Life has definitely changed since cooking coach, Cindy Klein Mann, became a new mom. Even the way she thought about food changed. It’s interesting how one little person can have such a big, wonderful impact, isn’t it?
When you’re pregnant, everyone has advice for you. “Sleep now because you won’t ever sleep again,” they warn with a smile. They have tips on strollers, feeding, clothes and sleeping. No matter who they are or what they advise, though, they all finish with the same thing: “Your life is about to change.”
Talk about change. Within the period of exactly one year, I became a wife and a mother. Literally, my baby girl, Stella Rose, was born on our first wedding anniversary, May 31. Happy anniversary, right?
Before being a mom, food was my life. I talked about it, wrote about it, cooked with it and shopped for it. As a health coach, I work with people who want to transition from the typical, American, processed food diet to a more whole-foods, seasonal approach to eating. The staff at Whole Foods knew me. You’d often find me roaming the stands at a local farmer’s market. Cooking for my picky husband was a challenge I took on and conquered nightly. I was a foodie.
Once Stella arrived, food became more necessary than ever because I was breastfeeding. In order to sustain her, I had to nourish my body with more calories than I typically ate and eating was harder than it had ever been. It was tough. A crying baby doesn’t make the best cooking companion. Some days, I’d eat Triscuits for breakfast. I loved my Moms’ group because we’d go out to lunch afterwards, and it was usually the only meal I ate all week with two hands.
I couldn’t nibble and savor like before. Oh, no! Now it was all about shoveling in as much as I could before she realized I wasn’t holding her and started crying. I’ve never eaten a sandwich so fast in my life! And forget about eating at the dinner table with candles and nice silverware like I’d often suggested to clients. My new favorite place is the corner of the couch while breastfeeding and watching episodes of Top Chef on DVR. I’m lucky if I use a fork.
To make sure that I don’t eat cookies and wine for dinner, I now shop and plan for meals in advance. We have our household favorites: tacos, chicken drumsticks, spaghetti, burgers and salmon. They’re simple but delicious. I stock the freezer with meat, and if I forget to take something out to thaw, we can always have pasta for dinner. To keep breakfast easy, I nosh on granola bars and yogurt, or I freeze ripe bananas and make smoothies with whatever fruit I have on hand. I miss my Whole Foods wanderings, but I manage to go once a week with Stella in her sling. With all of the colors and lights, she’s entertained while I roam the aisles.
Now, more than ever, dinner is a sacred time. We turn off our phones, and my husband and I take turns holding our little daughter while we eat. I try to take smaller bites. I dream about the day that Stella will start eating and I can pass on my love of food to her. Someday, I’ll have a partner in food crime. I can’t wait.
About the Author
Cindy Mann is a Health Coach and the founder and director of Boundless Wellness in Washington, DC. As a holistic health counselor and cooking coach, Cindy works with health food newbies who struggle with making the transition from processed foods to a more whole foods diet and want to discover a fun and simple way to eat healthier and take care of themselves.
Cindy has a Bachelors of Science in Journalism from Ohio University and graduated for the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) in 2006. While at IIN, she studied with health and wellness pioneers like Dr. Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra, Dr. Neil Barnard, Dr. Barry Sears and Dr. Mark Hyman.
Cindy leads interactive cooking classes and workshops to make the idea of cooking and eating healthy foods into a practical possibility. She’s also the mom of Stella Rose, a budding foodie.