Go, Slow, Whoa: Your Guide to Healthy Foods and Friends

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Some of you may or may not be aware that this blog is a product of the Junior League of Long Beach (JLLB).  This international women’s volunteer organization has its roots in many children’s advocacy issues over its history so it is natural that a cornerstone of JLLB’s work would be children’s physical health specifically healthy eating.  One of JLLB’s flagship events is Kids in the Kitchen, in partnership with Long Beach Health Department’s Healthy Active Long Beach, a program teaching children and their families healthy eating and living.  You can see where the overlap is in what The Confidence Post aims to address in healthy mind, body and soul.  We understand that leadership, self-esteem, and character development can only flourish in an healthy individual.

That being said as I and my volunteer partners begin to plan JLLB’s Kids in the Kitchen 2015-2016 schedule, I began to think about how similar the concept of healthy attitudes towards foods that we teach kids mirrors healthy attitudes towards relationships.  If you have children or are around children, you have heard the concept of always foods vs. sometimes foods.  I have attached some charts in case you have not heard of these concepts and would like more information (Sesame Street Anytime & Sometimes Foods).  But I specifically found the description from the website Kids Health compelling in the comparison of healthy foods v. healthy relationships (source http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healty/food/go_slow_whoa.html#).

This website describes the quite popular concept of foods to eat anytime v. sometimes as “Go, Slow and Whoa” foods.  The foods break down as follows:

Go: Foods that are the healthiest. These foods are good enough for you to eat almost anytime

Slow: Foods that are largely not bad for you. They are the “sometimes” foods. They aren’t off limits, but shouldn’t be eaten everyday.

Whoa: Foods that are the least healthy. They would likely cause obesity and subsequent health issues if they were eaten everyday. These are the treat foods (YUMMY!), live a little foods, or once in a while foods.

Now the charts I have attached breakdown what foods are in what groups and that is not the focus of this blog post so I don’t want to go on too much more about the website’s description and concerns around these foods.  What I wanted to bring to your attention is how easily we can apply this concept to healthy relationships.  Our guilt-free guide to who is called, emailed, texted, sent cards (my favorite), taken to lunch/coffee/happy hour everyday and when to indulge in that sinful gossip session with an ex-coworker.

The more I looked at the idea of go, slow, or whoa relationships, the better I felt about the place I had in my life for all my extraordinary, wonderful and simple relationships.  Because at the end of the day, they all have a piece of me so I need to be cognizant of how much to commitment to and who deserves what.  So using the model from the Kids Health website, here is how I see healthy relationships:

Go: Relationships that are the foundation of who I am…my husband, my son, my parents my sisters, brother, brothers-in-laws, sister-in-law and my nieces (God, I love them!). I don’t talk to anyone everyday (other than my son) because I find it exhausting but if I did these are the people I would turn to. I believe in the good in them and because of that, they are completely healthy for me. They make me who I am therefore I need them around regularly to provide perspective and grounding. For you, it might not be your family. It might be friends you have known forever. These are the people that you can’t and shouldn’t go without connecting with because these people love you, the real you that nobody else does. They know you and love you without judgment. These are the healthiest relationships in their purest form.

Slow: This is where I depart largely from the healthy eating concept because these people in my life are not remotely less healthy for me. I am fortunate enough to have amazing (mostly) women in my life that because of proximity or busy schedule can only be “sometimes” friends. Not that we wouldn’t be there for each other in a moment’s notice, but where we have found connection is our occasional text, call, card or meal/drink. Because we have built our friendships on the sometimes” level, we couldn’t talk every day and have the same dynamic. I cherish these friendships in big and small ways contribute to the woman I am so I would never try to make them into “anytime” or “Go” friends because the act of trying would invalidate our friendship. So there these incredible people exist, I talk to them sometimes and those short shots of their optimism,humor, wisdom, intellect inspire me and bring me health and happiness.

