as make waking for breastfeeding easier. Of course being a parent is tuff especially with no "tribal support", so its up to you entirely how you choose to do things..
I have been throwing a huge amount of vegetables into the steamer every week/maybe twice a week. This is the only time I am cooking them pretty much. That cuts down on a lot of cooking.
Other than that, I've been cooking 1 meat per day in a pot on the stove, like ground beef or cut up chicken. Nothing else. You could opt for Applegate Farms hot dogs once in a while (cut up longways for the 3 yr old).. I think they are kind of like a cheat but still really healthy. Cook extra so you can refrigerate the rest and have it the rest of the week with the veggies.
Make salads (even cold salads work) out of the meat you cooked, the veggies you cooked, and fresh veggies, and pour olive oil or coconut oil on top of them.
Buy whole yogurt in disposable cups (top with berries), and eat (you can add a spoonful of coconut oil, esp if whole yogurt is hard to find).
I hardboil all my eggs for the week ahead of time, and just eat two for breakfast every morning. With veggies! No cooking required!
Dishwasher? You could maybe get an external one and plug it into your sink.
+1 on getting other people to do your cooking for you!
If you have extra money, nuts and dried fruit make a good snack! (No cooking or cleanup.)
(-single mom of one 5 yr old)
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