March. How is the time passing so quickly? I’m especially conscious of that as my second daughter, Grace, gets ready to leave the nest. It is a bittersweet time for me as it no doubt is for many parents. Graduation from high school is on the horizon and university acceptances are awaited. Where will she go? It seems so sudden—all the years of dance and music classes, attending sporting events, driving here and there, are ending and she will soon be launched out into the world to forge her own life.
Grace has always been independent—she has known her own mind since she was a baby. It has resulted in our butting heads on occasion, but now when I look at this young woman, those times are replaced in my mind with this vision of a beautiful, competent person ready to spread her wings. Grace was recently diagnosed with sleep narcolepsy. It is a condition where you tend to fall asleep without warning and generally are very tired and often unable to do anything but just lie in a paralyzed state of fatigue. She has been able to control it somewhat now with medication but certainly the time leading up to this point has been trying for her.
No doubt, medication is something that she will need to live with but diet also will play a role. There are many things that I do not have control over and cannot be of help with, but food is something I’m passionate about, and nutrition and good health is part of that. All my girls eat well and we love food.
For me, breakfast during the week is the most difficult meal to make sure the girls have and one that I frequently run out of ideas about. By the time I get up, start the fires and make coffee, a full 30 minutes have gone by. Furthermore, I like to have some time in the morning to write or just have a moment to myself, so by then it’s 6 a.m. and hard to get a good breakfast going.
The one thing I can manage to make sure that Grace—admittedly the pickiest eater—will have before her long school day begins is an easy-to-make smoothie or breakfast shake. The trick is to have the ingredients organized in the fridge so you don’t have to trim and cut things up as you are yourself stumbling around trying to get organized. Here is my go-to recipe; I don’t tell anyone in the family what is in it, because, you know, they wouldn’t drink it! The main thing is to use bananas and/or pineapple as your master disguise.
These measurements are approximate. This combination makes one big smoothie. Fresh or frozen fruit works fine.
2 cups of mixed fruit—some combination of three of the following
mango (Or try peaches, raspberries, blackberries, the possibilities are endless!)
1 bunch kale or other hearty greens like spinach, chard
One or all of the following:
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
1 cup soy or almond milk (you can also use regular milk or yogurt)
water as needed to get a thick, creamy consistency
1 tablespoon honey (optional, and not necessary if you use sweeter fruit)
Blend and enjoy!