Guest post by Dr. Lauren Kennedy
What do you think about when you hear the term “mindfulness”? Do you think of practicing yoga? Maybe spending hours sitting on a pillow, on the floor, in the corner, meditating with your fingers clasped, chanting “OMMMMM”? Okay, so mindfulness has a reputation – but what does mindfulness mean?
The general definition of mindfulness is the nonjudgmental (this is a key word) awareness of the present moment. Mindfulness encourages us to experience life as it is happening, without fear, worrying, or anxiety about what will happen or what has already happened. It does not have to include long periods of meditation – it can be done in just a few minutes each day.
Pretty simple, right? Well, it can be, but sometimes practicing being present is difficult when we have a lot of complex emotions or environmental triggers happening around us. Mindfulness teaches us to be kind to ourselves in moments when we are overwhelmed with public toddler meltdowns, endless to-do lists, and forgotten appointments. It allows us to remember that we are good parents, doing our best, even when we make a mistake. It helps us to tap into the true meaning of what is happening in your life in this very moment, be it mundane work (i.e. sweeping the floor, reading “Goodnight Moon” for the 38729th time) or be it something more exciting (i.e. watching your child read “Goodnight Moon” to himself for the first time). Mindfulness teaches us to be compassionate – to ourselves, our children, and other people we come across throughout our day. These feelings help us cope better with stress and feel happier and calmer.
You might be thinking this is all great and hunky-dory and maybe next time I read “Goodnight Moon” I will try to be present in the moment, but mindfulness is too hard or weird. Here are a few ways to try out mindfulness that could get you started:
- Dr. Kennedy is the founder and CEO of Melomental and the creator of the Fork in Mind Program. She also provides consulting services through Melomental. Lauren received a PhD in nutrition from Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA) in 2016. Her research focuses on the determinants of health and wellness, with a particular emphasis on mothers and families. She is interested in advocating for holistic approaches to public health nutrition that include policy, systems, and environmental changes to healthy eating and healthy food access for everyone. Lauren loves being active, traveling, and spending time in kitchens - whether it be her own or someone else's. That's where everything happens, right?!
We adore avocados around these parts. Mashed into guac, diced onto tacos or on top of scrambled eggs, smushed into taste and sprinkled with salt ... these are the more obvious ways avocados are consumed by the arm load each week.
Avocados are a power food. They are loaded with soluble and insoluble fiber which is great for healthy digestion, contain a component that has been shown to maintain cholesterol levels, and are full of healthy unsaturated fats which help keep brain cells communicating with one another. (Avocados make a great first (or second, or third!) finger food ... if you're at that stage with your little one).
Are you making your weekend grocery list? Looking for a super easy meal to wow your weekend guests, or just get from stove to table in no time. Look no further!
The star of this recipe: beets.
Before you groan and click "back", hear me out. Beets are incredible. They may not be as accessible as the carrot, exotic as the artichoke, or beautifully curvy as the eggplant, but beets have fabulous flavor and pack a nutritional punch (they are an excellent source of folate, manganese, potassium and fiber).