I’m changing the name of breakfast

30 May

I think breakfast needs a re-branding.

Too many people associate breakfast with this:

fruit loop

And this:


And this:


Those things are all yummy. But I call those things dessert.

(I know many people who would call them poison, but not me [okay, maybe the fruit loops]. I die for a good mocha frappacino every once in a while.)

My dream breakfast, when I feel like I have the time (for instance, the one day I work from home), is a stir fry vegetable medley over brown rice, with some kind of meat on the side.

I need meat in the morning.

Most of us do, except those of us who don’t eat meat, but do a really great job of packing in the protein in the morning in other ways. Carbs, even healthy ones from fruits and veggies, don’t last me much past 10 am.

As I’m eating my breakfast this morning, I’m thinking, “This isn’t breakfast. It’s dinner. I’m a dinner for breakfast kinda girl.”

But am I?

How did breakfast get associated with cereal, donuts, and coffee? And why is my healthy, well-balanced meal a “dinner” and not a “breakfast?”

It’s easy enough to figure out. As our lives have sped up, we’ve allotted less and less time for cooking. And breakfast is the number 2 victim.

The number 1 victim is you.

This morning, my husband mentioned that my 10 year old son was having bellyaches lately in the morning.

I said, “What did he have for breakfast?”

The answer was, “Cheerios.”

Well…those of you with young children will likely be screaming at me from behind the screen.

“Why do you have Cheerios in your house?!?”

Have you ever lived with a 10-year-old? All of a sudden your healthy, food-conscious little boy who used to eat oatmeal with flax seeds and organic raisins for breakfast, or turkey bacon with a side of whole wheat toast and broccoli, becomes a picky teenager in training. Plus, my kids have food allergies, which makes our healthy options even more limited.

But the consequences are clear. An empty carb breakfast is a sure-fire way to lead to a morning bellyache, and certainly no good way to start your day.

So, I’m re-branding breakfast.

In my house, it’s now called Morning Dinner.

The challenge will be, as with any new brand launch, getting the name and the concept to stick.

I have some work ahead of me.

Any suggestions on how to make Morning Dinner a success?




Other’s peoples trash

26 Jan

What I am about to say doesn’t apply to everyone.

It doesn’t apply to the immigrant family just arrived from Darfur.

It doesn’t apply to the disabled veteran living in a box on the corner.

But it DOES apply to anyone with enough money and sustenance to afford a computer, an IPhone, a tablet.

What I am about to say applies to those of us lucky enough to be in the middle or upper class.

What I am about to say applies to the family who pays $150 to send their kid to basketball class, and another $500 on the uniform.

What I am about to say applies to the family who owns a car, a three-bedroom home.

What I am about to say applies to the family who takes their kids on vacation to Disney Land.

What I am about to say applies to some of my friends and neighbors.

What I am about to say is going to piss you off.

Your kid disgusts me.

Yes, your kid.

The 13-year-old who just threw a plastic cup under the bushes next to the preschool without thinking twice.

He disgusts me.

Sure, it’s only for a moment. A passing moment.

He’s only a kid after all.

Until it happens again.

Until the 6-year-old, the one who is in the same class as my son, rips the wrapper off his popsicle and drops it onto the street without worrying for a second about getting in trouble.



Today was not the first time I’ve seen a young person throw trash on the ground here in my community.

Today was not the first time I saw your kid throw trash on the ground as if the ground was going to take care of it.

As if the ground serves as his garbage can,

The same ground that braced your child’s fall when he was just learning to walk.

The same ground that nourishes the wildflowers you use as a beautiful background for family photos.

The same ground that you pay taxes to tend to.

Your kid just trashed that ground.

Now, you might think me harsh or judgmental.

You might think me smug.

You might spend the next two weeks watching my children like a hawk to see if they ever once throw trash on the ground.

They might.

And if they do, I hope that you will call to them, gently but not so gently scold them, insist they pick their garbage off the ground and place it in the proper receptacle.

Do what I didn’t just do.

Teach them.

I missed an opportunity. I let your kid walk away.

I let my ego get in the way — too afraid that I wouldn’t use the right words in Hebrew, I waited til he walked away and I picked up the cup myself.

And then I shook my head. At him. At you. At me.

It’s easy to make excuses.

My excuse is language.

My excuse is fear.

What is yours?

The truth is: There are no excuses for our children throwing garbage on the ground.

Not children who go to basketball, and play Wii, and own their own phones.

Not children who eat organic tomatoes or gluten-free pita.

There are no excuses.

plastic on the ground

Is this the land we're fighting over?

Plastic bag dots the green

(This was originally posted here.)

Dreaming of mental health

23 Nov

Search through the archives and you’ll find a handful of wake up calls on mental health.

Mostly, you’ll find I bust on the drug dealers who indiscriminately deal out prescriptions for prozac or lexapro or clonazepam without a word with their “clients” (aka patients) about diet, lifestyle, behavior.

I’m not against prescription medication, mind you. I’m against bandaids for people who keep playing with knives.

