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First we need to consider what it means to be a “Soccer” Mom. (This applies to soccer dad’s too but I’m a mom so I’m writing from that point of view, sorry!)  It really has nothing to do with soccer specifically. You can substitute the word soccer for any activity your kid or kids are involved in that has you running from place to place. Depending on the time of year I am either soccer mom, baseball mom, basketball mom, horseback riding mom…..sometimes a couple of these at once. Tack on a full-time job in addition to the full-time-mom-job, phew! There are certain characteristics almost all “soccer” moms share. These characteristics include but are not limited to:

  1. An extraordinary threshold for frustration.
  2. An uncanny ability to multi-task.
  3. An exceptional ability to keep track of everyone’s comings and goings.
  4. The tendency to take on too many things at once.
  5. The unrecognized selflessness that comes with putting everyone else’s needs first.

With these wonderful characteristics come some unintentional not so wonderful side effects. These include but are not limited to:

  1. The tendency to internalize stress and “hold it together” can cause stress related health complications like headaches, adrenal fatigue, inability to sleep, suppressed immune system function, just to name a few.
  2. Putting off things like exercise and cooking due to lack of time or energy as a result of the run around results in weight gain and poor food choices.
  3. Not taking enough time to take of yourself can lead to feelings of resentment, then feelings of guilt for feeling resentful as well as feelings of anxiety and depression.
  4. Making food choices that can be described as a sub-optimal choice at best or a downright chronic poison at worst leads to weight problems, metabolic syndrome diseases, food sensitivities, emotional and psychological stresses and much more.  

As I said these are just a few, but you get the picture. Adding a dietary commitment to NOT eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) to avoid some of these issues can make being a “soccer” mom even more difficult. It is honestly too hard for many people and the best of intentions to eat healthy are often abandoned in favor of convenience to reduce the stress, but it ultimately just leads to another type of stress that comes with eating poorly. So what is a soccer mom to do if she wants to live and eat Paleo?

Here are a few things I have adopted to make my life easier, without undue sacrifice to the commitment I have made to eat as cleanly Paleo as possible.

  1. Plan ahead! I cannot stress this enough. If you try to live this change without some sort of planning and organization you will either fail or spend a tremendous amount of money needlessly.  *Know which night(s) you will have time to actually cook and make enough to eat twice! Either leftovers or just making enough chicken or pork (whatever) in one night to make several dishes. *If grocery shopping is hard and you have a delivery service near you (I use Peapod and US Wellness Meats) use it! The additional cost is minimal and well worth it! *Think about cooking on the weekend when possible and freezing for later.
  2. Stock up!! I always have plenty of the quick, grab-and-go items I feel comfortable with on hand and well stocked. *Grass-fed jerky (Steve’s Original is a great source. As a second choice look at Trader Joes, Whole Foods or a local health food store), *Organic cheese sticks for the kids (not me),* Organic fruits, * The grainless treats that I make (make large batches and freeze), *Raw or dry roasted nuts/seeds, *Nut and dried fruit trail mixes (Trader Joes has a ton!), *Lara bars (made with dried fruits, nut and spices, no added sugars), *Hard boiled eggs, *Celery with almond or other nut butter. Hopefully this gives you some ideas.
  3. Keep stuff in the car! I keep bottled water, coconut water, non-perishable snacks, paper towels, and sanitation wipes.
  4. When it comes to team pizza or ice cream parties, those can be tough, especially on the kids. Here’s my rule. I tend to opt for a salad instead of pizza whenever possible and sorbet instead of ice cream. If those are not options, I just choose not to eat but I will let the kids. At this point for me it is more important to not eat the foods I know are bad for me than it is to fit in and eat crap.  I understand the pressure to eat what everyone else is and not wanting to be fussy, but for me this is not a diet anymore, it is just how I live. I have been living this way long enough it is no longer a big deal for me. However, the 80/20 rule is very important here, especially starting out. Eat cleanly as often as possible, but if 8 out of 10 of your meals are Paleo, this is a dramatic improvement over the SAD. This really helps my kids. They eat Paleo when I am cooking. The rest of the time they may not be totally Paleo, but they eat much better than they used to.  When it is a pot luck team party, bring something Paleo friendly that you know is delicious and everyone will love it.
  5. Supplement! I hesitate to give supplement advice not knowing your individual needs but there are some that just about everyone can benefit from. Like a great whole/raw food multi-vitamin. Omega-3 fish oil, and for some a magnesium supplement can help with stress. I encourage a discussion with a natural health practitioner to discuss your needs. Since the vast majority of available foods we get on the run are not of the grass-fed, pastured, organic variety most of us are not getting the appropriate nutrients our bodies need. This is due to the poor feed given to the animals we eat and poor farming techniques that have depleted the nutrients in the soil conventional crops are grown on.  Supplementing can help reduce the deficit.
  6. Get Moving! When it comes to exercise, it does not have to be long and exhaustive! There are a number of programs out there now that recognize short intense bursts of exercise are more efficient, less inflammatory to the body and shows great results. You can get a great total body workout in 10 minutes with a set of kettle bells. I’m not kidding. I have also discovered Tabata Training, which is an interval workout that can be completed in as little as 4 minutes! Who can’t find 4 minutes?! I love my Crossfit gym too. It is hard for me to get there more than twice a week, but twice a week, it kicks my ass and rarely lasts more than 30 minutes.  I supplement at home with a run or a yoga class when I have time or some of the above options I referenced above when I don’t.  
  7. Take time for deep breathing or meditation. I know this might sound weird but it really helps me. When we are on the run and I am feeling my heart rate rise due to stress (which will often lead to a craving for something I don’t really want or a headache) I start taking slow deep yoga breaths. This is totally doable while driving. When you have a few minutes, as little as 5 minutes will do, try a short meditation exercise. I have an iPhone app that walks through a guided meditation if I need it to focus my brain. It just really helps me get centered and find my happy place. I can do this in 5 minutes in my car before a game starts, before I head into a store or before my next meeting for work.

Please remember that Paleo is not just a diet. It is absolutely about eating the right foods. It is also about getting the right amount of exercise, not too much to be inflammatory, but enough to make a difference and build strength and stamina. It is about getting enough sleep. Sleep is how the body rebuilds itself. Sleep supports weight loss, immune system function, cell regeneration and more. It is about getting outside and enjoying the sun, not avoiding it at all costs. Vitamin D deficiency is a rampant problem today. It is about managing stress, which is the toughest part for the “soccer” mom.  

So listen “soccer” moms, your family needs you. You MUST take care of yourself, not just them. If you go down, their world goes down with you. If I can do this, YOU can do this. There is an entire community of Paleo folks to get ideas and recipes from. I have links to many of them on the right hand side of my home page. Use them! You do not have to reinvent the wheel here. There are many of us who have gone before you, stumbled, learned a lesson and are sharing knowledge for your benefit. All you need to do is ask. I’ll help!

Until Next Time,

Laura, Mom Gone Paleo.

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No Responses to “The Paleo “Soccer” Mom Survival Guide”

  1. Mom says:

    Excellent points. Listen up people, been there done that! I had it somewhat easier as I was able to quit my full time outside job.

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