If you and I were to sit down together and have some coffee, I’d probably (begrudgingly) order a green tea instead of coffee. I’m trying to limit myself to one giant cup of coffee a day—and I already filled my quota for today before the sun was even up. I hear green tea is good for you. Antioxidants and all of that.
You’d then ask if we should split one of those huge frosted heart-shaped sugar cookies, and I’d sheepishly tell you I’d love to, but I can’t because I’m not eating dairy and those cookies look hella buttery. You should treat yo’ self, though. It is a holiday, after all.
As much as I love cheese and butter and heavy cream, my body just…doesn’t. So a few weeks back, I tried going cold turkey off the stuff to see what happened, let me tell you, I feel 1000% better. I feel like I’m 21 again (minus the unfortunate thick black eyeliner and body jewels). I still believe the motto “everything in moderation” when it comes to food, with one important amendment: IF YOUR BODY CAN HANDLE IT. And based on how much better my body feels not eating three pounds of cheese each week? It couldn’t handle it.
And then you laugh and say, “Um, you consider three pounds of cheese moderation?” I shrug, because, um, yes. Four pounds would be excessive. And then I quickly change the subject because things just got weird. Tell me about how your kids are doing.
Aww, I’m so glad to hear they are doing so well! Juniper? Well, she’s a 2 1/2 year old. Which means she’s awesome, hilarious, creative, intelligent, clever, and fun. But also a totally frustrating 30 pound ball of defiance that I love so much it hurts. Toddlerhood is the craziest roller coaster I’ve ever been on. I hear it’s only rivaled by teenagerdom. I can’t wait.
Example: just yesterday morning, she screamed at me, threw a ball at my head, hugged me, and said, “You the best Mama in the whole world.” in one 30 second period. I’ve got whiplash.
You’d ask if she was still into Thomas, and I’d say she definitely still is. I know way more about the Island of Sodor than I ever thought I would (like the fact that where Thomas lives is called the Island of Sodor). Other things she loves: building pillow forts in the living room (“pee-whoa forts”), playing outside with Mama and Dada (“we three playin’!”), eating pasta (“Booga wants noon-ells!”), chasing our cat (“Booga go find key-cat!”), turning lights off (“love being in the dark!”), helping me cook (“Booga helps!”), and the moon (“good-night moon!”).
Things she doesn’t like: being called Juniper (“Booga or Juni, not Joop-er!”), Mama working in her office with the door closed (“go seeeeee herrrrrr!”), getting her hair washed (*screaming and inconsolable crying*), food mixed together (“duff in it!”), Mama trying to sleep past 5:30am (“good mown-ing, Mama, go down-dairs right now”).
You’d then ask me about the other third of our little family unit, and I’d tell you that that cute Canadian husband and I are celebrating our TENTH wedding anniversary next month. Can you believe it? It felt like it was just yesterday that you danced the night away with us at our wedding reception. Gosh, we were such babies.
And gosh, I am so happy to have that guy by my side. We were married so young, but it’s worked out for us because we got to grow up together (instead of drifting apart which I know happens to a lot of young marriages). We spend almost 24/7/365 together, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s my best friend, biggest cheerleader, biggest challenger (which I soooooooo need in my life), and just the best father a girl could ask for for her kid.
Then I’d confess to you that hitting the big 1-0 is also a nice dose of validation. I’d remind you that Craig and I had a decidedly unorthodox courtship (from different countries, met online, engaged within six weeks, married within a year), and there were a lot of people in both of our lives who thought both silently and not-so-silently that we were crazy and would never make it. We knew we would—it wasn’t even a question—so to be getting to the double-digit years feels like the world is finally seeing what we’ve always known. It’s like we always knew we had the skills, but we finally have the certificate to back it up, you know?
Speaking of certification, you’d tell me you saw me talking about getting some sort of certification on Instagram and ask me what that’s about. I’d tell you, that after working in the food industry for seven years now, I’ve started to feel less and less comfortable dolling out advice on healthy eating without any sort of education to back it up.
I can tell you what foods make me feel good and what don’t (hi, cheese, looking at you), but the direction I’ve been taking Wholefully is to be more of a helpful resource for everyone, and not just a diary of what I’m doing—and I figured it was time to get some education to help me along with that.
You’d ask about what specific program I’m doing, and I’d tell you that I did a lot of research about what kind of certification I wanted to get, and in the end, I landed on my current path based on two reasons:
(1) I don’t plan on prescribing diets, working in a medical facility, or treating clients one-on-one, so I don’t need a robust certification like going the Registered Dietician path (which is years of graduate-level course work, internships, and a certifying exam—and who you should be seeing if you need professional nutritional help for medical issues).
(2) It was very important to me that my coursework focus on holistic/integrative approaches to nutrition AND clinical nutrition research—which can be tricky balance to strike. From my outside research, it seemed most nutrition education falls into either one or the other—and it was important to me to find the middle path between those two.
So, in the end, I’m kinda piecing together my own program based on what feels pertinent to what I want to do. Right now, I’m taking two certification courses (one on Holistic Nutrition and one on Health and Wellness Coaching) through one of the associations that certifies personal trainers. They are six month programs where I’m studying about 8-10 hours per week (plus some extra “fun” stuff on my own—yes, I now read medical journals for fun), and then I’ll take my certifying exams at the end. Then, once I’m finished with that, I’m going to work through a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from Cornell, and maybe get Certified through the Academy of Culinary Nutrition.
You’d ask how it was going, and I’d tell you that I’m excited about it. It’s confirming a lot of things I already knew about nutrition and teaching me a bunch more. Learning is fun.
You’d then call me a nerd. Which I totally am. I definitely used to rewrite my notes in school when they were too messy.
You’d then tell me that you did, too.
Of course you did, we’re soul mates.
I’d then ask you about your Valentine’s Day plans for tonight. Anything good going on? A toddler who won’t go to sleep for anyone except for Mama makes a romantic night out impossible in our house, but we’re still planning on celebrating with some good pasta, a cheap bottle of wine, and probably some (dairy-free) dessert of some kind.
Who am I kidding? That’s exactly how we celebrated Valentine’s Day before we ever had a kid. Ain’t no shame in our introvert game.
I’d then look down at my watch and realize that I have to run! We’re gonna throw a little mini Valentine’s Day party for Juniper this afternoon, and I’ve got some games and crafts to set up! Thank you so much for taking some time out of your Valentine’s Day to meet up with me. You have no idea how happy it makes me to see you. Until next time, lovely!