I’m for medication as long as it’s a bridge to well-being. Not a cover-up for what’s wrong.

We’re all really good at covering up what’s wrong, don’t you know?

What’s wrong, however, often comes to the surface in our anxieties, in our compulsive behaviors — and over and over again in our dreams.

Those of us willing to explore those dreams are gifted with much longer term solutions to our anxieties and our compulsive behaviors … or so Jung would have us believe.

And I believe it, too.

I’m either blessed or cursed with a mind that dreams in vivid color. My dreams are adventures. They are worlds within themselves.

It’s exhausting, but informative.

The more I pay attention to my dreams, either through journaling or sharing them out loud with others, the more I understand the places in my life in which I am stuck.

Stuck is another word for unwell. When I imagine “stuck,” I imagine a big glob of mucus inside the upper cavity of my nose. I imagine constipation. I imagine a pounding headache.

Unstuck is freedom. Unstuck is relief.

And so…when I work on whatever issue that surfaces in my dreams, I often find myself one step closer to unstuck.

Choosing to explore and face my dreams, like choosing to take on an exercise regimen,  is not easy. And it’s not always fun.

Often I have to admit to something about myself. Something unattractive. Something embarrassing.

Often I have to give something up. I have to let go of my attachment to a person or a thing or an idea that has brought me comfort for a very long time.

But the rewards — awakening to our repetitive destructive behaviors and eliminating them forever — are worth it.





Comfort Food

11 Oct

I’m a sugar addict.

When I’m PMSing. When I’m sad. When I’m scared. I eat sugar. Usually in the form of chocolate chip cookies.

But I also love broccoli. Really, I love it. And I love spinach with garlic. And the combination makes me just as happy almost as happy as fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.

And better than the after effects of eating 10 fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies (guilt, remorse, self-loathing), after I eat 10 pieces of one of the world’s healthiest foods, I feel glorious. Like I should break out in song.

So, I keep lots of broccoli around. And spinach. And garlic.

I tried to find the b-r-o-c-c-o-l-i Sesame Street song on video but couldn’t.

And when I am feeling sad or scared or anxious, I reach for the green.

It’s really important to having it in your fridge, because one of the key elements to comfort food is EASE. You need to be able to grab and stuff it in your mouth.


Blindsided by milk

2 Oct

Even those of us who are particularly tuned into to our bodies’ needs and weaknesses are sometimes hit hard by unexpected assailants.

That, or we’re so focused on preventing an expected illness — like catching your son’s cold or your husband’s stomach bug — that we completely forget how sensitive or ripe we are for another.

This week, I was so focused on steering clear from the many viruses circulating in my own house and community, I completely forgot how much eating too much dairy can hit me harder than a Mack truck heading down the interstate.

A few years ago, I completely cut dairy from my diet, which was a huge undertaking for this cheese and ice cream loving girl. But it really worked wonders for me. Within three weeks, I saw improvements. Less phlegm. Less mucusy stools. All the things most people want to see less coming out of their bodies. The year that followed, I got no colds and my spring allergies were practically non-existent.

Was it simply cutting the dairy? I can’t know for sure. Current scientific evidence doesn’t link the two. But lots of anecdotal evidence does, and Chinese practitioners, for instance, have been advising patients for years to cut milk as a way of decreasing asthma symptoms and congestion.

When I moved from New Jersey to Israel, and my choices for quality meat as a protein source decreased, I found myself turning more and more to dairy and eggs. I found that in moderation I could tolerate those two foods.

In moderation.

Over the last few days, I forgot about moderation. And went a bit…dairy crazy.

Last night, I was showing signs of a full blown cold. Sneezing every few minutes. Non-stop runny nose. Terrible, disgusting nasal drip. Sore throat.

I quickly upped my vitamin C. Started popping zinc; garlic; cayenne pepper supplements. Made myself cups and cups of homemade ginger lemon tea.

Got into bed early…sorry for myself and bummed out. Convinced I had gotten my son’s cold and cough.

This morning, however, I woke up and save for a little stuffiness and a dry throat, the symptoms had disappeared.

Miracle cure?

I don’t think so. (Though I imagine my body thanked me for the increase in immune-boosting foods and supplements.)

I think it was something else. Something I completely forgot to pay attention to.

I remembered an incident last year during the Jewish festival of Shavuot, a holiday where dairy dishes are the stars of the hour. I indulged a bit too much in cheesecake and quiche. What happened the next morning? I woke up with terrible cold symptoms. I was convinced it was a cold … not allergies.

But the cold lasted for one day only. The next day I was fine. Symptom free.

That’s not how colds behave.

Yesterday, I also indulged in dairy — cheese quesadilla and a pudding cake. Meals I normally never have.

These two dramatic incidents clearly indicate allergic reaction to me.  My body simply cannot handle too much dairy.

I know I am not the only one who easily confuses the common cold with allergies. I just wonder how many people can identify the root cause of their cold-like allergic reaction. And how many people think food, as opposed to environmental allergens like trees, dust, or pets.

Most people don’t want to.

Like me: They like their cheese quesadillas too much.