Saturday, 12 September 2015

the dilema of choices

                      Image result for vintage children playing

Choices, choices

When my 2 eldest children were young, I was a lot stricter with them in many ways, than I was with my youngest. There is a big age gap between the 2 eldest & the youngest. But I was more strict about other things with my youngest. I think that I had just gotten older, wiser, & learnt a lot of lessons, so my emphasis on what was "allowed" & what wasn't, had changed. As it does.

But irregardless of all this: what was constant was choices. Choices that I, as the parent, made, & choices that they were allowed. Bedtime was non-negotiable. 

The 2 eldest had the whole army of neighbourhood children at our place, after tea, playing outside, running with the wind, laughing, climbing. Then it was bed. No arguments. Trust me, they tried: one was a balker, & the other a trickster, so often (usually) I had to deal with this. 

My youngest, when we lived in Northland, in the countryside, had the same "deal", but she had to be in bed by "1/2 past late", no matter what & I had learnt, finally, to give a child ample warning. I am a great believer in fresh air, playing, running, climbing, learning how to get on with other children. So within that arena, were my children's choices.

When it came to meals, the choice was to eat it, or not, but, there weren't alternatives. However, I honestly endeavoured to feed the children really healthy food that mainly included the healthy food that they liked.

It seems that when we make too many choices, our cognitive ability diminishes. What this means is: our memory (of what a particular choice produced previously), our judgement (is this right for me?), these attributes get smaller, have less impact on our emotions in regards to our decisions.

This is as a result of making too many decisions, which is why, say, we make bad judgements/choices at particular times. One of my danger areas for choices was at cafes...so much choice!! But now I have eliminated this problem.... I have 2 poached eggs & toast if I'm out for breakfast or lunch. And usually Earl Grey tea with trim milk. And tons of water. Non-negotiable. This simple decision has eliminated so many bad aftereffects from cafe meals. I just do not handle rich food especially during the day. 


Often, talking about food still, we can get through the day making good choices, then come afternoon or tea or after tea....everything turns to custard, & out come our bete noir (black beast) foods & drinks, caused ultimately by having made too many choices throughout the day, triggering off less positive food hormonal responses & the cravings set in.


Find out what suits you

So how can we get around this? For ourselves, with diet, nutrition, way of eating? Why not try 1 meal at a time to get it right for you? It could be 2 eggs & a piece of toast for breakfast, or weetbix, or toast & marmite. Whatever. As long as it suits you, your lifestyle, wallet. A meal that keeps you going for at least 3 hours. Have a back-up meal or two for breakfast. I need my backup plan once a week when I leave home at 6am every wednesday to teach yoga. I have a piece of toast with peanut butter & a coffee before I go. When I get home about 8.30am, I have something else, like eggs or porridge. 


Having eggs for breakfast cuts down on the rest of your food for that day by about 400 calories, without even having to think about it. 


Eating porridge (whole rolled oats not instant which messes up with our blood sugar & makes us become sugar hunters all day) reduces our lunch intake by 31%. I found that I had to have equal amounts of oatbran & rolled oats for my porridge to keep my blood sugar stable. Or just oatbran. 

When you have got breakfast sorted, start on lunch. Find a lunch that you can take with you when you are out & about, say, shopping, errands, at work. Mine is a Vogels Very, Very Thin sandwich, with mustard, lettuce, & cheese. And a small carton of soymilk for extra protein. Glamorous? No. Exciting? No. Does it stop me buying rubbish when I'm out? Absolutely. 


During winter I had homemade vegetable or lentil & vegetable soup for lunches at home. I had to add a big dollop of cottage cheese to each one as I seem to need protein at lunchtime, but this week, inspired by a friend, it's salad & protein for at home lunches.


Some people need afternoon tea. I have tried nuts but they don't suit me too well. Some people have fruit, or a muesli bar, or cheese & crackers. Some protein powder, in milk or not, is a good idea as it reduces our evening appetite. Again, try different things. If you then go on to eat even more dinner, or have extra wine, or go hunting for food after dinner...it could be that whatever you had for this snack is making your blood sugar behave crazily. Trial & error works...it's a great teacher.


It helps to have a food system

Then all we have to do is make a choice for tea!! It will be easier to do this if you have systems in place for breakfast & lunch. And if we get stuck in "choices" for this meal, & it's a stress, we could always try what people did in the past: sunday=roast/tuesday=leftover roast & vege/wednesday= ....whatever you decide for each day to be repeated each week. Hey...it works for some people.

A friend told me that Friday evenings meals in her home when she was growing up were packaged rice risotto & fish fingers. A family member used to do Maggi instant soup & scones on friday evenings. These might not be your choices, but not every meal needs to be a culinary delight, with a new dish every evening. 

I am off clothes shopping today. All the choices in those shops are overwhelming for me so I have decided to approach it as a "hunting" expedition, with the shops being civilised "calls of the wild". I think that it's the only way that I shall cope.

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