Healthy habits to structure your day
Well, things are getting a little feral over here. Every “tips for working from home” article I read says that the first thing you should do is shower and get dressed.
Why is that so difficult? The moment I wake up, I have a quick reality check that yep, our bonkers new reality is in fact reality. Then it's downstairs to feed the children, who then feed the cats and the bunnies and the fish (hopefully, not to each other, but I haven't checked).
Then I get the kids started on the activities I planned, so that I don't need to look after them and can work. Then answer the fifty thousand questions that go along with that activity, even though I thought I had pre-empted every conceivable option.
Then start work, but deal with the new important things, which bump the less important, but still important, things down the list. Get a good call in (Yes!) and try and follow it up, but now need to organise lunch … and so it goes on until it gets to 4pm and I realise that I'm still in my pyjamas and the house is practically apocalyptic. Is 4pm too early for wine? Hopefully not.
On the upside, everyone is in the same boat. We're all finishing work projects or chores at midnight because our day was a jumble of life/work and kids. And we're all looking slightly wild and wondering where our sanity went. For me, a few healthy habits are helping to anchor me and stop me going completely off the rails. Here's what's working for me and I hope it helps you too!
Start the day with good intentions
No matter how crazy the day, I always make a herbal tea and throw in some collagen. I'll have some fruit too (vitamin C optimises collagen uptake) and that might be it. I do better when I have baked oatmeal in the fridge that I can just reheat. The recipe below comes from a cooking class I did with Sarah Wight a while back and it was a huge hit. Sarah has a knack for totally wholesome recipes that are not-so-sweet, but still delicious. You can find her on Instagram at swnutrition.bm.
Don't try and cook at lunchtime
I have learnt this the hard way. I love cooking, but it's overambitious in the middle of the day when I'm trying to work and have the kiddos too. But! I am all about heating things up! Try making the chicken noodle soup for dinner and have leftovers the next day. It's so good and very kid friendly. Pasta is a quick and easy reheat too. Otherwise there's no time like the present for teaching your kids the art of sandwich-making.
Drink your greens
Mid-afternoon, when that sugar and caffeine craving kicks in, try drinking your greens instead. Chloe is 12 and fully responsible when it comes to the blender, so I get my green smoothie delivered, yea! I know that at some point, the lid will come flying off and I'll have a green ceiling, but so far, so good. If you're out of banana, try using peaches and mango as your base, with a huge handful of greens, a little plant-based milk and some collagen or hemp/pumpkin seeds for protein. Quick and easy.
Put something else in your wine glass
Oh man this is hard. Nothing quite so relaxing as a glass of wine! But try and have a 72-hour period each week when you don't drink (Tuesday to Thursday, for example.) I find this much easier when I put something else in a wine glass — strawberry Perrier or chilled herbal tea work for me (most days!) I have a few ideas on social media so check them out there.
Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal
2 cups large rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp each ground ginger, nutmeg,
cinnamon, and cardamom
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp sea salt
1½ cups shredded carrots
¹/3 cup raisins (optional)
3 organic eggs
2¼ cups plant-based milk
3 tbsps maple syrup or brown rice syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
1 cup of walnuts (or any nut of choice!)
¾ cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds
Notes: For a vegan alternative: measure 3 tbsp chia seeds into a small bowl and add one-third cup water. Stir with a spoon and set aside for five minutes. Use in place of the eggs.
1, Preheat oven to 375F degrees and grease a 8x10 baking sheet with coconut oil. Mix topping ingredients together bake for ten minutes until gently toasted. Keep oven at 375F.
2, Combine all oatmeal dry ingredients in a big bowl.
3, In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and all the milk to combine.
4, Combine the dry oatmeal ingredients with the wet mixture and stir well so that everything is soaked. Pour into a large glass or ceramic baking dish.
5, Sprinkle the seed mixture over the top.
6, Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, depending on your oven. The oatmeal should be set and tender.
7, This can be made and stored in the fridge and served cold. A good splash of milk or coconut yoghurt to add some moisture is delicious!
Chicken Noodle Soup
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled or scrubbed well and chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
Salt/pepper to taste
2 tbsps light olive oil
½ cup white wine (or apple juice)
6 cups chicken broth (low sodium) plus 2 cups spare
1½ lbs chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
1½ cups small pasta shapes
Fresh parsley for serving
1, Sauté onion, carrots, celery and salt/pepper in the olive oil, over a gentle heat for ten minutes until softened.
2, Add the wine/juice and turn the heat up to high until the liquid has reduced completely.
3, Add the broth. Bring to the boil. Add the chicken. Bring to the boil again. Add more broth if necessary to make sure the chicken is immersed. Bring to boil again if necessary.
4, Simmer for 30 mins.
5, Check the chicken is cooked through. Take pan off heat and cool slightly.
6, Using two forks, shred the chicken while in the pot.
7, Just before serving, bring back to the boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente.
8, Season to taste.
9, Add more broth if the broth gets too starchy.
• The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns BA Hons, Dip ION is the Managing Director of Natural Ltd and a fully qualified Nutritional Therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. For details, please go to natural.bm or call 5054725. Join Catherine on Facebook: facebook.com/