Whoa: These are my Facebook friends, school friends, neighbors, ex-coworkers, etc. These are my chocolate chip cookies and chili cheese fries. There is nothing wrong with connecting from time to time but these relationships lack the depth or substance that sustains a healthy friendship. It has nothing to do with who these people are or anything about them at all except how they fit into my life at any given time. They may have been a fantastic friend in a different season but as we grow and change into the women and men we were meant to be, some friends move into the “whoa” category. There are only so many times you can hear about that “one time in college that we…” or “nice weather” before it is time to move on.

The reason these concepts are important is that no category is without its importance.  The people you place in each category can and should change as you grow and mature.  The reason you see them as a “Go” “Slow” or “Whoa” has nothing to do with them and everything to do with you.  You have set your priorities…that friend that doesn’t call you very often is probably because you haven’t invested where she is in this season of her life.  Even though, your “Go” friend has recently been your “Slow” friend doesn’t mean that friendship doesn’t need the appropriate care to keep it flourishing.  One size does not fit all friendships…be open to how to meet a relationship where it is with the investment it needs to grow.

Lastly like “Whoa” food, if all you do is surround yourself with friends that do not love you for who you are, judge you, bring you down, constantly bring negativity into your life you will become mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy.  Food and relationships are exactly the same in that way.  Feed your mind and soul like you could get diabetes or heart disease if you didn’t…healthy eating and relationships aren’t that much different.

Please check out the following links for additional information:

http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healthy/food/go_slow_whoa.html

http://www.sesamestreet.org/cms_services/services?action=download&uid=5a83318f-b0c8-43df-8150-d55cd2255509

-Cheryl L.

Don’t Just Love Yourself, Like Yourself Too!

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So we’re going to try something new today.  Today is going to be an interactive blog post, if it’s even possible for a blog post to be interactive.  But we’re going to try it anyway.  We’re going to play a game.  Go to the kitchen and get a timer, something to write with, and a piece of paper. …..

No really, do that, I’ll wait…

I promise, this blog post isn’t going anywhere, that’s the amazing thing about the internet, it’s patient.

Ok, now that you have your materials.  Set the timer for FIVE minutes.  Spend the next five minutes making a list of all the things you like about yourself.  Try to be specific.  Don’t just say you are beautiful, but instead list out the things that make you beautiful.  Do you like your eyes? Your nose? Your hair? Think about what you’re good at doing.  What do you like about yourself that makes you good at those things?  Are you caring?  Good at sharing?

Whatever you do, don’t stop.  Keep writing for the entire five minutes.

READY……SET……GO……

How did you do?  It was hard wasn’t it?  Why is that?  Why is it so difficult to say nice things about ourselves?  As you’ve seen in the previous few blog posts, we’ve been very busy taking this message out into the community. We’ve learned, it’s not just hard for you and I to do this, but it’s hard for everyone at all ages.  Even adults have a hard time with this.  It’s hard because it’s a skill we don’t practice.  We get so used to taking the view of the world as the true view of ourselves that we forget to create our own view of who we are.  When we don’t have our own view, it is much more difficult to stand up against bullies.  If we aren’t self-assured, it is much more difficult to just walk away.  If we aren’t confident in ourselves, it’s even more difficult to stand up for our friends.  When we have to do a task that’s difficult or new and we don’t get it right on the first time, if we don’t have a positive view of who we are, it becomes much more difficult to keep going back and trying again.  Knowing all the good things about ourselves provides us a vast tank of positive self-esteem to help us fight against the negative thoughts and negative people the world throws at us.

Adults always say that we should have good self-esteem, but rarely does anyone teach us how to get good self-esteem.  It can be a learned skill.  Maybe you could only write down 8 things in that entire five minutes, that’s ok!  That’s 8 great things about you.  Keep practicing.  I bet as you go through the day today, you’ll think of more things that you should have said.  So try this exercise again tomorrow, and then the day after that, and the day after that too!  Once you can think of so many things that you can’t write it down fast enough, don’t stop playing the game, let the game grow!  Add a new rule, maybe you can’t say anything today that you said yesterday.  Use your imagination.  There is no limit.

