These days, everywhere you look people are talking about green living, sustainable living, recycling, going green, reducing your carbon footprint & being eco-friendly. As a family we make a concsious effort to turn off the lights when they are not needed, sort our recycling, & we use re-usable water bottles & shopping bags. But I’d like to do more, without it being too overwhelming. So I contacted one of the greenest people I know, Christy Funk, & asked her to help me (& you out). So without further ado, meet Christy…

green livingChristy is the owner of Belly Sprout, Orange County’s first natural parenting lifestyle store and resource center. For over 5 years Christy has inspired her community to consider natural lifestyle choices from healthful eating, alternative wellness, natural childbirth and eco-friendly product choices including eco-beauty. She was the first to bring Holistic Moms, a national non-profit for holistic living, to Orange County and co-lead the group for nearly 2 years. Christy has also been actively involved in co-hosting such events as “You are What You Eat”, the Red Carpet Premiere of “The Business of Being Born” and “Too Toxic to Dump”, bringing awareness to a larger audience. It is her passion to create a dialogue among her clients to inspire change for a more healthful and vibrant life. She enjoys Yoga, cooking, reading, writing and watching her boys play. Christy and her husband live in Fullerton with their two young sons, Mayu and Rumi.

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When I was asked to guest blog for Just Spotted I was thrilled. Some of you may know my shop, Belly Sprout, and for those of you who don’t it’s the first natural family lifestyle store in Orange County. I have been living green and healthy for over 12 years now and am always excited to inspire others to adopt a healthier lifestyle.  I won’t preach or make anyone feel guilty. I just want to promote greener choices while keeping sustainability hip, fun and modern.

My mind was spinning on what I should write about. There are so many aspects to living green but where to begin? My goal on this blog is to show families how they can adopt eco-friendly and healthful ways into their lives by using local resources here in Orange County. We don’t have to drive to L.A. to get all of this groovy sustainable stuff and information. Everything is in our own back yard. I am quite passionate about the connection between food and wellness, thus the event I co-hosted last year, “You Are What You Eat” and I thought I would first start on healthful eating. But then I took a step back. My guess is that the readers for Just Spotted are mothers, right? For the most part mothers are the head of the household even if we don’t work a day job. We have the purchasing power and for the most part we make the decisions when we buy food for our families. If we stay at home, we are dropping off and picking up our kids from school, taking them to doctors appointments, buying them clothes, arranging play dates, cooking, cleaning, laundry, reading to them, etc. You get the picture. We do a lot. The daddies are amazing as well and there are some daddies that are doing all of these things while the mommies work. However for this blog I will be focusing on the moms. We all know that if mom gets sick then the whole castle crumbles. So how do we keep mom healthy and vibrant?

In the store I get to talk to a lot of moms, hear their stories and interact with them. I have become quite sensitive to women complaining about exhaustion. I fully relate. To make a long story short, last year I crashed hard. I went through a series of testing, blood work, etc. to see what was “wrong” with me. I was having heart palpitations, was physically drained, began having severe anxiety, and other physical symptoms. Basically my body was screaming at me to listen. I have an amazing natropath, Dr. Karaba who helped me build my health back slowly as I was suffering from adrenal exhaustion and hormonal imbalances. As a busy mother of two young boys and running a shop, my body was basically telling me to slow down and take a look. Dr. Karaba and I are still working on a few more issues, but I have come a long way since last year. Now what can I share with other mothers so that they don’t get to the crash point of exhaustion? Here are some of my tips on how we as mothers can nurture ourselves to stay vibrant. We can’t be good mommies if we aren’t well. Period.

FOOD. Eat. There is no excuse for us not to eat and if you are pregnant or nursing you need to eat a lot and often. Make healthy choices. If you are eating junk and surviving on coffee, your body will eventually fail you. If eating a healthy diet of whole, fresh and organic when possible is too much for you, then ease into it slowly. Replace a few processed foods for whole foods, ditch the soda for sparkling waters, try green or white tea instead of coffee, etc. Do not skip meals. If we are to run around with our kids, run a
household and possibly work, we need those meals to sustain us. Eat a high protein breakfast, pack your lunch with your child’s if you know you will be out all day and eat dinner. I hear too many moms telling me that they aren’t eating. They may nibble on a few gold fish crackers and eat the crust of their kids sandwich but they aren’t eating a meal. Carbs, sugar and coffee are a disaster for your adrenals. Carry nuts and fruit in your bag. I love Rainbow Lights Protein Energizer mix in vanilla. It’s vegan, gluten-free and packed with greens. My kids love it too. Just eat.

SLEEP. If you have a small baby, nap with baby. My entire store schedule was arranged around my kids naps when they were younger. At about 1p.m. we would be at home, eating lunch and then jumping into bed, including me. I needed that time to decompress and be still. Even now, naps are important to me. I either try to go to my parents a couple days a week or try to arrange it so I can lay down for at least 15 minutes to rest. Hey, southern Europe is famous for their siestas so don’t feel guilty! The laundry can wait. Also, get to bed at a decent time. Even though I run a business and write my blog, my lights are out no later than 10:30p.m. I know a lot of mommies are up into the wee hours of the night but this will zap your adrenals quickly. We need to sleep to function.

EXCERCISE. O.K. so I am guilty on this one. I keep trying to figure out a schedule so I can walk and do Yoga, but I am not quite there yet. Exercise is so important for us. Our hearts need it our adrenals and hormones need it, our butts need it…Find something you love and carve out that ½ hour to do it. My 7 year old, Mayu, is obsessed with handball, so I get out there with him and play hard. It feels good to get that blood pumping.

NURTURE. We all adore our children, want to eat them alive and be with them all of the time. O.K. so maybe not ALL of the time! Moms need alone time, time to connect with friends, date night with dad, spa time or basically time away from our children so that when we come back to our little loves, we can be refreshed and even more appreciative of them. It can be as simple as going to the book store alone and enjoying a hot tea while catching up on your gossip magazines or a good book. Keep those connections alive with your friends to keep those spirits high! Sometimes all we need is a little downtime with our girlfriends to feel rejuvenated.

This is a basic start to tuning in to your own health, if you haven’t done so already. We spend so much of our energy nurturing and taking care of our families, that moms literally end up with ‘burnt toast”. Take care of yourself first so you can take care of those who need us most. In upcoming blogs I will start to highlight healthful places to eat and shop for food, how to pack nutritious lunches and snacks for your kids, eco-friendly places to shop and adventure in O.C., non-toxic solutions for baby and child, home and even your cosmetics and personal care. I will make it fun and hip and hopefully you will be inspired to live more naturally!

xoxo, Christy