We’d like to know how you did.  Leave a comment down below to let us know.  Was it hard?  Did you ask a friend to help you?

Let us give you the first one.  We think you are tough just because you tried this game.  It’s not easy to participate in an interactive blog, especially when it gets so personal so fast!

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(Above is a sample of a self-esteem flower we created at a recent community event. We cut out flower petals and challenged all girls and instructors to fill up the flower with things they like about themselves… what would your flower be filled with?)

-Jennifer S.

We’ll See you this Saturday at the 10th Annual Kids in the Kitchen!

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The Junior League of Long Beach, in partnership with the Long Beach Health Department’s Healthy Active Long Beach program, will host its 10TH ANNUAL KIDS IN THE KITCHEN healthy eating and exercise fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, 2015! Don’t miss this fun and educational event at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park.

Building on the success of previous years, we expect about 1,500 children and their families to attend and enjoy more than 30 interactive and informational booths related to health, fitness and nutritious food. In honor of National Nutrition Month, there will be professional chefs giving away snacks, young performers providing live entertainment, a mobile unit on site for free health screenings, fitness demonstrations, hands-on activities and more at this FREE event.

Special thanks goes to Nordstrom for supporting Kids in the Kitchen with a grant this year! We are so grateful to everyone who has helped make this event a Long Beach tradition for the past 10 years.

See you this Saturday!!!

March 7, 2015
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Martin Luther King Jr. Park
1950 Lemon Ave., Long Beach

Visit jllb.org for more information. No need to RSVP for this event!

Click on the link below for a video from last year’s event.

Make A Healthy Lifestyle Choice: Drink Your Veggies!

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If you want to feel good about yourself, you must take care of yourself.  Luckily, there are so many simple ways to take care of oneself, such as: getting more rest, exercising, learning a new skill, sharing your feelings with someone, and making better food and beverage choices. The last example is perhaps the easiest – especially when there are SO many healthy and delicious options out there. But where to start?

For me, fresh fruit and veggie juice concoctions is a motivating and satisfying way to ensure I get loads of nutrients in my daily diet. I even share my juice creations with my sometimes-picky toddler, who has no clue he’s drinking his greens! Please note: It is recommended that toddlers and young children have fresh juice watered down a bit due to acidity levels in certain produce.

There are many great “juice bars” popping up in towns across the country, but if you’d rather invest in your own juicer, so you can save money and make your own nutritious and delicious mixes, here are a few key pointers:

  • When making your own juice at home, be sure to wash produce thoroughly, and keep protein-rich skins when juicing produce like apples, sweet potatoes, and pears
  • Try to strike a good balance between fruits and veggies, perhaps even try to include more veggies than fruits in your concoction–this will help reduce sugar intake, and give you the most sustainable energy for the day.
  • It is recommended you drink your juice at room temperature, and within an hour for maximum nutritional benefit
  • It is also recommended to sip juice slowly! Swish it around in your mouth, and savor the nutrients. It is said that this will keep you satisfied longer, plus, keep you from getting any sudden cramp or belly ache (if your body digests the produce too fast).

EASY at-home juice combos
Through my brief at-home juice experimentation, I have come up with a few staple recipes. I even named them! All you have to do, is wash produce thoroughly, chop into pieces safe for your juicer, and start juicing! Remember: sipping at room temperature is best, but be sure to store remaining juice in the fridge for later.

  1. Serene Citrus Green– apples, kale, spinach, celery, mandarins, and carrots

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  1. Berry Green Apple– strawberries, blueberries, grapes, celery, spinach, kale, and applesberryapplegreen
  1. Green Carrot Pear-adise– spinach, kale, celery, pears, and carrots
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Want to learn more about making healthy lifestyle choices?
Join the Junior League of Long Beach, and over 1,500 participants on Saturday, March 7th for its 10th annual Kids In The Kitchen healthy eating and exercise fair! Click the link above for more info about this FREE and fun event for the entire family.

-Lauren T.